Thursday, April 30, 2009

Survey results on Indonesia

RI ‘the most confident country’ in facing crisis!
That was the title of an article in the 24th April edition of The Jakarta Post quoting the result of survey conducted by an international survey company Nielsen which show that the Republic of Indonesia topped its Global Consumer Confidence Index with 104 points, followed by Denmark (102) & India (99).

The Jakarta Globe has quoted another survey report by Nielsen which stated that during first quarter of the year 2009, advertising spending in Indonesia has increased by 19 % compared to same period in 2008.

These results of survey bring mix feelings for me. On the one hand I am very happy that our country is not badly affected by the current global economic crisis, thus we are luckier than other countries.
On the other hand, the survey results are confusing. Because from the situations in big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, with their traffic jam & shopping malls packed with visitors, it can be assumed that Indonesia has not been badly affected by the current global financial crisis.
But, if we see and/or read & listened to news media reports about the decrease of export quantity, frequent lay off of workers, closing down of companies and “jumping” prices of Eggs, Rice, Vegetable, etc. then we can assume the survey results are not only confusing but perhaps misleading too.

As a conclusion I think that the above results of survey should not soften our serious efforts to overcome the impacts of the current global financial crisis which has devastated the economies of many countries of the world. They should in stead make us optimistic and more passionate to work as hard as we can to do everything we can to survive the crisis.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pirate Bay case

On 17 April 2009, the District Court of Stockholm-Sweden found Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of having assisted in making 33 Copyright-protected files available on their free-file sharing website The Pirate Bay, punished each of them to one year in prison and ordered them to pay compensation amounting to US$ 3,6 million.

According to Legal Blog Watch, soon after the court passed said verdict, a Swedish radio station revealed that the court’s judge i.e Tomas Norström is a member of 2 pro Copyright groups: the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Swedish Copyright Association whose members include three of the Plaintiffs' lawyers Henrik Pontén, Peter Danowsky & Monique Wadsted.

According Reuters, on 27 April, Carl Lundstrom’s lawyer Per Samuelson said in a document sent to the Court of Appeal that the judge’s membership in those groups should have disqualified him from presiding of the case. He said :
"Tomas Norstrom was biased during the trial ... Secondly, he neglected to inform the defendants and their lawyers of the facts that constituted the bias."

Due to the above facts, the Defendants have filed appeal with the High Court to request for a retrial of the case. So, the faith of the four defendants now rests in the hands of the judges of said Court.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Globalization of the Swine Flu

Last year, we were frightened by the outbreak of the Avian Flu in China, that spread to other parts of Asia, including Indonesia.

According to The Jakarta Globe, 119 people in Indonesia has has died because of the Avian Flu, which is the highest fatalities in the world.
While experts are still looking for the best medicine to cure this virus, suddenly the media reported about the outbreak of the Swine Flu Virus in Mexico killing more than 100 people, and spread to the United States of America, New Zealand and Australia.

Now that the Swine Flu has become Epidemic, many people would be vulnerable to this virus. Therefore, it is very important for us to take necessary steps to avoid the spread of this virus, as suggested by the Bernstein Crisis Management:

(1) Learn about Swine Flu e.g by visiting website of Center for Disease Control (CDC)which described that its symptom is similar to regular seasonal Human Flu i.e Fever, Lethargy, loss of Appetite, Coughing, and it cannot be spread by eating Pork.
(2) Anyone who catches Flu while traveling to Mexico should go to the doctor ASAP
(3) Employers should ensure that all employees know of this threat and are urged to report symptoms in themselves or others immediately
(4) Be prepared for business interruptions if your workforce is impacted; health officials could even quarantine groups of people who they believe have had direct contact with someone already infected.
(5) Have messaging ready for clients or customers who want to know what you're doing to protect them.
(6) If you have operations in Mexico, strongly consider a temporary freeze on outbound travel by employees there and inbound travel by employees already out of the country.
(7) Retail food organizations may get some customer fear about consuming pork. As noted above, the disease can't be spread that way. Nonetheless, your employees CAN spread the disease and common sense measures that are probably already in place(e.g. handwashing) should probably be the focus of refresher training.
(8) This disease spreads easily and become epidemics because people are not worried about it and do not take extra precautions.

As a country with Moslem majority who do not consume Swine/Pig/Pork, it is important for the people in Indonesia to understand that the Swine Flu does not spread through the consumption of Pork, but spreads just like a regular seasonal human Flu. This means that the virus can spread to anyone. And the best way to avoid it is by being healthy and watch out for any signs of Flu like Fever, Coughing, Lethargy. If there is any sign, we should immediately go to the doctor, Beside that we should also avoid going to countries where the virus has spread.

Monday, April 27, 2009

About Twitter

Until several months ago, I thought that Twitter was just an interpersonal communication tool for non business purposes; this is obvious because e-mails and mobile phone SMS are more than enough for me to handle.

