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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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May 16, 2023

Tempo - May 16, 2023

Hanifah Dwijayanti, Jakarta – Indonesia saw a year-on-year (YoY) decline in imports in April 2023 to US$15.35 billion, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported. The figure was down 25.45 percent compared to March 2023 (month-to-month) and 22.32 percent year-on-year.

Tempo - May 16, 2023

Eka Yudha Saputra, Bandung – The National Police's Security Preservation Agency (Baharkam) Chief Commissioner General Fadil Imran announced that the police program at the neighborhood unit level dubbed 'Polisi RW' will become a national program aimed at anticipating crime in society.

Mongabay - May 16, 2023

A. Asnawi, Pasuruan, Indonesia – Indonesia is one of the world's largest producers of food commodities, but until recently this archipelago of 270 million people produced relatively little avocado. Julianto Effendi is among a growing number of farmers trying to change that.

Tempo - May 16, 2023

Amy Heppy, Jakarta – Jakarta Education Agency Acting Head Syaefuloh Hidayat stated that the agency will revoke the Jakarta Smart Card (KJP) of students who are caught smoking cigarettes.

The program, Syaefuloh explained, is aimed at assisting underprivileged students to meet their school needs, such as books, bags, shoes, and transportation.

Tempo - May 16, 2023

Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was tight-lipped when asked about the polemic surrounding the amendment of the Indonesian Armed Forces Law (UU TNI).

Some consider the revision a controversial move as there are Articles overseeing the addition of civilian posts for the military to the addition of military functions in the security sector.

UCA News - May 16, 2023

An Indonesian Catholic lawmaker has called on the army chief to explain the alleged sales of arms and ammunition to rebel groups by military forces in the restive Christian-majority Papua region.

Coconuts - May 16, 2023

Andra Nasrie – Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI), the largest Islamic bank in Indonesia, was reportedly hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted its services for several days. The hacker group LockBit claimed responsibility for the attack and reportedly released a massive trove of customer data today after the bank refused to pay their ransom of US$20 million.

The Conversation - May 16, 2023

Danusha Jayawardana – An estimated 640 million girls and women in the world today were married in childhood, according to UNICEF. The prevalence has slightly declined: with one in five young women aged 20 to 24 years being married as children, down from nearly one in four 10 years ago.

Coconuts Jakarta - May 16, 2023

The cameras aren't enough – the Jakarta Metro Police is reinstating manual ticketing just seven months after going all but digital in traffic law enforcement.

The National Police has issued a new directive for manual ticketing in the capital amid a purported increase in traffic violations in areas not covered by Electronic Traffic Law Enforcement (E-TLE) cameras.

May 15, 2023

Jakarta Post - May 15, 2023

Tenggara Strategics, Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is shaping up as the candidate to beat in the presidential race on Feb. 14, 2024, and is no longer the dark horse of earlier surveys.

Jakarta Globe - May 15, 2023

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Golkar Party sent a signal on Sunday that party chairman Airlangga Hartarto will contest the 2024 presidential election despite its failure to reach the threshold of 20 percent of House of Representatives seats to put a candidate on the ballot on its own.

Coconuts Bali - May 15, 2023

I Ketut Ari Wiantara, 53, was arrested by the Bali Police on suspicion of having performed thousands of illegal abortions from 2006 to 2023.

Bali Police Special Crimes Unit Deputy Chief Ranefli Dian Candra said in a press conference today that the police received a tip-off about Wiantara's illegal clinic, which led to his arrest on May 8 in Denpasar.

Jakarta Post - May 15, 2023

Phnom Penh – Indonesian President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo has expressed his desire for Indonesia to play a role in the development of Cambodia's infrastructure, as part of its commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries.

Tabloid Jubi - May 15, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – A public lecture titled "Exploring Nonviolent Alternatives in Papua" was organized by the Student Executive Board of the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) in Jayapura City on Saturday, May 13, 2023, where several prominent individuals and human rights activists participated in the discussion.

Tempo - May 15, 2023

Mirza Bagaskara, Jakarta – The Minister of Youth and Sports Dito Ariotedjo appealed young people to participate actively in the 2024 election. He said that it was hoped that the involvement of youth would bring the election in a much better direction than before.

