Identity politics haunts 2019 raceTuesday, 03 Dec 2019
GENERAL NEWS AND HEADLINES
The Jakarta Post, Headline
In a big rally showing the growing clout of the Islamists in Indonesian politics, hundreds of thousands of conservative Muslims flocked to the National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta on Sunday, Dec. 2, to commemorate the second anniversary of the 2016 rally against former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for his alleged blasphemy, which resulted in the imprisonment for the city’s first Chinese and second Christian governor. The rally, organized by a group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni, was billed as a “reunion” for those who participated in the 2016 protest, although it quickly turned into a political stage for opposition leaders and outspoken critics of the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration. Other than calling on Muslims to boycott candidates backed by political parties that had supported Ahok, they also endorsed the anti-Jokowi movement called as #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident).
Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto, who is challenging Jokowi in the presidential race, made a brief appearance in the rally together with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who beat Ahok in the 2017 regional elections. Other opposition coalition politicians were also in attendance, including National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais, People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan and Gerindra deputy chairman Fadli Zon. Jokowi, who appeared at the 2016 rally, was not invited to the latest event, neither was his running mate and Indonesian Ulema Council chairman Ma’ruf Amin, once an influential figure among the 212 activists.
International trips deemed ineffective
Kompas, p. 2
International visits made by Regional Representative Council (DPD) members are often deemed ineffective and unsuccessful to meet the visits’ initial target. Consequently, DPD members often fail to meet the intended foreign governmental officials in their visits. According to DPD member Afnan Hadikusumo, in several occasions, international visits were badly planned so that the timing of the visits clashed with the intended foreign officials’ schedules. As a result, DPD members only met the representatives of the intended officials’ in their visits. Careless planning, according to Afnan, makes the allocated state budget for international visits ends up as waste.
Previously, it was reported that dozens of members of DPD’s Domestic Affairs Committee (PURT) paid an international visit to England, Croatia, Russia and New Zealand. According to Afnan, not all members’ agendas were urgent, with some agendas even appeared forced.
Jokowi distributed free electricity
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo distributed free electrical connectors to 82 poor and vulnerable families in Bogor, West Java. This was done while the President observed the realization of electricity connection in the region with State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Somearno. According to Jokowi, there are still approximately 200,000 of households with no electrical connectors in West Java. The government’s target is to connect the electricity of 100,000 households by the end of the year. The government has calculated that each family receiving electrical power would only pay between Rp 20,000 – Rp 30,000 per month.
Village funds’ advantages not instantaneous: Jokowi
Republika, p. 2
In his visit to Bogor, West Java, on Dec. 2, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo encouraged public to manage village funds allocated by the government efficiently. The funds, which are expected to boost development projects in villages, can increase the villagers’ welfare and decrease the inequality between people. The President also urged the villagers to buy materials locally in conducting development projects so that the village funds used would not flow back to the cities. Regardless, Jokowi stated that outcomes of the development projects financed by the funds might not be immediately enjoyed by the people, asking the public to be patient.
Since it was first introduced in 2015, the government has distributed approximately Rp 187 trillion of village funds to thousands of villages across the country. The President claimed that the funds managed to boost development projects in villages, including building 158 km of roads, 18,000 integrated health posts (Posyandu) and 48,000 early-childhood education schools (PAUD).
Hundreds of Papuans arrested before, after Dec. 1 rallies
The Jakarta Post, p. 2
More than 500 Papuans in several cities were arrested following rallies on Dec. 1 which commemorated the birth of the West Papua nation in 1961. 537 Papuans were allegedly arrested in Kupang, Ternate, Manado, Makassar, Jayapura, Asmat, Waropen and Surabaya. Among the total, 322 were arrested in Surabaya. In Papua, 90 people were arrested in separate places and different times. NTT Police chief Insp. Gen. Raja Erizman said the Papuans were not arrested but “secured and questioned”.
In Surabaya, a clash occurred between about 300 people grouped under the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and other groups that accused the Papuans of committing treason during the rally. The other groups include mass organizations Communication Forum of Indonesian Veterans Children (FKPPI) and Pancasila Youth (PP). Following the clash, 17 people were injured, with some sustaining head wounds.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC NEWS AND HEADLINES
Bisnis Indonesia, headline
The meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires over the weekend created a positive global market sentiment for a while. The two leaders agreed for a 90-day cease-fire and delay imposing new tariffs to January 2019 after the US declared trade war against China and started to impose enormous tariffs in mid-2018. The decision came out after a bilateral meeting between the two took place on the sideline of the main G20 event and allegedly informal talk during a gala dinner in Theatre Colon, where Trump and Xi were sitting closely with only the US First Lady Melania Trump in between. Moreover, G20’s commitment to reform World Trade Organization became a positive sentiment booster as it indicates how countries remain favoring on fair and open trade.
For Indonesia, the truce became a short-term positive sentiment for rupiah and the financial market by easing some tensions at least until the end of year. However, some market analysts said for the government to remain cautious and well-guarded as uncertainties remain visible in next year.
Govt prepares 18 export incentives
Investor Daily, headline
The government was preparing 18 fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to revamp export growth at least 12 percent to achieve US$208 billion export value in 2019. According to the Industry Ministry data and research department head Willem Petrus Riwu, the incentives would cover export facility and featured industries development. The ministry was also to set nine featured industries for export, ranging from palm oil, pulp and paper to leatherwork industry. He explained that the export facility incentives would include ease of import of export destinations (KITE), integrated industrial complex (Kawasan Berikat), ease of capital goods access, fulfilling export destinations’ non-tariff measures and facilitating new export destinations. For featured industries, the government would provide free import duty on capital goods or master list, tax holiday, and tax allowance.
Fuel price may increase next year: Darmin
Investor Daily, p.21
The government is considering the possibility to increase fuel price in the middle of 2019. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said in his office that fuel price would likely to increase in the middle of 2019. He explained that the government would also focus on maintaining volatile food supply to manage the inflation rate next year as raising fuel price would inevitably spark immediate inflation surge. On the other hand, Bank Central Asia chief economist David Sumual suggested for the government to raise fuel slowly due to declining global oil price. Rapid fuel price raise would create an ‘inflation shock’ of 1 to 2 percent sudden inflation increase, he added.
Bekapur to turn into national strategic area
The government was planning to turn Bekasi-Karawang-Purwakarta (Bekapur) industrial complexes into single national strategic area (KSN). According to Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan, the government has performed a strategic feasibility study on the area and will form a public institution to manage the KSN. The idea received warm welcome from the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo). Apindo Chairman Hariadi Sukamdani said the area could become a key KSN due to its proximity to Kertadjati International Airport and Patimban Deepwater Port, and suggested for firmer government’s control of the area to ensure that ease of doing business remain lucrative and fair.
Pertamina blamed over B20 problems
The Jakarta Post, p.13
The expanded use of a 20 percent blend of biofuel and biodiesel oil (B20 policy) has turned into blame game, where government officials pointed out fingers to Pertamina as problems continue to emerge while it is being implemented nationwide. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said the Paertamina was “half-hearted” in implementing B20 as the company has yet to solve the supply problem of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), a raw material for producing B20. In October, the government decided to cut distribution channels for biodiesel suppliers as FAME suppliers reportedly unable to distribute their product to Pertamina’s biodiesel processing facilities. The government is even mulling over the idea of reducing processing facility to only 10 by January 2019, four months after it required nearly all sectors in the economy to utilize B20.
On the other hand, Pertamina logistics, supply chain and infrastructure director Gandhi Sriwidodo has vowed that the company would overcome the supply issue which had become the main barrier in implementing the policy.