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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 31, 2023

Jakarta Post Editorial - August 31, 2023

Jakarta – Weeks have gone by as the government works left and right to solve Jakarta's choking air pollution. Yet the problem seems to be worsening instead of improving.

Two and a half weeks after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ordered measures to curb Jakarta's pollution, the quality of the air above the capital is showing little sign of changing.

Asia Pacific Report - August 31, 2023

An Australian advocacy group in support of West Papuan self-determination has criticised the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders for failing to grant West Papua full membership in the organisation at last week's summit in Port Vila.

Jakarta Globe - August 31, 2023

BeritaSatu, Cikarang – US food and beverage giant PepsiCo has announced a substantial investment of $200 million to build a new snack factory in Indonesia. This move marks the company's return to the country after a four-year absence.

The factory, located in the West Java town of Cikarang, is currently under construction and is expected to become operational by 2025.

Radio New Zealand - August 31, 2023

A provincial government in West Papua has launched a campaign to promote fish consumption among school students to help overcome the condition, which is generally caused by poor nutrition.

The Antara news agency quotes governor George Yarangga saying this is an extension of a programme that has been used in other parts of Indonesia for nearly 20 years.

Tempo - August 31, 2023

Riani Sanusi Putri, Jakarta – Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo reported on the effects of extreme drought caused by El Nino in Indonesia. The minister said rice production was reduced by 5 percent amid the phenomenon.

The Diplomat - August 31, 2023

Sebastian Strangio – The 2023 Super Garuda Shield exercise will involve 24 nations as participants or observers, including several for the first time.Indonesia will today kick off its largest-ever annual joint military drills with the United States and a host of other countries, at time of rising tension in Southeast Asian waters.

Tempo - August 31, 2023

M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – A civil coalition for victims and people against forgetting past human rights abuses said that those who committed human rights crimes during the New Order era are not fit to hold a state position, let alone run for the upcoming presidential election.

Channel News Asia - August 31, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesian presidential hopeful Anies Baswedan has declared his intention to adopt a "values-based" foreign policy for the country if he wins the upcoming election, even as he criticises the current one under President Joko Widodo as being "transactional".

Agence-France Presse - August 31, 2023

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian and American troops began two weeks of joint exercises Thursday, joining allies from five countries in drills aimed at ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 31, 2023

Lucy Cormack and Karuni Rompies – High-rise buildings in Jakarta will soon be forced to spray water mist from their rooftops as part of the government's desperate bid to tackle the toxic air pollution that has been choking the megacity for weeks.

Jakarta Globe - August 31, 2023

Stefani Wijaya, Jakarta – The police recently arrested 31 people for allegedly running online gambling sites in Bali.

"They were operating gambling sites such as Hotel Slot 88, Cuan 88, Jaya Slot 28, Oscar 28, Sera 77," Adi Vivid Agustiadi Bachtiar, a director at the police's criminal investigation department, told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Detik Jabar - August 31, 2023

Rifat Alhamidi, Bandung – Journalists from four organisations in Bandung, West Java (Jabar), held a demonstration at the Vanda Park on Thursday August 31. In their demands, they condemned the violence by police during a clash between police and Dego Elos residents on August 14.

Solomon Star - August 31, 2023

Leader of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has expressed disappointment with the Prime Minister's stand on the West Papua issue labelling it as 'hypocritical'.

Hon Wale said the current Prime Minister used to be a strong supporter and advocator for West Papua in the past but he has taken a 180-degree on the issue.

Jakarta Globe - August 31, 2023

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – The Democratic Party expressed strong resentment on Thursday, accusing coalition partners of treachery for choosing Muhaimin Iskandar as Anies Baswedan's running mate in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

Channel News Asia - August 31, 2023

Neo Chai Chin and Lewa Pardomuan, East Kalimantan – As Indonesia's future capital, Nusantara, gears up to welcome its first residents in less than a year's time, some nearby villagers are praying they do not get left out in the cold or displaced without compensation.

Tempo - August 31, 2023

Akhmad Riyadh, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) and the Civil Society Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances demand the government ratify the bill on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Tempo - August 31, 2023

Anwar Siswadi, Jakarta – Around 50 journalists from four organizations, student press, residents, and artists staged a protest in front of the Bandung Metropolitan Police headquarters today, Thursday, August 31, 2023. The protestors were condemning police violence against journalists and civilians in Bandung.

