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August 21, 2014

Jokowi JK to prepare the New Cabinet

 Jokowi-JK to prepare the New Cabinet

Indonesia's next president will certainly be Joko Widodo after the country's Constitutional Court or commonly known as MK made a "final and binding" decision that wholly rejected the appeal mounted by his rival, Prabowo Subianto.

 The verdict was read out by the Presiding Judge Hamdan Zoelva on August 21st at 8 : 44 WIB , Jakarta Time 2014

The panel of judges wholly rejects the suit lodged by the applicant," said presiding judge Hamdan Zoelva at shortly before 9pm local time

After the decision, Mr Joko thanked the court for the decision, saying it gave them "the chance to work on the preparation for the next government."
The decision confirms the July 22 declaration of the vote by the Electoral Commission that the Jakarta governor, a political cleanskin untainted by the New Order regime of former dictator Suharto, won the presidency with about 53 per cent of the vote.

Ahok wants deputy who complements him

Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama said he wanted a deputy who would complement his working style, as he will be replacing Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as Jakarta governor next month, when the latter prepares to take office as president in October.
“My deputy should be a person who is a populist, corruption-free, cool, honest and able to calm my temper,” he said as quoted by at City Hall on Wednesday.
Ahok, who is the former East Belitung regent, said he would prefer someone who had experience of leading a province or a city, rather than a career politician or lawmaker.
He also said that he may choose a woman deputy in order to have a colleague who could calm him down if and when he lost his temper.
However, he rejected recent speculation that suggested he might join forces with Surabaya's woman mayor, Tri “Risma” Rismaharini, saying that he considered Risma had a similar character to his.
Ahok will replace Jokowi, who has been named president-elect for 2014-2019 by the General Elections Commission (KPU), when Jokowi resigns from the governorship in August.
“I am ready to replace Pak Jokowi, but compared to him, I am more blunt and quicker in making decisions,” he said.
The decision of who will become Ahok’s deputy lays with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gerindra Party; the former endorsed Jokowi and the latter Ahok for the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election.
The names of several candidates have been proposed as Ahok’s deputy through to 2017.
Boy Sadikin, chairman of the PDI-P’s Jakarta branch of the regional executives board and son of former Jakarta governor Ali Sadikin; Djarot Saiful Hidayat, former mayor of Blitar, East Java; Bambang DH, former mayor of Surabaya, East Java, and Muhammad Taufik, chairman of Gerindra’s Jakarta branch of the regional executives board. (gda)
Categories: Indonesian News

Guess what?: Revalina nervous starring as Pipik

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
JAKARTA: Although actress Revalina S. Temat has starred in 16 movies, she still found she felt nervous performing in her latest film, Hijrah Cinta (Moved by Love).

The 28-year-old said she was nervous because in the movie, she stars as Pipik Dian Indrawati, the widow of late Muslim preacher Jefri “Uje” al-Buchori.

“I was very nervous because I didn’t want to disappoint Umi [Pipik] with my acting. I have apologized to her if any of my acting was bad,” Reva said as quoted by

She said she personally admired Pipik as she was a very strong person.

“She’s so strong in the way she has lived her life, from the first time she met Uje through until he died,” said the actress, who starred in Wanita Tetap Wanita (Women Are Still Women).
Categories: Indonesian News

200 security personnel secure Gambir Station for Idul Fitri getaways

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
At least 200 personnel from the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) have been deployed to provide security at Gambir Station in Central Jakarta in the lead-up to and during Idul Fitri, from July 21 to Aug. 5.
Didi Surya, commander of Gambir's Special Railway Police Corps (Polsuska), said the police and the TNI had established a joint security team, comprising 118 personnel plus 10 railway police officers and 70 security guards from Gambir Station.
“Currently, the situation is safe. We can assure the public that there are no pickpockets at Gambir Station. If anything happens, it will do so outside the station,” he said Wednesday as quoted by Antara news agency.
Didi said the station was not overly crowded with passengers five days ahead of Idul Fitri, though numbers were expected to increase on Friday through Sunday.
Agus Komarudin, spokesperson for state-owned rail operator PT KAI's operational region 1, said 10,579 passengers had arrived at and departed from Gambir Station on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, he said the station had served 4,399 passengers.
Agus added that KAI had prepared 30 regular trains and added five more to deal with the surge in passengers during Idul Fitri.
The five additional trains are the Argo Dwipangga (Gambir-Surakarta); the Gumarang Lebaran (Gambir-Surabaya); the Purwojaya Lebaran (Gambir-Cilacap); the Gajayana Lebaran (Gambir Malang), and the Argo Lawu (Gambir-Surakarta).
Previously, Transportation Minister EE Mangindaan said 4.5 million out of 20 million people would be traveling by train when returning to their hometowns and villages for Idul Fitri. (gda)
Categories: Indonesian News

JCI climbs 0.18% on Thursday morning

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) opened on a positive note in Thursday's first trading session, climbing by 0.18 percent to 5,102.86.
During the morning session, 104 stocks strengthened, while 39 stocks weakened and 68 remained unchanged, reported.
The volume of trade involved 476.18 million stocks worth Rp 652.12 billion (US$ 56.73 million).
Shares in nine different sectors saw improvements by 9 a.m. on Thursday with infrastructure, agriculture and mining recording the highest increases.
Infrastructure led the pack, rising by 0.73 percent, followed by agriculture and mining, which strengthened by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
The highest gainers on the LQ45 index during the morning session were PT Multipolar, PT Pakuwon Jati and PT Visi Media Asia, while, PT Alam Sutera Realty, PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa and PT Semen Indonesia were the index's biggest losers. (nfo)
Categories: Indonesian News

A dynasty in antiques

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
Bali’s history:: Amid the antiques of Europe and Asia are the treasures of old Bali. Sukarno’s doors:: Ketut remembers Indonesia’s first president Sukarno ordering antique doors for the Bali Presidential Palace in Tampak Siring. (Photos by J.B.Djwan)
Indonesia’s changing eras can be read on the shelves of Putu Oka’s antique shop, Toko Indra, in Klungkung that abuts several more family antique shops in the quaint hillside town.
Next door at Toko Kresna and farther down at Toko Gana and Toko Dewi the tale is embellished with the remains of the past safe in glass cabinets passed down the generations in this dynasty of antique dealers.

