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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 19, 2020

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Legislative watchdog Indonesian Parliament Watch (Formappi) has criticized the country's two biggest political parties, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gerindra Party, for proposing two bills that it considered to be largely self-serving in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – According to a copy obtained by The Jakarta Post, Jokowi signed Law No. 3/2020 on June 10, a month after the House of Representatives (DPR) approved the bill on May 12. Presidential expert staff member Dini Shanti Purwono has confirmed the President's signing.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Jakarta – Vendors at Kebayoran Lama Market in South Jakarta have tested positive for COVID-19 following swab testing conducted by the Jakarta administration, prompting authorities to close the market to prevent the disease's transmission.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo led an opening ceremony by video conference on Thursday for Infectious and Emerging Diseases Isolation and Quarantine Facility in Lamongan regency, East Java.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – Airlines have yet to approve most passengers' requests for cash refunds of cancelled international flights following the massive number of cancellations amid the pandemic, the Indonesian Travel Agent Association (Astindo) has stated.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Riska Rahman, Jakarta – The Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry has suspended the licensing of new savings and loan cooperatives for three months following an apparent liquidity bind in cooperative KSP Indosurya Cipta.

CNN Indonesia - June 19, 2020

Jakarta – Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Chairperson Abdul Manan says that the government is not ready yet to accept corrections from its citizens after it submitted an appeal against a court ruling ordering the government to apologise for blocking internet access in Papua in 2019.

Vice - June 19, 2020

Ikhwan Hastanto – On Tuesday, a crowd of scores of people stopped an ambulance carrying the body of a recently deceased COVID-19 patient in Pamekasan Regency, Madura, East Java.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 19, 2020

James Massola – Most south-east Asian countries have successfully flattened their coronavirus infection rates, but Indonesia is losing its battle with COVID-19.

Tempo - June 19, 2020

Jakarta – The Government Regulation on the Public Housing Savings Program has sparked controversy. It adds to the burdens of workers and businesses.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – Oil palm smallholders have suffered losses during the ongoing health crisis from the falling price of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) and pandemic-related restrictions, a farmers' union has said.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Surabaya, East Java, has continued to spike after large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were lifted, leading to many recommending that a partial lockdown be reimposed.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Galih Gumelar, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has once again hit a wall in its fight against corruption after the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of the former head of state-run electricity company PLN, Sofyan Basir, the latest graft suspect to evade conviction.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Mardika Parama, Jakarta – Hotels in Indonesia are likely to remain closed throughout June, with operations to resume in July at the earliest, a hotelier association has said, citing concerns about low demand amid consumer fears over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi found himself in hot water during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday, as lawmakers on Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs criticized him for not consulting with the House before deciding to cancel the 2020 haj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns.

Jakarta Post - June 19, 2020

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has stated he will not intervene in the legal proceedings regarding the acid attack against Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, with a presidential aide saying the country's leader hoped the judges would hand down a fair verdict in the case.

June 18, 2020

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – The country's sea freight industry has continued to see depressed demand as a result of the pandemic and a global oil price slump, the Indonesian National Shipowners Association (INSA) has said.

Tempo - June 18, 2020

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – Deputy Minister of Finance Suahasil Nazara said that Indonesia was still paying debts inherited from the 1997-1998 financial crisis. At that time, the country's debt to the gross domestic product (GDP) ratio reached 100 percent.

Tempo - June 18, 2020

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) on Wednesday demanded the Law and Human Rights Ministry annul the remission of graft inmate Muhammad Nazaruddin as the anti-graft watchdog argues Nazaruddin had never obtained the status as a justice collaborator (JC).

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has urged Jakarta residents to refrain from visiting Puncak, a tourist area in Ciawi in Bogor regency, West Java, following reports that the area was packed with tourists over the weekend.

Local officials previously reported that the road in Puncak was full of vehicles coming from Jakarta on Saturday and Sunday.

Jakarta Globe - June 18, 2020

Tara Marchelin, Jakarta – Indonesian children are an easy target market for the tobacco industry, said Lenny Rosalin, the deputy head for child growth and development affairs at the Women Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry.

According to data from the Health Ministry, 0.7 percent of 79.5 million children in Indonesia are active smokers.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Sausan Atika, Jakarta – Working daily in a place deemed to pose a high risk of COVID-19 contagion, some traditional wet market vendors have taken precautions related to the viral outbreak, as they worry about their health as much as they do their financial struggles.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The Pagedangan Police in Tangerang regency, Banten, named eight people suspects on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the rape of a now-deceased 16-year-old girl in April.

"The police managed to arrest six of the eight suspects. We are still pursuing the other two," Pagedangan Police chief Adj. Comr. Efri said on Wednesday.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Dian Septiari – As Indonesia now leads the tally of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Southeast Asia, it appears to be showing an interest in following steps taken by its neighboring countries to ease cross-border travel restrictions.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Alya Nurbaiti, Jakarta – Indonesia has recorded its biggest surge of COVID-19 cases with 1,331 new confirmed cases on Thursday, a day after the country officially surpassed Singapore with the highest number of infections in the Southeast Asia region.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – State-owned electricity company PLN says it has yet to receive compensation worth billions of dollars from the government for offering power to customers below market prices.