Jakarta Post - August 31, 2023

Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who is also the Gerindra Party's presidential candidate, visited the Presidential Palace on Thursday for a meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Prabowo arrived at the palace at around 3 p.m. and was immediately escorted to a private location where he was expected to have a meeting with the President.

August 30, 2023

Asia Pacific Report - August 30, 2023

Len Garae, Port Vila – The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has failed West Papua, says a Vanuatu government champion of West Papuan self-determination.

Agence-France Presse - August 30, 2023

Batam, Riau Islands – Dozens of Chinese nationals were arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of running an online love scam syndicate that ensnared hundreds of victims in China, police said Wednesday.

Acting on a tip-off from their Chinese counterparts, police arrested 83 men and five women at an industrial park in Batam city in Riau Islands province on Tuesday.

Reuters - August 30, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesia's upcoming presidential election will be a close contest between two popular candidates, the country's defence minister and a governor of one of its most populous provinces, an opinion survey showed on Wednesday.

Kompas.com - August 30, 2023

Syakirun Niam, Jakarta – A 1965 exile who resides in Amsterdam, Holland, Sri Budiarti or Ning, has related her experience of being berated and accused of being a member of the now-defunct Indonesian Women's Movement (Gerwani).

Reuters - August 30, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesian state energy company Pertamina plans in 2024 to mix more of its gasoline products with ethanol in a bid to offer alternative fuels to the public, its chief executive said on Monday.

Jakarta Post - August 30, 2023

Tenggara Strategics, Jakarta – For the last year of his final term in office, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has set ambitious targets in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction, job creation and reducing inequality, using the state budget as an instrument to achieve these.

Reuters - August 30, 2023

Mai Nguyen and Siyi Liu – Nickel smelters in top producer Indonesia are making rare purchases of ore from the Philippines to ease tight supplies, people familiar with the matter said, upending trade flows of the raw material and pushing up costs across the supply chain.

Tempo - August 30, 2023

Adi Warsono, Jakarta – Passengers of Light Rail Transit or LRT Jabodebek departing from Bekasi were evacuated this morning, August 30, due to a problem with the train. Passengers were asked to leave the train five minutes after departure.

"I took the train from Jatimulya and was asked to get off at Cikunir 2," a passenger Devina Amelia said this morning.

Agence-France Presse - August 30, 2023

Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) has arrested three soldiers on suspicion of kidnapping, torturing and killing a civilian in an extortion plot, officials said Tuesday.

According to the TNI, the victim was tortured to death and local media reported his body was later found in a river in the West Java town of Karawang.

Al Jazeera - August 30, 2023

Medan, Indonesia – Indonesia's Chinese-funded high-speed train service has been delayed for the second time in less than a month, in the latest setback for the project plagued by cost overruns and local scepticism.

The trial launch of the $7.3bn Jakarta-Bandung high-speed service, scheduled for Friday, will not go ahead as planned, a spokesperson for the project said.

Jakarta Post - August 30, 2023

Yerica Lai, Jakarta – Presumptive presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has renamed his augmented electoral alliance after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet and has asserted it represents "team Jokowi", as he seeks to portray himself as the popular president's rightful successor.

Jakarta Globe - August 30, 2023

Ichsan Ali, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Wednesday threatened to impose sanctions against factories that do not install pollution control devices as Jakarta grapples with worsening air quality. The sanctions may even include a shutdown of the factory's operations.

Tempo - August 30, 2023

Devy Ernis, Jakarta – A junior high school teacher in Lamongan shaved the heads of dozens of hijabi students for not wearing an inner hijab or ciput as it is locally known. This action was met with strong protests from a number of parents, demanding the teacher to be disrespectfully fired.

Jakarta Globe - August 30, 2023

Jakarta – Disgraced taxman Rafael Alun Trisambodo attended the opening hearing of his corruption trial on Wednesday only to discover that his wife might soon join him as a co-defendant.

