Parties clash over sharia-based bylawsMonday, 19 Nov 2018
GENERAL NEWS AND HEADLINES
Parties clash over sharia-based bylaws
The Jakarta Post, Headline
Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) chairperson Grace Natalie’s declaration that her party is against religion-based regulations has reignited controversy surrounding the proliferation of sharia-inspired bylaws across the country. Her remarks came as local politicians in several regions promised to enact “morality” bylaws in what analysts considered an attempt to win votes for the 2019 legislative election. Grace’s statements drew criticism from various Islamic-based groups and older parties such as the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Gerindra Party, which argue that sharia-based laws do not contradict Pancasila. Meanwhile, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin campaign team member Eva Kusuma Sundari said that the PDI-P was against “exclusive” religion-based bylaws that could often lead to discrimination. Similarly, Golkar Party lawmaker Firman Soebagyo said that although the matter was a sensitive one, in principle, “regional bylaws should not contradict prevailing laws and the Constitution”.
Ethnic discrimination to increase ahead of election
Ethnic and racial discrimination is predicted to increase as the 2019 general election approaches. Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy director Wahyudi Djafar said that such an increase would be caused by the rising use of identity politics during the campaign period. Moreover, candidates, according to Wahyudi, tend to highlight particular symbols rather than concrete vision and mission statements in their campaigns in to increase their electability.
Wahyudi’s prediction is supported by National Commission on Human Rights’ (Komnas HAM) latest survey, which found that people’s awareness of prevailing racial and ethnic discrimination was still relatively low; more than half of the survey’s respondents said they would not respond if they witnessed someone face an act of discrimination. Such indifference, according to Komnas HAM, is prone to escalate into conflict ahead of the 2019 general election.
Legislative candidates deemed not well-known enough
Two months before legislative candidates are announced, the public’s recognition of candidates who will compete in the 2019 legislative election is reportedly insufficient. Kompas’ latest survey found 50.6 percent of eligible voters were not aware of the candidates for regional legislative councils (DPRD) at the regency/city level and 55.7 percent of voters also did not have any information on candidates for the DPRD at the provincial level. Similarly, the survey also revealed that 63 percent of voters did not know anything about candidates for the House of Representatives.
To date, the General Elections Commission (KPU) has announced 7,968 and 807 legislative candidates for the House and DPRD, respectively. Regardless, up to 63.5 percent of voters have yet to decide on the candidates they will support. The lack of initiatives to introduce legislative candidates to the public and the large number of undecided voters could be caused by voters’ disappointment about current councillors’ performance. According to a survey, 70.9 percent and 58.3 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the performance of the House and DPRD, respectively.
North Sumatra’s regent nabbed in KPK raid
The Jakarta Post, p. 4
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) apprehended several officials and businesspeople during an operation pertaining to alleged corruption in the regency of Pakpak Bharat in North Sumatra. According to KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo, two people were arrested in Medan, while two others were arrested in Jakarta. Among the arrested was a regional leader, local agency head, state officials and businesspeople. Pakpak Bharat’s information and communication agency head, Arianto Tinambunan, has confirmed that Regent Remigo Yolanda Berutu was among those arrested by the KPK.
Candidates scramble for Sumatra
Media Indonesia, p. 3
Presidential and vice presidential candidates Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno are reportedly establishing campaign posts in Sumatra. Jokowi’s volunteers, for instance, have reportedly set up 45 campaign posts in Rejang Lebong Regency, Bengkulu. The posts, according to the head of Jokowi’s volunteers in Rejang Lebong, are spread across 15 subdistricts, with every subdistrict getting three campaign posts. Meanwhile, challenger Prabowo-Sandiaga is reportedly targeting regencies and cities in Aceh. According to Prabowo-Sandiaga’s campaign team, the team will continue introducing Prabowo-Sandiaga’s programs in the region. It has been reported that the pair is aiming for 70 percent of the vote in Aceh, particularly from millennials and young entrepreneurs.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC NEWS AND HEADLINES
Clearer guidelines needed for foreign trade negotiations
Bisnis Indonesia, headline
The government is urged to reform its foreign trade negotiation initiatives after a Trade Ministry report suggested that its sporadic approach to foreign trade were not productive for the economy. Trade Ministry secretary-general Karyanto Suprih said the government had missed several targets in negotiating and implementing foreign trade agreements because state institutions did not have a shared vision on foreign trade. Karyanto also said that the absence of a foreign trade roadmap among government institutions had hindered effective negotiations and implementation of foreign trade agreements. Despite the government’s recent promotion of foreign trade agreements, the data showed that President Joko Widodo had ratified only the Indonesia-Chile Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) from the seven CEPA negotiations that were announced in 2016.
