Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Abortion Pills

Yesterday evening, I watched a program on one of the local TV station which inform about the circulation of Abortion Pills in big cities of Indonesia that can be purchased online through website.

Considering that Offering Abortion to other people is ILLEGAL in Indonesia, I felt very curious about this news. So, on Sunday afternoon I visited Google and typed the words PIL ABORSI on the Search Box and found several websites offering such Pills, one of which mentioned that the pills can be used to abort pregnancy of up to five months old, with prices ranging from Rp 500.000,- up to Rp 2.000.000,- depending on the age of pregnancy. However, it is not mentioned whether the Pills are registered with our Drugs and Food Supervision Board (BPOM), therefore most likely their circulation is ILLEGAL.
The existence of such websites shocked me because according our Penal Code (KUHPidana) Article 535, Offering Abortion to other people can be punished up to Three Months Imprisonment. If the Consumer is under 17 years old, the punishment can be up to Nine Months Imprisonment (Art. 283). While a Female who commit Abortion can be punished up to Four Years Imprisonment (Art. 346). And the Executor of Abortion i.e Doctors, can be punished up to Five years and Six Months Imprisonment (Art. 348) Exception for Abortion can only be given if the abortion is carried out to save the life of the mother.

Due to the fact that the illegal Practice of Abortion is very dangerous for females, especially if done by unauthorized persons using unauthorized medicament, therefore the above mentioned Laws should be enforced accordingly. For which purpose the BPOM should investigate the medicament/drugs used for the Abortion, and coordinate with the Police to conduct further preventive and repressive actions such as banning the circulation of the Illegal Abortion Pills.


Ahmad Dhani & Flag

" Ahmad Dhani has done it once again ! " That's what I told myself when I watched this morning's infotainment on RCTV about the video clip advertisement for the new song of his band Dewa 19 "Perempuan Paling Cantik Dinegeriku Indonesia" that has been critized by historian Anhar Gonggong and Telematic Expert Roy Suryo.

Anhar Gongong protested the use of our country's Red & White National Flag as background for Dewa 19's symbol. He said that such inappropriate treatment of our National Flag is a clear humiliation of our National Symbol, therefore cannot be tollerated. In this connection, Telematic Expert Roy Suryo has reported Ahmad Dhani to the Indonesian Police Headquarters - Criminal Division last Friday, 28/11/08. He said that due to the humiliation of our National Red & White Flag, Dhani could be punnished with a maximum imprisonment of 3 months based on Article 21 of the Government Regulation No. 40 Year 1958.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth & Sports: Adyaksa Dault said that he has talked to Dhani about the matter and the latter promised to stop the video clip advertisement.
In an interview with Okezone, Dhani denied having humiliated our National Flag, he said that he did not use our National Flag in the video clip, what he use is a backdrop.

Considering that in the past, both Ahmad Dhani and Roy Suryo have been known for their controversial statements which tend to be sensational, it is difficult to tell whether or not right now they are not trying to be sensational again. Now that the case is being handled by our Police, let's wait for the result of investigation.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Yoga Controversy

" Yoga can bring us Peace of Mind " that's what my friend Wenny told me one day.
Although I have never practised Yoga but from what I have read in books & magazines, I can understand that by practising regular meditation using Yoga techniques, we can have better control of our emotions.

Beside that, I also understand that the reason why Yoga has been practiced by many people in Indonesia for so many years, is because people believe that Yoga can cure sicknes, maintain health and so far no complaint has been heard about Yoga. Therefore Yoga would not be more harmful than a Balinese dance.

Due to my above understanding, I was surprised when I read an Editorial of The Jakarta Post last Thursday about the Council of Indonesian Moslem Cleric (M.U.I) asking for the cessation of Yoga practise in Indonesia while it investigates whether Yoga is contradictory to the Moslem faith. This investigation is carried out after MUI's Malaysian counterpart banned Yoga in Malaysia last week because they claim that Yoga contains Hindu practices which might corrupt the faith of Moslem.

Due to the above mentioned facts, I hope what ever the result of the investigation, M.U.I will consider the diversed characteristic of the Indonesian society, therefore give a fair judgement on this matter.


Friday, November 28, 2008

The Notorious Preman

For so many years, people in various cities of Indonesia have been victimized by other people who collect money illegally. These people are popularly known as Preman, and would do anything, like extortion, burglary, drug trafficking and even murder, to get what they want.

