Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Eid Ul Fitr 1432H

Today is the last day of Ramadhan for me and most Moslems in Indonesia and tomorrow we shall celebrate the Hari Raya Eid Ul Fitr / Lebaran.

In spite of this fact, I also have high respect for fellow Moslems who are celebrating Eid Ul Fitr today.

I wish each and everyone of you a Happy Hari Raya Eid Ul Fitr 1432 Hijrah, and sincerely hope that in the future Moslem leaders in Indonesia would want to be united for the very best interests of the people and the country, so that we can all have a single celebration.

I also hope that this Eid would bring Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Healthiness to all of us in particular and human beings in general.

Jakarta Temporarily Quiet

From 27 August until 4 September most of the 9.5 million citizens of  Jakarta spend their Eid/Lebaran holidays, around half of them left the city and celebrate in their hometowns.

This exodus will bring some good effects to citizens who stay in Jakarta i.e. the city would become more quiet, almost no traffic jam, and have cleaner environment..

Beside the good things that I mentioned above, citizens who stayed in the city will face some awkward things i.e. they have to do all the works at home because most of their maids a.k.a domestic helpers, left for their hometown for one to two weeks.
Substitute maids are available for temporary hire at the cost ranging from Rp 100.000 to Rp 175.000 per day (minimum 14 days).

Moreover, people's tradition to visit elder members of their family during Eid would make their homes and surroundings empty and unguarded, making them easy prey for thieves to take advantage of the situation.

What I usually do is that whenever I hire a substitute maid I would report to the security guards in my
neighborhood and ask one of the guards to keep an eye on my home.
In this case I would give him tips, and also make sure that I would not leave my home for a very long time..

The Twin Eid Ul Fitr

This evening the Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadarma Ali announced that the Eid Ul Fitr would be on Wednesday 31 August.therefore one day later than predicted by many people.

The Minister made the decision after meeting with relevant institutions including the Indonesian  Islamic Cleric Council (MUI) based on the reports of a team of astronomers in 80 locations in the country

With this decision, there will be two Eid Ul Fitr celebrations in Indonesia, i.e.Tuesday which will be celebrated by the second largest Moslem organization Muhammadiyah, and Wednesday which will be celebrated by most Moslems including the largest Moslem organization Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

I hope that this difference would not create other differences among both organizations as has been promised by their leaders.

Monday, August 29, 2011

One Morning at the Cemetery

This morning I visited the grave of my late kid brother Dody Lesmana at the Tanah Kusir cemetery which is located not far from my home.

It has been more than five years since the last time I went there and the place was not so different from before therefore I didn't find much difficulty in finding Dody's grave.

Afterward I went to the cemetery management office to extent the grave rent until November 2014 and was quite surprised to know that the rent was only Rp 80.000 per three years. I thought that it might be very high. In the past, this matter was handled by my late father and he never told me about the rent.

The situation at the cemetery was so quite because I was the only visitor there because it was still too early in the morning. Usually many people would go to cemetery 1-2 days before and during Hari Raya Eid Ul Fitr.

The quietness of the surrounding area has reminded of the fact that the cemetery is our final destination, it is the  place where our body would lay down to rest forever. And we would never know when we will go there. So until then, we must do our very best in our life.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Last Days of Ramadhan

It has been more than one week since I last up dated this blog.

There's only one reason for that i.e. my mind has been 100% focused on finishing a whole lot of works at the office.  

Today, me and many others in Jakarta and vicinity start our long holidays in connection with the Eid Ul Fitr celebration at the end of  August. As in previous years, millions of people have started to leave the city to celebrate in their hometowns. 

Although most of the schools in Jakarta and vicinity have closed since last week for a long holiday until 5 September, but the traffic was still jammed, and many car accidents happened in the toll road. Maybe its because the weather was hot during those days.

Lots of things happened during my absence from the blogosphere, among others, bribery suspect Nazaruddin refused to talk to the Corruption Eradication Commission, and told President SBY that he is willing to go to jail as long as his wife and kids are not disturbed.

There was the plan of the state electricity company PLN to import Natural Gas, which is very weird because Indonesia is one of the largest exporter of Natural Gas in the world.

There was also the actions of the violent organization FPI that raided restaurants which opened during day time. Their latest action was forcing SCTV to stop showing the movie " ? " which they claimed to be against Islam.

