Fears grow over app to police minoritiesMonday, 26 Nov 2018
GENERAL NEWS AND HEADLINES
The Jakarta Post, headline
The launch of a mobile application that allows members of the public to report beliefs they consider to be heretical or misguided has sparked controversy that it could potentially foment distrust between members of the public. The app, Smart Pakem, was launched by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office and includes features such as a list of forbidden beliefs and mass organizations, a directory of fatwas issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council and a form to report complaints or information about violations or prohibited groups. National Commission on Human Rights members and sociologists from civil society organizations have condemned the app, saying it could lead to violations of religious freedom and fuel negative sentiments against religious minorities such as the Ahmadiyah. Setara Institute researcher Halili Hasan explained the app presented a form of anarchy in which the public was allowed to decide whether a belief was misguided and legitimized prosecution against non-mainstream religions.
Regardless, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) dismissed the concerns and argued the app was meant to educate people. AGO spokesperson Mukri said the app was intended to increase public knowledge and participation by creating an opportunity for the public to check whether a group is lawful or not.
Communist, racial and hoax issues strike again
Media Indonesia, headline
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has spoken out against the use of communist and racial issues in hoaxes, many of which have been targeted as attacks against him in the political year. The President called for a “civilized” campaign and invited all political players and supporters to play clean in his speech during the Jokowi-Ma’ruf campaign team inauguration in Palembang on Sunday. The statement came out following hoaxes of him being a foreign agent or communist, with similar types of attempts at defamation having previously reduced his electability. The incumbent warned his followers and supporters to remain vigilant despite positive survey results, saying the fast-changing political landscape made anything possible.
Walhi urges govt to mainstream regional plastic control regulations
Environment watchdog Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has called on the national government to adopt regional governments’ plastic control regulations into national law. The organization claimed that plastic control regulations had been successful in cutting the use of plastic waste by 60 percent in cities such as Banjarmasin, Balikpapan and Jakarta, saying that national implementation was urgently needed to preserve the environment. Banjarmasin municipality data, for instance, revealed that plastic control regulation had allowed the city to reduce plastic waste by 54 million sheets since it started in 2016. Similarly, progress was also made in Banjarmasin, which claimed to have reduced plastic waste by 90,000 sheets per month. Concurrently, Walhi urged the government to start implementing an excise on plastic bags to reduce plastic production and usage as well as increase tax revenue.
Indonesia faces growing violence against women
Koran Tempo, headline
The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has revealed that the number of cases of violence against women is growing. Komnas Perempuan commissioner Azriana said sexual harassment cases against women had grown at a worrying rate. Data from the commission showed that reports of harassment or violence surged to 348,446 in 2017 from 259,150 in 2016. According to Azriana, however, most of the harassment cases occurred online. Nevertheless, she said that cyber harassment was more psychologically damaging, as private photos or chats were made public and cannot simply be deleted.
Velentina Sagala from Jaringan Kerja Prolegnas Pro Perempuan said social protection from sexual harassment had not gone well due to social misperceptions and the widespread cultural notion that a woman can be subject to harassment. Moreover, the tendency for the public to vilify harassment victims instead of supporting them has made it so that recovery and social protection are two difficult tasks for the government.
Survey suggests campaigns ineffective
A public survey from Kompas last week showed that there have been two months of ineffective political campaigning. The survey found that 65.8 percent of 494 respondents in 16 major cities in Indonesia are unaware of the programs offered by either legislative or presidential candidates despite the presidential and legislative campaigns having been on social media in the last two months. Many of the respondents considered the campaigns to merely be social mediabuzz that offered insubstantial content. Some of them even said the programs were incomprehensible and unclear.
Surprisingly, only 21.5 percent from those who said they understood the candidates’ programs were millennials, even though the General Elections Committee (KPU) said that millennials would make up roughly 40 percent of voters in 2019. The survey also suggested that the public was lackadaisical toward the legislative elections due to the high number of candidates running for them, with 65.2 percent saying they were following more closely the dynamics of the presidential election.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC NEWS AND HEADLINES
Bisnis Indonesia, headline
The government has postponed the discussion for the tax reform package draft that includes the law revision for general requirements in taxation, income tax (PPh), and value-added tax (PPN) until the 2019 election is over to prevent political fuss. “We are in the middle of election, we are slowing down, because every time we are consulting, we always get exposed and people get the wrong idea,” said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. The revision for taxation package was prepared years ago. The Finance Minister finally decided to review the draft revision for General Taxation Law (UU KUP) at the end of November 2016. They reviewed it because one of the points in the UU KUP draft revision, the transformation of the Directorate General of Taxes to become the Tax Revenue Agency (BPP) became a hot topic.