The word Preman itself is a contraction of the words: Free (pronounced as Pre) and Man. The number of these "Free Man" grew very rapidly during economic crisis which has boosts the number of unemployment. As an example I have 2 friends who have been forced to deal with Preman. The first one is Indra who paid Rp 100.000,- to a gang of Preman for every trucks that carry construction material for the house he is building in Bekasi. The second is Joni who has to pay Rp 1.000.000,- to local Preman every month for safety money so that they would not disturb his restaurant in Tangerang. Actually both friends already paid official security fee to the local Village Authority, however they paid money to the Preman for security reassurance. These are only two examples of the unofficial role that the Preman played in our day to day life.
Considering this fact, efforts have been made by the government to eliminate Preman.
During the Soeharto era, the state security agency launched an undercover operation to eliminate Preman by hunting & killing them mysteriously. Due to strong protests from foreign countries and human right organizations, the Operation was stopped.
And recently, the new Chief of National Police: General Bambang Danuri on 2 November 2008 instructed the Police in Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Yogjakarta and North Sumatera to carry out an operation to eliminate those Preman, so that Peace and Order could be established in those provinces. Lately, this operation has also been conducted in other provinces.
According to General Danuri, as quoted by Waspada, the objective of this operation is not only to arrest the Preman but also to guide them to normal life when they returned to society. And this program is successful, those Preman would become productive persons therefore they would not be a social problem anymore.

As a short term objective, the Anti Preman Operation can be accepted for eliminating Preman. However, for a long term objective, the government should make efforts to avoid the 'creation' of Preman, e.g by providing job opportunities & eliminating corruption among civil servants For which purpose a conducive business condition should be established.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

27 Toxic Cosmetics

Many women would do anything to look and feel beautiful, that's a well known fact. They would consume almost anything at any price that would make their skin looks better. The fact also shows that some men want to change the color of their skin too, Pop Singer Michael Jackson is one of them. That is why there are so many Cosmetic Brands produced by many different companies circulating in the markets. But, unfortunately, not all of the products are good for usage by human beings, many of them are even contain Chemical elements which are Hazardous for human beings.

In this regards, on Wednesday 26/11/08 the Drugs and Food Supervision Board (BPOM) has announced the prohibition of 27 brands of Cosmetics products that contain Hazardous Chemicals i.e. Mercury, Retinoic Acids & Coloring Agents used for Paper and Ink. According to BPOM's Chairperson Husniah Rubiana Thamrin, use of such Chemical Elements by human being is very dangerous: can lead to burns, black spots, skin cancer, permanent nerve damage, liver failure and even miscarriages. She said “The chemical ingredients found in the products, especially the coloring agents, are usually used for paper, fabrics and ink. They’re very dangerous to humans ”. For that reason BPOM has confiscated 3,555 of those products which are manufactured in 3 different countries i.e. 11 in Japan and China, 8 in Indonesia, and the last 8 not known yet, and most of them are not registered with BPOM. Here is the list of those Cosmetics products as mentioned by Kompas :
1. DOCTOR KAYAMA Night Cream
4. MRC PS Crystal cream
5. LOCOS anti-fleck vitamin E
6. BLOSSOM day cream
7. BLOSSOM night cream
13. MEEI YUNG (White)
14. MEEI YUNG (Yellow)
17. SHEE NA Face Cream
18. AILLY CAKE Eye Shadow
19. BAOLISHI Eye Shadow
20. CAMEO Make Up Kit 3-in-1
22. KAI Eye Shaddow & Blush On
23. MEIXUE YIZU eye shadow
24. NUOBEIER Blusher
25. NUOBEIER Blush On
26. NUOBEIER Pro-Make Up Blusher No.5
27. SYUTSU eye shadow
Those products are sold at various prices, some of them are even very expensive. According to The Jakarta Post, PUTRI SALJU, which is produced by Ngongoh cosmetics in Bekasi is priced at Rp 1.5 million (US$120). The BPOM had discovered it was being produced in a small beauty shop inside a chicken market. An employee of the company formerly known as Doctor Kayama said all its products had been withdrawn a few months ago, including from counters at its mall outlets. The clinic, on Jl. Barito, South Jakarta, has changed its name to GMT Gold Clinic and stopped producing all such products.
Nicole Rebecka, a 28-year-old consumer of Doctor Kayama cosmetics, said she had once had a bad reaction to one of the company’s creams.
Putri K. Wardani, Mustika Ratu vice president director and member of the Association of Cosmetic Companies in Indonesia (PERKOSMI), said many dangerous products were still in circulation in markets, even though the association and BPOM always consulted with the cosmetic industry on preventive measures.
From a legal point of view, those who are involved in the manufacturing, trading and distribution of those Hazardous Cosmetics violated the Health Law No. 23 Year 1992 Article 23, with a maximum punishment of 5 years imprisonment or maximum fine of Rp 100 Million. Beside that they also violated the Consumer Protection Law No. 8 Year 1999 with a max. punishment of 5 years imprisonment or Fine of Rp 2 Billion.