Recently, I opened an account with Twitter because I heard from friends and other people that it can be very useful for social and business purposes. Then my perception changed.

According to Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management, Twitter has become an essential part of Crisis Management. We first saw this with in-person Tweeting from natural & man made disasters e.g Hurricane and Plane crashes, then from breaking news of all kinds, because Twitter makes it as easy as an SMS not just to inform one person but also everyone who subscribed to Twitter, including a rapidly growing number of news reporters. And if you are working with an organization that regularly covered by the news media, it can be ascertained someone from the media will be tracking the mentioning of your name and/or brands in Twitter.

Further, Bernstein mentioned about how he & his client found out that the State Attorney General plan to sue the client before the lawsuit was even served, because the AG office has tweeted about it! This was then tweeted by two Twitter subscribers in Texas, including a representative of a TV station.

Considering the above fact, I felt that Twitter is a very useful communication tool for both social and business purposes, especially in times of crisis. But it should be used properly and wisely, so that inconveniences can be avoided.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ecstasy Pill cases

On 11 April, the Jakarta Police released two Prosecutors who were arrested for selling 343 illegal Ecstasy Pills i.e Ester Tarnak & Dara Tarnita, because the former failed to meet the requirement for obtaining arrest extension permit from the Attorney General Office.

While this case is still being processed, Kompas reported today that another Prosecutor i.e. Sutoni of the West Jakarta District Attorney Office has been suspected of violating the procedure for handling a case against Gunawan Tjahjadi who was prosecuted for possessing 470 Ecstasy pills. The West Jakarta District Court only tried this case 2 times, on 17 and 18 February 2009. Sutoni read his prosecution on 18 February, in which he demanded one and a half year imprisonment, and at the same day the Council of Judges punished Gunawan with 1-year imprisonment. However, on 17 February Gunawan was already released from Police custody, but was arrested again on 19 April 2009.

Considering that the above two cases are related to Illegal Drugs which can cause devastating problems for those who are addicted, their families, friend and the society, I hope that all the suspects would be processed according to the law, so that seekers of justice would have a peace of mind.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Parental responsibilities

I always believed that parents all over the world played a very dominant role in the development of their children who are under the age of 18 years old, due to which fact they have to be fully responsible for their children.

However, there are certain conditions in which some parents want to be free of their natural responsibility for their children .
And that's perhaps what Madlyn Primoff, a New York lawyer, has in her mind when she kicked her 10 and 12 years old daughters out her car one Sunday.
According to the New York Times, at that time Ms. Primoff was so frustrated with her two daughters who would not stopped bickering, that after driving 3 miles from her home in downtown White Plains, N.Y., she kicked those children. She was later arrested by the Police on charges of endangering the welfare of children, and stayed overnight in jail and released after she paid a bail of US$ 1,500.00 and has to return back to the Court on 21 May 2009.

Beside that, in Indonesia currently there has been controversial news reports about a woman i.e Daisy Fajirina, who has allowed her own 16 years old beautiful daugther i.e. Manohara, to be married last August to a 30 years old Prince of Kelantan, Malaysia, whom she and her daughter barely knew. Daisy is currently complaining to the news media that Manohara (now 17) has been brutally mistreated by her husband (now 31), and she therefore demanded our government and everyone else to help her get her daughter back.

Although I symphatize with Daisy in facing her problem, however considering that our Mariage Law No 1/1974 stipulated that Indonesian under the age of 21 years old can only be married if their parents permit them to do so, therefore I believed that she played a very dominant role in the problem that her daughter is facing now.

I am very sad to know that some parents can be very devastated in handling their children. I believed that if parents would always stick to their responsibilities, they would not have very bad problems with their children.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Indonesian Migrant Workers

The current global economic crisis has caused the deportation of many Indonesians Migrant Workers from many foreign countries where they have been working.

According to Antara, last year 34,595 of those workers have been deported from Malaysia.
At the same year, according to PAB Indonesia, 23,644 of them have been deported from Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, our government’s official website reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono has promised that his government will make efforts to protect those migrant workers.
And in connection with the United Nations Summit Meeting on Racism now held in Geneva, Swiss, according to The Jakarta Post our delegation has urged global willingness to address complaints of migrant workers, especially those employed in the domestic sectors. We also requested for a better complaint-filing mechanism for discriminatory acts against migrant workers and unlawful treatment by the employers.

Considering the fact that those Migrant Workers have been contributing a large sum of foreign currency badly needed by our country, I hope that a much better and more serious efforts would be made to protect those workers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Manohara & the Prince of Kelantan

Every year, the Indonesian people celebrate the 21st of April as the birthday of Kartini i.e. a lady whose ideas have made the status of Indonesian females equal to the males.

But yesterday, the celebration was disturbed by a very strange news about the kidnap of a 17 years old Indonesian model i.e Manohara Pinot, by Tengku Muhammad Fakhry (31) Prince of Kelantan, Malaysia, who happened to be her own husband.

