Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Afternoon at the Tax Office

Today, 31 March 2009 is the last day for submitting annual tax report (SPT) with the Tax Office. For this reason, I have spent the last few days preparing my personal tax report & submitted it this afternoon with the Tax Office located close to my domicile.

I arrived at 3.30 pm & found that the Tax Office has changed their way of receiving the reports. In the past I usually placed my report on a writing paper envelope and hand it over to the officer in charge, who would ask me to wait until my name is called. After that an officer would check my documents, if complete he/she will give me a receipt. The time for process depends on the number of people submitting the report. Usually during the last days, it can take at least one hour.
But today it is different, when I got there an officer asked me to get a special envelope freely provided by the office and write on it my name, taxpayer number (NPWP) and my phone number. After that I was asked to take a queuing number. I got number 518, at that time it was the turn for number 470. After twenty minutes, my number was called and I was asked to meet a lady officer who took my envelope and gave me a receipt without opening the envelope. She said that if my report were not complete a tax officer would call me on the phone. She also explained that they have to change the way of receiving reports because this year there are so many reports compared to previous years. This is the consequence of our government’s policy to require working citizens to have taxpayer numbers. As a result, even office boys have to submit tax report now. At 4 pm, I left the Tax Office.

In conclusion, I felt that the new way of receiving Tax Report could be improved, i.e. instead of asking taxpayers to write on a special envelope freely provided by the Tax Office, it would be better if we just use our own envelope, so that we can directly queue for our turn, thus saving us time, and the Tax Office would be saving money by not providing the free envelope.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Situ Gintung Tragedy

A mini Tsunami! “ that’s what some news media reported when a water dam broke down at Situ Gintung, an outskirt of Jakarta, last Friday, causing heavy flood to the surrounding area, flattened more than 300 houses and killed many people.

Kompas reported that until this morning, 98 people have died and 115 people missing. The National Search and Rescue Agency is intensifying search by conducting join operation with other government agency, the military and student organization.

The Jakarta Post reported that around 400 people have been evacuated to nearby hospitals. The Governor of Banten i.e.Ratu Atut, whose province covered the flooded area, was quoted as saying that the heads of each affected household would receive at least Rp 5 Million compensation.

This tragedy has seemingly made some politicians suddenly change their campaign agenda by including a visit to Situ Gintung. Inilah.com wrote that Vice President Jusuf Kalla was the first to visit the area on Friday morning, followed by President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono several hours later, as well as others later on.

I hope that the attention of the politicians would expedite the handling of this tragedy, therefore ease the suffering of victims.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Won't Get Fooled Again!

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

That’s the refrain of the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who, which implies that we cannot expect a new government to be different from whom it replaced. This is the song that I always remember every time our country is facing a general election. Here is my experience :

After the reform came to Indonesia in 1998, I have great hope on a political party that has been treated as an underdog by the repressive Soeharto regime because it defended the less fortunate people i.e. Wong Cilik (Small People). So, in the 1999 election I gave my vote to that party, and it won.

However in 5 years that follows, said party’s performance was far from expectation, instead of defending the Wong Cilik it defended the Wong Licik (Tricky People). I felt so upset & hopeless that in the elections in 2004, I did not cast any vote in both the parliamentary and presidential elections.

The next government, from 2004 until now, performed quite well in various fields, maintained peace & order and made serious anti corruption campaign, bringing better hopes to many people.

For the General Election on 9 April, 38 political parties, many of which have similar political platforms, nominate legislature candidates with various backgrounds, starting from Tukang Becak & Tukang Bakso, to successful businessmen, therefore confusing the public.

Further, although the Presidential Election Law No. 42/2008 stipulated that the candidates should be nominated by a political party or several political parties that won 20% of the seats in the national parliament or 25% of national electoral votes, however those parties already named many candidates for the presidential election on 8 July: President SBY, VP Jusuf Kalla, former president Megawati, Prabowo, Wiranto, Soetiyoso, Deddy Mizwar. They advertised themselves in the mass media. Two of them have approached bloggers, i.e. Jusuf Kalla who met bloggers on 19 March, and Prabowo, who according to Unspun, has invited bloggers to meet him next Tuesday, 31 March 8 pm, at Amigos, Kuningan.

