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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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January 8, 2021

Agence France-Presse - January 8, 2021

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Three Indonesian badminton players and an executive from a sports equipment company have been banned for life for match-fixing, the Badminton World Federation said on Friday.

Another five Indonesian players were suspended for between six and 12 years and fined up to $12,000 each, the BWF said in a statement.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 8, 2021

Anthony Galloway – Phil Britten knew the day was coming when the alleged mastermind behind the Bali bombings would walk free.

Mr Britten, who was badly burnt across 40 per cent of his body and lost seven of his Kingsley Football Club mates in the blast, now fears firebrand Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir will radicalise others to follow in his footsteps.

Jakarta Post - January 8, 2021

Jakarta – The Alumni Menteng 64 (AM64), a group of Kolese Kanisius Catholic high school alumni, publicly declared its support for the government's mass vaccination program in Jakarta on Friday.

The group said it was ready to help the government in reaching out to the public and raising public awareness of the importance of taking part in the vaccination drive.

Nikkei Asia - January 8, 2021

Shotaro Tani, Jakarta – Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's top Islamic body, has deemed China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines permissible under Islamic law, giving a boost to the government as it prepares to start a mass vaccination program next week.

Jakarta Globe - January 8, 2021

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Fana Suparman, Jakarta – Terrorist convict Abu Bakar Baasyir was freed from the Gunung Sindur Penitentiary in Bogor, West Java; on Friday morning, without a single sympathizer in sight.

The radical Muslim cleric had already completed his 15-year sentence with a reduction of 55 months.

Jakarta Post - January 8, 2021

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – Publicly listed renewables developer PT Terregra Asia Energy has struck an agreement with state-owned construction firm PT Waskita Karya, with the latter set to build mega projects comprising seven hydro power plants worth Rp 12.5 trillion (US$897.74 million) on Sumatra Island.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 8, 2021

Nava Nuraniyah and Jordan Newton – Today, Indonesian firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir will walk free from prison. The 82-year-old, who earned infamy in Australia for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, has served as a bellwether for the Indonesian extremist community: never far from centre frame of its terrifying successes or its abject failures.

Coconuts Jakarta - January 8, 2021

An Indonesian official who was fired by the president after she became a national laughing stock may get her job back after a court ruled that her termination was unlawful.

Tempo - January 8, 2021

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – The COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee Chairman, Airlangga Hartarto, asserted that the COVID-19 vaccine was mandatory under applicable laws. The vaccination in the time of a pandemic is stipulated in Law No. 4/1984 on infectious disease outbreak.

Jakarta Post - January 8, 2021

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves reached its second-highest annual record in December 2020, rising to US$135.9 billion, driven by tax collection and the government's foreign borrowing, Bank Indonesia (BI) announced on Friday.

New Mandala - January 8, 2021

Andi Cipta Asmawaty – The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating gender inequality in global supply chains. Because COVID-19 has hit low-paid manufacturing sectors where women work in large proportions, these consequences are not gender-neutral. The ILO reports, for example, that 2 out of 5 workers in the Asia-Pacific garment industry have not returned to work after factory closures.

Reuters - January 8, 2021

Agustinus Beo Da Costa, Jakarta – Indonesia has released from prison Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings and among the most notorious extremists in the Muslim-majority country.

Bashir was picked up by his family and was driving to his home in central Java, Detik.com reported.

Jakarta Globe - January 8, 2021

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The daily count of coronavirus cases in Indonesia passed the 10,000 mark on Friday, setting a new record for the highest number of cases for the third day in a row, Health Ministry figures show.

It's for the first time that the daily number of coronavirus has hit five digits in a single day.

World Socialist Website - January 8, 2021

Robert Campion – The spread of COVID-19 continues to accelerate out of control in South East Asia's largest country and economy.

Tempo - January 8, 2021

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) on Friday officially requested President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to appoint a National Police Chief (Kapolri) candidate with a serious commitment to improving the institution, mainly the anti-corruption enforcement.

January 7, 2021

Kompas.com - January 7, 2021

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – Researcher Zaenur Rohman from the Gajah Mada University's (UGM) Anti-Corruption Study Centre says that the trend by the Supreme Court of cutting sentences at the judicial review level could eliminate the deterrent effect for corruption convicts.