Beside the above, the third week of Ramadhan has also effects on me i.e. I lose 4 kilogram of my body weight. I hope that I can lose more before Eid Ul Fitr which according to the Minister of Religion could be next Wednesday 31 August.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jail Remission for Corruptors

The celebration of independence day has made a bunch of jailed corruptors very happy because they received remission i.e prison term discount, some were even release from jail..

According to Media Indonesia, 427 jailed Corruptors received remission, 19 of them were released from jail,  including former President Director of the Logistics Board (Bulog) Widjanarko Puspoyo, and former President Director of Bank Mandiri ECW Neloe.

The Jakarta Globe reported that Muhammad Misbakhun, lawmaker and member of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was also released from prison earlier today after receiving a two month remission.
The Court sentenced him to one year in jail for falsifying documents to get a US$ 22.5 Million loan from the troubled Bank Century. This sentence is very low compared to the 8 years demanded by the Prosecutor.

The above very low jail sentence, remission and the release of corruptors before they finish their jail sentence  would make us doubt the seriousness of the fight against Corruption
I wonder whether ordinary people can also be released from jail like those Corruptors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nazaruddin is Not a Hero

One thing I like about today's celebration of Independence Day is that most of the mass media are not reporting about the Nazaruddin case for the time being.

This is good for me because I am beginning to be bored at the behaviors of politicians who tried to build public opinion as if Nazaruddin is a  hero and the law enforcement agency, especially the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is evil.

While actually KPK has named Nazaruddin as Suspect in corruption cases including the misuse of fund for development of athlete building in Palembang, South Sumatera, who ran away to other countries, and was caught by the Interpol in Columbia. who later on hand him over to our law enforcement agencies.

First there was the lawyer OC Kaligis who was very angry because he failed to get asylum for Nazaruddin in Colombia therefore he should be returned to Indonesia. Besides, O.C Kaligis was also angry because he was not allowed to accompany Nazaruddin during the flight from Colombia to Jakarta.

I can understand why he is angry because as a lawyer he has been paid to do his very best to defend his client, but to advise him to take asylum in Colombia (and evade Indonesian laws) ?
However, I agree that Nazaruddin should be accompanied by a lawyer during the 38 hours flight.

Then there was the members of the House of Representatives who forcefully entered the Mobile Brigade Headquarters where Nazaruddin is detained.even though not during visiting hours.
Due his his status a member of the House of Representatives has not been revoked, other member may visit him, but should honor the regulation at the place of detention.

Then there was those politicians who demand that Nazaruddin should be protected by the Witness and Victim Protection Institution, which is unreasonable because Nazaruddin is neither a Witness nor a Victim, but a Suspect. 

Considering the above, I hope that KPK would always treat Nazaruddin according to the laws and regulations.

Happy Birthday Indonesia

On 17 August 1945, the people of Indonesia declared its independence from Japanese occupation forces after the end of the World War II.

This declaration started a five year armed-resistance and diplomatic efforts by the new Republic of Indonesia against the Netherlands who wanted to recapture their East Indies colony from the Japanese, until they finally recognized Indonesia's independence in 1949.

The celebration of Independence Day is a very big event for the people of Indonesia, and it is a public holiday. Its preparations start weeks before the 17th of August. All public buildings are decorated with large banners and lighted designs. Fences around the government offices are draped in red and white streamers. The malls are all decorated in red and white and hold Independence Day sales for the people. Lots of money is spend by the central and regional governments to create a unique series of red and white lighted decorations.

The President, Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of the House of Representatives, other officials of the state, and other VIPs including ambassadors of foreign countries, attend the raising of the Red and White flag at the State Palace in Jakarta in the morning.

Public places glitters in red and white and the all over one can see and hear the words "Happy Birthday Indonesia" and "Long Live Indonesia"

Many games are played during the celebration, the most popular being " Panjat Pinang " i.e palm trunk greased with a mixture of clay and oil is erected in a public place. Various prizes like Bikes, TVs etc. are hung at the top and many people would climb over each other struggling to get those prizes.

At the end of the day, many people failed to get the prizes but they are all happy and smiling after the event. Even the crowd are happy watching the event.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Second Week of Ramadhan

Yesterday afternoon I took my teenager son Virya and nephew Deza to break our fast at the Inul Vizta Karaoke at a mall in East Jakarta.