Asia Pacific Report - May 15, 2023

A New Zealand advocacy group has appealed to the government to heed the call of West Papuan church leaders for Indonesia to withdraw security forces and impose a "humanitarian pause" while negotiating for the release of captive pilot Philip Merhtens.

Jakarta Post Editorial - May 15, 2023

Jakarta – The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 pandemic no longer a global health emergency, but it is too early to celebrate. Instead, we call on the government and the people alike to remain vigilant.

Tempo - May 15, 2023

Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – The Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah said that she would summon the producer of Adidas footwear following reports of the unilateral dismissal of thousands of employees. She plans to have a dialogue with the producer, the supervisor, and the Development of Industrial Relations and Labor Social Security (PHI Jamsos).

Kompas.com - May 15, 2023

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – In commemorating the tragedy of the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, or the reformasi 1998 incident, Amnesty International is reminding the government that there were other dark events that occurred at that time, namely the sexual violence experienced by ethnic Chinese women.

Tempo - May 15, 2023

Riri Rahayu, Antara, Jakarta – A public policy observer from Jakarta Trisaksi University, Trubus Rahadiansyah, assessed that the government is reluctant to update its poverty line as recommended by the World Bank due to its image. He opined that the government will be embarrassed if the poverty rate turns out to be higher.

Antara News - May 15, 2023

Sella P G, Fadhli Ruhman, Jakarta – The Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) remains committed to realizing the entrepreneurship ratio target of 3.95 percent by creating one million new entrepreneurs until 2024.

This target is mandated in Presidential Regulation No. 2 of 2022 on 2021-2024 National Entrepreneurship Development.

Reuters - May 15, 2023

Stefanno Sulaiman and Fransiska Nangoy, Jakarta – Indonesia's April trade surplus came in slightly bigger than expected, even as exports and imports plunged amid declining prices of its main commodities like palm oil, coal and nickel.

The Star - May 15, 2023

Jakarta – A group of telecommunications workers taken hostage by an armed rebel group in the Papuan Highlands has been released, the local police have said, in the latest kidnapping crisis in the restive region.

Jakarta Globe - May 15, 2023

BTV, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, on Monday named the head of the Makassar Customs and Excise Office a suspect two months after he was first interrogated for alleged undeclared assets.

May 14, 2023

Tempo - May 14, 2023

Antara, Jakarta – A Papuan separatist group attacked six workers involved in the construction of a base transceiver station (BTS) tower in Okbibab, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua Pegunungan Province, and held four of them hostage.

Two other workers were injured in the incident on Friday (May 12).

Antara News - May 14, 2023

Fauzi, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD stated that the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia was founded as a religious nation-state based on no particular religion.

Jakarta Globe - May 14, 2023

Antara, Jakarta – The Trade Ministry has removed more than 64,500 online stores offering second-hand products from major e-commerce and social media platforms since the crackdown on used-clothing import began in March.

Antara News - May 14, 2023

Sean Filo M, Fadhli Ruhman, Jakarta – The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) held an event at Pondok Ranggon Public Cemetery on Saturday to mark 25 years of the Reformation.

Associated Press - May 14, 2023

Victoria Milko and Dita Alangkara, Laindeha, Indonesia – As Tamar Ana Jawa wove a red sarong in the fading sunlight, her neighbor switched on a light bulb dangling from the sloping tin roof. It was just one bulb powered by a small solar panel, but in this remote village that means a lot.

Jakarta Globe - May 14, 2023

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo said on Sunday he is confident that his United Indonesia Party, or Perindo, will win House of Representatives seats "by two digits" in the 2024 general elections after an unsuccessful debut in the last polls.

May 13, 2023

Kompas.com - May 13, 2023

Xena Olivia, Jakarta – The National Association of 1998 Activists (Pena 98) is holding a photo and memorabilia exhibition to commemorate 25 years of reformasi – the political reform movement that began in 1998.

The exhibition is being held at the Graha Pena 98 building on Jalan Hos Tjokroaminoto No 115 in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta.

South China Morning Post - May 13, 2023

Resty Woro Yuniar – Maria Catarina Sumarsih's world crumbled on November 13, 1998, when she received news that Indonesian soldiers had killed her son on his university campus, nearly six months after the end of a 32-year dictatorship ushered in a period of democratic reform.

Jakarta Globe - May 13, 2023

Stevani Wijaya, Jakarta – The support for Ganjar Pranowo has risen by six points since he was officially nominated for president by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, last month, while his two main contenders begin to struggle nine months into the election, according to a new survey.

