Dian Septiari and Agnes Anya, Jakarta – The government has asked Taiwanese authorities to explain allegations of forced labor involving Indonesian students enrolled in its New Southbound Policy (NSP) scholarship program.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
January 3, 2019
A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has condemned the use of children as anak ondel (under-aged buskers) dressed up as ondel-ondel (giant Betawi effigies).
After a huge controversy regarding the sawing off of a wooden cross grave marker in Yogyakarta last month, the neighboring city of Magelang saw another possibly religiously motivated desecration of graves, though the police don't seem to think it constituted a hate crime.
indy Silviana, Fanny Potkin, Jakarta – Lion Air has ended its search for the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from its Boeing 737 MAX jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, but Indonesian investigators said they plan to launch their own probe as soon as possible.
Jakarta – These days, it is almost unthinkable to leave home without Google Maps.
Jakarta's traffic-weary motorists rely on the application to find the best routes possible while drivers of ride-hailing services use it for the quickest way to get from point A to B.
January 2, 2019
Fachrul Sidiq, Jakarta – Jakarta's urban mobility is to get a significant facelift this year with the new, modern, railway-based public transportation MRT and light rapid transit (LRT) services ready to serve residents of the sprawling capital. However, will they defeat the city's notorious traffic?
Riska Rahman, Jakarta – The National Statistics Indonesia (BPS) on Wednesday announced that the whole-year inflation rate was 3.13 percent, lower than the 3.5 percent target set in the 2018 state budget.
The 2018 rate was also lower than 3.61 percent inflation in 2017, but higher than 3.02 percent inflation in 2016.
Basten Gokkon, Jakarta – The 2014 presidential election was the closest in Indonesia's democratic history, decided by a margin of just 6 percentage points, or 8.4 million votes.
Although there is currently something of an unofficial moratorium on executions, Indonesia still utilizes the death penalty, mostly for drug trafficking and premeditated murder convicts. While the use of capital punishment for those crimes is still debated, there have been many calls to have the state execute corruption convicts as the ultimate deterrent against graft.
Jakarta – The Indonesian economy is expected to face continued external challenges stemming from uncertainty in the global environment, as developed economies are expected to further tighten their monetary policy while tensions between the United States and China have yet to be resolved beyond the recent detente from the two countries.
Jakarta – Secondary landslides are impeding search and rescue efforts at a landslide that caused fatalities in Sukabumi, West Java, where 20 people are still missing after 66 were saved, including three with serious injuries.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police have taken over the West Papua National Committee headquarters in Timika, Mimika Baru district, Papua to use it as a joint military-police post.
Andita Rahma, Jakarta – The TNI-Polri (Indonesian Military-National Police) joint personnel were accused of holding hostage to an entourage of Nduga regional administration, Papua, in Yigi district. The accusation was stated by a spokesman for the National Liberation Army of West Papua/Free Papua Movement (TPNPB/OPM) Sebby Sambom.
Jakarta – A landslide that crashed on to a hilly village on Indonesia's main island of Java buried 30 houses and killed at least 15 people, officials say.
The landslide plunged down surrounding hills just before sunset on Monday in Sirnaresmi village in West Java's Sukabumi district.Rescuers carry the body of a landslide victim in Sirnaresmi, West Java.
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – The government has been fending off criticism questioning its recent deal with United States mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) to acquire majority shares in its subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) Grasberg copper and gold mine in Papua for US$3.85 billion since the deal was signed on Dec. 21.
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Indonesia is preparing for a presidential election in April that will see a rematch of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, who had competed for the country's top post in the previous election, but the race will not be the same.
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Flooding and landslides will remain the predominant type of disasters in Indonesia in 2019, a repeat of what happened in 2018 when thousands of natural disasters happened, a government disaster office has projected.
The last day of 2018 saw a fatal landslide in Sukabumi, West Java, which killed at least 15 as of the first day of 2019.
Jakarta (Reuters) – Indonesia posted the smallest fiscal deficit in six years in 2018 and less than initially projected, despite turbulence in its financial markets due to capital outflows, its finance minister said in a Facebook post.
Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) started implementing on Wednesday a regulation that requires it to handcuff detainees.
"We are improving the safeguards. The rule regarding handcuffs for detainees leaving their cells is to be implemented from today," KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah said on Wednesday.
In a major victory for the environment, Indonesia's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court verdict ordering PT National Sago Prima (NSP), a sago plantation company, to pay IDR 1 trillion (US$69 million) in fines for causing forest fires in Riau in 2015.
January 1, 2019
Agus Setyadi, Jakarta – New Year's Eve in the Acehnese provincial capital of Aceh was not celebrated this year as it was in other parts of Indonesia. City residents just passed through the city's streets and there was no gathering of people.
Jakarta – Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has said that the political parties who supported him in the 2017 gubernatorial election had the prerogative of choosing his new deputy governor.
Jakarta – Home Affairs Ministry (Kemendagri) director general for politics and public administration, Soedarmo, has stated that the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) is not registered with the ministry as an ormas (social or mass organisation).
Jakarta – Police officer chief Brig. Matheus was found dead on Monday at Mutiara Cemetery in Depok, West Java.