According to KapanLagi, the couple was married on 26 August 2008 not long after they met, when Manohara was only 16 years old and the Prince was already 30 years old. Apparently, their marriage did not go well, because the Prince turned out to be a brutal, high tempered, possessive & sex maniac who’ll ruthlessly beat his wife if he did not get what he wants. His brutality include slashing Manohara’s breast with a razor. Obviously, Manohara cannot stand it any longer, so at the end of December 2008 she runnaway to her mother in Jakarta.

According to Oktavita, the prince then made efforts to restore the shattered relationship with his wife and family and get Manohara back. In early March he took them all to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for an Umrah Pilgrimage. Then on the way back to Jakarta, as they transited in Kuala Lumpur airport, four of the prince’s men snatched Manohara out of the airport.

Manohara’s mother, Daisy Fajarina, held a press conference last Monday, 20 April, in which she said that she has tried to ask the King of Kelantan to persuade his son to free Manohara, but failed. She also said that she has now been banned to enter Malaysia.

Considering the above, Detik reported that the National Human Rights Comission urged the Indonesian government to bring this case to be settled legally according to the Malaysian laws.

It is very sad, especially when we are celebrating Kartini Day, to hear that a girl as young as 16 years old can be allowed to marry someone a lot much older, yet rich & aristocrate, whom she and her mother barely knew.

Happy Birthday Earth

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Webby Awards

Every year the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a group of 550 member that includes Internet Innovator Vinton Cerf, founder of Huffington Post Arianna Huffington, creator of “Simpsons” Matt Groening and Media Conglomerate Harvey Weinstein, present the Webby Awards to honor excellence in Web sites in more than 100 categories.

According to Legal Blog Watch, this year the organization will present the 13th Webby Awards. For this purpose, last week they have announced the nominees, including five sites in the Law Category, as follows:
1)Get Legal
2)Immigration Advocates Network
5)Workplace Fairness

The interesting thing is that through its People’s Voice Awards, the Web community at large is allowed to participate in the voting.

I hope that one of these days, Indonesian blogger(s) would be eligible to be selected as a nominee for the Webby Awards.

The truth about David's death

More than one month has passed since the news media in Singapore reported that an Indonesian student at the Nanyang Technology University (NTU) i.e. David Hartanto Widjaja, has committed a suicide after stabbing his Professor, on 2 March 2009.

According to VivaNews, until now David’s family still does not believe that David committed a suicide, and therefore questioning the real cause of his death due to the following reasons:
1)The Singapore Police did not state that the cause of David’s death suicide
2)The Singapore Police gave the forensic autopsy report through NTU, in stead of through the Indonesian Embassy there
3)The forensic autopsy report shows 36 stab wounds, including 14 sharp objects wounds on David's body
4)According to forensic expert i.e. Dr. Mu'nim, the Forensic Report was not legitimate because it was not legalized by our embassy in Singapore
5)David’s death was followed by the death of two NTU’s research staff working at the same department David studied;
6)David’s family was not allowed to meet the stabbed Professor, and the Dean of NTU;
7)The Singapore Police does not allow David’s family access to David’s lap top and mobile phone which could lead to the real cause of David’s death

In this regards, David's family have requested the government of President SBY to support them in their effort.

Further, in order to find out the truth, David’s family has hired a Criminal Lawyer in Singapore i.e. Sashi Nathan, to take legal action with the legal authority in Singapore. For which purpose a hearing shall be held at the Coroner Court there on Wednesday, 22 April 2009.

Considering the above, I hope that the Court Hearing would reveal the truth behind the death of David so that the mystery would solved soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trial of Somali Pirates

Somali pirates have attacked hundreds of ships from many countries that passed through the Gulf of Aden in recent years. This month alone, three vessels were reported high jacked, one was an American ship whose captain was rescued by the U.S Navy last Sunday.

In spite the fact that those pirates have committed serious crimes, unfortunately according to Legal Blog Watch, the international community is still uncertain on how and where to try caught pirates. The Netherlands and France have taken the lead of trying them in their countries. And U.S officials will try the pirate caught last Sunday in New York because the F.B.I office there has experience with crimes committed in Africa, including investigation of the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of U.S Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Several countries have proposed that piracy cases to be prosecuted in Kenya, and others proposed the establishment of a special piracy tribunal similar to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Further, the U.S.A, Britain, and other European countries have signed memorandums of understanding with Kenya in recent months, as a result some of the pirates will be prosecuted in Nairobi, Kenya.

Considering that those pirates have committed very serious crimes against the vessels & its crews/passengers, representatives of all the countries concerned should sit down together to discuss and determine how and where those pirates should be tried.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Aquittal of Time Magazine

Justice has prevailed!” That’s what I thought when I read the news last Thursday, 16 April, about our Supreme Court's verdict which accepted the Judicial Review requested by attorneys of Time Magazine, clearing all Defamation charges brought by the family of late former President Soeharto.