These traders trace their roots back to the 1930s when their mother, the dynamic Nyoman Tinggan, hunted out antiques across Bali, the first trader to ever do so. At the same time her husband Wayan Pagah was making the daily trek from Klungkung to Padang Bai laden with local souvenirs to be sold to seafaring tourists.

Ancient and rare Chinese Celadon bowls dating from the 17th century tell of the immense trade between China and Indonesia, hundreds of years ago. Squatting nearby are a pair of Japanese sake cups reminding buyers of that nation’s cruel invasion during World War II.

In glass cabinets rest delicate floral patterned plates so loved by the former colonists of the country, the Dutch, who clung to their European aesthetic despite being surrounded by the extraordinary and intricate textiles and sculptures of Indonesia, also to be found at Toko Indra.

“In the past, Mom’s [Nyoman Tinggan] shop was in front of the palace. We moved here to the main street during the Japanese era in 1942. This is the original store and these tiles have never been changed,” says Putu Oka of the yellow with rust red motif floor tiles.

Now in his 60s, Putu Oka says business is slow and he fears his children will not continue the business, which is a slice of history, after him.

“I took the business on because my brothers and sisters didn’t want it and I felt it was important to continue the family tradition. I have been in this antique shop since I was a little kid, but I don’t think the store will last into a third generation. No one wants to take it on,” says Putu Oka of the 84-year-old family business that was once supported by the nation’s greats.

Indonesia’s first president Sukarno bought their doors for the Presidential Palace in Bali and visiting Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito was introduced to their wares while cruising Padang Bai’s waters, according to Putu Oka’s younger brother Ketut Bagiada from Toko Dewi, who remembers traveling to Singaraja with his intrepid mother Nyoman in search of antiques.

“I learned all I know of antiques from my mom. Often I traveled with her to Singaraja to buy. At that time there were a lot of antiques there, fabrics, wooden sculptures, doors, beautiful doors.

“From a ship that sank off Nusa Penida 300 years ago, Mom would buy Chinese porcelain that was washed up over the years, but still my favorite antiques are the wooden lions of Singaraja,” says Bagiada of the lions known as singga across Asia.

As his older brother grows anxious for the future of his antique business, Bagiada is upbeat and still excited by the treasure hunt for antiques.

“I was born in 1946 and I still love antiques, forever I will follow in mom’s footsteps,” says Bagiada, adding that his mother was the first person to deal in antiques in Bali and was seconded to the Denpasar Museum as a collector.

“Mom also collected antiques for the museum in Denpasar during the Dutch era. Maybe they came here and she got to places in the Dutch trucks,” says Bagiada of how his mother may have traveled across Bali’s early road system.

“I remember Mom riding her push-bike to Denpasar to sell goods, but I don’t remember how she got to Singaraja in the early days,” says Bagiada of the mountainous route to Bali’s early capital.

With genuine antiques becoming more difficult to find, third generation dealer Made Purnama and her husband Bakrin of Toko Gana decided to specialize in kris, the Indonesian short sword that identifies its owner’s social standing.

“I inherited the business from my mother. She had taken it on after my grandmother, Nyoman, died. I still like being involved in antiques because for me they represent high art and a continuing of the family tradition started by my grandmother. But real antiques are hard to find so we specialize in kris,” says Purnama.

Husband Bakrin is the backbone of the kris business. Having worked as curator of kris for Puri Gede in Karangasem following rigorous training under the empu (royal kris maker at Surakarta) palace, Bakrin is well versed in the way of the kris.

“From a small child I knew kris. At the Solo [Surakarta] Palace I discovered the beauty and inner satisfaction of working with kris. I discovered their mystery,” says Bakrin, who has a pair of 18th century kris in his collection.

“Old kris are essentially history. The old techniques of folding the blade hundreds of times are superb. The techniques today are very different. In the old days empu worked for their king, so the kris were filled with love and respect for the king. I feel kris are now made for money,” says Bakrin, who adheres to the ethics of the past.

“High-quality kris should not be sold out of Indonesia. It is sad if these elements of our history go overseas, so I won’t sell good kris out of the country,” says Bakrin, who with his wife Made is continuing family traditions.

It is a different picture next door at Toko Kresna where Putra Bagarta, while still dealing in antiques as a sideline, has re-focused the business on aerobic wear and powerlifting supplements and nutrition.

“It is so difficult to find real antiques — there are a lot of fakes out there, so we now see the antiques as a hobby and a way to maintain our traditions, but our livelihood is based on aerobic wear and food supplements,” says Putra, who like all his family still lives in the nest of antique shops in Klungkung founded by their grandmother, the amazing Nyoman Tinggan.

— Photos by J.B.Djwan
Categories: Indonesian News

Analysis: Macro outlook: Weakness to persist

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
During the fasting month of Ramadhan and the Idul Fitri festivity, we expect demand-pull inflationary pressure to escalate as Indonesia’s workers have greater income from the public holiday allowances (THR).

We note that some staple food prices have risen including those of eggs and chicken. Additionally, we have seen price increases for airline transportation, trains, intra-provincial buses and hotels in the lead-up to Idul Fitri. Hence, we expect July headline inflation to spike to 1.15 percent month-on-month (4.76 percent year-on-year) from June’s level of 0.43 percent (6.7 percent year-on-year) with the core consumer price index (CPI) also moving up to 0.97 percent month-on-month from 0.4 percent in June.
On the trade balance, we expect June exports to have contracted 2.44 percent month-to-month (-2 percent year-on-year due to a lower base) to US$14.5 billion, mainly due to slower demand for coal from China as well as lower palm-oil exports to India and Pakistan. We also estimate that manufacturing exports will decline slightly on lower demand as shown in Exhibit 2. Furthermore, we expect June imports to reach $14 billion, up 1.2 percent month-on-month (-4.5 percent year-on-year), supported by higher domestic demand on seasonal effects. Thus, since we expect lower exports than imports, we look for the June trade balance to return to a deficit of $469 million (May: $70 million surplus). At this stage, June external trade should translate into a first-half trade deficit of $1.3 billion this year (Exhibit 4).

Due to accelerated business expansion and the Idul Fitri festivity in the second quarter, which raised import demand, we are of the view that the second-quarter current-account (CA) deficit should have widened to $7.8 billion or 3.68 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — first quarter: 2.05 percent — particularly amid relatively weak export growth on sluggish global demand. On the flip side, we expect the second-quarter capital account to have increased to $8.8 billion (first quarter: $7.8 billion) supported by capital inflows into the domestic financial market worth $4.8 billion despite increased uncertainty over the election. We expect the second-quarter balance of payments (BoP) surplus to have slowed down to $1.05 billion (first quarter: $2.07 billion).