Considering the dangerous effect of those Chemical Elements in those banned Cosmetics products, it would be better if we, especially women, are extra careful when buying Cosmetics products. Beside that, we hope that BPOM and the law enforcement agencies would closely monitor the market so that would not be circulating anymore.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dangerous Message

Last week, I received an e-mail from someone who inform me about the circulation of shoes under the brand of NIKE with the Logo AIR written in a similar way as the writing of the word ALLAH in Arabic.

At first, I was very shocked by the said message & photo, considering at that time our news media has been reporting the controversial WordPress Comic regarding Nabi Muhammad SAW. After awhile, I thought that the first thing that I should do is to check about the reliability of said message. So, I browsed the internet & visited several websites among others Jazarah!, NiceKicks and Daniel Pipes which informed that in 1997-1998 NIKE has indeed produced shoes with the Logo AIR which is written in a similar way to the writing of the word ALLAH in Arabic. But after strong protests by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, NIKE withdrawn hundreds of thousand of shoes that has the same Logo, costing them millions of US$ and spend some time to ease the tensions. I have tried to check with NIKE and other reliable websites but cannot find any article regarding this matter.
I am not sure about the reason why this controversial issue has been brought to our attention after 10 years. But it would be reasonable to assume that they are either brought by the competitors of NIKE, or unsatisfied workers of NIKE, or any other people with whatever reasons. One thing for sure is the purpose is very dangerous, i.e to manipulate emotions of Moslems.

Considering the above facts, it is very important for us to always check on the reliability of every messages/news before we start getting emotional about them. Otherwise, we would only became an innocent victim of circumstances.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


Since the last few weeks the mass media has been busy covering news about the intensive investigations carried out by the Attorney General Office on the SISMINBAKUM Online System which leads to the detention of 3 former Director General of the Department of Law and Human Rights, and several former Minister of Law & Human Rights have been summoned. The objective of this investigation is to probe the alleged inappropriate usage & distribution of revenue amounting to Rp 400 Billion.

In order to to understand this matter thoroughly, I read Kompas, Detik, Jakarta Post, and browsed the net, including the blog of former Minister of Law & Human Rights (1999-2001 & 2001-2004) who proposed the system: Yusril Ihza Mahendra, and also talked to several Notary Public friends. And here is a short overview on this controversial matter :
In 1999 our country was facing an economic crisis, and the government was pressured by IMF to provide vast opportunity to private business entrepreneurs among others by expediting the legalization process of legal entities. At that time when the manual system was used, inquiry for name of new company can only be replied after several months or even a year. Having no money, the Yusril as Minister of Law & Human Rights appointed PT SRD to develop an online registration system. PT SRD built the system using their own money based on a Build Operation, Transfer (BOT) scheme until 1010, whereby PT SRD collect fees, and share with the Workers Cooperative of said Department based on 90%:10% ratio. The Cooperative then shared its 10% portion with the Directorate General of Public Law base on a 40%:60% ratio. With this system, a request for a name of new company can be answered in only 3 minutes, so a Notary Public can sufficiently & effectively serve a client over cups of coffee at a Starbucks cafe. But, Notaries may choose to use the manual system if the want to.
In 2003, the State's Financial & Development Auditor(BPKP) demanded the revenue from the Online System to be transferred to the State's Treasurer. This can be done if the Government take over the business of PT SRD or by building its own Online System after the BOT Agreement with PT SRD completed in 1010.
Yusril's successors as Minister of Law & HR, Awaludin Hamid (2004-2007) and Andi Matalatta (2007-now) decided that after the BOT with PT SRD expired in 2010, the Online System would be turned into a Public Service Board.
The controversy arises due to nontransparent distribution of the 10% portion of the Workers Cooperative shared with the Directorate General of Public Law. There are rumors that the wives of the officials Directorate General of Public Law can use the revenue.

As a conclusion, I felt that the Sisminbakum is actually good for quick processing of establishment of new companies, and certainly beneficial for our country's ailing economy. Especially that this System is an alternative to the manual administration which is still available for usage.
The controversy over the System arise due to the lack of transparency about the system itself. If the history about the creation of said system has been socialized properly to the public, we would have understand. Let us hope that this matter would be solved clearly and justifiably, any one responsible for wrong doing should be punished, if not then they should be released and have their image restored.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scientists feud

I used to think that most scientists are quality persons who think, feel and do things based on logics, therefore they would not do things which are very wrong.