According to The Jakarta Post, the Supreme Court overturned its own verdict passed on August 2007, which required Time to pay US$ 106 Million Compensation for Damage to the Soeharto family. As the grounds for the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Hatta Ali said that Time "did not violate the law or breach ethical standards”.

The legal case started when Time (Asia) published in its 14 May 1999 edition an article tiled: “ Soeharto Inc., How Indonesia’s Longtime Boss Built a Family Fortune ”, which reported that Soeharto collected US$ 15 billion during 32 years in power, and transferred US$ 9 Billion from a bank in Swiss to a bank in Austria. Annoyed, Soeharto, through his team of attorneys led by Juan Felix Tampubolon, filed a Defamation Lawsuit demanding US$ 17.18 Billion compensation plus legal expenses. At the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal Soeharto lose, but won the Cassation at the Supreme Court, due to which fact, Time has requested for the above Judicial Review.

Viva News reported according to their attorney Mohammad Assegaf, the Soeharto family has accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Indonesian Alliance of Journalists (AJI) Nezar Patria said that AJI is grateful that the Supreme Court has adopted the Press Law and the Journalistic in handling this case.

I hope that the above verdict of the Supreme Court would be followed as Jurisprudence by other court judges in handling similar cases related to the news media.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Liquidation of Bank IFI

Sudden liquidation of a bank would be very frightening for the management, employees and customers of the bank. That’s what I thought when I read about the liquidation of Bank IFI this morning.

According to Detik Finance, the central bank i.e. Bank Indonesia (BI) has liquidated Bank IFI based on the Decision of the Governor of BI No.11/19/KEP. GBI/2009 dated 17 April 2009. According to the Head of BI's Bureau for Financial Stabilization i.e. Wimboh Santoso this action was taken because Bank IFI has suffered losses since it was placed under BI's intensive surveilance in 2002. He said that the liquidation would not have a systemic impact because Bank IFI’s asset as of March 2009 is only Rp 440 Billion, 0.01% of the total asset of our banking industry. While it’s inter-bank loan is less than Rp 8 Billion, and Capital Adequate Ratio (CAR) is less than minimum i.e. 8%.

Meanwhile, Tempointeraktif reported that the Chief Executive of the Savings Guarantor Agency (LPS) Firdaus Djaelani has stated that LPS shall guarantee Rp 175 Billion of the Rp 250 Billion of third party’s money placed in said bank.

Further, TVOne reported that the Head of LPS's Liquidation Division i.e Robert Hutabarat promised that LPS shall guarantee the rights of Bank IFI's 130 employees.

In conclusion I felt that the sudden liquidation of Bank IFI would cause fears among its customers, its employees as as well as other parties who are involved with the operation of said bank. Therefore, I hope that the above mentioned authories would keep all their promises.

Carrefour's Monopoly

French retail giant Carrefour opened its first supermarket in Jakarta on October 1998, since then it has expanded business very rapidly especially after PT. Carrefour Indonesia acquired 75% equity of PT. Alfa Retailindo, the owner of local Alfa Supermarket chain, on January 2008.

According to The Jakarta Post, local retailers have filed a report with the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) saying that Carrefour has conducted monopoly. And the result of KPPU’s preliminary investigation shows that after the acquisition of Alfa, Carrefour’s downstream market share has soared to 48.4% from 38%, while its share on the upstream market has soared to 67%, up from 45%. The latter figure, indicates that Carrefour has violated the Anti-Monopoly Law No. 5 Year 1999, which stipulates that a market share of 50 percent or more may be considered as practice of monopoly.

Due to this fact, on Monday, 13 April, KPPU held a hearing with Carrefour, during which Carrefour denied KPPU’s allegation by saying that based on the result of recent research by AC Niesen, their present market share is only 7%.
KPPU has given Carrefour a chance to change its business practices until 13 May 2009, if they obey, KPPU will stop their investigation.

Considering the above, I hope that KPPU and Carrefour would reach a win-win solution for this problem which would be in accordance with the laws in our country, that way local retailers would not suffer much more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rhoma Irama & Marriage

For more than 35 years, Rhoma Irama has been very popularly known in Indonesia as a Malayan Dangdut singer and movie actor.

According to Kapanlagi, this controversial man was born in Tasikmalaya, West Java, on 11 December 1946, was legitimately married based on Marriage Law No.1/1974, but at the same time practiced Sirri i.e a marriage based on the Islamic Law, with several other women.