As a conclusion, I felt that there are too many political parties who will participate in the next general election. And considering that many of those parties have similar political platforms, therefore I would only focus my attention on 4 to 5 political parties which I think eligible. Hopefully this time I would be able to find one which is suitable for me, one that I would not regret.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pesta Blogger 2009

For the last 2 years, the Indonesian blogosphere has been growing very rapidly, which can be seen from the increase in the number of people who attended the annual bloggers gathering called Pesta Blogger, from around 500 in 2007 to around 1,000 in 2008.

According to one of its sponsors: Maverick, Pesta Blogger 2007 was held on 27 November at Grand Indonesia mall, Jakarta. The organizing committee was led by top blogger Enda Nasution & team, sponsored by Maverick & Bubu.com, and supported by the Minister of State for Communications and Information who declared 27 October Indonesian Bloggers Day.

Further, according to Maverick’s Unspun, Pesta Blogger 2008 was held on 22 November, at the BPPT Building, Jakarta. The organizing committee was led by Tempo’s Wicaksono, sponsored by Maverick, Bubu.com, the U.S Embassy, Oxfam and the British Council, and supported by the Minister of Research & Technology, and the Minister of Cultural & Tourism. One of the achievements was the granting of the Bloggership Award to a blogger. Five foreign bloggers attended the event i.e. Malaysia's Jeff Ooi, Singapore’s Mr Brown, Australia’s Anthony Blanco, U.S’ Mark Lafoya, and Philippine’s Mike Aquino.

According to Pesta Blogger, this year's event will be led by Filmmaker/director, Sea Diver, Photographer & Blogger i.e. Iman Brotoseno, who was also active in the organizing committees of previous Pesta Blogger. Although Iman has still not form a team, however after discussion with his predecessors and sponsor, he is convinced that Pesta Blogger 2009 should be better than before.

In conclusion, I felt that bloggers in Indonesia are very lucky to have fellow bloggers, the government and private companies who have been willing to contribute for the development of blogosphere in Indonesia. I sincerely hope that under the leadership of Iman Brotoseno, this year’s Pesta Blogger would bring more progress for Indonesian bloggers, and help promote our country’s tourism industry.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jusuf Kalla & Bloggers

When Barack Obama won the U.S presidential election last November, the news media reported that one of the main factor for success was the ability of his campaign team to master the use of internet social network, including the blog.

This success has inspired some candidates for the Indonesian parliamentary elections that will be held on 9 April, and presidential election on 8 July 2009, to establish rapport with bloggers. One of them is Jusuf Kalla (JK) incumbent Vice President, Chairman of the Golkar Party and candidate for the presidential race. According to senior Indonesian blogger Ndoro Kakung, JK has met with bloggers on Thursday 19 March, at Pisa CafĂ©, Jalan Mahakam, South Jakarta. The meeting runs from 20.15 to 21.20 pm and attended by around 130 persons consisting of bloggers, journalists and JK’s staffs. JK, who wear short sleeve batik shirt, explained that the reason he wants to meet bloggers because he thinks that bloggers are part of the present information freedom who have created the free information. And in the dialog that follows, JK answered questions, but only mentioned the name Golkar once.
Further, Ndoro Kakung wrote that JK has invited senior blogger and founder of political blog Politikana i.e. Enda Nasution to attend JK’s campaign.
In order to maintain his image, Enda Nasution explained in his Tweeter as follows :
“ To make it clear. I am not campaigning for JK nor a kader partai. Just invited on the campaign trail. I’ll welcome invitation from others ”.

The above news shows that bloggers have now been acknowledged by very important person in our country as a respectable community that provide free information to our society. And as such, bloggers should always be fair, neutral and positive.

Funny Campaign Posters

When I was driving down the roads in Bintaro Jaya last Saturday, the rain falls and the wind blow very heavily that many Posters of Candidates for general election on 9 April 2009 came tumbling down.