He stands accused of accepting bribes totaling Rp 16.6 billion ($1.1 million), which he allegedly used to purchase land, properties, jewelry, luxury vehicles, and high-end branded bags.

Jakarta Post Editorial - August 30, 2023

Jakarta – For what it's worth, the scathing attack against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's food estate program, from no less than the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), gives us a rare glimpse of what a democracy should look like.

Jakarta Globe - August 30, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia – the world's largest Muslim-majority country – reported that its Sharia-compliant finance assets had totaled hundreds of billions of American dollars in value.

The Strategist - August 30, 2023

Melissa Conley Tyler, Anders Hofstee and Kara Chesal – When Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong visited Dili last month, one of the projects she highlighted was the Timor-Leste South Submarine Cable.

Jakarta Post - August 30, 2023

Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – Resistance has been growing against a plan to erect a 100-meter-tall statue of Indonesia's founding father Sukarno in a new economic hub in West Java, as some observers have questioned the urgency and purpose of the costly project.

Asia Pacific Report - August 30, 2023

Yamin Kogoya – The Jakarta District Court heard the case of alleged bribery and gratification against suspended Papua governor Lukas Enembe on Monday with evidence from expert witnesses saying that an audit showed records to be "clean and accurate".

The hearing was convened to hear the testimony of three expert witnesses on the allegations against Governor Enembe.

August 29, 2023

Jakarta Globe - August 29, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Tuesday freedom of expression should not give someone a free pass to discriminate against others based on religion following multiple Quran-burning incidents in Europe.

Agence France-Presse - August 29, 2023

Jakarta – A school on Indonesia's main island has partially shaved the heads of more than a dozen girls, its headmaster said Monday, after they were accused of wearing their Islamic hijab headscarves incorrectly.

Tempo - August 29, 2023

Akhmad Riyadh, Antara, Jakarta – Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) head of media information, Ali Fikri, confirmed that his agency conducted a search at the Mayor's Office of Bima, West Nusa Tenggara.

Kompas.com - August 29, 2023

Nirmala Maulana Achmad, Jakarta – The government is being asked to set history straight on incidents of past gross human rights violations by writing an official national history book.

Jakarta Globe - August 29, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas told reporters on Tuesday that the government was still reviewing its plan to allow Indonesian Muslims to take the hajj pilgrimage only once in their lifetime.

Jakarta Globe - August 29, 2023

BeritaSatu, Jakarta – Three low-ranking soldiers, including a member of the elite presidential security unit or Paspampres, have been apprehended for allegedly kidnapping a cosmetic and drug salesman and causing the victim to die from "excessive torture" during their ransom demand.

The Diplomat - August 29, 2023

Aisyah Llewellyn – Two weeks ago, this column discussed the Indonesian Supreme Court's decision to slash the sentences of four convicted murderers, including two police officers, after the defendants appealed their guilty verdicts following the slaying of a young police brigadier.

Tempo - August 29, 2023

Antara, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo asked the Jakarta provincial government to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles or EV in a bid to reduce air pollution in the capital city.

Reuters - August 29, 2023

Jakarta – Indonesia's government has widened public access to a 7 million rupiah ($458.87) subsidy to buy an electric motorcycle after a lack of uptake due to limited eligibility, as it aims for long-term mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Tempo - August 29, 2023

Jakarta – Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin appealed to the public to use masks to prevent respiratory diseases caused by air pollution.

Mongabay - August 29, 2023

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – Indonesia's deal with industrialized countries for the latter to channel $20 billion in funding to help speed up the former's energy transition is hitting a snag due to captive coal-fired power plants.

Indonesia is among the world's biggest consumers of coal, the single largest energy source of planet-heating carbon dioxide.

Tabloid Jubi - August 29, 2023

Timika, Jubi – The families of the murder and mutilation victims in Mimika Regency expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision made by the Appellate Judges Panel of the Surabaya High Military Court III, which reduced the sentence for Maj. Inf. Helmanto Fransiskus Dakhi, the defendant, from life imprisonment to 15 years in jail.

The Diplomat - August 29, 2023

Sebastian Strangio – Myanmar's military government has ordered Timor-Leste's senior diplomat to leave the country in retaliation for a meeting that his government held with the opposition National Unity Government (NUG).