On Tuesday (14 April) evening, Rhoma Irama appeared as guest speaker in ANTV’s Talk Show 4 LAWAN 1 (4 Against 1), hosted by four ladies i.e Lula Kamal, Meisya Siregar, Fira Basuki and Rahma Aulia.
Various topics were discussed, but the most interesting part was when they discussed about Rhoma's opinion on Marriage. In this case he admitted that he led a polygamous life, but he refused to answer when the ladies asked him how many wives he has today.
He said that Marriage, Divorce and Polygamy are determined by God, and Polygamy does not bring disgrace to women, as a matter of fact it bring honor to women. He explained that before Islam came to this world, men did not honor women. He gave an example that at those times, holy men/kings/ leaders in many countries of the world have many wives, not just tens but also hundreds and even thousands, thus there is no limitation at all.
After Islam came to this world, a man is limited to have not more than 4 wives, on the condition that he must be capable to treat his wives fairly, otherwise he should only have 1 wife.

Further, he said that he sympathize with Syekh Puji, i.e. a 43 years old man who married Ulfa, a 12 years old girl according to Sirri. He said that Syekh Puji is a victim of our society’s unfair treatment. Because Rhoma thinks that Syekh Puji’s marriage was legitimate according to the Islamic Law which defined that an adult female as one who has menstruates, and since Ulfa has already menstruate, therefore their marriage has been legitimate according to Islamic Law.

Furthermore, he said that Sirri Marriage would prevent men from committing adultery.

Rhoma Irama’s above opinion is contradictory to our country’s Marriage Law i.e. a female should be at least 16 to get married; and a married man can only take another wife if his first wife permit him to do so. And as a public figure his words could mislead other people especially his fans into thinking that he is right.
In order to avoid confusion, the government should therefore clarify this by always socializing the principles adopted by our National Marriage Law.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EU's ban on our Airlines

Many aircrafts accidents have happened in our country, killing lots of its crews and passengers.

The latest accident was on 6 April when the Air Force’s Fokker F-27 crash-landed & hit a hangar at the airport in Bandung, West Java, killing all of its 24 crews & passengers.
In an interview with Tempointeraktif, the Air Force’s PR vice Marshal Sagoem said that the plane’s black box is still being investigated and the main cause of accident can only be known three months after the tragedy.

Meanwhile, The Jakarta Globe reported that our inability to stop aircraft accidents has caused the European Union (EU) to extend the 21 months old ban on our aircraft entering their air space, saying that our aviation sector must meet seven more requirements. The ban was imposed in July 2007 after two Indonesian commercial aircrafts crashed, one in Jogyakarta, the other in South Sulawesi, killing a total of 123 passengers, based on the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization which issued 69 requirements which should be met.
Our government has made very serious efforts to meet those requirements, including amendment of the National Aviation Law last January, that the Minister of Transport Syafii Djamal said that EU has no more reason to extend their ban.
Unfortunately, a series of embarrassing aircraft accidents occurred last February, while aviation experts from the EU were visiting Indonesia to assess its progress before the March meeting. As a result, the EU extended the ban last March, pending completion of seven remaining requirements. EU’s ambassador to Indonesia i.e. Julian Wilson said that “The EU will be reviewing them at the next meeting in June ” Wilson said, adding that they were technical issues. “They are mostly related to inspections by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation at the Transportation Ministry.”

According to flag carrier Garuda’s President Emirsyah Satar, EU’s ban has costs Garuda around US$ 9 Million annually.

Considering the above, I hope that our government would strictly reconsider the licenses that have been granted to airlines in Indonesia, and always make sure that they obey all the aviation rules and regulations in our country as well in other countries of the world.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Corruption in Kinabalu

During the trial at the Corruption Court in Jakarta last Wednesday, the Prosecutor demanded that former Indonesian Diplomats in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, be sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, and Fine each of them Rp. 150 million or six months imprisonment for alleged embezzlement of Immigration fees.

According to Kompas, the Defendants i.e former Consul General (2000-2003) Muchamad Sukarna, former Head of Economic-Social-Culture Section Mas Tata, former Head of Imigration in Kuching Irsyafii Rasoel, and former Head of Immigration in Tawau Makdum Tahir, were charged with violation of the Corruption Eradication Law No.20 Year 2001 Article 3 in connection with Article 18.
Beside the above mentioned punishment, each of them must also pay compensation : M. Sukarna Rp 414 million, M. Tata Rp 179.6 million, I. Rasoel Rp. 300 million and M. Tahir Rp 500 million.
Prosecutor Suwarji accused the Defendants of conspiring to abused their authority by charging two different types of Imigration fees, i.e. an Actual fee and a lower Official fee reported to the state. The difference were then split among themselves, inflicting a loss to the state totalling Rp 6,97 Billion.

On 14 October 2008, PR Officer of the Commision for the Eradication of Corruption (KPK) i.e Johan Budi has informed that some of the Defendants have returned to KPK Rp 3,5 Billion, including Rp 2,5 Billion returned by M. Sukarna on 17 September 2008.

