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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 7, 2020

Jakarta Post - June 7, 2020

Galih Gumelar, Jakarta – The General Elections Commission (KPU) is preparing health protocols to prevent COVID-19 transmission during the 2020 simultaneous regional elections, which the government has insisted on holding in December despite the health risks.

Jakarta Post - June 7, 2020

Evi Mariani, Jakarta – The giant wave of the United States' #BlackLivesMatter campaign has now swept across Indonesia. A number of groups have begun to discuss racism in the country and have touched upon a rarely discussed topic: racism against Papuans.

Jakarta Post - June 7, 2020

Jakarta – State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir has appointed presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman as the new commissioner of state-owned construction firm Waskita Karya.

The move was part of several changes made to the company's board of directors announced in an annual shareholders' meeting on Friday.

June 6, 2020

South China Morning Post - June 6, 2020

Tom Fawthrop – After 50 years of popular resistance to Indonesian rule in West Papua, this forgotten war is flaring up again. The indigenous movement, led by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), has never lost hope of recovering ancestral lands dating back centuries before their annexation by Indonesia.

Jakarta Post - June 6, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – The government claims it has ensured there will be a sufficient supply of food to avoid a potential food crisis following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Deutsche Welle - June 6, 2020

In 2002, Rukam villagers sold their land to a palm oil company. Since then, they've seen their peatlands, forests and fish stocks vanish. Now they're weighing up the environmental cost of their decision and future hopes.

Just like his father and grandfather, Alfian has spent his whole life working as a fisherman on the banks of the Batang Hari river in Rukam, Indonesia.

Jakarta Globe - June 6, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Indonesia soared by 993 on Saturday, the highest single-day rise since first cases were detected in early March, to take the country's total to 30,514.

South China Morning Post - June 6, 2020

Randy Mulyanto – The deaths of four Indonesians after working on Chinese fishing vessels – which came to light last month after footage emerged showing one of their bodies being dumped into the sea – has sparked calls in Indonesia for tighter rules or even a moratorium on the recruitment of seafarers for such ships.

Radio New Zealand - June 6, 2020

The human rights watchdog TAPOL has condemned a demand by Indonesian prosecutors for a 17-year imprisonment for West Papuan activist Buchtar Tabuni.

Tabuni is one of seven West Papuan political prisoners on trial in East Kalimantan, having been moved to custody there from Papua for "security reasons".

Jakarta Globe - June 6, 2020

Yeremia Sukoyo, Semarang, Central Java – A helicopter belonging to the Indonesian Army crashed and burst into flame in the Central Java town of Kendal on Saturday afternoon, killing four personnel onboard and injuring five others.

Jakarta Post - June 6, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – The Indonesian Health Ministry confirmed 993 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day increase in the official count to date. The data arrived as the government began to loosen social restrictions under the so-called "new normal" policy.

Tempo - June 6, 2020

Jakarta – Companies must face the new normal with innovation. There will be no place for the old ways of doing business.

Jakarta Globe - June 6, 2020

Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Indonesia receives hundreds of thousands of health equipment from China, including PCR testing kits, personal protective equipment, and masks on Friday.

Jakarta Post - June 6, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – Antigraft activists have demanded that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecute any persons found to have helped hide former Supreme Court secretary Nurhadi, who had been on the run from the graft busters for many months before being apprehended earlier this week.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 6, 2020

James Massola and Amilia Rosa – Indonesia has recorded its largest single-day rise in new coronavirus infections, with 993 new cases reported on Saturday and 31 new deaths.

Jakarta Globe - June 6, 2020

Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – The government plans to start the new academic year normally in July, but classes may reopen at a later time due to national health crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak, an education official has said.

June 5, 2020

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – MRT Jakarta resumes normal operation starting Friday as the city administration has announced the start of the transition period for the gradual easing of its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – After months of praying at home, Muslims in Jakarta are now able to perform the first Friday prayers in mosques on Friday following the transitional period in the capital city that starts to ease restrictions in public spaces in the capital city.

Jakarta Globe - June 5, 2020

Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Jakarta – Prabowo Subianto is set to remain as leader of the Great Indonesia Party, or Gerindra, for another five years after the "entire representatives" of the party's regional chapters asked him to do so during a national leadership meeting this week, a party executive said on Friday.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – Claiming to have lowered coronavirus transmission rates, Jakarta has decided to ease large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) as they are extended to the end of June, although the capital is fully aware of the risks of a potential rebound in the number of new cases.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The House of Representatives is mulling over changing the current open-list proportional representation electoral system and raising the 4 percent minimum parliamentary threshold in a proposed revision to Law No. 7/2017 on general elections.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Jakarta – Dozens of residents of Silale in Ambon, Maluku, staged a protest on Thursday to turn away a medical team that had intended to perform rapid COVID-19 tests on a family living in the area.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – A virtual discussion about human rights issues and the repression against Papuans' freedom of expression held by rights group Amnesty International Indonesia on Friday was bombarded by spammers, in the latest show of disturbance against Indonesian activists recently.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – Indonesian farmers suffered losses in May as low prices and supply chain disruptions hit the sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Channel News Asia - June 5, 2020

Nivell Rayda, Jakarta – The Al Azhar mosque in South Jakarta was a hive of activity on Friday morning (Jun 5), with caretakers getting the house of worship ready to stage its first Friday prayer in nearly two months.

Some caretakers were seen spraying the mosque with disinfectant, covering every inch of the property as well as objects that worshipers might touch.