Those posters show pictures of election candidates trying all they can to win the hearts of voters. The interesting fact is that many of those candidates have taken advantage of the popularity of their celebrity children, as reported by Oke Zone. For example Pop Singer Andien helped her mother Henny Sri Hardini who has been nominated by the Democratic Party as candidate for the national legislature (DPR), by donating money and singing for the campaign.

Meanwhile Cynthia Lamusu, member of trio singers ABthree, participated in campaign of her father Rafflyn Lamusu, who is nominated by the People Caring Party in Gorontalo Sulawesi, as candidate for the DPR by appearing on her father’s campaign posters as shown on the picture in the left.

Further, actress Nia Ramadhani also gave her support to her father Priya Ramadhani who runs for the Jakarta Regional Parliament (DPRD).

Furthermore, according to one of our senior blogger Ndoro Kakung, there is one candidate who has used Ndoro's Sketch image in his poster as shown on the left.

Beside that, other candidates have poster showing small kid, or image that can be considered as infringing copyright of famous brand as can be seen in Jangan Bikin Malu 2009.

I am not sure how effective those posters are for attracting the attention of voters of those candidates, but one thing for sure is that considering that many of those posters are placed inappropriately in public places, therefore they have polluted our surrounding area.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

3 latest murder cases

Between 11 and 17 March 2009, three brutal murder cases in Jakarta have been widely reported by our news media.

The first one was the murder of TV movies (sinetron) actress Hanny Wahab(53), that took place at her home in Jakarta, on Wednesday, 11 March 2009. According to Detik News, the suspected murderers, i.e. the deceased's former servants, have been arrested by the Police. Investigation revealed that the suspects committed the murder because they want to get even with her for treating them unkindly when they worked for her.

The second one was the murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnain (41), Director of PT. Putra Rajawali Banjaran, who was shot dead in his car by two unidentified men riding a motor cycle, on the way home from playing golf in Tangerang, Banten. According to Kompas, until this moment the Police have still not found the murderer.

The third one was the murder of Elen a.k.a Maria Fransisca Bernadette (22), who was found dead at the emergency staircase of the 6th floor of the Pacific Place, a high class shopping center in Jakarta, on Tuesday 17 March 2009. According to Oke Zone, the Police have examined 5 employees of the building management as witnesses. But the case is still a mystery.

The above murder cases, as any others murders, are very frightening for me as citizen of Jakarta. I hope that the Police will soon solve the cases very soon so as to calm us down.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Election Cooling Down Period

The open Election Campaign conducted by 38 Political Parties from 16 March to 5 April 2009 will surely create great tensions among them and their supporters, which in the end will have frightening impact on our society in facing the general election on 9 April 2009.

Considering this fact and in compliance with the General Election Law No. 10/2008, after the campaign period ended, there will be a cooling down period from 6 to 8 April, before the voters go to the ballots. During this cooling down period, all political parties and their members are not allowed to do any action which can be considered as campaign. Beside that, according to The Jakarta Globe, the print and broadcast media, are not allowed to run news stories, advertisements, records of the political parties and its members, or other forms of publicity that would benefit or damage the parties.
Moreover, public opinion survey (Poll) are also banned from publishing survey results during the period. Violating that rule carries up to Rp 12 million equivalent to US$ 1,008.00 in fines. An association of survey firms has filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court to annul that article and several other related articles.

As an eligible voter, I can understand that the rule regarding the above cooling down period is intended to calm down the public. However, I think that announcement of Poll Survey during the cooling down period can be acceptable provided that they are conducted by institutions which have high credibility, reliability & good reputation.

Indonesia-Singapore Agreements

Since Indonesia's independence in 1945, most of the time relationship with Singapore has been very close, especially in the field of commerce, whereby we export and import many commodities through Singapore.