Negative investment list needs communication and promotion
Investor Daily, headline
The government is expected to communicate first with all relevant stakeholders in the economic policy-making, such as in formulating the negative investment list (DNI) relaxation that was issued recently. Other than coming up with an off-target economic policy, lack of communication and promotion potentially mislead people or cause people to have the wrong perception that would end up in negative reaction and unnecessary unrest. That was the bottom line of what has been expressed by a number of business practitioners and economists last week, namely the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Rosan P. Roeslani, the Association of Young Indonesia Businessmen (Hipmi) chairman Bahlil Lahadalia, the Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat, the Indonesian Footwer Producers Association (Aprisindo) chairman Firman Bakri, Center of Reform on Economics (Core) executive director Mohammad Faisal, and Bank Central Asia (BCA) economist David Sumual. Apindo chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani stated that economic policy package formulation, including the DNI relaxation did not involve businessmen and public consultation, therefore triggering a negative reaction from the people. “We think the DNI policy needs to be reassessed. If it is not necessary, it is better to have it repealed,” he said.
IPO stocks movements unusual
This is the year of IPO. There have been more than 50 companies registered in the Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI). However, the low price of IPO and its uneven distribution leads to high volatility in the initial public offering (IPO) stock prices. Having a majority low emission value, the stock price on listing day soared significantly, up to 70 percent. The Financial Services Authority (OJK) and BEI plan to limit the increase in IPO stock prices. Profido Sekuritas analyst Yuliana sees that the increase does not represent the fundamentals, it should not have been more than 20 percent. BEI recognizes that the unusual movement of IP stock prices was caused by uneven distribution since IPO is dominated by only a few people. CIMB Sekuritas director Kartika Sutandi stated that this is normal because there are a number of investors that have been eyeing IPOs. They join together in collecting the fund to buy IPO stocks in block orders. However, this potentially harms beginner and retail investors who want to invest for the long-term.
A counterattack against fintech, banks launch online lending
Banks’ competition with financial technology (fintech) will be tougher. Banks have started to launch a counterattack by working on customer’s credit through digital technology. BNI has BNI digital loan, a loan service to make the process to apply for micro credit program easier. Sahabat Sampoerna Bank launched a similar feature via PDaja website. This is a channel to apply for a credit ranging from Rp50 million to Rp500 million with 12-month tenure. BTPN bank has digital banking application Jenius that also offers loan called Flexi Cash. The most interesting part is that the interest rate for the online banking lending can be more competitive than that of fintech. For example, if customers get an offer for Rp5 million loan from Jenius, they can withdraw Rp500.000 for 3 months and the interest rate is only 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent. Sampoerna Bank charges 15-18 percent interest rate per year. BNI keeps one-digit interest rate form small-medium enterprises at 9.95 percent and charges 13.5 percent interest rate for commercials. Mandiri Bank has not joined the club yet. They are still considering authorization, especially in terms of risk management.
APBN maintained stable
Bisnis Indonesia, p.4
The government has demonstrated their commitment in keeping the 2018 state budget (APBN) as the most controlled instrument amidst the uncertainty caused by global sentiment following the Finance Ministry’s move to cancel the remaining 4 series of the government bond (SUN) and Islamic bond (Sukuk) offerings this year, which would have a positive implication on the APBN. The reason behind the cancellation is that the government sees that the fund collected from the previous offerings is enough to cover the expenditure target in the 2018 APBN. On the last SUN offering on Wednesday, Nov.21, the government collected Rp15 trillion, failing to reach the targeted Rp20 trillion, despite the offerings from investors that reached Rp41.6 trillion. On the other hand, tax revenue in October 2018 has recorded a positive performance at 17.41 percent yearly growth, 19.07 percent if excluding the revenue from tax amnesty. The realization of tax revenue in October 2018 reaches Rp1.015 trillion or 71.32 percent of the targeted Rp1.424 trillion in the 2018 APBN.