That's why I was surprised when I read in Kompas on Wednesday, 19 November 2008, that the Chairperson of the Meteorology, Climatology & Geophysics Board (BMKG): Sri Woro Harijono has been accused by the Board’s Chief of Research & Development: Dr Mezak Ratag, of having plagiarized his scientific work and falsified his signature. Due to which fact, Dr Mezak has resigned from his job.
Kompas quoted Dr Mezak as saying that the alleged Plagiarism was related to the additional credit point given to Sri for her job promotion on May 2007 when Dr Mezak was BMKG’s Chief of Researcher Job Title Evaluation Team. Sri denied those allegations, saying that the additional credit point was recommended by a Team. Further, Sri shown a letter dated 21 May 2007 which enclosed a list of scientific works by Sri signed by Dr Mezak addressed to the Chairman of the Indonesian Science Institute (LIPI) with c.c to the Chief of LIPI’s Central Evaluation Team. Dr Mezak reacted by submitting a report to the Jakarta Police on Tuesday, 18 Thursday 2008, accusing Sri of violating the Copyright Law No. 19/2002 Art. 72 Par. 1&2 and falsification of letter based on the Penal Code (KUHP) Art. 263.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Research & Technology: Kusmayanto Kadiman has requested that the case to be settled academically through the Council of Research Professors and Central Evaluation Team of LIPI headed by Deputy Chairman of LIPI Lukman Hakim. According to Lukman, researchers who violate academic conditions for requesting job promotion shall be penalized. He said that the title of Sri’s scientific work :
“ Less Greenhouse Gas Emission Technologies in the Context of Climate Change “ is similar to the title of book published by the Ministry of Research & Technology in 2001. Dr Mezak agreed that an academic settlement is really needed for this case, while Sri Woro prefers the case to be settled through legal proceedings, and said that she is ready for it.

In conclusion I would like to say that this matter should be settled immediately first academically then if the allegation against Sri Woro is confirmed to proceed with the legal proceedings, so that the image of Indonesian scientists and BMGK would not be marred.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Protection of Inventions

Intellectual Property Right awareness among Indonesian students and lecturers is still very low, according to the Chief of Intellectual Property Right Team of the Department of Education i.e Professor Soeprapto in an interview with Kompas on Monday 17 November 2008. He explained that from 1985 until 2007, universities/institutes only submitted 419 Patent applications, which is definitely very low compared to the total of 2.800 universities/institutes in Indonesia.

As a comparison, Prof. Soeprapto said that Japan has 370,000 Patent applications a year, and India has 17,000 a year. While in Indonesia, only 419 Patent applications were submitted during a period of 23 years. The main obstacle is because most of the scientific works were merely repetitions of previous works, therefore they are ineligible to be considered as Patent which should fulfill 3 conditions: Novelty, Verifiability & Applicability. He added that awareness regarding Intellectual Property Right is still low and most students & lecturer think that Patent application is expensive. Actually in 2008 the government has allocated special incentive for 50 Patent applications amounting to Rp 7.5 million per application, but only 21 were sumitted. And for 2009, incentive has been allocated for 100 Intellectual Property Right applications, including 30 Patent applications. He further stated that out of the 2.800 universities/institutes, only 5 actively submitted Patent applications, i.e. Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), 10th November Institute of Technology, Gajahmada University and Brawijaya University.

Considering the above it is very important to socialize the incentives granted by government for submission of Patent Application, that way our scientists in general and students & lecturers in particular would want to submit Patent Application to protect their inventions. If the scientists know that it is not so difficult and expensive to do so, they would have peace of mind and eager to create more inventions.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Protection of Non Smokers

Last Sunday I took my wife and son for a lunch in Pondok Indah Mall. And as we were looking for the right restaurant we passed a special close area filled with people smoking cigarettes. Then my son asked me what is that closed area for, and I replied that the area is specially made for people who want to Smoke Cigarettes so that the Smokes would not be inhaled by other people who do not smoke cigarettes.

