Irwandi Yusuf indicted on bribery, corruptionTuesday, 27 Nov 2018
GENERAL NEWS AND HEADLINES
The Jakarta Post, p. 2
The Smart Pakem (monitoring religious beliefs) application launched by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office has not been well received since it reappeared on the Google Play Store on Monday, Nov. 26. The app, which was originally launched last Thursday, features a list of religious beliefs, native faiths and mass organizations as well as directory of fatwas issues by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). It also includes a section on banned religious groups, faiths, mass organizations and a form that allows the public to report beliefs that they consider misguided or heretical.
Several rights groups. have called on the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office to take down the app, saying that it could lead to further persecution of minorities. According to them, the app threatens the safety of people who adhered to beliefs or faith considered as heretical as perpetrators feel that violence is justified. Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Nirwan Nawawi dismissed the concerns, saying that the app was part of the office’s role to maintain peace by providing better access to information and educating people about religious beliefs.
Sexual violence bill deliberation stagnates
Koran Tempo, Headline
Although the past three years’ National Legislation Programs included the deliberation of sexual violence bill, the bill’s future remains uncertain. According to M. Ali Taher, the head of House Commission VIII which oversees social and religious affairs and is tasked with deliberating the bill, the deliberation of the bill stagnates as the commission focuses more on discussing issues surrounding budget and haj. Ali further stated that his commission established a committee specializing in the sexual violence bill in September, 2017. Yet, since it was first established, the committee has only convened 5 meetings with experts and civil organizations. The committee reportedly plans to deliberate the bill’s articles with the government at large next year.
However, a source who is involved in the bill deliberation denied Ali’s explanation, claiming that the House, the government and the civil organizations have been quarrelling over the bill’s substance. Furthermore, according to another source, the bill deliberation remains in the balance since the House deems the bill as not in line with the country’s norms and cultural values due to its secular and feminist nature.
Irwandi Yusuf indicted on bribery, corruption
Republika, p. 2
Suspended Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf has been indicted by prosecutors on bribery and corruption charges. Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors indicted Irwandi for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rp 1.05 billion and gratifications of more than Rp 40 billion. In the indictment, it is stated that Irwandi accepted the bribe from Bener Meriah Regent Ahmadi in stages in exchange for several infrastructure projects; Irwandi instructed Aceh’s procurement unit to authorize contractors who would conduct infrastructure projects in the Bener Meriah regency, projects which would be funded with the 2018 provincial special autonomy funds. Meanwhile, in regard to gratifications, it is reported that Irwandi accepted billions of gratuities pertaining to a botched pier construction project in Sabang’s free-trade area. Irwandi allegedly failed to report the gratuities to the KPK.
Johannes charged with 4-year sentence
Kompas, p. 3
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors have charged businessman Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo with 4-year sentence and a fine of Rp 250 million for alleged bribery in a graft case surrounding two members of the Golkar Party and a coal-fueled power plant project (PLTU) in Riau. The prosecutors also refused the Johannes’ offer of becoming a justice collaborator in KPK’s investigation. According to the prosecutors, Johannes gave Golkar lawmaker Eni Maulani Saragih and former social affairs minister and Golkar executive Idrus Marham a total of Rp 4.75 billion in exchange for their assistance in endorsing a power purchase agreement between Johanes’ company, Blackgold Natural Resources Limited, and state-owned electricity firm PLN. The bribe was given in 4 stages and then reportedly used to fund Golkar’s activities and Eni’s husband’s political campaign in Temanggung, Central Java.