We arrived at the karaoke at 4pm and the kids were very happy because they thought they can spend two hours singing all the songs they like before we break our fast at Carrefour because all the restaurants there were full.

When we got there, a man told us that the karaoke is closed at daytime during Ramadhan, and will be open at 8.30 pm.

Due to this fact I asked the kids to go at the Fun World amusement center at the basement of the mall and wait for fast breaking at 5.57 pm.

One day before that, Saturday morning until afternoon, I attended a seminar about Stock Exchange at Wisma BNI, Central Jakarta, which was interesting for me who has not been active in the business after the prices of stocks that I bought dropped very sharply in 2008

On Friday afternoon, I went to the Intellectual Property Directorate General in Tanggerang, Banten province to meet some officials to check the status of some pending trademark applications. .
Then I broke my fast with some friends at the Supermall in Karawaci.

On Thursday I break my fast with old time friends, Herman and Henry, at the Bakerzin in Citos, South Jakarta.

Three days before that, Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday, were filled with routine activities. Meal at dawn, drove Virya to school in Pondok Indah then go my office. At 4.30 pm left the office and break the fast at home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Return of Nazaruddin

After almost 40 hours flight from Bogota, Colombia, the Gulfstream Jet landed at the Halim Military airbase in East Jakarta at 7.15 pm last night, bringing home the former Treasurer General of the ruling Democrat Party Muhammad Nazaruddin.

Nazaruddin stepped down from the 4 Billion Rupiah chartered jet plane wearing a bullet proof vest, hand cuffed and heavily guarded by the Police, and taken directly to the headquarters of the Mobile Brigade of the National Police in Depok, West Java for identity checking..

More than an hour later, he was taken to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) at South Jakarta that will investigate allegations against him, especially about his involvement in the misused of fund for the development of an athlete housing in Palembang, South Sumatera.

Later, KPK Chief Busyro Muqodas gave a press conference, during which Nazaruddin's black handbag, sealed by Colombia Police, was opened. The bag contain US$ 20,000, wallet, 3 mobile phones, USB.

After that, all those things were put inside the hand bag again, re-sealed, and kept by the KPK as evidence. Busyro promised that the investigations will be carried out transparently.

Before midnight, Nazaruddin was returned to the Mobile Brigade headquarters where he will be detained.

Many people are happy with the law enforcement's success in bringing back Nazaruddin, because it would enable him to prove whether or not his allegations were true.

However, some people were not happy, such as Nazaruddin's lawyer OC Kaligis who alleged that the Indonesian government has obstructed Nazruddin's efforts to get an asylum in Colombia, and did not allow him to accompany Nazaruddin on the flight to Jakarta

He also said that this case would not be investigated properly by the KPK because two of its officials were alleged by Nazaruddin of being involved in corruption cases. Moreover they doubt that President the Democrat Party would allow Nazaruddin to be investigated transparently.

I believed that the success of our government and law enforcement agency to coordinate with Interpol and the Colombian government to bring back Nazaruddin is the best thing for Indonesia, because it would enable them to investigate all the allegations that he has made against others, as well as the allegations made against him.

Any efforts to obstruct the return of Nazaruddin to Indonesia, such as trying to arrange asylum for him would be against the interest of the people and the state of Indonesia.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Elephant Kills a Farmer in Aceh

Many forest area in the Province of Aceh, Sumatera, has been converted into commercial plantation and other use for many decades.

This continuous deforestation process has narrowed the area of forest as habitat of endangered Sumatera Elephant, making it possible for them to have direct contacts with human beings.

AFP reported that three people have been killed by an Elephant in the province in the last three months, the latest being a rubber tapper named Abdul Halim who was attacked while he was working last Thursday.

I hope this tragic incident would make the officials at the Ministry of Forestry stop giving permits for diversion of forest so that the Sumatera Elephants, which according the WWF now totals 3,500, can  remain inside their habitat and would not go out and attack human beings.

GM is Coming Back to Indonesia

Before early 1970, products of U.S based car maker General Motors (GM) i.e Chevrolet and Opel were very popular in Indonesia.

After that, the Indonesian car market has been dominated by Japanese made cars, like Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi, perhaps because their sizes and models are more favorable for Indonesians..

Although Chevrolet and Opel cars can still be found on the streets of Jakarta and other cities, but their quantity is very few compared to Japanese, South Korean or even Malaysian cars.