Although we expect relatively worse month-on-month macroeconomic indicators in August, we believe Bank Indonesia (BI) will maintain its benchmark rate at 7.50 percent at the next board of governors meeting on August 14. We believe the recent higher CPI pressure and enlarged trade deficit will be temporary due to seasonal events.

Finally, on the GDP outlook, we expect second-quarter GDP growth to remain weak at 5.2 percent year-on-year (+2.57 percent quarter-on-quarter), similar to the first quarter’s actual level of 5.21 percent. We note that private consumption will have remained resilient in the advent of the election as well as the fasting month. On the contrary, we expect investments to have decelerated further on the negative impact of the tightening policy, whereas government expenditure growth would have declined due to spending cuts. Additionally, the weaker second-quarter trade balance ($2.4 billion deficit) should also have restrained GDP growth from bouncing back from the lowest year-on-year level since the third quarter of 2009.
The writer is an economist for the research department of Bahana Securities.
Categories: Indonesian News

Slowly but surely, progress seen in Trans-Java toll road construction

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
Construction of the Pejagan-Pemalang toll road in Central Java officially kicked off on Wednesday, marking the first step for the government to begin the Trans-Java toll road project that will link the western and eastern ends of Java.

“This groundbreaking ceremony shows that we are now one step closer to realizing the Trans-Java toll road project, one of the country’s land transportation solutions to support logistics flow,” said Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto during his opening speech.

The minister said that the toll road was expected to ease the burden on Java’s northern coastal road, Pantura, which had long been the island’s transportation backbone, and which channeled goods equivalent to almost 50 percent of the nation’s economy.

Djoko said that the highway would consist of four parts: the 14.2-kilometer Pejagan-West Brebes section, the 6-km West Brebes–East Brebes section, the 10.4-km East Brebes–East Tegal section and the 29.6-km East Tegal-Pemalang section.

According to Djoko, the government had acquired 96.31 percent of the land needed to construct the first section, and 95.75 percent of land needed for the second section.

He said that the government was expected to complete the land acquisition of the first two sections by the third quarter of this year and the construction was expected to be completed by the end of next year.

As for the third and fourth sections, Djoko said that the land-acquisition process would begin sometime soon.

Total investment in the project is earmarked at Rp 4.08 trillion (US$354.5 million), which will be partly financed by PT Bank Exim Indonesia.

The toll road operator, Pejagan Pemalang Toll Road (PPTR), which has recently been acquired by state-owned construction firm PT Waskita Karya, will carry out the construction of the highway.

Through its subsidiary, Waskita Toll Road, the firm has acquired PPTR from Rekatunggal Abadi and Global Selaras Dunia, both of which were subsidiaries of PT MNC Infrastruktur Utama.

MNC acquired PPTR in December 2012 from Bakrie Toll Road, a subsidiary of the Bakrie Group.

Waskita Karya president director M Choliq said that the firm was expecting to see a total of 17,000 vehicles per day when the first two sections began operations. The company has secured a concession period of 30 years to operate the road.

“We hope the number of vehicles passing along the highway will surpass our target because this toll road will simultaneously begin its operations along with the Cikampek-Palimanan toll road,” he said.

“Therefore, people traveling from Jakarta can directly reach Pemalang using the toll road network,”
Choliq said on the sidelines of the ceremony.

Cikampek-Palimanan or the Cipali toll road in West Java, opened in December 2011 and is part of the Trans-Java toll road network.

Cipali toll road, constructed by infrastructure firm PT Lintas Marga Sedaya, has been divided into six sections: Cikopo-Kalijati (29.12 km), Kalijati-Subang (9.56 km), Subang-Cikedung (31.37 km), Cikedung-Kertajati (17.66 km), Kertajati-Sumberjaya (14.51 km) and Sumberjaya-Palimanan (13.78 km).
Categories: Indonesian News

Palm oil producers’ net profits skyrocket on higher selling prices

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
Publicly listed palm oil producers rounded up the first half of the year with significant net profit growth after gloomy business last year on the back of improving crude palm oil (CPO) prices and a rise in production.

Sampoerna Agro, part of tobacco conglomerate Sampoerna Group, saw its net profit rise by nearly sevenfold to Rp 192.63 billion between January and June this year, compared to the Rp 27.52 billion it generated during the same period last year.

The significant jump in the company’s bottom line was propped by a 43.56 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) revenue increase up to Rp 1.45 trillion and a 42.8 percent increase in its CPO production to 142,045 tons.

“The significant increase in our sales is due to the rise in our average selling price [ASP],” the company’s written statement, made available on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) website on Wednesday, said.

Sampoerna Agro saw its ASP for CPO soar by about 38 percent to reach Rp 8,865 per kilogram in the first half of 2014, compared with the Rp 6,401 it registered last year.

Sampoerna Agro is not the only plantation firm to end its first six months this year with skyrocketing profit, as Astra Agro Lestari (AALI) and Dharma Satya Nusantara (DSNG) also enjoyed significant jump in their bottom line thanks to increasing CPO selling prices.

AALI, plantation unit of diversified conglomerate Astra Internasional Indonesia, reported that its net profit doubled to Rp 1.42 trillion in the first half of this year from Rp 745.64 billion between January and June last year.

AALI saw a 45.71 percent y-o-y revenue increase to hit Rp 8.01 trillion in the first half. Its CPO sales volume, however, declined 10.3 percent to 674,730 tons due to the company’s strategy to shift some of its output to olein production.

The company attributed the astonishing rise in revenue to its ascending CPO prices, which increased 31.5 percent y-o-y to market at Rp 8,728 a kilogram throughout the first half of 2014.

DSNG, on the other hand, tripled its net profit to Rp 367.36 billion in the first half of the year, compared with the Rp 114.85 billion generated in the same period last year

The company’s president director, Djojo Boentoro, said that the skyrocketing net profit was driven by gains in both CPO production and the average selling price in the first six months.

DSNG’s CPO output rose 30.2 percent over the same period last year, while its average selling price ascended 35.7 percent to Rp 8,780 per kilogram.

The palm oil companies’ rising profits were in contrast with their achievement last year, during which the country’s plantation firms saw their bottom line erode by plunging CPO prices due to unfavorable global economic conditions and sinking demand.