DNI revision promising, but debatable
Kontan, headline, p.2
The government excluded last week 28 industry sectors from its negative investment list (DNI) and is set to remove several other sectors in the upcoming revision to Presidential Regulation No. 44/2016 on DNI. The delisted sectors includes both manufacturing and service such as printed fabric, pharmaceutical products and leased construction equipment. The move also allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in the 28 sectors, but provided an opportunity for technology transfers and for filling the existing gap in businesses, Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said. Furthermore, Coordinating Economic Minister Special Staff Edy Putra Irawadi said the revised regulation would drive investment growth, particularly in establishing more production centers in Indonesia. In doing so, the government hoped to reduce the nation’s dependence on imported capital goods.
Business leaders have both lauded and objected to the plan. Apindo’s Shinta Wijaya Kamdani and Indonesian Cellular Telecommunications Association (ATSI) chairman Merza Fachys responded positively to the plan and concurred that it would accelerate growth of domestic businesses by bridging the gap in domestic industry. Meanwhile, information and communication technology observer Heru Sutadi opposed the idea, saying it was counterproductive to the goal of manufacturing independence. He also expressed concern over impacts on small local businesses.
BI to revise economic growth target
Investor Daily, p.21
Bank Indonesia (BI) is set to revise the 2019 economic growth target to 5.1 percent-5.5 percent after the 7-Day Reverse Repo Rate (7-DRRR) had been raised 6 percent, or 175 basis points, year-to-date. BI deputy governor Dody Budi Waluyo announced the plan on Nov. 17 in Surakarta on the sidelines of the Economic Journalism National Training. Dody, however, declined to provide detailed explanations on the changed target. Nevertheless, he pointed out that BI’s future policies would focus on managing the current account deficit than on maintaining inflation.
Govt revokes radio frequency permits for First Media, Internux and Jasnita
Bisnis Indonesia¸ p.25
The Information and Communication Ministry plans to annul the radio frequency permits for two Lippo Group companies on Monday. Lippo’s cable TV and internet provider PT First Media and mobile internet provider PT Internux – known by its BOLT! product brand – will lose their operational permits for the 2.3 GHz frequency due to unpaid telecommunication services fees (BHP) since 2016. First Media owes the government Rp 364.8 billion while Internux owes Rp 343.5 billion. Besides the two companies, the government is also revoking the permit for North Sulawesi’s PT Jasnita Telekomindo (Jastel), which has been unable to fulfill its BHP as well as its corporate obligation to develop infrastructure in its area of operation.
Greenpeace move may worsen CPO export performance
Greenpeace’s recent boarding of a palm oil tanker charted by Wilmar International in the Gulf of Cadiz off Spain on Nov. 17 might cause a chain reaction in the ongoing black campaign against the palm oil industry. Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) trade head Benny Soetrisno condemned the Greenpeace move and urged the government to rethink its counter-campaign strategy. Benny even suggested that the government freeze Greenpeace’s activities in Indonesia, given the implication of the group’s action on the economy. On the other hand, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesian forests campaign head, Kiki Taufik, was adamant that the organization would continue to campaign against palm oil until the industry could prove that its activities did not endanger the country’s forests.Please login to read more.