Actually the double Immigration fees were initiated by the previous Consul General (1999-2000) i.e. Amir Hamzah based on his Decision No. SKEP/05/N 7/0899 dated 30 August 1999.
Abd according to Tempointeraktif, on 23 March the Prosecutor has demanded the same Court to sentence Amir Hamzah and three of his staffs two and a half year imprisonment plus fine each of them with Rp 150 million or 6 months imprisonment.

The above shows that our law enforcement agencies are very serious in their efforts to eradicate corruption in our country. I hope that they would also pay attention to other cases that have inflicted a lot much bigger loss to the state but pending for very long like the Central Bank Liquid Aid (BLBI) Cases, and the mysterious Lapindo Mud Flow case.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Election Violations

Since our country held its Parliamentary Election on Thursday, 9 April, our news media have been reporting about violation complaints voiced by political parties competing in the said election.

Based on the General Election Law No. 10 Year 2008 Art. 247 Par.4, such kind of complaints should be submitted by those political parties to the General Election Supervision Board (Bawaslu) within three days after the said election date i.e. on Saturday 11 April at midnight (24.00 hours).

According to VivaNews, until 11.40 pm last night, Bawaslu has received at least 549 complaints consisting of 363 Administrative Violations, 75 Criminal Violations, and 111 Miscellaneous Violations. And Lampung is the province with the biggest number of violations i.e. 112 cases.

Further TVOne quoted Wahidah Suaib of Bawaslu as saying that the Administrative Violations consists of among others: Misplacement of Ballots, Voter not registered in the Permanent Voters List (DPT), Unannounced DPT, Ballot’s seal broken. Criminal Violation: Money Politic, Voter cast the ballot more than one time. While Miscellaneous Violation: Chaos or act of Anarchy.
Based on Art. 257 of the General Election Law, Court Verdicts for the Criminal Violation should be passed not less than 5 days before the General Election Commission (KPU) announced the final result of election on 9 May.

According to Kompas, the Head of Bawaslu i.e. Nurhidayat Sardini promised to take immediate action to respond and take legal actions on all complaints received by Bawaslu.

I hope that Bawaslu will settle all the complaints on time i.e. not less than 5 days before KPU make the announcement regarding the final result of Parliamentary Election, so that the KPU will be able to make proper preparations for the Presidential Election on 8 July 2009. That way, KPU would be able to prevent or at least minimized the negative things that happened in the Parliamentary Election.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Drugs Dealing Prosecutors

Illegal Drugs business seems to be very attractive for some people, including few law enforcement officers, that they would be tempted to take part in the business.

That's what I though when I read an article in today's Kompas Newspaper Page 25 regarding Irvan, a Police officer in North Jakarta who was caught by the Police for selling 343 Ecstasy pills at a nightclub in North Jakarta.
What shocked me is that during the investigation, Irvan confessed that he got those drugs from two lady Prosecutors i.e. Ester Tanak and Dara Veranita, who were handling Drugs case at the District Court of North Jakarta in which M. Yusuf was the Defendant. Those drugs are part of the 5,000 Ecstasy pills confiscated by the Police during a raid at an apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta.

And what shocked me even more is that the Police can only process the case of Irvan, but has to release the two prosecutors at 2 pm today because the Attorney General Office (AGO) has not given the Police a permit to detain them. But the AGO’s Public Relation officer i.e. Jasman Simajuntak denied this allegation. He said that his office would issue the permit if the Police made a written request, in stead of a verbal request, for said detention as stipulated by the Prosecution Law No. 16 Year 2004 Art. 8 Par.5.

In reaction to the above, head of anti drugs organization GRANAT Henry Yosodiningrat stated that the release of those two lady Prosecutors would create public assumption that the AGO is protecting their "nasty" Prosecutors.

Now that the real reason for obtaining the AGO's permit have been known, I hope that the Police would issue the written request and send it to the AGO, so that the two prosecutors can remain in detention. Therefore, this illegal Drugs case can be prosessed ASAP and those involved could be punnished accordingly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Doubtful Quick Counts

Only few hours after the voting places were closed at 12 noons yesterday, TV stations have started to announce the preliminary results of ballot counting, popularly known as the Quick Count.

Political parties who were announced as losers such as Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle (PDIP), Golkar Party, and Gerindra Party, said that the Quick Counts were inaccurate, and they accused that certain party has paid the survey institutes that announced the Quick Counts.

This accusation reminds me of an article I read yesterday morning in the Kompas Newspaper Page 3 about Election Survey Institutes that have been hired by political parties as their political consultants.
One of them is Lingkaran Survey Indonesia headed by Denny J.A. who admitted that PDIP has hired his institute as consultant.
The next one is Charta Politica headed by Arya Bima who admitted that President SBY’s Democrat Party has hired his institute as consultant.
However, both institutes denied that they would be biased in announcing the Quick Count, they said that their professionalism would enable them to separate their job as consultant for the party, and as surveyor.

