Jakarta – The United Development Party (PPP) is hoping to overcome internal friction as the 2019 presidential and legislative elections draw closer.
Indonesia & East Timor Digest
December 26, 2017
Wataru Suzuki, Jakarta – "The Future is Here Today." This slogan is splashed across billboards all over Jakarta, advertising a massive satellite city project on the outskirts of the capital. Open a newspaper or turn on the TV, and you are bound to encounter the same five words.
Adi Warsidi (Contributor), Banda Aceh – Dozens of journalists in Banda Aceh from numerous organizations and media held a prayer on Monday, December 25, to commemorate fellow journalists who lost their lives in the Aceh tsunami that took place 13 years ago.
Bec Strating – Timor-Leste ends 2017 with great uncertainty over the future of the Greater Sunrise gas field, over the stability of its government and over its ambitions to become a member of ASEAN.
Jakarta – The collaboration between the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and two other opposition parties – the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Gerindra Party – for next year's regional elections is likely to continue until the 2019 presidential and legislative elections, the former's president, Sohibul Iman, said.
Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta – Indonesia's 2018 Simultaneous Regional Election will have several active generals from the National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police who will test their chances as governors. This phenomenon is the first time it has ever happened in the five year cycle election.
Ken Ward – Indonesia's President Joko Widodo can look to next year in a far more relaxed way than he faced 2017. At the end of 2016, radical Islamic groups, notably the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), staged huge demonstrations in protest at the blasphemy allegedly committed by the governor of Jakarta, Basuki "Ahok" Purnama, an ethnic Chinese.
Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta – Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy secretary-general Amirsyah Tambunan condemned politicization of religion practiced by certain groups. "[Politicization of religion] is a blasphemy," he told Tempo on Tuesday, December 26.
December 25, 2017
Jakarta – The General Elections Commission (KPU) has announced that the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) passed on Sunday the administrative assessment for participating in the 2019 general elections.
Jakarta – The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) have issued a joint Christmas message that calls for the strengthening of national unity according to Pancasila, the state ideology.
Jakarta Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo said that the country's sense of unity was currently at peril.
Kharishar Kahfi and Dian Septiari, Jakarta – The festive season has, once again, passed safely as Christians celebrated Christmas this year without any major disturbances or incidents.
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has responded to the issue of a Makassar-based bakery's refusal to write a Christmas greeting on top of a cake a customer had ordered, calling it a part of freedom of expression.
Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, Jakarta – Members of GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia held their Christmas services in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta for the sixth consecutive year on Monday, as they were again denied permits by their local administrations to hold services in their own church buildings.
Safrin La Batu, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo delivered on Monday his Christmas message to all Indonesian Christians, emphasizing that the country's religious diversity was to be embraced as a blessing.
December 24, 2017
Abu Hanifah, Jakarta – Corruption remains a serious problem in Indonesia with scores of senior officials and parliament members arrested in the past year by the nation's anti-graft commission (KPK) as the government steps up its measures to tackle the issue.
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – A women's rights group has said that the number of cases of violence against women and children in Yogyakarta remains alarming.
The Rifka Annisa Women's Crisis Center recorded at least 287 cases of violence against women and children in Yogyakarta throughout 2017.
Jakarta – The annual debate over whether Muslims can say "Merry Christmas" to their Christian fellows took a new turn on Sunday after a Makassar-based bakery refused a customer's request to write "Selamat hari Natal keluargaku" (Merry Christmas, my family) on top of a cake she had ordered.
December 23, 2017
Satria Dewi Anjaswari, Jakarta – A politician Fadli Zon views that former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok should not yet be granted a Christmas remission. The House of Representatives acting speaker questions the legal standing of the clemency granting.
"I think [Ahok] doesn't deserve it yet. What is the legal basis[?]" he told Tempo on Friday, December 22.
Anton Hermansyah, Denpasar – Indonesia is expected to record year-on-year (yoy) economic growth of 5.1 percent this year amid increasing exports and investment, Bank Indonesia (BI) has announced.
Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) – Local administrations across Indonesia have been instructed to tighten their security measures and put fire departments on standby, ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said heightened security measures have been implemented across the country starting from Friday (Dec 22) till Jan 3.
Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Association for Election and Democracy (Perludem) head Titi Anggraini stated that sectarian politics and identity politics that make use of tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA) will still go strong in 2018 Regional Election.
December 22, 2017
Josie Wong, Hong Kong – An Indonesian maid who won a civil case this week against her former Hong Kong employer for shocking physical abuse said Friday she's happy with the result but urged the city to do more to help foreign maids.
Balawyn Jones – On December 26, 2004, a tsunami struck Aceh Province in Indonesia, resulting in unprecedented destruction and loss of life.
In the aftermath of the tsunami, gender relations in Aceh have fundamentally changed. Thirteen years since the Indian Ocean tsunami, the position of women in Acehnese society has arguably worsened.
Viriya P. Singgih, Jakarta – State electricity firm PLN has said its electricity sales have only grown 3.62 percent annually from January to November, raising further concerns over excess capacity that could choke the company with multi-billion US dollar costs.
Indonesian Islamist hardliners the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) continue to have us scratching our heads, announcing a blanket boycott of social media to protest their Facebook account being blocked on Tuesday, a move that would seemingly hurt no one but themselves.