Due to this closeness, in 2007 both countries signed an Extradition Agreement and a Defence Cooperation Agreement. But due to the rejection by our National Parliament i.e the DPR, those agreements have not been ratified, therefore invalid till now.
The DPR has strong reasons to reject said agreement, because their members consider the Extradition Agreement does not make Singapore to extradite Indonesian citizens who were considered fugitives in our country.
In this regards, The Jakarta Post quoted our Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono as saying that there are now 80 such fugitives living in Singapore. They fled our country after the 1998 turmoil in Indonesia, bringing with them lots of money they have corrupted in Indonesia. He also said that Singapore does not want to sign the agreements because it feared that it has to return those money. Meanwhile, according to the First Secretary of the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta, the reason why Singapore refused to sign the agreements because Indonesia has demanded amendments to those agreements.

It is very sad to know that our foreign policy has been made prematurely, causing inconveniences for our country's image. Such inconvenience could have been avoided if prior to signing the agreements, our government discuss them first with the DPR.
Of course it would take longer time, but we would be able to save our country's image.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abolish the IP Laws to save the Economy

Between 1960 and 1990, four Asian countries Taiwan, South Korea, Hongkong and Singapore, have developed their industries a lot much faster compared to any other countries in the world.

Many factors have been mentioned as the basis for their industrial progress, but according to Wikipedia the most determining factor is the Traditional Philosophies of the hard working people of those countries.
Meanwhile, Scripted wrote that such progress was achieved because during those years those countries have not been serious in protecting Intellectual Property (IP) right.

In this regards, I read a blog post in Legal Blog Watch about two Economists at Washington University i.e. Michele Boldrin and David Levine, who claimed to know how to revive the current economy crisis without any stimulus policy. Their proposal is to abolish the Patent, Trademark & Copyright laws which they said have discouraged innovation and prevent inventions from entering the marketplace.
In their book "Against Intellectual Property Monopoly" they said:
"So-called intellectual property is in fact an 'intellectual monopoly' that hinders rather than helps the competitive free market regime that has delivered wealth and innovation to our doorsteps,"
They said that there's plenty of protection and opportunities to make money for inventors and creators. And there are lots of ways to make money without IP.
However, the economists realized that it is impossible to eliminate the IP laws drastically, so they will propose an incremental approach to gradually reduce the scope of those laws.

Although the IP Laws may discouraged innovations and prevent inventions of certain people, especially those who have bad faith, however as any laws, the IP Laws are needed to ensure legal certainty and justice for the whole society in general.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Student Sex Column

I always thought that people in the United States, especially academicians, are tolerant to differences in opinions, including on matters related to sex, because Freedom of Speech is protected by the country's constitution.

That’s why I was surprised when I read an article in Legal Blog Watch about Kristen Juras, a Law Professor at the Montana University, who tried to shut down a Sex Column in the university’s students newspaper The Kaimin. As a reason, she said that the column, Bess Sex Column, contain inappropriate material for students and reflects poorly on the university. She said that it affects her reputation as a member of the faculty. However, she said that it is not the column's subject that offended her, rather it is because she thought that the Columnist Bess Davis is not qualified to write about Sex. If it has been written by a Sex Expert she would not have objected.
She tried to persuade the management of the newspaper to terminate the column, but failed. Then she plan to take the matter to higher levels at the university. If that also fail, she would go to the legislature.

Thankfully her views is not shared by others who thinks that the Sex Column is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S Constitution regarding Freedom of Speech.

The Open Election Campaign

On Monday, 16 March, 2,200 members of 38 political parties gathered at Kemayoran Convention Hall, Jakarta, to begin the open campaign for General Election on 9 April, during which party leaders pledged to conduct campaigns peacefully.

In spite of this fact, the General Election Commission (KPU) has still no clear agenda for the open campaign, therefore causing confusion among the political parties.
According to The Jakarta Post, actually KPU has announced last Friday that four political parties may conduct open campaign on the same day. But due to protest from contestants KPU will revise the schedule. For which purpose it will meet political parties on Wednesday to talk about revision of schedule that will allow each party to conduct two open rallies in every province.
Meanwhile, The Jakarta Globe reported that President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono has warned state officials contesting as candidates in the election not to abuse their power during the campaign period.
Further, Kompas reported that during the gathering on Monday, some political parties have involved children. This is a clear violation of the General Election Law No. 10/2008 Article 84 Paragraph 2 that forbids involvement people, who are ineligible to vote during the campaign. Punishment for violations will be up to 12 months imprisonment and fine of up to Rp 60 million.