New Mandala - January 7, 2021

Afifur Rochman Sya'rani – The Indonesian government has officially banned the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI) through a joint ministerial decree (SKB) on 30 December 2020. It lists six reasons for the ban.

Tempo - January 7, 2021

Kukuh S.Wibowo, Jakarta – Surabaya acting-mayor, Whisnu Sakti Buana, on late Wednesday, Jan. 6, questioned the central government's decision to include Surabaya in the upcoming social restriction or PSBB. He argued that the region has seen a dropping number of Covid-19 cases prior to Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Jakarta Globe - January 7, 2021

Dwi Argo Santosa, Lona Olavia, Jakarta – The government has decided to impose stricter restrictions in Java and Bali starting on Jan. 11 to Jan. 25, following the surge in new Covid-19 cases. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said in a statement on Wednesday.

Asia Pacific Report - January 7, 2021

[Special report by Victor Mambor in Jayapura – first of a three-part investigation into the Pastor Yeremia Zanambani assassination.]

CNN Indonesia - January 7, 2021

Jakarta – The non-government organisation (NGO) Green Papua claims that 654,561 Papuans have signed a petition opposing the extension of Special Autonomy (Otsus) for Papua.

Green Papua Chairperson Yohanes Giyai said that the petition is evidence that the Papuan people reject the Indonesian government's plan to extend Papuan Special Autonomy which will expire this year.

Coconuts Jakarta - January 7, 2021

The once-popular popularity-boosting method of blusukan may be outdated in Indonesia with the ridicule of a recent stunt involving newly-appointed Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini, who is popularly known as Risma.

Benar News - January 7, 2021

Ronna Nirmala and Imran Vittachi, Jakarta and Washington – Separatist rebels set fire to an airplane operated by an American-Christian humanitarian organization and shot a helicopter contracted by a U.S.-Indonesian mining company in separate attacks in Indonesia's Papua province, security officials said Thursday.

Jakarta Post - January 7, 2021

Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo have topped the list of potential candidates for the 2024 presidential race, according to two recent electability surveys.

In a survey published by Vox Populi Research Center on Tuesday, Prabowo ranked first with an electability rating of 18.9 percent.

Tempo - January 7, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force noted that during the Christmas and New Year holidays from December 24 to January 3, 1.1 million people were spotted in tourist destinations. This is more than 65 percent higher compared to the previous 11 days.

Al Jazeera - January 7, 2021

Aisyah Llewellyn, North Sumatra, Indonesia – Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the al-Qaeda-affiliated group that masterminded the Bali bombings in 2002, has found a new source of income – a network of charity donation boxes stationed across Indonesia that were only discovered after one of the group's leaders was arrested along with 23 other members late last year.

Coconuts Jakarta - January 7, 2021

Amid some confusion regarding new COVID-19 restrictions in Indonesia, we now have some sense of clarity thanks to a new acronym.

January 6, 2021

Kompas.com - January 6, 2021

Haryanti Puspa Sari, Jakarta – The results of a survey conducted by the Vox Populi Research Center on the electability of political parties at the start of 2021 has found that the electability of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) have experienced a sharp decline.

Tempo - January 6, 2021

Lani Diana Wijaya, Jakarta – University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono on Tuesday urged the central government to act upon the declining condition of Indonesia's Covid-19 pandemic and quipped on President Jokowi's limited meeting sessions that focus more on the vaccine."People that want to explain about the worsening situation of the pandemic lose to [discussions about] vac

Tempo - January 6, 2021

Jakarta – The development of tourism in the Komodo National Park threatens to sideline local people. The original habitat of the giant lizards is also threatened with destruction.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2021

Jakarta – The National Police's Densus 88 antiterror squad shot dead two suspected terrorists resisting arrest in Biringkanaya district, Makassar, South Sulawesi on Wednesday morning.

The arrest also involved personnel from the Makassar Police and South Sulawesi Police bomb squad.

Coconuts Bali - January 6, 2021

Bali Governor Wayan Koster has become the subject of controversy today after he reportedly claimed that hospitals in the province are exaggerating COVID-19 deaths.