But another survey institute i.e. Lembaga Survey Indonesia headed by Saiful Mujani has denied allegations that his institute has been hired by the Democrat Party. He said that it is MetroTV who has financed the survey conducted by his institute.

Considering the above, I hope that our society in general and the news media in particular would not take the Quick Count too seriously and wait until the General Election Commission made its announcement on the result of ballot counting.

The Risk of Writing Online

I have heard many times about fellow bloggers complaining that their writings have been claimed by others as their own works. And I believe that they have every reason to complain, not only because they have used their thoughts, time and energy to do the writing, but also because the Copyright Law protect them from such kind of action.

However, the judges of a state appeals court in California, U.S.A, seemed to think differently when they recently passed a verdict regarding a posting in the social networking site
In this regards, Legal Blog Watch quoted an article in saying that the case dates back to October 2005 when Cynthia Moreno returned from a visit to her hometown of Coalinga, Calif., and ranted about the community in her online journal. She removed the posting six days later, but in the interim, Roger Campbell, principal of Coalinga High School, downloaded the entry and gave it to a friend, the editor of the Coalinga Record, who soon published it as a letter to the editor. Following the publication, Moreno's sister and parents, who still lived in Coalinga, received death threats and a shot was fired at their home. Eventually, the threats drove them out of town and forced Moreno's father to shut down a 20-year-old family business.
Moreno and her family sued the newspaper and the principal for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The appeals court let stand the emotion distress claims, but dismissed the invasion of privacy action, finding that Moreno's posting "made her article available to any person with a computer and thus opened it to the public eye."

The above court's verdict makes us realize what sort of risk we take (to our privacy) when we are writing online.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Election Day

This morning, Indonesians gave their votes in the general election to elect members of the national Parliament(DPR), provincial (DPRD-I)& regional (DPRD-II) parliaments.

According to the General Election Commission (KPU) there are 171 million people who are eligible to vote i.e. 17 years old and above, registered in the permanent voter list (DPT). And the contestants consists of 38 political parties plus 6 additional local parties in the province of Aceh.

However, according to news media only around 60% of the registered voters came to the polls. Many said that the reason is because many people who are supposed to vote are not registered, and many who cannot vote e.g already dead or underage children, are registered as voters. The news media's allegation may have been right if I compare with my own experience in casting vote and also witnessing the counting of ballots in 3 voting places around my home in Kebayoran, South Jakarta, and 4 voting places around my parents' home in Bintaro, Banten. In those voting places, only around 40% of the registered voters show up at the polls. And the results in the 7 polls show that President SBY's Democratic Party won.
This result is the same as the preliminary result of voting Quick Count reported by several Election Survey institutions.
Although the said Quick Count result is still preliminary, however the news media and some politicians believe that they would not be very different compared to the actual result of counting by KPU.

In spite of the bad sides, there is one thing that made me and many Indonesians very happy i.e the fact that our country as the world's third largest democracy has successfully carried out the general election peacefully. And I am proud of it. God Bless Indonesia!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is Starbucks sponsoring the Election?

That was the question that I asked myself when I first read an advertisement in today's Kompas Newspaper Page 10, as shown below :

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Campaign Carries On

Last Sunday, campaign for the general election has ended, and based on the General Election Law 10/2008, 38 political parties will go through a cooling down period before the general election on Thursday, 9 April 2009. During which, they are not allowed to do and/or say things which can be regarded as campaign.

However, it seems that the above law is only obeyed in real world, but not in the virtual world. According to Tempointeraktif, someone has opened a site in the social networking media Facebook titled Say No!!!” to Megawati, which until yesterday 10 am, has been supported by 64,188 people.
And at the same time, there is also a site titled Say No to Prabowo, which was supported by 751 people. Note: when I checked one hour ago the supporters has jumped to 3,068 people.

The strange thing is that there is another site which is contradictory to both sites, titled: Say Yes to SBY, which was supported by 5,185 people. Note: when I write this post the number has jumped to 116,286 people.

Further, Kompas reported that the “Say “No!!! to Megawati site was banned by Facebook on Tuesday, 7 April, 1 am, when its supporters have reached a total of 97,177 people.
However, this action did not stop the Anti Megawati campaign, because a similar site titled SAY NO TO MEGAWATI which until today noon has been supported by 4,071 people. Note: when write this post the number has jumped to 13,774 people.

Considering the cooling down period from 6 to 8 April, I hope that all parties participating in the general election on 9 April would refrain from saying and/or doing things which would offend other parties. And I also hope that they do not get easily offended by statements made by unclear people in the internet. That way peace and order can be maintained, and the majority of our people can live in peace

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Sinetron

Since the reform took place in 1998, Indonesia has changed from a very closed conservative society where censorship is very common, into a more open liberal society.