It seemed that the situation would change because according to Wall Street Journal, GM is planning to build a factory near Jakarta that can produce around 50,000 cars a year.

I hope that GM will realize its plan very soon so that there will be new job opportunities for the Indonesian working force.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Good Time to Buy Indonesian Stock

The index at the Jakarta Stock Exchange, the best performing equity market in South East Asia, has been dropping since last week and on Tuesday it fell more than 6 percent.

But it seems that the situation has improved that The Economic Times reported (below) that now is the good time to buy Indonesian stocks.

I hope that this prediction is not just for a short time.

Good time now to buy Indonesian stocks: Schroders

JAKARTA: An increasingly uncertain economic outlook in the United States and Europe will have relatively little effect on Indonesia's robust fundamentals, instead offering investors a good opportunity to buy equities in Southeast Asia's largest economy, a Schroders fund manager said. 

Indonesia's main stock market index, Southeast Asia's best performing equity market, has gained around 4 percent this year.

In line with other volatile equity markets, however, Jakarta stocks fell more than 6 percent on Tuesday, as investors worried about the debt crises in the United States and Europe.

"The Indonesian economy should be relatively less impacted but the stock market should be very much correlated with the volatility of the global stock markets," Kiekie Boenawan, head of investment at Schroder Investment Management Indonesia (SIMI), said in an email late on Tuesday.

"It should present a good opportunity to accumulate Indonesian equities as fundamentals are not impacted as much -- relative to other developed economies."
Asian stocks clawed back some lost ground on Wednesday, following a rebound in U.S. shares, after the Federal Reserve made an unprecedented pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two years, stemming a global equity rout for the time being.

But economic growth in the archipelago of 17,000 islands is expected to be 6.6 percent this year, and growing slightly higher in 2012.

"The impact on the Indonesian economy will be relatively less due to Indonesia's low exposure to exports and also due to the low leverage of the economy," added Boenawan. "Most companies are experiencing net cash or very little debt.

"Assuming a 6 percent real growth and an average of 5 percent inflation, we could reasonably expect the stock market to deliver around 13 percent growth in return and dividends next year from this level."

TOP HOLDINGS The Jakarta-based fund company was established in 1991. At the end of July, SIMI had $6.9 billion under management, with around 75-80 percent invested in equities and the remaining in fixed income assets.

Investment decisions in each SIMI fund is based upon contributions and ideas from the investment team of analysts and portfolio managers.

Astra International , Indonesia's biggest listed firm and main vehicle distributor, Bank Mandiri and Bumi Resources are among the main holdings of its equity funds, according to data on its website.
Property stocks are a top pick for Schroders' Indonesian funds, due to the rising levels of middle-income earners and low interest rates, Boenawan said.

Indonesia's central bank held its benchmark overnight policy rate at 6.75 percent on Tuesday for a sixth straight month after July inflation slowed to a 14-month low.
"Property sectors have also been experiencing a surge in demand and prices mainly on the back of rising middle income affluence, low interest rate, and rising direct investments in Indonesia," Boenawan said.

Indonesia expanded at a robust 6.5 percent on year in the second quarter of 2011, at a time when the outlook for the global economy is increasingly uncertain.

"Despite the rising demand and prices in the real physical market, the prices of the property stocks have yet to fully reflect its fundamentals," he added.

Least favoured Indonesian equities for Schroders include telecommunication firms due to a crowded business space, and cement companies.

"For telecommunication, the industry is crowded and has been experiencing fierce price competition since the last 3 years," Boenawan said.

"For cements, although demand is quite robust especially given the rising property prices, the industry has not been able to raise prices further without inviting competition from imported clinkers."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Threat to Raise Malaysian Flag

Villagers in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan were very disappointed at  the government that they threatened to raise Malaysian flag during the celebration of  Independence Day on 17 August 2011.

MetroTV quoted a village chief as saying that there is hardly any development of public facilities on the area, the roads have been damaged for many years. They also complained at the economic inequality.

He further said the Malaysian government have been providing them with clean water facilities for many years.

I hope that the government of West Kalimantan Province and the Central government in Jakarta would take this matter very seriously and take immediate actions to continuously provide everything needed by the villagers i.e good roads, transportation, clean water, electricity, telephone, etc. at affordable prices.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How did Nazaruddin get to Colombia?

Former General Treasurer of the ruling Democrat Party i.e. M. Nazaruddin (here), wanted by the Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was arrested by the Police on Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia.