It is evident that smoking cigarette is dangerous for the health of cigarette smokers; as proven by the Surgeon General’s Warning in the packs of cigarettes. However, according to the World Health Organization, it is also dangerous for Non Smokers who are forced to inhale smoke of cigarettes exhaled by smokers, which could lead to health disturbances like Asthma, Lung Disease, Heart Disease, etc.
Based on these reasons, since the year 2003, our government has issued the Government Regulation No. 19 Year 2003 which stipulated that every provincial government should provide Non Smoking Area in public places. It stipulated areas forbidden for Smoking i.e Places for Prayer, Education, Public Transportation, Health Facility and other Pubic places like: Airport, Train stations, Bus terminals etc. But unfortunately, the implementation of those regulations is very poor.
Suara Pembaruan reported that five years after the issuance of said regulation only several regions have enacted local regulation regarding Non Smoking Area i.e Jakarta, Depok, Bogor, Bandung, Cirebon and recently Surabaya.
Jakarta has issued 2 Anti Smoking Regulations i.e. Regional Regulation No. 2 Year 2005 regarding Air Pollution and Governor Regulation No. 75 Year 2005 regarding Non Smoking Area, which will punish violators with punishment of up to 6 months imprisonment and fine up to Rp 50 million. However, it seems very difficult to enforce those laws, which can be seen from the fact that it is easy to find people smoking in area which are supposed to be Non Smoking Area. Although the Jakarta government has raided people smoking in public area, but considering that such raids were only carried out once in a while, therefore it does not stop people from smoking freely in public area.
Hukumonline reported that the method use for the raid has been opposed by the Director of the Indonesian Law Advocate and Aid Foundation i.e M. Ichsan who regretted that the government carried out the raids without informing the public about the existence of the Anti Smoking regulations. Such action would be effective for changing public behavior. He further stated that the public would respect the action if the government socializes the regulations first. This opinion is shared by the Chairman of the Forum of Jakarta Citizens i.e. Azaz Tigor Nainggolan who said that because the regulations were not socialized properly, many people do not know about their existence. He further said that the government should not merely pay attention on people smoking in public places but should also conduct frequent Air Emission Test on motor vehicles so that the air in our city would improve.
Starting today, Wednesday 19 November 2008, the Jakarta government will launch an operation to enforce those regulations very soon. If that really happens, then it would be great news for us Non Smokers. Let us keep our fingers crossed!

In conclusion, I felt that the Anti Smoking regulations should be implemented AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, because they have existed for so many years and smoking cigarettes is Hazardous not only for the Smokers but also for Non Smokers who inhaled the smoke. So by implementing those regulations, we would have a cleaner city for us and our family.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dangerous Jamu

Male Vitality Supplement is the best selling product in Jakarta and vicinity, this can be seen from the fact that there are many advertisement of those products on the streets. Among them, are products categorized as Chemical Medicines like Viagra, Cialis etc. Besides, there are also products categorized as Traditional Medicine like Blue Moon, Tripoten, etc.

The producers of both category of products are competing to grab market share for their products. Each of them claiming their advantage compared to the other. The Traditional ones are very popular because the producer claimed that they only contain Traditional Ingredients such as Herbs, and do not contain Chemical Elements. And they are Freely sold at cheaper prices compared to the Chemical ones.
For many years, no one ever contradict the Chemical Free claim of the Traditional products. Then last Friday 14 November 2008, Media Konsumen reported announcement of the Board for Supervision of Medicines, Food and Beverage (BPOM) regarding the cancellation of registration of 22 brands of Male Vitality Supplement products. According to BPOM Chairman i.e Husniah Rubiana, the Traditional products contains Chemical elements i.e. Sildenafil Sirat and Tadalafil which would be Hazardous if mixed with Traditional elements. The 22 Traditional Supplements are :
1) TRIPOTEN, produced by PT Dexa Medica
2) BLUE MOON, produced by PT Pacific Healthcare Indonesia
3) CALIGULA KAPSUL, produced by PJ Air Madu
4) COBRA X CAPSUL, produced by PJ Ragil Sentosa
5) HWANG DI SHEN DAN, produced by Ruifeng Phamaceutical
6) KUAT TAHAN LAMA SERBUK, produced by PD Jamu Moro Sehat
7) LAK GAO 69, produced by PJ Jaya Sakti Mandiri
8) LAVARIA, produced by PT Rama Farma
9) MACCA GOLD, produced by PT Paramitra Media Perkasa
10) MANOVEL, produced by PT Sari Sehat
11) OKURA, produced by PT Herbalindo Sukses Makmur
12) OTOT MADU, produced by PT Rama Farma
13) RAMA STAMIN, produced by PT Rama Farma
14) SANOMALE, produced by PT Prydam Farma
15) SARI MADU CAPSUL, produced by PJ Sari Madu Murni
16) STANSON, produced by PT Rajawali Sukses
19) TERAZA, produced by PT Rama Farma
20) TOP ONE CAPSUL, produced by PT Taladipa
21) URAT PERKASA KAPSUL, produced by PT SM Jaya
22) ZU MEX, produced by CV Mega Maju Mekar
Husniah Rubiana gave an example that TRIPOTEN contains TADALAFIL which is a Chemical Element used in the Chemical Medicine CIALIS. Usage of which could cause body pains and even permanent loss of sex potential.