Although past experience shows that pledge made by political party leaders did not guarantee a peaceful campaign, especially now that the schedule is still unclear, however, I still have high hopes that this time all the parties concerned would avoid any possibility of conflicts among them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jupe's controversial marriage

Since the last few weeks, our news media have been reporting about popular Indonesian Dangdut Singer Julia Perez (a.k.a Jupe) every day. Whereby they reported about many of her activities like her giving Condoms to her fans, her sensual appearance and who she's sleeping with now.

The latest news was about her troubled relationship with her French husband Damian Perez whom she married seven years ago in France.
Okezone/T.Tresnadi reported that she has met Artist/Lawyer Gusti Randa to seek legal advice about Divorce, but was explained that she cannot Divorce in Indonesia because her marriage in France was not recognized in Indonesia.
Gusti Randa elabotated that according to our Marriage Law No. 1/1974 Article 56 Paragraphs 1 & 2, a marriage among Indonesians, or Indonesian & foreigner, that is conducted outside Indonesia should be registered with the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate in the country where the marriage took place. After the couple return to Indonesia, they should register it with the local Marriage Registrar within a period of one year.
Considering this fact, Gusti said that if Jupe and her husband want to divorce, they should do it in France.
Although there is no divorce yet, the news media has reported that they are now leading separate love lifes. i.e. Jupe with Soccerplayer Gaston Castano, and Damien with a Malaysian model Aisya.
But inspite of her wish to divorce, the interesting fact is that she plan to keep the name PEREZ with her no matter what, as she told reporters. She argued that it is that name that has made her popular as an artist for the last three years.

This news, as any other news regarding celebrities, is interesting especially when we do not have anything to do during weekends.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Controversial Buddha Bar

On Thursday, 5 March, dozens of Buddhist students raided the Buddha Bar in Jakarta‘s elite area of Menteng, and forced the management of the French franchise bar to shut it down.

According to The Jakarta Post, those students belong to the Indonesian Buddhist Association (AMB). They protest the use of Buddha as the name of the bar and the use of Buddhist effigies as decoration of the bar where alcohol drinks are sold and people could get drunk there. According to a representative of AMB Widodo, the Jakarta government has sent a letter to the Principal of the Buddha Bar in France i.e. George V Hotels & Restaurant chain, to protest against the use of Buddha as name of their bar. And the management of the Buddha Bar, run by Renny Sutiyoso, daughter of former Governor of Jakarta Sutiyoso, has also requested its Principal for change of the bar's name.

Further, The Jakarta Globe reported that the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) has suspected irregularities in the use of a historic building as a venue for the Buddha bar. According ICW's Agus Suryanto the building, built in 1913, has been categorized in 1983 as a historic building. And according to the Cultural Preservation Law No 5 Year 1992, a historic building cannot be used merely for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals.

Meanwhile, Kompas has quoted the Speaker of Jakarta Regional Parliament (DPRD) Ade Surapriyatna as saying that he will talk to Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo about closing of the bar immediately. This opinion was supported by several members of the DPRD, who said that the use of the historic building is contradictory to the regulation.

The above students' action brings mixed feelings for me, on the one hand I was surprised that a students association representing Buddha, which I always thought peaceful, would take a violent action i.e. raiding and closing down the bar. But on the other hand I can understand how offended those students were by the usage of their religion as a name & effigies for a bar.

The Mistery behind David's death

10 days have passed since the news media reported that David Hartanto Widjaja (21), an Indonesian student at the Nanyang Technology University (NTU) Singapore, committed suicide after stabbing an Associate Professor.

