Media Monitoring

MPR to consult public on amendment

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019
MPR to consult public on amendment
People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) members attend a plenary meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, in Jakarta.(JP/Seto Wardhana)
GENERAL NEWS AND HEADLINES
 
Experts fear new Cabinet terms will hamper govt’s performance
Koran Tempo
 
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to remodel the Cabinet’s nomenclature has sparked criticism. Changes to the Cabinet’s terms, critics said, could hamper the Jokowi administration’s performance.
 
Constitutional law expert Refly Harun feared such changes would adversely affect implementation of Jokowi’s agenda in his second term. Refly suggested that Jokowi immediately focus on realizing his programs instead.
 
Refly said Jokowi would waste the first six months of his new term because of the changes.
 
Jokowi had hinted at making some adjustments to the Cabinet’s terms and structure in August. He reportedly plans to transfer some responsibilities of the Trade Ministry to the Foreign Ministry, creating a new Cabinet portfolio called the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry. The Education and Culture Ministry, Social Affairs Ministry and the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry will also reportedly undergo some changes.
 
A source told Tempo Daily, the changes would be announced together with the lineup of the Cabinet. The source said the new Cabinet would be announced a day after Jokowi’s inauguration on Oct. 20. “Another scenario is that the President announces the new Cabinet on Oct. 21, and the inauguration of the new Cabinet members [will be conducted] the next day,” the source added.
 
 
President to ask for coalition parties’ recommendations
Kompas, p. 2
 
The structure of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s new Cabinet looks likely to be finalized before the presidential inauguration on Oct. 20. It is reported that Jokowi will summon all leaders of his coalition parties to finalize the new Cabinet’s structure and lineup and the possibility of adding new members to the coalition.
 
Jokowi reportedly will meet the party leaders separately on Wednesday and Thursday. The President will also hold talks with outgoing Vice President Jusuf Kalla and vice president-elect Ma’ruf Amin on the same days. Jokowi was said to have met leaders of the country’s two largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.
 
 
MPR to consult public on amendment
The Jakarta Post, p. 1
 
The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has promised to seek the public’s input as it looks to amend the 1945 Constitution, offering an assurance that any changes would not take effect immediately.
 
MPR Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said the MPR would consult the public in the first and second years of the current term before going ahead with the amendment plan.
 
In the third year, he said, the MPR would explore the plan again, and look to complete it should the public agree with the amendments. If the public is opposed, the MPR will apparently scrap the plan.
 
Bambang emphasized that the MPR would discuss the amendment plan carefully and thus he was hesitant to set any target. He also gave an assurance that the amendment would be "limited" to a particular issue, namely reinstating the now-defunct State Policy Guidelines (GBHN), and would not be expanded to cover other crucial issues that could stir public concern.
 
 
Prabowo, Golkar strike a deal
Republika, p. 1
 
In the latest twist of the political elite’s maneuvering ahead of the presidential inauguration, Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto met Golkar Party chairman Airlangga Hartarto on Tuesday, during which the two figures reportedly reached several agreements.
 
The agreements include the two parties’ commitment to improvement of the country’s political stability, compliance with laws and regulations related to political parties and elections as well as promotion of national interests.
 
Both Prabowo and Airlangga, however, were reluctant to respond to reports about Gerindra joining President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s new Cabinet.
 
 
Student deaths possibly unlawful killing: Kontras
The Jakarta Post, p. 3
 
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has claimed that police personnel may have unlawfully killed two university students in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, during a student protest in the city last month. The commission urged the police to identify and firmly punish the perpetrators if found guilty to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future.
 
Kontras coordinator Yati Andriani revealed during a press conference on Monday that a student from Haluoleo University in Kendari, Muhammad Yusuf Kardawi, was the first victim "to fall on the ground" while the police were trying to disperse the rally held in the heart of the city. He was believed to have been shot by the police before the second victim named La Randi also collapsed after being shot.
 
A witness who intended to help Yusuf retreated upon seeing a man pointing a gun at him from inside the city's manpower agency's compound. "Our witnesses believe this man was a police officer, as the compound was filled with security forces during the rally," Yati said.

Yusuf died the following day, while Randi died soon after being shot. "The bullet hit his left arm and came out on the right hand side of his chest," Yati said, describing the police actions as "disproportionate, excessive and unwarranted".

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS NEWS AND HEADLINES

Indonesia suffers $160 million trade deficit in September 
Kontan,headline; Bisnis Indonesia, headline; Investor Daily, headline

Indonesia suffered a trade deficit of US$160 million in September in a reversal from the trade surplus of $80 million the previous month, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported on Tuesday. 