The above announcement is very surprising because all the Products bear Registration Numbers issued by BPOM and have been circulating in our market for a long time. Some of them are popularly known by people as VERY SAFE to use, such as BLUE MOON. Of course as normal persons, the people in BPOM can always make mistake when they issued the Registration Numbers. But 22 mistakes going on and on for a long time is very difficult to understand. Moreover, this announcement would mean that production of the products should be stopped and many workers should stop working, thus another Labor problem for the government to handle.
Let us hope that in the future BPOM would always be very careful whenever they want to grant registration for Medicines, Food & Beverage products.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Reproduction of Books

For many years, Song Writers in Indonesia have enjoyed protection of their works and receive Royalty which are collected for them by a special organization called Yayasan Karya Cipta Indonesia(YKCI) since 1990. But unfortunately, we still have no organization which provide similar services for Book Writers, although in is evident that Pirate Books are circulating around us.

Considering this fact, on Thursday, 13 November 2008, the Indonesian Publishers Union (IKAPI) together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organization have declared the establishment of an Indonesian Reproduction Organization in the form of Yayasan Cipta Buku Indonesia.
In this connection, Kompas has quoted the Chairman of IKAPI Setia Dharma Madjid as saying that the objective of the new organization is to protect the rights of the Writers and Publishers of Books, and to enhance Copyright awareness as well as to manage Copyright of Books. He said that the problem currently faced by Book Writers are Book Piracy and multification of Books through Photocopy in higher educational institutions. He explained that in Singapore such organization collect Royalty for Reproduction Rights from institutions which made the photocopies and channel them to their rightful Writers and the Publishers who are members of the organization.
According to the Marketing Manager of Salemba Publishing i.e. Sudarno, Book Piracy caused the decrease of 50 to 70& in sales revenue, consequently the Writers' Royalty would also decrease.
Meanwhile, Asia Pacific consultant of WIPO Chandra Darusman said that appreciation for writers in our country is still very low. Chandra, who is the former Secretary General of YKCI, gave an example that for a period of 10 years YKCI was only able to collect Rp,-

In conclusion, I would like to say that the Reproduction Rights Organization has a very important role to protect the rights of Book Writers and Publishers in our country who are often unaware or do not really care about Copyright. Besides, such organization would help the collection and distribution of royalty to their rightful owners.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Joint Decision of 4 Ministers

The global economic crisis is getting worse every day, and its impact is now being felt in our country, whereby prices of consumer goods are getting higher and many workers are being laid down. In order to anticipate the worst, on 22 October 2008, four cabinet ministers i.e. the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Internal Affairs, have issued a Joint Decision which determined that the labors’ Regional Minimum Wage ( U.M.R ) should not exceed our national economic growth. This Joint Decision (SKB 4 Menteri) has been widely and regularly protested by labors in many parts of Indonesia who accused that the Joint Decision is not fair for them, therefore should be cancelled.

In this regards, Detik quoted the words of the Minister of Manpower & Transmigration i.e Erman Soeparno who said that there is nothing wrong with the Joint Decision, because it is issued based on valid laws and it does not limit the UMR. Because according to the law, the UMR is determined by the provincial government. He said that the purpose of the Joint Decision is to maintain Business and Job, and to minimize lay down of workers.
Meanwhile, Kompas reported that the Secretary of the Jakarta Province Waging Council i.e Gibson Sihombing said that the Joint Decision is merely a strategy of businessmen to prevent increase of U.M.R. He further said that the Joint Decision has obstructed the objective of the UMR i.e to eliminate poverty. He gave an example that the economic growth in Jakarta in 2007 is 6.2%, which means that based on the Joint Decision the increase of U.M.R should not be more than 6 %.
This is contradictory to the Regulation of the Minister of Manpower & Transmigration No.17 Year 2005 which stipulated that the determination of Wage should be in line with the Normal Life Requirement (Kebutuhan Hidup Layak/KHL). And based on a survey conducted by the Jakarta Province Waging Council, the KHL for the months of June, July and August is Rp 1.300.000,- therefore the Joint Decision has weakened the bargaining position of the Labors. The problem is that the labors considered that the increase in KLH is currently much higher than the national economic growth, so they have demonstrated against the Joint Decision.

We can understand that the purpose of the Joint Decision is to stabilize our economy by calming businessmen so that they can maintain their business, that way they can maintain their labors. Moreover, the businessmen may even be able to increase investment, thereby would create more job opportunity.
However, we cannot keep on ignoring the needs of the labors, therefore such limitation should be ended as soon as the condition of our economy improved, the increase in UMR should be according to the increase of the Normal Life Requirement.
In the meantime, businessmen should try to provide the labors with non wage benefit such as by better treatments.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The creation of Martyrs

Many months before the executions of three men who killed 202 persons & wounded more than 300 others in the 2002 bombing in Legian Bali i.e Amrozy, Imam Samudera and Ali Gufron, our TVs, radios, newspapers/magazines have been continuously spreading various news about them.

