Tenggara Backgrounder November 23
Sharia bylaws not up for debate
PSI chairwoman Grace Natalie’s remark on discriminative local laws trigger the reemergence of religious narratives in the public. Fierce criticisms from political parties seeking to leverage their position ahead of the elections prove that the existence of Islamic law in several regions across Indonesia is not up for discussions.
Questioning parties' political flexibility
The Democratic Party’s decision to grant its legislative candidates the freedom to support any presidential candidates illustrate the flexibility of the party. Despite the surprise following the Democratic Party’s blatant pragmatism, the decision is not as controversial as it appears, particularly considering the difficulties faced by the party due to the complexity of the 2019 simultaneous presidential and legislative elections.
Tobacco taxes: mischiefs for political assurance
President Jokowi’s decision not to increase the levy on tobacco products next year contradicts his government’s own targets of increasing tax revenue and improving public health quality. Yet, the decision is well understood politically as it bodes well with his reelection ambition. The decision would especially please tobacco industry, the Nadhlatul Ulama and most importantly tobacco farmers and workers in East and Central Java – a big number of voters for his reelection bid next year.
Garuda-Sriwijaya partnership strengthens Garuda
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, through its subsidiary Citilink Indonesia, signed an agreement with Sriwijaya Air Group to take over the operation and financial management of Sriwijaya Air and NAM Air under a joint operation scheme (KSO). The KSO will provide assets for Garuda in its head-to-head competition with the mighty and aggressively expanding Lion Air Group.
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