Tempo - June 5, 2020

Jakarta – A farmer from the Sakai tribe in Bengkalis has been jailed for cutting down trees on land owned by a company. This is an offense against justice.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 5, 2020

James Massola – Indonesia's top diplomat in India is promoting anti-vaccination views on his personal Facebook page, arguing that building physical fitness and immunity is preferable to ward off the coronavirus.

Tempo - June 5, 2020

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – Garuda Indonesia president-director Irfan Setiaputra suggested the government to help lower the cost for flight passengers to undergo PCR-based COVID-19 tests as it would be the requirement in the new normal phase.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – Freelancers and entrepreneurs are among those who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, many of whom are reporting income losses and declining activity, with no safety net or government aid in place to soften the fall.

Jakarta Globe - June 5, 2020

Triyan Pangastuti, Jakarta – Indonesia's state budget deficit is set to widen further this year as the government projects lower tax revenue despite bills piling up for its Covid-19 mitigation programs.

The Finance Ministry now expects Rp 1,033 trillion ($74 billion) in deficit, or 6.34 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – State-owned electricity company PLN will relax bill payments this month for household customers whose bills spiked because of the company's flawed new bill-calculation method.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Riska Rahman, Jakarta – Foreign investors are starting to put their money back into Indonesian assets as countries around the world begin to ease their COVID-19 restrictions, spurring hopes of a global economic recovery.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Jakarta – The Indonesian Ombudsman has received hundreds of complaints about the distribution of COVID-19 social aid, including alleged recipient data manipulation and benefit cuts.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Bank Indonesia (BI) expects the rupiah to strengthen even after the currency returned to levels seen before the COVID-19 crisis, as foreign investors make a comeback on the back of a global economic recovery.

Antara News - June 5, 2020

Evarukdijati, Sri Haryati, Jayapura, Papua – Papua's Law Enforcement Task Force arrested TW, a member of a criminal armed group that attacked PT Freeport employees in Kuala Kencana that resulted in the death of New Zealander Graeme Thomas Wall.

Two other employees of the giant mining firm also suffered injuries in the attack on March 30.

Tempo - June 5, 2020

Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – Amnesty International executive director Usman Hamid said he would lodge the latest report of his organization on Papuan issues titled "Civil and Political Rights Violations in Papua and West Papua" to the United Nations (UN).

Asia Pacific Report - June 5, 2020

Human rights watchdog TAPOL has condemned the demand by Indonesian prosecutors seeking 17 and five years imprisonment for West Papuan activists Buchtar Tabuni and Irwanus Uropmabin.

On June 2, the Jayapura District Prosecutor's Office issued 33 pages containing charges against the defendant Irwanus Uropmabin.

Tempo - June 5, 2020

Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – Multiple mysterious phone calls have terrorized an Amnesty International discussion touching on rights violations in Papua and West Papua held on Friday, June 5, 2020.

Coconuts Jakarta - June 5, 2020

West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno has filed a formal request to the Communications and Information Ministry for the removal of a local language bible app from the Google Play Store, which he said is incompatible with the majority belief of the citizens in the province.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Sri Wahyuni, Yogyakarta – Indonesia's second-largest Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, said on Thursday that its members and Muslims in general may again take part in public prayers in mosques starting this Friday with health protocols and particular arrangements in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Sausan Atika, Jakarta – Jakarta, the first epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in Indonesia, is claiming a reduction in the rate of infections and welcomes a period of fewer restrictions, including the reopening of houses of worship, beginning on Friday.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – The lawsuit against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to cut off the internet in Papua and West Papua during antiracism protests in the two provinces last year was meant to be a call for better policies in the future, the suit's plaintiffs have said.

New York Times - June 5, 2020

Reuters – Thousands of miles from the protests that have swept the United States, Black Lives Matter has become a rallying cry for pro-Papuan activists in Indonesia, provoking questions about accusations of deep-seated racism.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – A survey conducted by LaporCOVID-19 (Report COVID-19) community reveals that Jakarta is not yet ready to enter the so-called "new normal" as the capital is gearing up to ease social restrictions.

Jakarta Post - June 5, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – The West Sumatra provincial administration is currently under the spotlight after its letter requesting the central government take down a Bible application from a digital distribution service circulated widely, prompting debates in the country.

Reuters - June 5, 2020

Randy Mulyanto, Jakarta – Two Indonesian brothers will go on trial next month for the murder of their teenage sister in a so-called honor killing, police said on Tuesday, a rare case in the country that has prompted calls for action to protect women and girls.

Straits Times - June 5, 2020

Aceh Besar (AFP) – Two Indonesians caught having pre-marital sex were flogged a hundred times each on Friday (June 5) in conservative Aceh province with a fraction of the usual crowd watching, due in part to coronavirus fears.Aceh is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia to impose Islamic law, which allows whipping for charges including gambling, adultery, drinking alcohol,

CNN Indonesia - June 5, 2020

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has picked up indications that the Bloody Paniai human rights case in Papua will stall like other human rights cases. The indications of this emerged after the Attorney General's Office (AGO) again returned the investigation dossier and documents on the case to Komnas HAM.

Tempo - June 5, 2020

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian held Friday a virtual coordination meeting with regional heads on the nation's preparations ahead of the 2020 general elections.

Tito asked the leaders of 270 regions to immediately liquidate the funds in the Regional Grant Agreement Document (NPHD) for the simultaneous elections slated for December 9.

Coconuts Jakarta - June 5, 2020

The case of Ferdian Paleka, the YouTuber behind the infamous transphobic viral video, has officially ended with his victims dropping the charges against him and leading to his subsequent release from detainment.