Kiswoyo Adi Joe, an analyst from Investa Saran Mandiri, warned that the astounding rise might not last until the end of the year, as first half performance was most likely driven by the global price jump in the first quarter of the year and the rupiah depreciation against the US dollar, which is favorable for export commodities.

“The CPO price is declining quarter-on-quarter, and El Nino — which is supposed to lead to a supply decline and rising prices — is estimated to be wetter than it was first projected. The rupiah is also estimated to rebound in the second half,” he said.

“CPO firms might conclude the year with a [net profit] rise of only 5 percent,” he said

Global prices started to gain a foothold late last year and went on to hit 2,916 ringgit a ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivative on March 11, the highest level since September 2012. CPO prices on the Malaysian bourse, despite being traded 13 percent higher compared to the first half of 2013, have declined by about 4 percent to 2,576 ringgit per ton.
Categories: Indonesian News

BCA net profits grow 24% in H1 on strong interest income

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
Publicly listed Bank Central Asia (BCA), the nation’s third-largest lender, booked higher profit growth in the first half of this year than in the same period a year ago thanks to strong interest income and margins, despite slower loan growth.

BCA’s net profits jumped 24.2 percent year-on-year to Rp 7.85 trillion (US$682.1 million) in the first half, whereas a year before, the growth rate only stood at 19.3 percent.

The bank’s outstanding loans grew by 14.6 percent to Rp 321.28 trillion, compared with 24.1 percent growth recorded a year ago.

“We disbursed quite a lot of loans throughout the second half of 2013, the profits on which we began to reap in this year’s first half,” BCA president director Jahja Setiaatmadja said.

Jahja attributed the bank’s strong profits achievement to higher growth in its net interest income and a rising net interest margin (NIM) — which is the difference between lending rates and deposit rates —, even though all of its lending segments actually recorded slowdowns in the January-to-June period.

Net interest income increased 25.6 percent to Rp 15.43 trillion and NIM was up 50 basis points (bps) year-on-year to 6.5 percent, BCA’s financial report showed.

Given the current slowdown in the domestic economy, Jahja forecast that BCA would be unable to increase its NIM further and it would most likely miss its 2014 lending-growth target.

“We will probably achieve only 8 to 10 percent growth in loans, lower than the 15 to 17 percent target set by financial regulators,” he said.

The financial report also revealed that BCA posted 11.3 percent growth to Rp 421.19 trillion in its third-party funds (DPK) by the end of June. The growth rate was slightly higher than the 10.9 percent it achieved in the first six months of 2013.

Low-cost funds — consisting of savings and demand deposits — continued to make up the largest part of the DPK at 77.2 percent.

Even though low-cost funds dominated the DPK, it was time deposits that recorded the highest growth, soaring 32.4 percent, when just a year ago, they were down 4.7 percent.

“Our current pricing is already attractive enough for customers. At the moment, our highest rate revolves at between 9.25 percent and 9.5 percent for customers with funds of over Rp 10 billion per person,” he said, adding that BCA had no plans to increase the funding rate.

Meanwhile, Bank Permata — jointly owned by diversified conglomerate Astra International and Standard Chartered Bank — reported a 2.2 percent decline in net profits to Rp 800 billion in the first half.

Permata’s lending and DPK grew 19 percent to Rp 127 trillion and Rp 138 trillion, respectively, in the first half of 2014. Both segments grew at a slower rate than the year before.

Its net interest income grew at a much slower rate, at only 5 percent year-on-year to reach Rp 2.7 trillion, whereas in 2013,income surged 12 percent. Permata’s NIM was compressed as well during the period, down to 3.5 percent from 4.4 percent.

The bank said the compressed NIM was a result of higher cost of funds, reflecting the general increase in interest rates and strong competition for funding.

Shares in BCA traded at Rp 11,625 at close of trading on Wednesday, with the stock up by 21 percent so far this year, in line with the broader stock index’s 19 percent gain. Permata, on the other hand, has seen its shares rise by 9.5 percent this year.
Categories: Indonesian News

Jokowi gets warm welcome from financial market

Jakarta Post Latest News - 5 hours 42 min ago
An increased appetite in the rupiah and local stocks was seen a day after president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was officially announced the winner of the recent presidential election, along with vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla.

The rupiah advanced to below the 11,500 per US dollar level for the first time in two months on Wednesday, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. The currency ended up closing at 11,505 per dollar in the day’s late trading session, or 0.9 percent stronger compared to a day earlier.

Foreign investors bought Rp 510 billion (US$44.3 million) more stocks than they sold on Wednesday, pushing up the benchmark stock index by 0.2 percent to close at 5,093.

International funds have bought Rp 12.5 trillion of Indonesian stocks throughout July, taking foreign inflows in the stock market up to an impressive Rp 56.6 trillion so far this year.

“Over the medium term, we think the perceived market-friendly leanings of the Jokowi-Kalla team should support the positive momentum in rupiah assets,” economists from UK-based Barclays Bank wrote in a note distributed to clients on Wednesday.

“In particular, if the new administration is able to implement its policy platforms on corruption and government efficiency, energy reforms and fuel subsidies, there could be significant improvement in the country’s fiscal and current account health,” the bank stated.

Jokowi, aiming to grow Southeast Asia’s largest economy by 7 percent, has stressed the importance of infrastructure development to bolster growth and cutting energy subsidies that have strained state finances.

Vigilant observers, however, have said that the positive sentiment may be fleeting as the country’s economy is facing issues in the external account, and on presidential contender Prabowo Subianto’s intention to contest the election result at the Constitutional Court.

Recent bullish sentiments in Indonesia’s financial market may be short-lived, Finance Minister Chatib Basri told reporters on Wednesday.

“I welcome the fact that our elections could be held peacefully. After this, however, the issue will back to fundamentals,” he said at his office in Jakarta.

“Soon, we will face the hard truth that the global financial market remains volatile; that some geopolitical risks still prevail; that there is a small likelihood our economic growth could jump significantly next year,” the minister noted.

Bank Indonesia has estimated that the country’s current-account deficit would reach 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, higher than the central bank’s sustainable level of 2.5 percent.

Weak exports in the country — against the backdrop of a slow global economy — have been exacerbated with high import payments, especially on oil.

Such conditions, which began last year, have spooked investors, and made the rupiah Asia’s worst performing currency last year.