Almost everything about them were being told to our public from time to time, like what they do in prison, about their families, about their lawyers’ best efforts to prevent the executed, etc. The more pending their execution is the more stories were told again and again. As a logical consequence, the minds of our public, especially those living in rural area, were filled with long lasting memories about those three men. It brought sympathy for them and leads to the creation of fanatic supporters for them and their causes. This can be seen from the fact that after they were executed, many people have openly shown sympathy and support for them and their causes. Some even reacted violently against the police during their funeral.
As normal people, we would obviously condemn anyone who condones the killing of innocent people for whatever cause they might have. Likewise, we would also condemn those who support those killers. However, we should also ask ourselves whether or not we play any role in the creation of such sympathy and support. Let us be fair with ourselves and admit that if those three men have not been reported continuously from time to time, public’s reaction on their death execution would not have been so great. It would be relevant to compare their execution with the execution of Drug Dealers/ Traffickers whereby nobody cares, except their families and friends. As a matter of fact many people, including the mass media, are very happy because we have got rid of them.

In conclusion, I felt that our mass media has played a role in the creation of sympathy and support for the Bali Bombers and their evil cause, especially among people in rural area, which leads to martyrdom. Considering this fact, it would be better if people in the mass media to always bear in mind those consequences every time they want to broadcast news to the public.


Monday, November 10, 2008

The Threshold

On Monday 10 November 2008, I read an article in the Reader’s Forum of The Jakarta Post written by John Hargreaves titled: “Threshold, for who?” which refers to the stipulation of the amendment of the Presidential Law that a candidate must be supported by a political party or a coalition of political parties which obtained at least 20% seats in our Parliament i.e the People's Representative Council (DPR) or, obtained 25% of the national electorate votes.

Mr. Hargreaves said that the motive of such rule is to benefit members of the DPR by making it difficult for a potential winner of the Presidential election. This statement brings mixed feelings for us i.e. on the one hand we agree that we should not limit the chance for anyone to become candidate President, but on the other hand it is difficult to imagine the condition of a government headed by a President who does not have a strong back up from the DPR. Especially that our Constitutions stipulated that the government should cooperate with the DPR in preparing the Annual State Budget and Laws. Actually, if we want to have a strong government, the President as the head of government should be permanently supported by the majority (50% + 1%) seats in DPR. But considering the multi party system that we adopted, whereby the largest number of DPR seats obtained by political parties is only around 19% (PDIP) and 25 % (Golkar), therefore 20% would be a reasonable figure for the present moment. In a way, this kind of threshold has been applied implicitly in other countries, including the United States. It would be very difficult to imagine how George Bush will govern if the Republican Party only has 20% of the seats in the Senate and House of Representative.
Beside the threshold, the amended Law failed prohibit political party leaders from becoming a president. Such prohibition is necessary considering that a President is the TOP LEADER of our country and people. Mixing the two roles would make the President very difficult to concentrate in doing his/her duties and would also lead to conflict of interests which is inevitable.

Considering the above, I felt that the Presidential Candidates should be limited to those who are nominated by political party (ies) that obtain significant number of seats in the parliament (DPR)so that a stable government can be created. So that the elected President will be able to lead a strong & stable government.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Execution

The spokesman of the Attorney General Office i.e Jasman Panjaitan announced in a press release on Sunday that three Bali Bombers: Amrozi, Imam Samudra & Ali Guron have been executed by a firing squad on Sunday 00.15, 9 November 2008 in Nusa Kambangan.

This execution has been delayed for 5 years after the District Court of Denpasar passed death sentence on the three terrorists for bombing 2 cafes in Legian-Bali, that killed 202 innocent people and wounded 300 others` most of them tourists, in the year 2002. The AGO spokesman further stated that an autopsy has been carried out to confirm their death and their corpses have been bathed and wrapped with burial clothes according to the Moslem way. Afterward, they were taken by their families to be buried in their hometowns.

This execution were protested by some fanatics claiming that the terrorists died as Syuhada (Martyrs), but the large Moslem organisation Nadathul Ulama as well as the Moslem Ulema Council (MUI) denied and said that they are punnished for the crime they have committed.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Ballad of Puji & Ulfa

Too Young to be Married
Too Young to be Free
Too Young to be Married
But what can they do?
That’s the refrain of the song "Too Young to be Married" performed by the British pop band The Hollies, which tells a story about a couple of school girl and boy who were forced to get married because the girl was pregnant. The song was popular in the ‘70s not only because it sounded nice but also because the lyrics reflects the marriage life of many youngsters.