Jakarta Globe - January 6, 2021

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesia recorded 8,854 confirmed cases of coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day rise since the outbreak started, to bring the country's total to 788,402.

The previous record for the highest number of coronavirus cases in a day was 8,369 reported on Dec. 3.

Agence France-Presse - January 6, 2021

Jakarta – Two militants linked to a 2019 church blast in the Philippines have been shot dead by police, authorities said Wednesday, as officers arrested scores of pro-Islamic State radicals.

Kompas.com - January 6, 2021

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – The Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) recorded 241 cases of agrarian conflicts in Indonesia throughout 2020.

KPA Secretary General Dewi Kartika believes that the large number of conflicts is an anomaly because it occurred in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in an economic recession and restrictions on people's movements.

Tempo - January 6, 2021

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – The Indonesian National Police Headquarters (Mabes Polri) issued a firm warning against soybean importers that has contributed to the recent scarcity of tofu and tempe. Police also threatened to process those meddling with prices and hoarders.

Coconuts Jakarta - January 6, 2021

The central government is applying tighter social restrictions in high-risk COVID-19 regions, which include Jakarta and other cities and regencies throughout Java and Bali, in order to help minimize the spread of the viral disease.

Jakarta Globe - January 6, 2021

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Building resilient national health security and strengthening ties for economic recovery are among Indonesia's five diplomatic priorities in 2021, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2021

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) has temporarily frozen bank accounts belonging to the recently banned Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and its affiliated groups on suspicion of money laundering.

Tempo - January 6, 2021

Friski Riana, Jakarta – Griffith University epidemiologist Dicky Budiman on Wednesday said that the shrinking availability of ICU rooms and isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients is evidence that the pandemic has gone beyond the control of those responsible to mitigate the pandemic.

Reuters - January 6, 2021

Colin Packham, Canberra, Australia – The Indonesian government must ensure a radical cleric and suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings does not incite more violence when he is released from jail this week, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said on Tuesday.

January 5, 2021

Bloomberg - January 5, 2021

Yoolim Lee – Indonesia's ride-hailing and payments giant Gojek is in advanced discussions about merging with local e-commerce pioneer PT Tokopedia, ahead of a planned initial public offering of the combined entity, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Jakarta Post - January 5, 2021

Jakarta – The government's desperate appeal for would-be holidaymakers to stay put for the recent Christmas and New Year break looks to have paid off, with the Transportation Ministry reporting receding mobility amid fears of another spike in COVID-19 cases.

New Mandala - January 5, 2021

Muhammad Beni Saputra – In December, Indonesia completed simultaneous elections (Pilkada) in 9 provinces, 224 regencies and 37 cities. Prior to the elections, however, environmental NGOs and activists warned that the fiesta of democracy could accelerate the rate of environmental degradation in the country.

Jakarta Globe - January 5, 2021

Jakarta – The Indonesian Police on Tuesday told supporters of terror convict Abu Bakar Baasyir not to crowd his home or public places when the elderly cleric returns to his hometown in Central Java later this week.

Baasyir is set to be released from jail on Friday when he completes his 15 years' imprisonment for multiple counts of terrorism.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 5, 2021

Anthony Galloway and Stanley Widianto – Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says the release of the alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings, Abu Bakar Bashir, will be deeply distressing to the families and friends of Australians killed in the terrorist attacks.

Jakarta Globe - January 5, 2021

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The Indonesian Navy is still trying to determine which country had launched the underwater drone or sea glider found in Selayar Island, South Sulawesi.

Kompas.com - January 5, 2021

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Media and Campaign Manager Nurina Savitri has highlighted Government Regulation Number 70/2020 which was recently signed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The regulation contains the procedures for implementing chemical castration for perpetrators of sexual violence against children.

Jakarta Post - January 5, 2021

Jakarta – Terror convict and firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who was closely linked to the 2002 Bali bombings, is expected to walk free this week after serving the bulk of his original 15-year prison sentence.

Bloomberg News - January 5, 2021

Harry Suhartono – A shorter holiday and last-minute restrictions did little to keep Indonesians from traveling over the year-end, a sign of revival in consumer spending while posing a risk that the coronavirus outbreak could worsen.