Barclays Bank saw the nation’s currency trade at around 11,500 in the next six months, before weakening further to subsequently hit as low as 11,700.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch currency strategist Claudio Piron said the bank had a “modest bearish” trend on the rupiah profile, citing uncertain balance of payments (BoP) dynamics.

To keep its BoP in surplus territory, Indonesia would need to attract at least Rp 1 billion of portfolio inflows per month, ANZ Bank currency strategist Irene Cheung estimated.

While the rupiah assets have enjoyed near-term appreciation due to the so-called “Jokowi effect”, economists have predicted that some short-term political uncertainty is also warranted, especially after Prabowo said that he would lodge an official contest of the election result at the Constitutional Court on Friday.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty over Prabowo’s next intentions,” said Gareth Leather, an economist from UK-based research firm Capital Economics. “Although it looks highly unlikely that Prabowo will be able to get the results of the election overturned, the ongoing uncertainty is likely to weigh on Indonesia’s financial markets.”
Categories: Indonesian News

US Mining Giants Say Nearing Indonesia Deal on Copper Exports

Jakarta Globe Business - 6 hours 39 min ago
[caption id="attachment_309663" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Miners are seen at the Grasberg Mine, operated by US-based Freeport-McMoRan, in Papua province in this November 4, 2010 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin)[/caption] Jakarta. Indonesia’s top two copper miners signaled they are nearing a breakthrough to allow a restart of concentrate exports, which have been halted for more than six months due to a dispute with the Southeast Asian country over new mining rules. The comments come as Indonesian President-Elect Joko Widodo prepares to assume power in October, and will take pressure off the new government to resolve the dispute, which has halted about $200 million a month in copper exports. Freeport-McMoRan said on Wednesday it expects to “imminently” sign an agreement with Indonesia that would enable it to immediately resume copper concentrate exports. In a further sign that the deadlock could be nearing an end, Newmont Mining also said it was negotiating a memorandum of understanding that could restart stalled shipments. Arizona-based Freeport said on July 8 it had agreed on a draft memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian government but had not signed it. At the time, it gave no time frame on when it would resume exports. Indonesia introduced a mineral ore export ban and a steep export tax in January. “It is a compromise to create a bridge for us so that we can return to normal operations,” Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson said of the MoU on an earnings call with analysts and investors. Under the agreement, Freeport would pay a “significantly reduced” export duty in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but higher royalties on copper and gold sales. It would also pay a $115 million “assurance bond” against development of a smelter, Adkerson said. Freeport, which owns and operates the massive Grasberg mine, wants financial incentives from the government to build a new smelter. Indonesia imposed the new rules partly to spur construction of smelters in the country, but miners have said building new capacity does not make economic sense. Adkerson said the negotiations also involve agreeing on terms to extend Freeport’s operations beyond 2021, when its current contract with the government expires. Cabinet to meet An Indonesian cabinet meeting with outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was due to discuss the issue later on Thursday. News of a potential breakthrough caused little immediate market reaction. Copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was trading flat at $7,043.75 a metric ton in early Asian trade. A North America-based concentrates trader said any resumption in exports from Indonesia would not be enough to dramatically increase supply, but would renew expectations of an oversupply in the market. “A lot of people expected the market to be oversupplied,” he said, adding that recent delays to mine output expansions had led to tighter conditions. The two US mining giants account for 97 percent of Indonesia’s copper production. While Freeport had engaged in behind-the-scenes talks, Newmont suspended operation at its Batu Hijau mine and filed for international arbitration, drawing a rebuke from the Indonesian government. “We hope to reach an agreement with the government of Indonesia on an MoU or memorandum of understanding, which we would expect would lead to issuance of an export permit,” Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said on Wednesday. He did not give details on terms or when exports could resume. Officials from Newmont’s Indonesian unit have been in ongoing meetings with the government, he added. Indonesia’s President-Elect Joko said on Tuesday he planned to sit down with Freeport and other miners to resolve a minerals row, which has halted $500 million of exports a month in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Reuters
Categories: Indonesian News

Indonesia to Allow Freeport to Resume Copper Concentrate Exports: Official

Jakarta Globe Business - 6 hours 40 min ago
[caption id="attachment_309665" align="alignleft" width="300"] An aerial view shows the site of the Grasberg Mine, which is operated by US-based Freeport-McMoRan, in Papua province in this November 4, 2010 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin)[/caption] Jakarta. Indonesia is expected to issue US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan with a government permit to resume exporting copper concentrates in one or two weeks, a mining ministry official said on Thursday. While Indonesia is close to a deal with Freeport, there has been no progress in talks between the outgoing government and US miner Newmont Mining, which has filed for international arbitration over the country’s mineral export tax. “The government’s position is we will face them in court,” said Sukhyar, director general of coal and minerals at the mining ministry. Reuters
Categories: Indonesian News

Low-income residents complain ‘mudik’ drains wallets

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
Hundreds of people at the Pulogadung terminal in East Jakarta lined up on Wednesday to take advantage of free transportation services sponsored by the government and private companies.

However, not everyone was fortunate enough to return to their hometowns free of charge.

Every year, millions return to their hometowns to spend Idul Fitri with their families in a tradition called mudik. This year, the peak of the annual exodus will be July 25-27, or three days prior to Idul Fitri, which is estimated to fall on July 28.

The terminal was packed with hundreds of people towing luggage, all excited to reunite with their families.

Many of those who missed out on the free services ended up purchasing their own tickets, while others chose to return to their homes in the city.

One passenger, 53-year-old laundry worker Tuti Sri Mulyati, said she came to the terminal hoping to get a free ticket to Surabaya, East Java, as she had failed to get one after searching the last three months.

“I did register for the free-mudik program offered by government institutions, major corporations, cell phone operators and retail stores. I guess I’m just not one of the lucky ones,” Tuti told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

However, she decided to take a chance and went to the terminal with no ticket in hand and limited funds.

“There is not a single free seat left, so I’ve had to buy a bus ticket for Rp 500,000 [US$43.44],” Tuti said.

She added that she had pawned her laptop for Rp 1 million and planned to give the money to her sick mother.

“I’ve already used half the money. I don’t know what to do now,” Tuti said tearfully.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old Tukijan, who was looking for a free ticket to Wonosari, Central Java, decided to go back home because he could not afford to purchase one on his own.