Sapri Maulana, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has provided compensation for the victims of terrorism for the first time. The beneficiaries are the victims of a bomb attack on a church in Samarinda City on November 13, 2016.
Seven victims received a total of Rp237,871,152 that was handed over by the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) that represented the government.
In Indonesia, we are told never to underestimate the power of "emak-emak", referring to mothers, or more generally any strong-willed middle-aged ladies, who just don't give a shit and won't put up with any shit either.
December 21, 2017
John Mcbeth – What China Wants These Days, It Usually Gets. But Not, It Seems, In Indonesia And Not When It Involves Buying Land For Infrastructure Ventures, Particularly When Money Fails To Talk.
Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Jakarta – An Indonesian administrative court on Thursday (Dec 21) rejected a petition by a major Indonesian pulp and paper company that challenged a government decision to void the firm's 10-year business plan.
John McBeth, Jakarta – It took Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, the new Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander, just 12 days to impose his authority by reversing his predecessor Gen Gatot Nurmantyo's mischief-making reshuffle of more than 80 military officers in the final days before he was compelled to step down.
Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta – Papua Military Command Area chief Col. Inf. Muhamad Aidi has denied the rumor that the National Armed Forces (TNI) has combed and shot civilians in Mugi District, Nduga Regency, Papua. "The reports are not true whatsoever," he told Tempo today.
Jakarta – Indonesia's oldest existing political party, Golkar, concluded its extraordinary congress on Wednesday by officially inaugurating Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto as its chairman until 2019.
Airlangga replaced Setya Novanto, a seasoned party stalwart who is currently standing trial as part of the controversial e-ID procurement corruption case.
Michael Kimmelman, Jakarta – Rasdiono remembers when the sea was a good distance from his doorstep, down a hill. Back then he opened the cramped, gaily painted bayside shack he named the Blessed Bodega, where he and his family sell catfish heads, spiced eggs and fried chicken.
West Papuan students have demonstrated to reject Indonesia's occupation and were joined by an unprecedented wave of solidarity from people across Indonesia, reports the Free West Papua Campaign.
Sally Round – Timor Leste could face another election next year after the new government suffered a defeat in parliament on Tuesday.
Among the factors at play, according to observers, are the old rivalries between leaders of the resistance to the 24-year Indonesian occupation which ended in 1999.
While modern laws exist in Indonesia, cultural traditions still play a huge part in the lives of people in many parts of the country, including for punishing immorality.
Moses Ompusunggu, Jakarta – The government has only acknowledged Indonesia's indigenous cultural diversity through "symbolic" activities while at the same, it has failed to fully protect indigenous communities across the country, a rights advocate said on Wednesday.
Jewel Topsfield and Karuni Rompies – Australia and Indonesia have conceded they will fail to pull off a free-trade deal this year despite repeated commitments from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Joko Widodo and other ministers.
Jakarta – Under the leadership of Airlangga Hartarto, the Golkar Party will withdraw its support for the controversial inquiry initiated by the House of Representatives to probe the work of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Jakarta – Indonesian police appealed on Thursday for tolerance and respect for other people's religious celebrations after an Islamist group threatened to raid businesses to check for Muslims being forced to wear Santa Claus hats or other Christmas garb.
Katharina R. Lestari – Seven transgender women were arrested and temporarily detained by Shariah police in Indonesia's Banda Aceh for having "bad morals" after being accused by Muslim vigilantes of holding a beauty contest at a hotel.
The women, however, denied the accusation and said they were returning home from a birthday party.
Sheany, Jakarta – Increasing intolerance and politicization of religion in Indonesia can be attributed to the practice of hate spin, which experts agree is a widespread phenomenon threatening democracy in the world's largest Muslim-majority country, especially ahead of election years.
December 20, 2017
Jeffrey Hutton, Jakarta, Indonesia – Steven Handoko admits it wasn't his most dignified moment. Naked as the day he was born, the bookish 25-year-old had been invited on stage by one of the strippers hired for a party at the Atlantis Gym.
It looks like Indonesia's most controversial Islamist hardliner group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) will be pretty busy for the foreseeable future.
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – New Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto has revoked the rotations of 16 of 85 high-ranking officers ordered by former commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo earlier this month.
Phelim Kine – On Monday, he called for Indonesia's beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population to be, "nurtured, not shunned."
Sydney (Media Alliance/Pacific Media Watch) – Two journalists from Timor-Leste will benefit from the Balibo Five-Roger East Fellowship in 2018, an initiative of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA.
Papua/Jakarta - The Coalition for Justice, Law and Human Rights in the Central Highlands of Papua, Civil Liberty Defenders and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) request that the Indonesian security forces, militrary and police do not act indiscriminately in the Mugi district of the Nduga regency, Papua.
Wisnu Prasetya Utomo – Almost two decades after the authoritarian regime in Indonesia ended, democratisation in the media has yet to reach an ideal situation. Instead, oligarchy in the media industry is strengthening and ownership has been more concentrated on fewer players.
Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno has declared that the administration will take a hard stance in its fight against drug trafficking in the capital, including a "shoot to kill" policy for drug dealers that resist arrest.