Pontianak (Kalimantan) – The sweltering backwaters of Indonesian Borneo have become the unlikely ground zero for the global production and export of kratom, a tree leaf hailed by some as a miracle cure for everything from opioid addiction to anxiety.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
February 9, 2019
Jakarta – The Papua Police have apologized for wrapping a snake around a native Papuan they suspected of theft.
A video of the incident, which took place while the police were interrogating the suspect, has been circulating online.
February 8, 2019
Ryan Dwiky Anggriawan, Jakarta – The Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team (BPN) debate manager Dian Islamiati Fatwa claims that the team is not worried by the latest poll results placing Prabowo inferior to incumbent candidate Jokowi.
Jakarta – Indonesian authorities should release and drop treason charges against three Papuan activists for peaceful advocacy in the Papua mining town of Timika, Human Rights Watch said today. The Indonesian government is currently imprisoning at least nine people from Papua and the Moluccan Islands for exercising their rights to freedom of expression.
Riska Rahman, Jakarta – Research that calls into question claims that palm oil is environmentally damaging compared with other vegetable oils will boost the government's efforts to defend one of the country's major commodities from negative campaigning.
Jakarta – The Depok administration in West Java has opted to apply an eradication mosquito breeding site movement (Gertak PSN) in 11 subdistricts in the city in an attempt to eliminate places where dengue-causing mosquitoes breed.
Dedy Eryanto, Wellington – On Jan. 29, the global graft watchdog Transparency International (TI) released the 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Indonesia shows marginal improvement as it scores at 38, one point higher than the 2017 score at 37.
Jakarta – Former Jakarta governor Basuki "BTP" Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, has officially joined the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), ending speculations of whether the Chinese-Indonesian politician would ever return to politics after being convicted of blasphemy nearly two years ago.
Aleasha Bliss, Bekasi – Every day is Christmas for flies and trash-pickers alike at Bantar Gebang in Bekasi, West Java.
Aleasha Bliss, Jakarta – At the sweet young age of 14, the world is your oyster. Aspirations to become an actress, scientist or doctor are all achievable goals. Going to university or entering the workforce is not just a dream, it is a normal progression into adulthood for most people in the Western world.
But in Indonesia, it is a very different story.
Jakarta – In supporting the development of the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, the government urged education institutions to cooperate in improving the quality of Indonesia's human resources.
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Indonesia will hold its 12th general elections and first simultaneous legislative and presidential elections in April.
Mela Arnani – Every year February 9 is commemorated as National Press Day which, it is hoped, will be an impetus to improve press freedom in Indonesia.
Kate Walton, Jakarta – Government efforts to tackle sexual violence in Indonesia have triggered a backlash from conservative religious groups and others claiming the proposed law violates Muslim values, puts too much emphasis on women's rights and promotes sex outside marriage.
Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A joint team of police and immigration officers has rescued 252 Bangladeshi nationals who were discovered locked inside a shop house in Kampung Lalang, just off Jl. Gatot Subroto in Medan, North Sumatra.
Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – Indonesia welcomed 2019 with stable foreign exchange reserves, Bank Indonesia (BI) announced on Thursday, while economists said more favorable external conditions would pave the way for the country to build up reserves this year.
Yusuf Manurung, Inge Klara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) recorded children mostly became victims to cases involving online prostitution and exploitation in 2018 with a total of 264 cases including child trafficking.
Kharishar Kahfi and Bambang Muryanto, Jakarta and Yogyakarta – The police have proceeded to a fully fledged criminal investigation of the reported assault on two Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators who were assigned to tail several Papuan officials at a Jakarta hotel, the antigraft body says.
Ian Morse, Makassar – In the Indonesian city of Makassar, where the rainy season often brings floods, Hasriani didn't worry when a day-long downpour last month saw water rise to her knees by the time she had picked up her children from school for afternoon prayers.
In early January, Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati inaugurated the new Tawiri Ambon naval base near Ambon Bay with direct access to the Banda Sea.
The base will support the navy's major warships and be the home port of the new Third Armada's naval combat task force.
Two Indonesian students were allegedly verbally harassed and physically assaulted in the Australian capital of Canberra yesterday evening, with sources close to the matter saying the attack could be a possible hate crime.
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – Purwotomo 74 public elementary school in Surakarta, Central Java, expelled 14 students identified as positive for HIV/AIDS amid protests from parents of other students.
Jakarta – Statistics Indonesia has said an increase in social assistance from the government for low income families last year helped boost people's purchasing power, the main aspect in gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
February 7, 2019
Rik Glauert – Conservative Muslim lawmakers in Indonesia are delaying a bill to protect against sexual violence.
Lawmakers from Islamic parties claimed the bill was 'too liberal' for Indonesia. They said it was 'pro-adultery' and 'pro-LGBT', according to the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) extended its policing of the country's internet to popular live chat apps over the last year, implementing filters for certain "negative content" ranging from the depictions of pornography to more innocuous items like tattoos.
Press freedom advocates are raising the issue of political interference in Timor-Leste's public television network after the unceremonious removal of the network's president.