May 12, 2023

Terrorism Monitor - May 12, 2023

Uday Bakhshi – On April 14, the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) shot at a small plane that was landing at an airstrip in Intan Jaya Regency in Indonesia's restive Papuan provinces (Twitter/@udayxSEA, April 14). [1] The TPNPB asserted that it would continue to target aircraft and pilots, including foreigners, after the attack.

CNN Indonesia - May 12, 2023

Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) says that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community will be one of the groups that will be most vulnerable to politicisation during the upcoming 2024 legislative and presidential elections.

Jakarta Post - May 12, 2023

Fikri Harish, Jakarta – A recent survey of Jakarta residents has found former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan still in the lead over Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo in the presidential race, but by a lower margin. Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, whose electability has increased since July 2022 remains in distant third.

Reuters - May 12, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesia's April trade surplus was seen increasing from the previous month, with imports softening due to less production activities during the holiday of Ramadan, a Reuters poll showed.

The median analysis of 14 economists in the survey showed the trade surplus in April likely increased to $3.38 billion from $2.91 billion in March.

CNN Indonesia - May 12, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) Deputy Chairperson Anwar Abbas is asking that a fan meeting with gay Thai actors and musicians Billkin and PP Krit that is planned to be held in Indonesia be cancelled because they a symbol of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups.

Asia Times - May 12, 2023

John McBeth – Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) chairman Richard Adkerson has twice flown to Jakarta this year as he tries to persuade President Joko Widodo's administration to make an early decision on extending the American mining company's contract over the fabled Grasberg mine beyond 2041.

Associated Press - May 12, 2023

Niniek Karmini, Jakarta, Indonesia – U.S. Army Chief of Staff James McConville met with Indonesia's top defense official on Friday to push for stronger security ties amid growing Chinese maritime activity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Tabloid Jubi - May 12, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – On Thursday, May 11, 2023, the Jayapura District Court carried out a follow-up trial for the case of alleged treason involving three students from Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ).

Mongabay - May 12, 2023

Tenny Kristiana – Indonesia's biofuel program was supposed to be a boon for small farmers. But although the country's biodiesel production has skyrocketed, many farmers complain that the program hasn't benefited them. Farmers are still struggling to become part of the biodiesel supply chain, which is dominated by large palm oil firms.

Jakarta Post - May 12, 2023

Fikri Harish, Jakarta – With four days left until registration closes on Sunday, political parties are now scrambling to hand in their list of candidates vying for House of Representatives seats to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

Brisbane Times - May 12, 2023

Chris Barrett, Suai, Timor-Leste – Timorese resistance hero and the country's first president, Xanana Gusmao, has sent a blunt message to Australia: give it a chance to further develop its own gas industry and let the underdeveloped nation flourish.

May 11, 2023

Jakarta Post - May 11, 2023

Jakarta – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has defended the role taken by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in influencing political parties' preference in the 2024 presidential election, saying that past presidents had played the game before.

Jakarta Post - May 11, 2023

Aditya Hadi, Jakarta – Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has expressed his frustration over a lack of clarity on United States commitments to provide funds it has pledged to Indonesia to help the country move away from fossil fuels.

Jakarta Post - May 11, 2023

Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – National Police investigators have arrested a man and a woman suspected to be behind the trafficking of more than a dozen Indonesians to Myanmar, where the victims were forced to run online scams, as ASEAN nations seek a stronger regional response to human trafficking.

Fulcrum - May 11, 2023

Max Lane – The small but vocal Partai Buruh (PB), a newcomer to Indonesian politics, could disrupt the 2024 elections if its questioning of the status quo succeeds. For now, the odds remain low.

Jakarta Post - May 11, 2023

Deni Ghifari, Jakarta – Indonesian retailers are projected to maintain their sales momentum even after Ramadan and the Idul Fitri holidays, which normally lift consumer spending, came to an end, Bank Indonesia (BI) data show.

Jakarta Post - May 11, 2023

Fadli, Jakarta – The Riau Islands has rejected a report by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) on an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) on a pig farm in the province.

Rika Azmi, head of the provincial Food Security, Agriculture and Animal Health Agency, claimed the WOAH did not have the means to determine outbreaks of animal diseases in Indonesia.