According to BPS' data, exports dropped 5.74 percent year-on-year (yoy) in September to $14.1 billion, marking an 11thconsecutive month of yoy declines. Imports, meanwhile, dropped 2.41 percent yoy in September to $14.2 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $160 million.

Meanwhile, between January and September, Indonesia's total exports totaled $124.17 billion, while total imports totaled $126.12 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.95 billion during the eight-month period.

From the total exports, non-oil and gas exports totaled $114.75 billion, while oil and gas exports totaled only $9.42 billion.

Meanwhile, of the total imports, non-oil imports totaled $110.253 billion, while oil and gas imports accounted for $15.86 billion.

Thus, in non-oil and gas trade, Indonesia actually recorded a trade surplus of $4.49 billion, while in oil and gas trade, the country suffered a $6.44 billion deficit, which resulted in an overall trade deficit of $1.95 billion during the January to September period. 

 

IMF cuts Indonesian GDP growth outlook
The Jakarta Post, p.1 

The International Monetary Fund has become the latest global institution to slash Indonesia’s economic growth projection amid thickening gloom surrounding world trade that is expected to spill over into the domestic economy.

In its October 2019 World Economic Outlook published on Tuesday, the Washington, DC-based institution expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to expand just 5 percent this year—down 0.2 percentage points from its April projection—and 5.1 percent in 2020, down 0.1 percentage points from the earlier forecast.

Global growth in 2019 is seen at 3 percent, the lowest level since 2009 and down 0.3 percentage points from the April 2019 World Economic Outlook. While global growth is projected to pick up to 3.4 percent in 2020, which would still be 0.2 percentage points less than predicted in the April assessment.

“Rising trade and geopolitical tensions have increased uncertainty about the future of the global trading system and international cooperation more generally, taking a toll on business confidence, investment decision and global trade”, the IMF report said.

 

Indonesia’s foreign debt rises 8.8 percent in August
Kontan,p.2; Investor Daily, p.1  

According to data released by Bank Indonesia (BI) on Tuesday, Indonesia's foreign debts, which include borrowing by the government and the private sector, rose 8.8 percent year-on-year (yoy) to US$393.5 billion in August. The rise was lower than the 10.9 percent yoy growth in the previous month.

According to data released by BI on Tuesday, the government’s external debts, which also include those raised by the central bank, rose by 8.6 percent yoy in August to $193.5 billion. The increase was also lower than the 9.7 percent yoy growth in the previous month.

The slower growth in the government’s external debts was due to a decline in foreign investor ownership of government bonds, BI spokesman Onny Widjanarko said in a statement on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, private sector debt, which also includes debt of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), grew by 9.3 percent yoy to $197.79 billion in August. The yoy growth declined from 2.6 percent booked in the previous month, thanks to an increase in loan repayments by corporations.

 

RI needs 15 new factories to achieve sugar self-sufficiency
The Jakarta Post, p. 12 

Indonesia needs to build up to 15 new sugar factories in the next five years to meet the demand for refined sugar for the domestic food and beverage industry the agriculture minister said during a recent visit to a sugar factory in Blitar, East Java.

Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said on Oct. 9 that increasing domestic sugar production was an important government program, with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo urging the private sector to build 10 new sugar factories during his first term in the office.

The target has been realized as the 10 new sugar factories have been built in East Java, South Sumatra, Southeast Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and other provinces. The new factories will produce an additional 1 million tons of sugar on top of the 2.5 million tons of sugar the country previously produced, Amran said.

The Agriculture Ministry has projected domestic consumption of sugar to total 6.5 million tons this year, consisting of 2.8 million to 3 million tons in household consumption and another 3.7 million tons to fulfill the demands of the food and beverage industry.

Meanwhile, the Trade Ministry has set an import quota of 2.8 million tons of raw sugar to meet the industry’s needs.

 

Pertamina urged to up its role in petrochemical industry
Investor Daily, p.9 

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan has urged state-owned energy company Pertamina to expand its business in the petrochemical industry as the future development of electric vehicles in the country can reduce demand for gasoline.

According to Jonan, the world will use more renewable energy than before as many countries, including Indonesia, have indicated their serious commitment to develop electric vehicles.

Jonan said Pertamina had been slow in tapping into the opportunities in the petrochemical industry, left behind by PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical, which has for years focused its business on petrochemicals.

By developing its petrochemical business unit, Pertamina can continue its exploration and production activities as petrochemical products are produced from oil and gas.

Pertamina has set a target to significantly increase its petrochemical production from 600 kilo-tons per annum (KTPA) to 6,600 KTPA by upgrading four of its old oil refineries and building two new oil refineries.