I have not heard the song for more than 10 years, but since one month ago I started to hum the refrain again after I heard the daily news in the mass media about the controversial marriage between a 12 years old girl i.e. Ulfa and a 43 years old man i.e Syekh Puji who is the owner of an Islamic Boarding School in Semarang, Central Java in early August 2008. The strange thing was that the mass media and the man’s lawyer have been treating the story as if it is about a normal marriage, while actually the marriage was a clear violation of our Marriage Law i.e. UU No.1/1974 which stipulates that the minimum age for a female to be married is 16 years old. Especially that when he married Ulfa, Puji already has a wife. Beside that, Syekh Puji can be charged with violating the Children Protection Law i.e. UU No.23 Year 2002. It seemed as if the mass media has been mesmerized by Syekh Puji’s claim that the marriage was done according to Islamic Law, and by his Arab style appearance i.e. wearing a long white robe, a bearded face and bead necklace. Only after interference by the Minister of Empowerment of Women, the Chairman of the Islamic Clergyman Council (MUI) and Chairman of the National Commission for the Protection of Children did the Police start investigating Syekh Puji, who later on agree to return the little girl to her parents.

This case shows that the Marriage Law and Children Protection Law are still not popular enough. In this regards, the mass media can assist by spreading information regarding those laws when they first knew about the case, that way the Police would have been able to investigate Syekh Puji much earlier.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hoping for a Friend

“A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed” that’s what we say whenever a friend come to help us solve our problem. And that's the kind of friend that our country needs right now to overcome the impact of international financial crisis.

Fortunately, last Tuesday, 4 November 2008, our hope for such kind of friend seems to become a reality when Barack Obama was elected as the next president of the United States of America. It is reasonable for us to have such hope considering the childhood ties that Obama has with Indonesia. As mentioned in his book “The Audacity of Hope”, Obama spent part of his childhood living in Jakarta from 1967 to 1971, with his American mother Ann Dunham, his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro, and his stepsister Maya Soetoro. At that time they lived in a house in Menteng which has no seat toilet, and his parents could not afford to send him to an international school so he went to local public elementary school in Jalan Besuki. Obama talked about Indonesia’s change from a village to a U.S politic & economic ally, about the economic crisis and reform. He also mentioned that 30 years after he left, Indonesia has changed to a distant country.
With this background, it is obvious for our leaders and other people in Indonesia to expect that Obama would be a friend of Indonesia. However, we should be realistic in this case, because the fact is that beside Indonesia, he also has two other countries which are perhaps far more important for him personally i.e. the United States where he will govern as a President starting January 2009, and his father’s country Kenya. Moreover, there are also other countries that Obama should pay close attention to, i.e. countries which have been considered as traditional allies of the U.S, such as the European Union, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Only time will tell whether or not Obama will be an “ordinary friend” or a “close friend” of our country. For the time being we can only thank God for giving us a hope that the next President of the most powerful country on earth will treat our country as a friend. But let us not allow this hope to distract us from the fact that we can only make progress by discipline and working hard.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Scandalous Lawyer

"The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers", that's a quote from Shakespeare's play KING HENRY VI, which implies that Lawyers plays a vital role in our society.
However, many people interpret this quote differently, i.e. Lawyers are dangerous because they tend to use their knowledge to take advantage of other people.

In Indonesia, there are several cases in which Lawyers take advantage of others, the latest one was reported by Pos Kota last Saturday, 1 November 2008 about a Sex Scandal between a Lawyer who is a Lecturer at the University of Indonesia(U.I)i.e Nas, and a 22 year old student i.e. Ind. Nas admitted that he & Ind have a love affair that leads to sexual intercourse every time they met. He said the affair that started after he became Ind's mentor during her last year at U.I in January 2007, is obvious because he was a Widower and Ind was single. And from the very start they both agreed that the affair would end if Nas's former wife wants to return to him.
However, when Nas remarried his former wife in April 2008, Ind refused to end their relationship and demanded that Nas married her as a second wife or through the Islamic way of SIRI, but Nas refused to do so. Due to Nas's continuous rejections, Ind. and her Lawyer Shanti Dewi reported the case to the Rectorate of U.I, without any result. So, on 10 October 2008 they went to the DKI Jakarta Police Station to report that Nas has Raped Ind. on May 2007. Ind. denied having a love affair with Nas, and said the they only have Sex once. Further, Shanti said that after the case was exposed, 12 female students have admitted that they have been sexually harassed by Nas. According to an officer of DKI Jakarta Police i.e Rivai, it is difficult to investigate the case because the incident took place almost one year before, and no Visum (medical record)available.
Meanwhile, the Public Relation Officer of U.I i.e Devie Rahmawati said that the Rector of U.I has set up a special team to investigate the case.

Considering this case involved a Lawyer who is also a Criminal Law Lecturer of a prestigious university in our country, we hope that the investigations conducted by the Police and U.I will be carried out fairly & thoroughly, and the results would be announced openly to the public.