Republika quoted the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Djoko Suyanto as saying that he received the news from the Indonesian Ambassador to Colombia i.e. Michael Manufandu who said that Nazaruddin was holding a passport under the name of M. Syahruddin.when he was arrested.

And in order to make sure that the man is Nazaruddin, members of the Police and the KPK shall be send to Colombia immediately..

President SBY, Chairman of the Democrat Party Consultative Council, was happy when he told reporters (here) about the arrest of Nazaruddin earlier this evening. He said that he wants Nazruddin protected and allowed to say anything he wants to say.

I am very happy that our law enforcement agencies have successfully coordinated with the Interpol and the Colombian Police for the arrest of Nazaruddin.

However, considering that our government has canceled Nazaruddin's passport more than one month ago while he was assumed to be staying in Singapore or Cambodia, how did he get the false passport under the name of M. Syahruddin ?

Who helped him get the said false passport and arranged the travel to Columbia ?
Why did he choose Colombia which is known to be a haven for illegal drug dealers ?
Is Nazaruddin connected to international drug dealer syndicate ?

These questions became relevant if we think of the fact that Nazaruddin  (33) was very rich when he was the General Treasurer of the Democrat Party that he contributed Billions of Rupiah of money for the party.  
I hope that the Police and the KPK would investigate about this matter thoroughly so that my questions would be answered.

Facebook causing Teenage Pregnacies

Facebook is a very popular online social networking media in Indonesia, this can be seen from the fact that makers of hand phones always mentioned Facebook in their products' advertisement.

Many stories have been told about people taking advantages of Facebook for their personal benefits such as extra marital affairs, etc.

Several days ago Kompas (below) reported that an official of a religious Court in Gunung Kidul, Central Java, has blamed Facebook as the cause of the increase in the number of pregnancies among teenagers and under age marriage.

Facebook 'Prompts Teenage Pregnancies' in Indonesia

Jimmy Hitipeuw | Jumat, 5 Agustus 2011 | 08:20 WIB

Let's chat: The image on invitations for the announcement show a face in a speech bubble, which have strengthen rumours of a new Skype feature 

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - A religious court official in Indonesia has blamed social networking site Facebook for a rise in teenage pregnancies and under-age marriages, a report said Thursday.

Siti Haryanti, a secretary at the religious court in Gunung Kidul, a town in Central Java, said young couples were having sex after meeting online and she had seen the number of under-age marriages increase in the past year.

“Many couples admitted they got to know each other through the site and continued their relationship until they got pregnant outside wedlock,” Haryanti was quoted as saying by a state news agency.

“The site is easy to access even to the remote villages so intensive relationships caused many teenagers to get pregnant outside marriage,” she said. Haryanti said 130 under-age couples have sought marriage licences at the religious court this year compared to 120 couples in 2010.

The legal age for marriage in Indonesia is 16 years for women and 19 years for men. A study by Yahoo! found that Indonesia is the largest and fastest growing online market in Southeast Asia, with online usage growth of 48 percent in 2010, compared to 22 percent in 2009. Indonesia has more than 22 million Facebook users.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


When you believe in things that you don't understand
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way.

That's the Refrain of the song titled Superstition made popular by American singer Stevie Wonder in the '70s. And that's what I thought every time I heard people talk about things that are beyond explanation.

Like when my friend Widodo told me that he planned to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, late July, to meet a special man who has the ability to cure his ailing heart, by conducting some sort of by-pass operation without medical surgery equipments at a much cheaper price compared to conventional medication.

When I asked him why didn't he just go to a hospital in Penang which is popular for such surgery, Widodo said that he was very sick and tired of conventional medications. He added that he just spent three weeks at the Pertamina Hospital, South Jakarta, which is known to have good doctors and equipments to conduct heart by-pass surgery, and he was not cured but spent tens of millions of Rupiah

Widodo asked me if I can accompany him to KL, because many years ago he stayed a couple of weeks at my parents' home in that city when my father was assigned to the Indonesian Embassy there.

My schedule was very tight last month so I cannot accompanied Widodo, but I promised him that I would check about the special person in KL who wanted to cure him.

I contacted fellow blogger Umihoney in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and asked her whether she has heard about the special man in KL and vicinity who can conduct surgery without medical equipments. She said that she never heard about the man that I mentioned, but she once watched on TV another man with such ability. She added that such method is against the Islamic way therefore not recommended.

