Rik Glauert – University officials in Indonesia this month ordered a student news website shut down its entire operation after it published a fictional same-sex short story.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
March 26, 2019
Ian Morse, Maroangin – One day in March last year, Rahim was shocked and furious to find an excavator rolling through his rice field, turning the bright green grains into piles of mud. The 51-year-old farmer took photos of the incursion and demanded to know why his family's livelihood was being uprooted.
Nick Kuipers – In a recent op-ed, the acclaimed Indonesian novelist Eka Kurniawan announced that, whatever the outcome of the upcoming Indonesian national election, "the Islamists have won."
March 25, 2019
Jakarta – The total area lost to wildfires in Riau this year has increased to 2,719 hectares.
The head coordinator of the Riau Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Edwar Sanger, said the wildfires were likely to keep spreading, as the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru was still detecting hot spots.
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has said the country would not meet the nontax target revenue in the oil and gas sector, which was set at Rp 168.62 trillion (US$11.8 billion), this year because of low global oil prices in the last two months. The price stands below US$70 per barrel of oil (Brent crude).
Papua villagers displaced from their Central Highlands regency have rejected proposals for them to return home.
Over 2000 people have fled Nduga regency to neighbouring Jayawijaya regency due to ongoing armed conflict.
Hundreds of Indonesian military troops have deployed to Nduga to try and capture members of the West Papua Liberation Army.
Jakarta – The National's Police antimatch-fixing task force arrested Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) acting chief Joko Driyono after an interrogation on Monday in Jakarta.
The force's chief, Brig. Gen. Hendro Pandowo, said Joko would be detained for 20 days from March 25 to April 13.
Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) called on society to maintain unity just less than a month to Indonesia's 2019 Presidential Election.
Ahmad Salman and Markus Junianto & Hotman Siregar, Jakarta – The public campaign period for the 2019 presidential election kicked off on Sunday with visits to various locations by the two candidates, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto.
Jakarta – Surabaya's water company PDAM Surya Sembada wants to purify all tap water in East Java's capital city to make it safe for residents to consume without boiling.
PDAM director of services Anizar Firmadi said around 500 households in Wonokromo district were already enjoying drinkable tap water since last year, when the company started purifying the water.
Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency says the death toll from flooding in Papua province has risen to 112.
Torrential rain triggered flash flooding and landslides over a week ago, causing Lake Sentani in Jayapura regency to overflow and numerous rivers to burst.
Sausan Atika, Jakarta – The Jakarta Council approved a minimum Rp 8,500 (60 US cents) fare for Indonesia's first subway service, MRT Jakarta, on Monday. That is cheaper than the fare proposed by the Jakarta administration and it leaves the decision on how much money is to be allocated for subsidies up in the air.
Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said the government considered boycotting a number of products from European Union countries. This option comes as a fight-back against discrimination of Indonesian crude palm oil (CPO) by the EU.
Jakarta – The government on Monday announced the various fares for app-base ojek (motorcycle taxis) in a bid to end the disputes between the drivers and ride-hailing providers that have led to protests by drivers in many parts of the country.
Jakarta – Prabowo Subianto is meeting his supporters in Merauke, Papua, on Monday for the first time as a presidential candidate.
Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, a spokesperson of the Prabowo camp, said the Gerindra Party chairman would head off to Bali and West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) after campaigning in the country's easternmost province.
Paulina Quintao – According to the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV) Surgeon, Dr. Alito Soares, most breast cancer patients registered at the National Hospital entered only during the advance stages of the cancer with only a small number surviving.
Jakarta – A legislative candidate from an unidentified political party was arrested along with four suspects for allegedly stealing money to use for his campaign, the Bogor Police reported.
The Bogor Police said Friday the candidate had been arrested along with four other suspects.
Some people actually believe that breasts on statues of mermaids can be a turn on and therefore are morally abominable.
Jakarta – The country's peek religious body, the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), is calling on the Indonesian public to use their right to vote on voting day in the 2019 presidential and legislative elections on April 17. Taking a position of not voting or golput is haram – forbidden under Islamic law.
March 24, 2019
Jakarta – The national antigraft agency has not ruled out the possibility that more officials at the Ministry of Religious Affairs may have been involved in a bribery case that led to the arrest of Romahurmuziy, chairman of the United Development Party, or PPP, two weeks ago.
Jakarta (Antara) – The Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) held a declaration of joint commitment ahead of the convening of open campaigns to ensure that the parliamentary and presidential elections will run fairly, honestly, democratically, and with dignity.
Jakarta – The Supreme Court has rejected a petition to revise regulations on apartment management for the purpose of giving tenants more power over issues such as residential fees.
The regulations in question are a 2018 Public Works and Housing Ministry regulation and a 2018 gubernatorial regulation on the Owners and Tenants Association (P3SRS).
Amanda Siddharta, Jakarta, Indonesia – Mugiyanto remembers very well how the event that nearly cost him his life unfolded in March 1998.
At that time, he was a 25-year-old student at Gajah Mada University and a member of Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy (SMID), a student organization that actively campaigned for democracy.
Jakarta – Forests play a bigger part in our lives than we realize. The water we drink, the paper we use, the medicine we take, the houses we build are all derived from a rich ecosystem, along with countless other aspects of our daily lives, and yet we seldom connect all these things with our forests.
Jakarta (Antara) – Some 60 families of Timor Leste are currently settled in Indonesia's Naktuka Village, Amfoang Timur Sub-district, Kupang District, East Nusa Tenggara, with this rising number triggering concerns among Indonesians there, a local community leader stated.