“The ticket is Rp 400,000. I can’t afford that. I’m just a factory worker,” Tukijan said.

He said that he would save his money and send it to his wife after Idul Fitri.

“I miss my wife and kids but it’s fine. I will just go to Wonosari when the ticket prices are not as expensive,” he said.

A similar scene could be seen in Kampung Rambutan terminal in East Jakarta, where hundreds of people who failed to get free tickets lined up at the ticket counters.

One passenger, 48-year-old Iwan, said ticket prices to Pekalongan, Central Java, had risen substantially ahead of Idul Fitri.

“Usually a ticket to Pekalongan costs only about Rp 125,000. Today it costs Rp 200,000,” he said.

Iwan, a street vendor in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, added that he also had to buy tickets for his wife, son and younger brother.

“So, I’ve had to pay Rp 800,000 in total. I will also have to buy return tickets. I won’t have any money left after this,” he said jokingly.

A 48-year-old woman, Siti Suparwati, said that she was still hesitant about traveling back to her hometown of Magetan, East Java.

“The ticket is priced at over Rp 400,000. It’s too expensive, but I really want to go to Magetan to see my relatives,” she said.

Siti vowed she would try her luck again next year so she does not have to spend Rp 400,000 just to see her family. (dwa)
Categories: Indonesian News

Construction worker dies by electrocution

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
JAKARTA: A worker with construction company PT Baja Prima died on Wednesday after being electrocuted by a charged metal roof frame in Depok, West Java.

Ayit, a 40-year-old resident of Jelambar, Grogol, West Jakarta, was hit by high voltage currents when he and his fellow worker Aji were repairing the roof frame on a three-story house on Jl. Kapuas, Bhakti Jaya subdistrict in Simpangan Depok.

“The victim was struck by the electric current when the victim and I fixed the steel-made roof frame. The victim died on his way to an adjacent hospital on Jl. Raya Bogor,” Aji said on Wednesday.

Aji said he heard a sound like thunder and then saw that Ayit’s body was badly burned.

Yadi Mulyadi, another eyewitness, said besides seeing a bolt of lightning he also heard an explosion.

“I was shocked to see the victim’s body burn and then fall to the ground,” he said, as quoted by

Yadi added that the victim was electrocuted when the steel roof frame touched high-voltage electrical wires hanging over the construction site.

Sukmajaya Police station chief Comr. Agus Widodo said police were still investigating the fatal incident.
Categories: Indonesian News

Ahok infuriated by irregularities at vehicle emissions test center

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, teamed up with Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Bambang Widjojanto, on Wednesday to inspect an emissions-test center in Kedaung Kali Angke, West Jakarta, and found several irregularities.

At around lunchtime, Ahok arrived in the area, where Bambang, city secretary Saefulloh and city inspectorate chief Franky Mangatas had been waiting for him, and together entered the center.

Ahok asked Jakarta Transportation Agency officials to try out vehicle-test equipment. However, most of the equipment did not function properly. He later asked the officials to conduct tests on a truck that he randomly picked. The officials tested the truck manually.

The deputy governor proceeded to inspect the cashier, where he found cash totaling Rp 8 million [US$695.19]. He also discovered that officials wearing Transportation Agency uniforms were not actually civil servants.

Ahok was infuriated.

“Get rid of them. Even if they are civil servants, just remove them. They deserve it,” he said.

Ahok also bombarded the officers with questions regarding emissions tests, after which he learned that only 11 of 500 vehicles tested that day had failed the tests.

“How come only 11 vehicles out of 500 failed the tests while you conducted the tests manually? How would you know that the remaining vehicles were actually in proper condition?” he said.

Following the inspection, the city administration decided to temporarily shut down the Kedaung Kali Angke emissions-test center to launch an investigation.

“We will shut down the center as of today so anyone hoping to test their vehicle in this center today should cancel it. These are such dubious tests. They might be delaying the issue of the test results or the approval, hoping for bribes,” he said.

The official test fee for a vehicle is set at Rp 87,000 but in reality a vehicle owner may have to pay between Rp 200,000 and Rp 400,000.

“I want dodgy officials removed. If they file a lawsuit, we will face them. We will follow the money and report it to the police or to prosecutors,” Ahok said, adding that he would instruct Jakarta Transportation Agency head M. Akbar and his deputy Benyamin Bukit to inspect all emissions-test centers in Jakarta.

Bambang said the impromptu joint inspection was part of a program by the city administration and the KPK to enforce good governance. “We are carrying out our supervisory function,” Bambang said.

He pointed to several discoveries made during the inspection.

“Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the equipment was not functioning and the tests were not reflected in the results. I also saw structural problems because the centers used to be jointly managed by the city administration and cooperatives but eventually the management was transferred to the city. However, since it was transferred to the city, a lot of the equipment has been broken. Many of the workers here are apparently outsiders,” he said.

Bambang also found fraudulent practices which involved large sums of money. “There were illegal levies of between Rp 100,000 and Rp 200,000 per vehicle so if today they tested 500 vehicles, there would be around Rp 2.5 billion in illegal levies circulating. That’s huge,” he said.

Bambang said the KPK would follow up the preliminary findings and launch an investigation to dig deeper into the illegal practices found in the emissions-test process.

“We will submit our findings and recommendations to the city administration four weeks from now. The rest will be up to the city administration,” he said.
Categories: Indonesian News

Recreational sites ready for Idul Fitri holiday

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
Recreational sites across Greater Jakarta are ready to welcome tons of people during the Idul Fitri holiday, which is projected to start on July 28.

It is traditional for people to visit family and relatives on the first two days of the holiday and go to recreational centers on the following days. Families in Greater Jakarta or farther away often rent trucks or minibuses and swarm the venues.

In a bid to enliven Idul Fitri, Taman Safari public relations head Yulius H. Suprihardo said that from July 28 to Aug. 2, visitors could enjoy a night safari, a 45-minute-night trip to see the nocturnal activities of animals. The night safari costs Rp 140,000 (US$12.16) for adults and Rp 130,000 for children. The night safari is normally available only on Saturdays.

“During the night safari, visitors can enjoy various programs, such as animal performances and fire dances at 9 p.m.,” he said, adding that they could also enter a haunted house and enjoy Z-Gorce, the latest entertainment feature at the park, which is located in Cisarua, Bogor.

He added that other popular activities at the park were taking pictures with baby animals and elephant rides.