The Guardian - June 18, 2020

Febriana Firdaus – Seven Papuan activists have been found guilty of treason and sentenced to up to 11 months in prison for their involvement in anti-racism rallies in West Papua last year, a verdict that has been condemned by human rights groups.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – Four student activists from the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) in Papua were detained by the police for questioning on Monday while holding an open forum in the run-up to the verdicts in the trials of seven Papuans accused of treason.

Antara News - June 18, 2020

Hendrina DK, Rahmad Nasution, Jayapura, Papua – Some 816 police and military personnel are on standby in areas around Jayapura, Papua, as a precautionary measure against likely local protests over Balikpapan District Court's guilty verdicts against seven Papuan youths accused of treason.

Kompas.com - June 18, 2020

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Special Presidential Staff for Legal Affairs, Dini Purwono insists that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo commitment to seeking justice over the 2017 acid attack against senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan has not changed.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Norman Harsono, Jakarta – PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE) might delay the completion of the Rp 22 trillion (US$1.5 billion) Batang Toru hydropower plant (PLTA) in North Sumatra because of manpower issues.

Tempo - June 18, 2020

Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, visited the Indonesia-Timor Leste cross-country border post (PLBN) in Motaain, East Nusa Tenggara, Thursday, June 18. Mahfud came with Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian.

The Guardian - June 18, 2020

Rebecca Ratcliffe – The Indonesian government is deploying artificial rains ahead of the dry season's peak as the country attempts to prevent a repeat of the devastating fires that ravaged millions of acres of forests and land last year.

Tempo - June 18, 2020

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) highlighted today, June 18, the potential conflict of interest in the government's pre-employment card program.

This was discovered since the partnership with eight digital platforms did not base on the mechanism for the procurement of the government's goods and products.

The Interpreter - June 18, 2020

Jim Nolan – The coronavirus pandemic has provided just the latest cover for a variety of authoritarian moves criminalising journalism across Southeast Asia.

Jakarta Globe - June 18, 2020

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Entering its sixth year, the largest restoration and conservation program on peatlands in Sumatra, the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER), has again recorded progress in efforts to conserve habitats for protected flora and fauna.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – Jaringan Gusdurian, an NGO endorsing the ideas and values of late President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, has spoken out against the recent arrest of a North Maluku resident for having posted a Gus Dur quote on social media that local police claim cast an unflattering light on the force.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Made Anthony Iswara and Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – Tody Yusuf, 35, said he became worried upon hearing that his child's kindergarten in East Lampung may soon reopen.

The regency is among the few regions that was labeled a "green zone" by the national COVID-19 task force as of June 7, meaning that it has the lowest risk of infection.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Indonesia's debt will swell significantly next year as the government increases spending to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, an official has said.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The government has decided not to open tourist destinations in Bali yet as the risk of COVID-19 transmission lingers.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – A video showing a woman being harassed by men after she was allegedly caught stealing at Ulee Gle market in Bandar Dua district, Pidie Jaya regency, Aceh, went viral on Wednesday.

Tempo - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – The government must not continue its mistaken policies in Papua. Stop the violence and start the dialogue.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Apriza Pinandita, Jakarta – Indonesia has secured a seat on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2021 to 2023 term.

The country gained 186 out of 190 votes as a representative from the Asia-Pacific region during a closed-door voting session at the UN headquarters in New York, United States, on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry stated.

Kompas.com - June 18, 2020

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The panel of judges at the Balikpapan District Court in East Kalimantan found seven Papuan political prisoners guilty of treason during the sentence hearing which took place on Wednesday June 17.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie, Jakarta – A public health expert and a community that monitors pandemic effects in Indonesia have warned the public to avoid rushing to buy dexamethasone, an inexpensive and widely used corticosteroid medication, which has been hailed as a "major breakthrough" in COVID-19 treatment.

CNN Indonesia - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – The Papuan Coalition for Upholding the Law and Human Rights is urging the police to stop criminalising the Papuan people through the makar (treason, subversion, rebellion) articles if they do not want the term political prisoner (tapol) to be used anymore in Indonesia.

Jakarta Globe - June 18, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesia registered its highest single-day rise of coronavirus cases, 1,331 on Thursday, to take the country's total to 42,762. It beat the previous daily record of 1,241 cases on June 6.

The hike was in line with the country's increasing testing capacity, which for the first time surpassed the government's daily target of 20,000.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – The Palembang administration officially lifted the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Palembang, South Sumatra on Wednesday.

The administration decided not to extend the policy despite a high number of COVID-19 cases in Palembang and South Sumatra.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – The government plans to buy products and services from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for official state procurement, potentially spending over Rp 700 trillion (US$49.7 billion) as part of its efforts to help the sector, a minister says.

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Ghina Ghaliya and Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – Having served as deputy to Joko "Jokowi" Widodo when the latter was mayor of Surakarta, and having later taken over when his boss relocated to Jakarta in 2012 to run for governor, many would expect Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician FX Hadi Rudyatmo, the city's current mayor, to continue to be on good terms