Widodo went to KL at the end of July, spent three days at the special man's place, and returned to Jakarta. He is confident that he has been cured and is fasting now. He recommended others to follow him. He also said that he will return to KL next October for check-up.

As a friend I am happy that Widodo is okay now, but I strongly believe that good quality conventional doctors and medicament are still the best way to cure sickness. Other than that it would be Superstition.

Here are the complete lyrics of the song Superstition :

Very superstitious, writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.

oo When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin' strong,
You don't wanna save me, sad is my song.

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, yeh, yeh.

Very superstitious, nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way, no, no, no
shut up!

The First Week of Ramadhan

Today is the 7th. Day in the month of Ramadhan, and thank God I have no problem whatsoever with Fasting, especially when it comes to not Eating and Drinking from Dawn to Dusk.

However, as I have mentioned on my earlier post regarding the same topic, Fasting during Ramadhan is not only about not Eating and Drinking during daylight, but also  Thinking, Feeling and Doing Bad Things which includes the control of emotion, temper, words, desire etc.

Frankly speaking, at this stage I have not been 100% successful, perhaps only 75%, in my efforts to stop the non Eating and Drinking activities mentioned above, also the evening Ramadhan prayer which we called Tarawih in Indonesian.

There were several reasons for all that, such as too may works to do at the office, very ugly traffic condition especially in the afternoons whereby most people are trying to get home at almost the same time so that they can break the Fasting with their loved ones at home. There were times when those things almost tempted me to curse. Deep inside I must to admit that all those things were not excuse for me. 

And then there were also the joint Fast breaking with colleagues at the office, and with friends, during which our discussions can go almost anywhere..

But I am glad that I still have 3 more weeks to improve myself during Ramdhan.

Have a great weekend with your loved ones.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reporters are banned from Prisons

Like news reporters in any liberal democratic countries, reporters in Indonesia are very ambitious in getting news to be published in the mass media.

Among their most favorite news sources are people who have been sentenced to Prisons by the Court of Law. But from now on, they cannot do that again, because according to The Jakarta Globe the Law and Human Rights Ministry has issued a decree that bans reporters from entering Prisons.

The Minister of Law and Human Rights Patrialis Akbar was quoted as saying that the reason was because constant presence of reporters in prisons could be "disturbing to the officials' activities within the prisons".
He added that news related to a case which involved an inmate had the potential to hamper investigation of the case.

I hope that the would be restricted to only visiting and interviewing inmates, but not prison wardens and officials who have often been reported of abusing the authorities such as allowing inmates to go outside the prisons like in the Gayus case, and illegal drugs trafficking inside the prisons.

Papua Oh Papua

The Western part of the Island of Papua became a part of the Republic of Indonesia after the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration of the territory in 1963 (here).

In 1969 the territory became a legitimate part of the Republic of Indonesia, and became the province of West Irian, later changed to Irian Jaya in 1973.

With a total land area of 421,981 Km2, the province is the largest province in Indonesia, but it only has a population of 2,9 Million. The province has very rich natural resources a.o Gold and Copper mines, also natural oil and gas, however until now the income of the people is one of the lowest in Indonesia.

The said Copper and Gold mines are run by PT Freeport Indonesia, owned by the multinational company Freeport-McMoRan, since the late '60s are the largest in the world. 

These mining activities have cause continuous troubles with local people, and the mines' Tailing have severely impacted the natural environment.

Before May 1998, the authoritarian regime of the late former President Soeharto has managed to fully control the province, silenced it's people's protests, and eliminate separatist movement. by the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
After that year, liberal democracy came to Indonesia, and things started to change, people in the province expressed their protests on various matters such as demand fair share of PT Freeport's revenue, injustice, corruption, poverty etc.

In compliance with the demands of the people, 2002, the name of the province was changed to its original name i.e. Papua.

In 2003, the central government declared the western most of the province, around the Bird's Head peninsula, a separate province called West Papua

The people of both provinces of Papua has staged protests against the PT Freeport, including strike by its 8,000 workers following several shooting incidents that killed of some the workers.

On Monday 1 August, an internal conflict between two rival candidates of the Gerindra Party for the election of the Head of the Puncak Jaya Regency has caused the death of 21 people.