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo officially inaugurated the country's first MRT line in Jakarta on Sunday, calling on citizens to adapt to a new culture of mass transportation.
On the afternoon of March 23 around 70 people from various different organisations which are part of the People United Front (FPR) and the Anti-Militarism Students Against Military Operations in Nduga held a protest action in the Simpang Lima district of the East Java provincial capital of Semarang.
Jakarta (AFP) – Indonesia's capital inaugurated its first mass rapid transit (MRT) system on Sunday (March 24), a US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion) project seen as crucial to tackling some of the world's worst traffic congestion.
Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named Wisnu Kuncoro, a director at state-owned steel manufacturer PT Krakatau Steel, and three business executives suspects in a case of alleged bribery related to procurement projects within the country's largest steel producer.
Jakarta – Former president and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri's nasi goreng (fried rice) recipe was shared with the public on the first day of an open campaign on Sunday.
March 23, 2019
Yulia Savitri, Palembang – The Palembang administration has revealed that the number of tributaries flowing into the city's pride, the Musi River, has diminished mainly due to infrastructure development over the years, which may lead to a water crisis.
Palembang Mayor Harnojoyo said Palembang used to have more than 300 tributaries flowing into the river.
Jakarta commuter Irnawati can spend up to four hours daily in her car, but now she and millions of others may get some relief as the traffic-clogged Southeast Asian city opens its first mass rapid-transit system.
March 22, 2019
Antara, Jakarta – State-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad is eyeing to generate Rp12.7 trillion from contracts and sales for 2019.
Jakarta – The rector of state-run North Sumatra University (USU), Runtung Sitepu, has threatened to revoke the publishing permit of the campus' student website, Suara USU, after the news outlet published a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-themed short story.
Jakarta – Seventy percent of 5,018 industries in Tangerang regency, Banten, use groundwater, posing a threat to clean water resources, an environmental agency has said.
"The impact is significant," said Tangerang Environment Agency head of pollution control and environmental damage Budi Khumaedi on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.
One of the many peculiarities of the Indonesian legal system that sometimes surprises foreigners is that defendants convicted in lower courts can actually have their sentences increased upon appeal.
Andita Rahma, Jakarta – Three members of the Ali Kalora-led East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) died during a gunfight on Thursday afternoon, March 21, against the police's Tinombala Task Force in Air Teh hamlet, Marete village, Sausu district, Parigi Moutong regency, Central Sulawesi.
Jakarta – North Jakarta has seen the growth of 32,000 trees since they were planted 10 years ago at the Ecomarine Mangrove Forest.
The trees were planted on 1.8 hectares of land that was initially barren before it was converted into a forest on the edge of the Kali Adem Estuary in Muara Angke.
Jakarta – In response to Jakarta's objection to a European Union bill that would cap the use of palm-oil-based biofuels in the region, the bloc explained that the regulation was not meant to target specific biofuels or feedstocks, but was based on deforestation data from 2008 to 2015 that showed large a proportion of the deforestation was associated with palm oil.
Jakarta – Almost a week after being declared a bribery suspect, Muhammad "Romy" Romahurmuziy said on Friday the case had nothing to do with the United Development Party (PPP), the party he had been leading for years prior to his arrest, but was pursued because of his popularity on social media.
On the afternoon of Monday March 18, scores of people from various different groups held a protest action at the Yogyakarta Monument in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.
Jakarta – The Public Works and Housing Ministry has said the ministry will complete the construction of 15 more dams this year to support the irrigation system in regions across country after the ministry completed the construction of 14 dams in 2018.
To develop the 29 dams, the ministry has allocated Rp 40 trillion (US$2.83 billion) from the state budget.
Jakarta (Antara) – The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) is set to hold a meeting on March 23 on numerous environmental issues. The meeting was set after Walhi was being discouraged by both presidential candidates' who failed to provide significant answers on environmental issues at the second debate.
Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta – City-owned water operator PT PAM Jaya said only 60 percent of Jakartans had access to clean water.
"To date, a total of 40 percent of Jakarta residents have no access to clean water," said PT PAM Jaya's corporate president director Priyatno Hernowo during an event to commemorate the World Water Day in Jakarta on Thursday, March 22.
Jakarta – Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has said that Indonesia is currently developing disaster mitigation technology that will be placed in tourist destinations.
Jakarta – State-owned electricity company PLN will operate three steam-fueled power plants (PLTU) late this year and early next year that will produce 1,000 megawatts (MW) each and will be used as an additional supply for the Java-Bali electricity system (PJB), according to PJB operational director Sugiyanto.
Prayugo Utomo – The fate of the North Sumatra University (USU) Student Press Institute's Voice of USU (Suara USU) is on the "horns of a dilemma". A short story rejecting discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people has resulted in a threat to close down the campus press, which has produced many reputable journalists.
March 21, 2019
Jakarta – Police have arrested a man they refer to as both M and Abu Arkam in Berau, East Kalimantan, accusing him of involvement in the explosions in Sibolga, North Sumatra, that have been linked to the banned Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group.
Asrida Elisabeth, Della Syahni, Lusia Arumingtyas, Jayapura/Jakarta – Rain-triggered flash floods and landslides that struck Indonesia's easternmost province this past weekend have killed nearly 90 people and driven thousands from their homes. The country's disaster mitigation agency has cited human-caused deforestation as having exacerbated the scale of the damage.
Ben Bland – How can we address the profound gender disparity that afflicts the vast majority of the world's parliaments?
Fewer than 10 countries are close to parity between men and women in their main national legislative chamber and only 3 – Bolivia, Cuba, and Rwanda – have more women parliamentarians than men, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.