Meanwhile, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) cultural park manager Suryandoro said that the park, located in East Jakarta, would screen Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, among other films, on the first day of Idul Fitri to entertain visitors.

The TMII has not devised new attractions because, according to Suryandoro, people love the existing rides, such as water-themed park, cable cars and paddle boats.

“After having fun at the TMII, visitors feel like they have traveled to all provinces in the country for just Rp 10,000,” he said.

Similar to the TMII, Ancol Dreamland in North Jakarta, Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta and The Jungle Adventure Waterpark, part of Jungleland Adventure Theme Park located in Sentul, West Java, also have not introduced new attractions.

Ancol spokesperson Metty Harahap said she believed visitors were still interested in visiting Ancol to enjoy existing entertainment features, especially an attraction based animated-film Ice Age at Fantasy World (Dufan). Visitors pay Rp 250,000 each to ride all the games at Dufan.

Ragunan spokesperson Wahyudi Bambang Prihantoro, 38, said the zoo never disappointed visitors despite having yet to provide new attractions because it was the most affordable zoo in the world. “At Ragunan, visitors pay an entrance fee of only Rp 4,500 [39 cents],” he said. “People love something that’s affordable.”

Meanwhile, The Jungle Adventure marketing communications director Kartika Sekartaji said the Jungle Waterpark would offer a promotional rate during the holiday, when visitors could take advantage of the “Buy 1 Get 3” program. Jungleland ticket holders will be entitled to a 20 percent discount on Jungle Waterpark entrance and free access to JungleFest.

To anticipate an influx of visitors, TMII will be guarded by 200 police and military personnel, Suryandoro said.

Similar to Suryandoro, Wahyudi said he had contacted the police and the military to request security for Ragunan. Larger parking areas will also be available to accommodate the increasing number of visitor cars.

“In order to prevent traffic congestion, we have also made special routes for motorists,” Wahyudi said.

The zoo will open 20 counters to anticipate thousands of visitors during the holiday. He predicted that the number of visitors throughout the holiday at TMII would increase to 400,000, up from 345,000 during last year’s Idul Fitri holiday. (alz)
Categories: Indonesian News

City back to normal, high alert suspended

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
The Jakarta Police withdrew its high-alert status in the capital just a day after the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the final presidential election result, declaring Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla the president-elect and vice president-elect on Tuesday.

“From today we have withdrawn all the reinforcements at the KPU building and we declare that the high-alert status in the city has been revoked,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters on Wednesday.

During the high-alert status, 31,000 personnel from the police and military were deployed across Jakarta for the announcement of the presidential election result. As many as 3,400 were ordered to guard the KPU office to prevent any kind of violence.

Rumors of the possibility of civil unrest in the city began circulating after presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto refused to concede defeat to Jokowi on election day, July 9, based on quick-count results.

Rikwanto said that the Jakarta Police and National Police had worked in a joint team together with the military, the Transportation Ministry and other stakeholders to maintain security in the capital.

“The city’s situation is under control; there were no incidents even though one of the presidential candidates declared that he would walk away from the race,” Rikwanto said.

He added that the police had maintained security, especially at the KPU building during the vote recapitulation, from morning to 11 p.m. on Tuesday, and made sure that people left the building and surrounding areas without incident.

As the presidential election has been concluded, the Jakarta Police’s reinforcements now will focus on the Idul Fitri holiday and any possibility of a prolonged election-result dispute.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Dwi Priyatno said that there would be police officers guarding the Constitutional Court over the next three days, in the event that the Prabowo-Hatta Rajasa pair filed a judicial review against the KPU’s decision.

“For the next three days we will stand by at the Constitutional Court [compound] to maintain security for the presidential election result’s judicial review,” Dwi said as quoted by

Dwi said that even though the election ran smoothly and no serious threats had been detected in relation to the judicial review, the police would nevertheless focus on securing the latter stage of the election process.

On Wednesday, Rikwanto added that the police would also turn their focus to a security operation during the Idul Fitri holiday called Operation Ketupat 2014, which will run from July 22 to Aug. 6.

“Since we have withdrawn our personnel from the KPU office, we will focus on Operation Ketupat,” Rikwanto said. (idb)
Categories: Indonesian News

Text your say: President-elect Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo

Jakarta Post Latest News - 7 hours 11 min ago
Your comments on the declaration by the General Elections Commission (KPU) that the ticket of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Jusuf Kalla won the July 9 presidential election, despite protests from rival ticket, Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa:
I am prouder than ever to be an Indonesian today: not just because of the result, but because of how most of us handled the election itself. We didn’t fall for cheap smear campaigns. We used our right to vote and people stepped up and guarded their choices so that they would matter.

What a journey it has been. The light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t a train after all. Rather, it was a welcome bit of fresh air. I’m excited to see Indonesia take a step in the right direction without taking two steps back, for once.


I, a Prabowo voter, congratulate Jokowi as the next president. Let’s support Jokowi to lead Indonesia.

Sri Indraputra

Congratulations to Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla for becoming president and vice president of Indonesia for 2014 to 2019.

For Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa, there is still another chance for both of you: the election for president and vice president of Indonesia for 2019 to 2024.

Yong Kru H

Go democracy! Go Indonesia!

Kiwi Kev

Congratulations to our new president-elect. Today we are so proud that you can lead us to a better future.

B. San

Congratulations to the people of Indonesia. Joko Widodo is a great man, honest and, at the same time, humble.

Enni Arief van Moorsel

As a distant admirer of Indonesia, congratulations to the people of Indonesia. Despite your economic hardships and your hundreds, if not thousands, of ethnicities, you have managed to pick the better candidate in each of your elections since Soeharto.

There is no other country that can claim this in the modern era. All of the countries in the world, especially those in Indonesia’s neighborhood, must look to your people as a great example of how democracy should work.

R. Danish

Great news coming in! Congratulations to Indonesia and to our new president-elect! I hope Jokowi remains honest and pure through his journey as a president.


A victory for Indonesian democracy! I have been a big critic in The Jakarta Post of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his second term, especially for his poor handling of inter-religious intolerance and the screw-up of the ban on exports of mineral ores, but I think his “smiling tiger” stance during this election has somehow calmed the situation.


Congratulations to the new great leader of Indonesia.


Well, it’s great news, of course, but please wait until Jokowi has been in the palace for a few months. Wait until the honeymoon period has passed. Then let’s see how he copes when things get nasty, when his opponents start to make life difficult both inside and outside of the legislature.