Satellite city celebrates 10 years, but inequality lingers
The Jakarta Post, p. 1
Greater Jakarta’s youngest satellite city, South Tangerang, recently celebrated 10 years of achievements since its establishment in 2008, but issues related to inequality still linger. According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), South Tangerang’s economy grew 7.43 percent year-on-year (yoy) in 2017. Though the figure is a decrease from 8.52 percent in 2011, the city’s growth has always been higher than the national average. Its regional product per capita (PDRB) stood at Rp 41.53 million (US$2,797) in 2017. The BPS also revealed that South Tangerang has the lowest poverty rate nationwide at 1.76 percent, and its human development index is always higher compared to other cities or regencies in the province. However, despite the rapid development, residents in Kranggan, Setu district, have a vastly different daily experience from those living closer to Jakarta or inside residential complexes. According to head of community unit (RW) 03 Ipan Tri, 10 percent of the 300 families living in Kranggan still has not access to toilets and suitable sources of drinking water.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC NEWS AND HEADLINES
Bisnis Indonesia. Headline
The government remains committed to finalizing tax reform pending the right time to finalize the draft law revision of income tax (PPh) and value-added tax (PPN). The Finance Ministry Fiscal Policy Office (BKF) head Suahasil Nazara confirmed that the government is still working on both the policy-making and the operation side of the reform. In regards to the policy-making, the government is formulating a number of regulations in the form of the Finance Minister regulation (PMK) and the government regulation (PP). Whereas PMK would take a relatively shorter time to be finalized, PP needs adjustments. Currently, the government is trying to find a solution to lower the tax in property sector, both for buyers and sellers. Other than that, the government carries on with tax holiday policy that extends to agribusiness processing industry and digital economy. Moreover, the Finance Ministry is also preparing the revision for PMK No.35/PMK.010/2018 pertaining to the Provision of Corporate Income Tax Reduction Facility that regulates a special tax holiday for smaller investments in special economic zones (SEZs).
CPO export levy is temporarily removed
Investor Daily. Headline
The government has decided to temporarily remove the export tariff for crude palm oil (CPO) and its derivative products to US$0 to anticipate the CPO price decline in the international market. However, the levy will be reinstated once CPO price reaches US$500 per ton. In accordance with Finance Ministry regulation (PMK) No.81/PMK.05/2018, the amount of tariff collected by the Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP-KS) is US$50 per ton for CPO, US$30 for its first derivative products, and US$20 for its second derivative products. The Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution stated that the decision to lower the tariff to zero US dollar is due to the drop in CPO price that plunged to US$420 per ton from US$500 per ton 8-9 days prior. The fall in CPO price will harm palm farmers and entrepreneurs and therefore has alarmed the stakeholders in the CPO sector because the price has reached below the production cost. This has called for an emergency measure to help increase price at farmers’ level.
Illegal fintech still haunts even after blocked
Kontan. p. 1
Illegal financial technology (fintech) has been cracked down one-by-one. The Communications and Information Ministry (Kominfo) made a statement that they have blocked 385 fintech applications and websites up to last Monday, Nov. 26. The Communication and Information Ministry’s informatics application director general Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan elaborated that out of the 385 illegal fintech blocked, 76 are websites and 309 are applications. However, out of these numbers, 1 website and 2 applications have made it to the normalization list. This is possible because the fintech website and applications are in the process of registering to the Financial Services Authority (OJK). “The one who proposed for the blocking was OJK. Therefore, if they have registered to OJK, they will be normalized,’ he added. The blocking by Kominfo only applies to applications and websites not available on digital services such as Google Play and App Store. For illegal fintech applications that are available on Google Play and App Store, there is an ongoing discussion between the government and the two companies.
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.
Settlements of T+2 stocks lift up market liquidity
Investor Daily, p.1
The Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI) has officially implemented the stocks settlement acceleration from 3 days (T+3) to 2 days (T+2) starting Monday, Nov.26. The T+2 implementation is believed to be able to improve market liquidity due to the reinvestment acceleration of the investors’ capital, boost in operational efficiency, and increase in stocks transaction capacity. The Financial Services Authority (OJK) commissioner for capital market supervision Hoesen stated that they appreciate the momentum for T+2 implementation announcement in Indonesian capital market. The acceleration program is an effort to develop the Indonesian capital market to help them compete on the global level while giving contribution to the national economy. “The T+2 implementation is in accordance with the international best practice standard in improving efficiency in settling exchange transactions. Up until now, the stock exchanges that have implemented the T+2 system include Germany, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and Thailand,” said Hoesen on Monday, Nov.26.
Again, developers get new incentive
Kontan, p. 2
The government hands out another incentive for the property sector. This time, the Finance Ministry’s director general of taxation simplifies the administration related to the validation for proof of obligation fulfillment to deposit income tax (PPH) from the transfer of rights or changes to the binding agreement of the sales and purchase of property for developers. This was stated on the director general of taxation regulation No. PER-26/PJ/2018. The changes comprise four elements. First, developers only have to submit an application letter and the list of PPh payments. Second, the document submission may be done manually or electronically. Third, regarding the application for validation, one application can be submitted for more than one objects and multi payments. Fourth, the time period is divided into two, 3 days for submission of up to 10 proof of payments and 10 days for submission of more than 10 proof of payments.