One of the industry which is effected is the television movie industry, popularly known as the Sinetron (short for Sinema Elektronik) shown by every local TV stations.
Every day, each TV stations tried their very best to show their own popular movie series so that many viewers would want to watch them, that way many companies would want to place advertisements on the TV program.
But in spite of the many titles, actors/actresses, stories that those Sinetron shows, actually most of their topics are the same, i.e. either Horror or Love story. The worst thing is that they all have one thing in common i.e. they show Emotional Violence where role players scream, shout, curse, etc. as if our society is emotionally violent.

Frankly speaking, I never watched one Sinetron till the end, simply because I get bored by the reasons that I have mentioned above. But please don’t get me wrong; I do believe that there are many Indonesian movies which are worth watching, the latest one being Laskar Pelangi. And in the past, there was a memorable movie: Badai Pasti Berlalu, and TV movie like Si Unyil and Keluarga Cemara.

Considering that TV movies are watched by unlimited people with all kinds of backgrounds and ages, in my opinion they should have more variety of topics, not just Horror and/or Love, but also educative topics related to the Environment, Patriotism, good moral standards, etc.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Homes for Frustrated Candidates

Today is the last day of campaign for candidates running for the General Election on 9 April 2009. Starting tomorrow there will be a cooling down period during which those candidates are not allowed to talk and/or do anything in public that can be considered as campaigning.

I can imagine that those candidates must have been doing everything they can and spent a lot of money during the campaign period. This is obvious because there are so many candidates who are competing for only very few seats in the parliaments.
According to Media Indonesia, there are 11,215 candidates competing for 560 seats of the People’s Representative Council (DPR), and 1,109 candidates competing for 132 seats of the Regional Representative Council (DPD). Beside that, there are 112,000 candidates competing for 1,998 seats of the Provincial Parliaments (DPRD I) and 1,500,000 candidates for 15,750 seats of the Regional and/or Municipality Parliaments (DPRD II).
Due to these facts, it can be ascertained that most of the candidates would fail, therefore very disappointed or even frustrated.
In order to anticipate this, the Department of Health has asked 32 Mental Hospitals throughout Indonesia to provide treatment for those frustrated candidates. Unfortunately, those hospitals only have a capacity of 8,500 beds.
However, Kompas Newspaper quoted Dr Faried Patuti, a Psychiatric at a hospital in Bogor as saying that candidates who are elected also face the risk of having a mental breakdown too, because he/she does not expected will win. Mental hospitals preparing for those frustrated candidates include hospitals in Bogor, Samarinda-Kalimantan, Grogol-Jakarta. They will be placed in VIP rooms charged much higher than normal patients, ranging from Rp 80,000 to Rp 288,000 per day.

In conclusion I felt sorry for those candidates who are too ambitious to reach their goals which are very difficult to achieve. But I am happy that the Mental Hospitals have made anticipatory preparations to treat candidates who failed to be elected in the general election on 9 April.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Import of Waste Materials

Many industries in Indonesia consume waste materials to be used as raw materials in their manufacturing process, for example Steel and Paper/Pulp industries.
Unfortunately, our country does not have enough waste material to feed those industries, therefore they have to be imported from other countries.

Importation of waste materials is quite risky, in the sense that they might be contaminated by materials which are dangerous/hazardous/radioactive/ poisonous for our environment therefore forbidden to enter our teritorry.

In order to make sure that the waste materials are safe, HukumOnline reported that on 24 October 2008 the Minister of Trade issued a regulation regarding importation of Non Dangerous & Poisonous materials (B3) i.e. Decree No. 41/M-DAG/PER/10/2008 which require importer of waste materials to possess a Non B3 Waste Materials Import License. Besides, the importers are also required to obtain recommendation from the Minister of State of Environmental Affairs.
Further, the decree stipulates that the loading of such waste materials should be inspected by an independent surveyor appointed by the Minister of Trade. In which case, the exporter should provide the importer with a letter stating:
1)That the cargo is free from Dangerous & Poisonous Materials (B3)
2)If during discharge in Indonesia the cargo is found to contain B3 materials, then the importers should take the cargo back outside Indonesia.
The decree gave penalties to importers of the B3 materials as well as the surveyor which do not comply with the new regulation.

This regulation was supposed to be enforceable on 24 December 2008, but due to strong objections by the importers/industry, especially the Steel and Paper/ Pulp industries, according to Analisa Daily, last December the Minister of Trade revised the regulation with Decree No. 58/M-DAG/PER/12/2008.
And according to Lets Recycle the government postphoned the enforcement of the said regulation until 24 June 2009.

The above mentioned regulation brings mixed feelings for me, on the one hand I am very glad that Dangerous & Poisonous waste materials are prevented to enter our country's teritorry. But on the other hand I felt that the regulation might create complications, e.g criteria of B3 contamination, which would hinder the businesses of Steel and Paper/Pulp industries which are very depended on imported waste materials.