And let’s see how he deals with Indonesia’s biggest problem: religious intolerance and discrimination. I wish him well and hope he has the courage to overcome the problems that will be thrown his way. It won’t be an easy ride, but if he is brave and steadfast then Indonesia can look forward to his next, second, term as president.

Congratulations to Pak Jokowi and Pak Kalla. All the best for a new and better Indonesia.

Terry McAsee

Prabowo’s emotional protest was indeed not very clear, since it could be interpreted as him having “nothing to do anymore with the presidential election campaign”. The KPU had to continue finalizing the election tally, with the understanding that the protesting party could go to the respective court if it deemed it necessary.

The public had wished that whoever won would lead the nation, while the less fortunate candidate would cooperate by being a watchdog to ensure that the nation is growing as expected for the next five years.

Moeljono Adikoesoemo

I was a staunch supporter of candidate number 1, but because he left the race before reaching the finish line, I withdrew my support for him. The official body, the KPU, has announced the president/Vice President-elect.

Let them now finish their preparations so that in October they will be well equipped to start working to realize the many idealistic promises they made during their campaign. I congratulate them and wish them success.

Soebagjo Soetadji

Categories: Indonesian News

Singapore Home Prices Set to Extend Declines, Keppel Land Says

Jakarta Globe Business - 7 hours 23 min ago
[caption id="attachment_303087" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tourists visit Merlion park in Singapore on June 24, 2014. (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)[/caption] Home prices in Singapore will probably extend declines as the government sticks with curbs, according to Keppel Land, signaling further losses for Asia’s second-most expensive housing market. “Home prices are expected to continue to moderate,” chief executive Ang Wee Gee said at a results briefing on Wednesday. “Singapore is unlikely to relax property-cooling measures in the short term.” Residential values in the city-state slid for a third quarter in the three months to June to post the longest losing streak in five years after the government introduced loan measures last June, widening a campaign that began in 2009 to curb speculation. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on July 4 that a further correction in the Singapore property market would not be unexpected. Keppel Land stock closed on Wednesday at the highest in almost two months. “I don’t see the government relaxing the curbs for a year,” said Nicholas Mak, an executive director at SLP International Property Consultants in Singapore. “Developers that have deep pockets may not be under tremendous pressure to cut prices.” Singapore’s home sales by volume fell 68 percent in June from May as developers marketed fewer projects. The government began introducing the housing-market curbs in 2009, with some of the strictest measures implemented in 2013, including a cap on debt at 60 percent of a borrower’s income, higher stamp duties on home purchases and an increase in real-estate taxes. Challenging period “We don’t see a major correction in the residential property market in Singapore,” said Ang after the company reported second-quarter profit rose 12 percent to S$107.2 million ($86.6 million). The first six months have been challenging as the enforcement of cooling measures in Singapore and in China continued to damp the market, said Ang. Keppel Land’s revenue declined 7.8 percent to S$304.6 million in the three months to June, according to a statement. The developer sold 98 homes in Singapore in the first six months of the year. An index tracking private-residential prices retreated 1.1 percent to 209.3 points in the three months to June, following a 1.3 percent decline in the previous three months, according to preliminary data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on July 1. Keppel Land shares gained 5.1 percent this year compared with the 8 percent advance in the Straits Times Real Estate Index. The stock ended at S$3.51 on Wednesday, the highest close since May 26. Bloomberg
Categories: Indonesian News

The Battle Against Child Abuse in Indonesia’s Homes, Schools a Collective Effort

Jakarta Globe Business - 7 hours 38 min ago
Thirteen-year old Tedi, a junior high school student in the village of Tobelo on the Maluku Island’s North Halmahera, could not help but notice the alarmingly common practice of physical abuse toward children happening within school areas, regardless the mistake made by its students. “Why should children be victims of abuse?” he asked during an Inspiring Friends (SSI) workshop at the school aimed at raising awareness about child protection. The local institution has been a vocal advocate of the sensitive issue, providing consultation, organizing forums and educating the community on matters concerning the well-being of children. Upon hearing the question, five young participants aged between 12 and 15 years old, fell silent as a petrified look crossed their faces. Finally one gathered the courage to speak up: “We don’t know either. Maybe [those children] have been bad at home and at school.” The explanation sparked a new question. “But should we actually get beaten if we are acting mischievous? Why do we get punished when we haven’t misbehaved?” asked Tedi, who is also a member of children’s rights group Children of the Equator’s (Forancikha) Pontianak, West Kalimantan, branch. The young activist explained to a bewildered audience of his peers that they should be protected; not mistreated or abused. Tedi’s argument reflects the credo of United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that “childhood is entitled to special care and treatment.” However, the rising number of reported cases of child abuse is casting a dangerous shadow over Indonesia’s future generations. The Indonesia Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) said it dealt with 622 cases of child abuses during the period of January-March alone. And still, the figure is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg. Data from the Research Center on Child Protection at the University of Indonesia (UI) showed that for every case that is brought to the authorities, another 10 go unreported across the country. Indonesia, free of child abuse Since 2011, as decreed by the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, the Indonesian government has made extensive efforts into certifying cities and districts across the archipelago as Child Friendly (KLA). City officials of Makassar, South Sulawesi, have taken significant steps toward achieving the KLA title by constructing facilities catering to children, including playgrounds and early childhood education programs in its schools, according to a subdistrict chief who asked not to be named. Meanwhile in Cilincing, North Jakarta, the Cilincing Child Forum has joined the national campaign by promoting the importance of a clean environment to the safety of the area’s children. The organization organizes community activities — including cleaning up the area’s playgrounds and setting up 100 garbage cans — that urge Cilincing’s residents to maintain safe and child-friendly surroundings. The valiant efforts made by both Makassar and Cilincing have made a lasting impression on not only the central government, but residents and officials of surrounding areas. ‘Why should children be victims of abuse?’ Tedi’s question serves as a wake-up call the entire nation ahead of this year’s Indonesian National Children’s Day. Have we provided an adequate and safe environment for our children? When a child is raised with the dangerous idea that physical, mental and sexual abuse is acceptable, he or she will only continue the cycle and pass on the same toxic sentiments to their children. Let’s work together to create a safe and supportive environment for our future generation through love and respect. Happy National Children’s Day 2014.   Veronica Dhiana is a child participation specialist at Wahana Visi Indonesia.
Categories: Indonesian News
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