Backgrounder

Tenggara Backgrounder February 8

Voter turnout: How low can it get?

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has launched a massive campaign appealing to people to come out and vote on April 17, amid signs that more and more are planning to boycott the elections altogether. Going by social media posts, the largest number of disenchanted voters are those who would have supported the incumbent, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

 

Military restructure a political maneuvering?

The recent plan to restructure the Indonesian Military (TNI) has raised both speculation and concern among the public. The plan to raise the retirement age of low-ranking military officers, as well as promote and create new jobs for numerous officers is feared to sway the TNI back to its infamous dwi fungsi (dual function) doctrine, which allowed soldiers to play both military and political roles.

 

Japanese domination hangs over electric car policy

The government’s ambition to establish an electric vehicle industry has sparked greater competition among three great Asian car manufacturers: Japan, South Korea and China. With China having successfully sealed multiple partnerships with the government in the upstream electric battery production and nickel processing sectors, Japanese automotive supremacy in Indonesia is slowly being eroded.

 

Fiscal policy alone not enough

Similar to 2018, President Jokowi will rely on populist economic policy – that includes a more restrictive import policy – and expansionary fiscal policy in 2019 for two reasons. First, to stimulate the economy in 2019 regardless of IMF’s predicted global economic slow down, and to secure his re-election bid. Nonetheless, challenges remain since the economy still needs more realistic stimulus like a boost in investment and higher export growth.