On Wednesday 3 August, an Army helicopter was shot down by the OPM. Tempo quoted the Army Chief of Staff General Pramono Edhie Wibowo as saying that the helicopter was shot while it was evacuating the body of a soldier who was shot to death the day before at Puncak Jaya. There were no more casualty and the helicopter was able to fly again.

I felt that the social unrest and violence that follow in the provinces of Papua and West Papua were sparked by the same causes like in other parts of Indonesia, i.e. Socio-Political-Economic-Judicial Injustice, Poverty, Corruptions, Greedy Politicians, etc.

I therefore hope that the central government, law enforcement agencies and politicians in Jakarta and in both provinces would do their very best to eliminate all those causes, or at least minimize them, so that their people would live far more happier

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The SRI Mulyani Party

Yesterday the news media reported about the submission of application for registration of a  new political party called S.R.I ( Serikat Rakyat Independen = Independent People Union) with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

The party claimed (here) that it already has 33 branches i.e one branch in every 33 provinces of Indonesia, therefore its leaders are confident that it would be eligible to participate in the 2014 general election.

But the most interesting thing about this new party is its plan to nominate Sri Mulyani (48), former Finance Minister currently Managing Director of the World Bank, as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election..
Unfortunately, Sri Mulyani has never confirm about this.

The plan to nominate Sri Mulyani received various response from the public, one of them is human rights activist Hendardi who said (here) that her nomination may be blocked by the Bank Century scandal : the unclear 6,7 Trillion Rupiah Bail Out of a privately owned bank when she was Finance Minister.

Hendardi said that Sri Mulyani can only be nominated as candidate president if the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) clear her name. The problem is that the KPK has not investigate her until now.

I agree with Hendardi's opinion about Sri Mulyani, but I am not sure whether or not the SRI Party will get the approval to participate in the 2014 general election. Even if the party can get said approval, to nominate a presidential candidate it needs to get 20% of the seats in the national parliament, or 25% of the total legitimate votes in the general election (here). Otherwise, it has to form a coalition with other parties.

So, in my opinion Sri Mulyani's political future in Indonesia is still very uncertain.

The case would be different if Sri Mulyani could join forces with big political parties like the ruling Democrat Party, of course her name should be cleared first by the KPK.
Or, perhaps with the Golkar Party but it would be almost impossible because it has been trying hard get her down for the Bank Century scandal.

Political Parties and Leaders

According to the laws in Indonesia, national and regional elections can only be participated by candidates who are supported by political parties, thus political parties played a dominant role in Indonesian politics.

Considering this fact, political parties can be regarded as the recruiters and incubators of political leaders in Indonesia

In this regards, I would like to quote an article that I read on The Jakarta Globe below. Happy reading

Indonesia's Parties Fail to Incubate Leaders
John McBeth - Straits Times Indonesia | July 12, 2011

The saddest thing about the implosion of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's scandal-ravaged Democrat Party is the way it has seriously damaged two of its youngest leaders - chairman Anas Urbaningrum and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng.

For them, there may be no way back.

Urbaningrum, a 42-year-old East Java political science graduate is unique. In a country where 54 percent of the population is under 30 and new-generation figures are paradoxically in short supply, he is the youngest politician to have headed a major political party.

By crushing Mallarangeng, Yudhoyono's preferred candidate, in a head-to-head vote last year, the party-savvy Urbaningrum offered at least a glimmer of hope that Indonesia's political guard may be changing as the country enters a second decade of democratic rule.

But only a glimmer. Unless someone appears out of the woodwork in the coming year, the field for the 2014 presidential race is likely to be filled by many of the same familiar faces.

                                                                                                                                      Read more ..........

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Political Conflict at Puncak Jaya

19 people died and 1 wounded in a conflict between supporters of two rival candidates of a political party who wanted to participate in the regional election at Puncak Jaya, Papua Province on 30 and 31 July 2011.

Antara quoted the Spokesman of the National Police Inspector Anton Bachrul Alam as saying that the conflict was sparked by the change of support given by the Gerindra Party from Simon Alom to the party's regional chief Thomas Tabuni..

29 Policemen , including 18 special troop, were dispatched to the scene of conflict but failed to prevent the escalation of conflict because both sides were using bows and arrows, and throwing stones. One of the Police men was hit by an arrow.

The above conflict shows that the inability of a political party to control its own members has caused the death of many of its members and followers.

The question is : how can a political party rule a region if it cannot even control its own member ?