Eko Widianto, Jakarta – University of Brawijaya political science expert Andhika Muttaqin predicts around 27,000 University of Brawijaya Malang students may potentially end up being non-voters or Golput in the upcoming general and presidential election because of time limitations.
Marchio Irfan Gorbiano and Riza Roidilla Mufti, Jakarta – After Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced 5.17 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2018 on Wednesday, the government vowed to continue efforts to boost exports amid global uncertainty triggered by trade tensions between the United States and China.
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – The government has issued a regulation over gas networks (Jargas) for households to reduce the consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributed through canisters, which still meet more than half of the national demand.
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – House of Representatives lawmakers have called on state-owned energy holding company Pertamina to take firm action against theft in its oil and gas operation as revealed in reports they have received.
Rizieq Shihab, the leader of Indonesia's most infamous hardliner organization, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), played a pivotal role in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial race but has had little impact on the 2019 presidential campaign thus far, his influence greatly limited by the fact that he remains in (largely self-imposed) exile in Saudi Arabia.
Suherdjoko, Semarang – The Semarang Corruption Court has sentenced suspended Purbalingga regent Tasdi to seven years' imprisonment and Rp 300 million (US$21,451) in fines for accepting kickbacks and gratuities while serving his post. The sentence was lighter than the eight years sought by the prosecution.
Jakarta – The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) says that opposition the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) has become a "hot potato" which is easy to manipulate in the lead up to the 2019 presidential election (pilpres).
Over the past week, Muslims all over the world have been pressuring Nike to redesign the logo on the soles of their Nike Air Max shoes because it allegedly resembles the Arabic script for "Allah" (God).
As the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world, it was only a matter of time before Indonesian authorities looked into the issue seriously as well.
Rachmadea Aisyah, Jakarta – The government will work together with its Australian counterpart to address employment and labor force issues, as Indonesia's demographics could pose challenges for its economy in the long run if not well managed.
Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – Robert Z. Lawrence, a professor of international trade and investment at Harvard University, once joked during an international seminar in Jakarta that being an economist tasked with forecasting Indonesia's economic growth was probably "the easiest job in the world".
Jakarta – Rights watchdog Imparsial has urged the government to continue reforming the Indonesian Military (TNI), including imposing a permanent return to the barracks, amid a plan to allow senior officers to take up posts in various state institutions.
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – The Surakarta Resort Police questioned on Thursday Slamet Ma'arif, the chairman of an organization calling itself 212 Rally Alumni after, over allegations that he had violated the Election Law for campaigning outside the designated campaign period in Surakarta, Central Java, on Jan. 13.
Devina Halim, Jakarta – National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas HAM) chairperson Azriana Manalu has revealed that the government has discarded as many as 100 articles from the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS). Komnas Perempuan is one of the initiators of the RUU PKS.
Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Jakarta – Imparsial Director Al Araf suggests the National Armed Forces (TNI) form a special cyber defense division as a means to anticipate future threats and reduce the ample amount of 'rankless' military generals with no official structural positions within the institution.
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – Securing funding for environmentally friendly projects has not been a straightforward process for Indonesian companies and organizations, many of which are unaware that certain standards need to be fulfilled before applying for funding for green energy projects at international and multilateral organizations.
Jakarta – The government plans to establish an institution that will be responsible for synchronizing contradictory and overlapping rules in regulations issued by different institutions, which have been blamed for sluggish investment growth.
February 6, 2019
Jakarta (Antara) – The Communications and Informatics Ministry (Kominfo) identified an average of 4-6 daily hoax contents across the internet and social media platforms in January with a total of 175 contents from social to political issues.
Kominfo on Tuesday said that the largest amount of contents they detected was on January 22, 2019, with 11 contents in a single day.
Devina Halim, Jakarta – The Pro-Women's National Legislation Program Network (JKP3) is calling on the House of Representatives (DPR) and the government to straighten out fake news or hoaxes about the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS). One of the hoaxes circulating says that the RUU PKS will create a permissive culture of adultery and free sex.
Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called on residents to allow the construction of an oil refinery in Tuban regency, East Java, by state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina and Russian oil company Rosneft.
Jokowi asked residents to reconsider their objection to the project and take into account its positive impact on residents living close to the project site.
Jakarta – The Finance Ministry has issued a new regulation on a new tax incentive that reduces interest income taxes for exporters that place their foreign exchange earnings as fixed deposits in Indonesia.
Shotaro Tani, Jakarta – Indonesia's economy last year grew at its fastest pace since President Joko Widodo took office, but failed to hit the government's growth target.
Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), one of Indonesia's most prestigious universities, says it has put to rest a highly publicized rape allegation with a "peaceful" resolution between the alleged perpetrator and victim, following months of criticism that the institution's officials had been slow to act and deliver justice to the victim.
Usman Hadi, Yogyakarta – Advocates and the legal team supporting a Gajah Mada University (UGM) student who was the victim of rape during a student community placement program (KKN) on Seram Island have objected to the use of the term "peaceful resolution" in an agreement reached between the perpetrator and the victim facilitated by the UGM university management.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) called for the government to incentivize enterprises which will help bolster the number of collective labor agreement (CLA). Apindo revealed that only 30 percent of companies have CLAs.