Depok Police spokesman Second Insp. I Made Budi said Matheus was a member of the Pancoran Mas Police and had been deployed with the National Police's Densus 88 antiterror squad.
Jakarta – Soldiers, police and residents fanned out across a damaged Indonesian village Tuesday, searching in the mud for possible victims of a landslide caused by torrential rain that killed at least nine people and left 34 others missing.
Jakarta – State-owned oil and gas holding company PT Pertamina would by the end of this year have established 123 one-price fuel stations – a government program to provide fuel to remote regions at prices similar to what are charged in Jakarta.
Ya'cob Billiocta – 212 Alumni Brotherhood Secretary General Bernard Abdul Jabbar believes that the Koran reading test for prospective presidential (capres) and vice presidential candidates (cawapres) proposed by the Aceh Proselytizing Association Council is not relevant in national elections.
AWPA has written to the Australian Foreign Minister concerning the security force operation in the Nduga region and also concerning the ongoing intimidation of KNPB activists.
Ruslan Sangadji, Palu – Two police officers were shot at while attempting to move the body of a beheaded person at the village of Salubanga in Sausu, Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi on Monday.
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – Yogyakarta Police have opened an investigation into a sexual assault case after an official at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), the school of both alleged victim and perpetrator, reported the case to the police against the victim's wishes.
December 31, 2018
Jakarta – West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Secretary General Ones Nesta Suhuniap has accused a joint task force of Mimika district police and Indonesian military (TNI) in Timika, Papua, of acting immorally and illegally.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Settlement and Housing Developers Association (Apersi) has set a conservative commitment target for subsidized houses next year, after taking into account the economic situation and existing government policy.
Jakarta – The Jakarta administration claimed that throughout 2018 it had distributed 3,070 worker cards to its residents, specifically those whose salaries are no more than 10 percent above the provincial minimum wage, which is Rp 3.6 million (US$236.76) per month.
Jakarta – In the lead up to New Years Eve this year, a number of regional governments issued appeals warning the public not to be excessive in celebrating the New Year or to do so without fireworks or holding parties.
Jakarta – Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto has claimed that the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), which is 20.5 percent, is higher than the global average GDP contribution from the sector.
A board member at the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) Supervisory Board, Syafri Adnan Baharuddin, has denied sexually harassing his former secretary, a woman who goes by the pseudonym Dina, after an accusation was made against him last week.
With Indonesia's 2019 presidential election fast approaching, both candidate pairs have yet to go directly head-to-head against each other in a debate.
Yet, as one might expect considering the strong influence religion has had over politics in the majority Muslim country in the past few years, they may be made to prove their devotion to Islam first.
Life may conspire to throw obstacles at us, but, in general, we Indonesians are an optimistic bunch – even if we're starting to lower our expectations about what the future might bring.
Theresia Sufa, Bogor, West Java – Indramayu has become among the few regencies to adopt environmental education curriculum in schools.
The adoption of the curriculum, which is currently focused on mangrove conservation and natural disaster mitigation, is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of mangrove ecosystems in coastal areas.
Jakarta – Personnel of the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Makassar, South Sulawesi, have for the umpteenth time raided several mini markets for openly selling condoms. The sweeping raids were conducted ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations, which will take place on Monday evening.
Jakarta – The city administration announced on Monday that the expanded odd-even traffic control policy is to remain in place.
Jakarta – Officials and religious leaders in Aceh have called on Muslims in the province not to celebrate the New Year for religious reasons.
December 30, 2018
Karina Tehusijarana, Jakarta – A number of religious, cultural and interfaith figures have formulated a document called the Jakarta Treatise in response to the rising tide of religious conservatism sweeping the country.
Jakarta – Banten Police have charged three people connected to Drajat Prawiranegara Hospital in Serang, Banten, for allegedly charging illegal levies for delivering the bodies of Sunda Strait tsunami victims to their families.
Danu Damarjati, Jakarta – The election campaign team of incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and running mate Ma'ruf Amin says that they support the proposed Koran reading test for presidential and vice presidential candidates.
The reason being that an Indonesian leader must be a person that understands the religion practiced by the majority of their people.
Muhamad Al Azhari, Jakarta – Chatib Basri, a former minister during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's era, to former South Sulawesi governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo were appointed to become members of the Office of Presidential Staff, also known as KSP.
Sheany, Jakarta – The family of an Indonesian man who was killed in the crash of Lion Air flight JT-610 sued Boeing this week, alleging that the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet was "unreasonably dangerous" due to its inaccurate sensors and that the US manufacturer failed to give proper instructions to pilots.
Tsarina Maharani, Jakarta – The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) says that there is a party which has a "stomach ache" over the invitation by the Aceh Proselytizing Association Council (Dewan Ikatan Dai Aceh) for presidential and vice presidential candidates to take part in a Koran reading test.
December 29, 2018
Since the shooting incident which took place in Nduga Regency in early December 2018, joint police and military forces have been carrying out a 'military operation' with the stated aim of evacuating victims and searching for the TPNPB (West Papua National Liberation Army), who have been accused of carrying out the shooting.
Rie Ishii, Yogyakarta – A woman trapped in a man's body. Reconciling this gender-bending reality from most cultural perspectives can be, at the very least, a small leap of faith. But in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, it can be a chasm almost impossible to cross. Yet some try.