But until now, the case is still a mystery because 5 days after the tragedy, a Chinese national working on an NTU project i.e. Zhou Zheng(24), was found hanged on the campus. This that the fact that he and David shared the same laboratory have led to speculations about possible connections between the two suicide cases.
Beside that, there has been growing doubts in the blogosphere on the reliability of the reports made by the Singapore based news media.
Sgpolitics.net wrote that Today, Channel News Asia, Asia One and the Strait Times have misrepresented critical information in their stories which led to distortion of the truth about David's death. Here is his elaboration:
Edwin i.e David's friend and some other Indonesian students on the night of the incident had spoken to David’s parents who told him that they had seen the body and found no wounds on David’s wrists. This means that media reports about the wrist wounds were untrue.
Edwin also quoted the parents as saying that there is a slash wound on the neck
David's brother, William, said that the Police told him that there is no wrist wound and also told him not to trust the news media.
NTU's official press release said that David had fallen off the building, but Channel News Asia reported that he jumped off the building!
OMY reported that David had attempted two suicides, but no concrete facts mentioned.
The Straits Times reported vividly about how the struggle took place based on
testimonies of friends of Associate Professor Chan Kap Luk, including what
happened in the professor’s room, how David had stabbed him in the back, and the struggle that followed. But names of those witnesses were not mentioned.

According to Tempo, an alumni of NTU i.e. Margaretta, Indonesian, wrote in her blog that NTU students who are not Singapore citizens are forced to work extra hard to upheld NTU's image, e.g by creating patentable invention, etc.

Considering the above, The Jakarta Post reported that the Indonesian government, through its Foreign Department Spokesman Teuku Faizasyah, has requested the Singapore authorities to speed up their investigation on David's death.

I hope that the Singapore authorities would pay serious attention on this matter and the Singapore news media would seriously review their reports on what actually happened to David Hartanto Widjaja, so that justice shall prevail.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Internet to recruit Drug Traffickers

The internet has grown so fast and bring benefits to mankind, especially after the blog was created around ten years ago. But unfortunately, some people have used the internet to commit crimes.

According to news media reports, for the last two years, international illegal drug syndicate has used the internet, especially social networking media like Facebook, to recruit young girls in Malaysia & Singapore to work as illegal drug traffickers.
Detik reported today that such efforts have been very successful to recruit young Singaporean women that in only four months, 12 of them were arrested for trafficking illegal drugs to England, Japan and Australia.
On December 2007, the Malaysian Bar quotted news media reports about the arrest of 32 Malaysian women between the age of 20 and 40 years old trafficking illegal drugs during that year.

It is very sad to know that the internet has been used as a media to recruit young women as illegal drug traffickers.

Monday, March 9, 2009

David Hartanto Widjaja

On 2 March 2009, David Hartanto Widjaja (21), an Indonesian student at the Nanyang Technical University (NTU) in Singapore, has committed suicide after stabbing his Professior i.e Chan Kap Luk (45).

According to the Strait Times, David stabbed the Professor several times with a knife during a routine discussion to help students. Afterwards, he slits his own wrist with the knive and jumped down. The tragic incident took place one month after NTU revoked the ASEAN Scholarship David has received since 2005 which pays for his tuition fees at NTU and annual stipend of S$ 5,800.00. In this regards, Detik has quotted an official of the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore as saying that the stabbing of the Professor was a mistake, because he has nothing to do with the issuance of the scholarship.
Meanwhile, words have been spreading in the blogosphere that David's family and close friend have doubt on the Singapore official announcement.
According to Singapore News Alternative, David's family felt awkwardness in the case that they suspect the Singapore government has something to hide. Further, David's close friend Edwin mentioned in his blog Mista Bird about some awkwardness in this case that made him and David's family suspected that the truth has been hidden.

It is understandable if David's family and his friend have their own version about the tragic incident. However, if they cannot present evidence that can prove that they are right, then the official version will remain valid.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Syekh Puji's case

For many years, our news media has been reporting about cases of Pedophiles i.e. matured men who love to have sex with children under the age of 16 years.

The latest of such case involved a 66 years old Australian English Teacher Alfred Charles Barnet who was arrested by the Police in Depok, West Java, last February. According to Viva News, Barnett was charged for Sodomizing 9 under aged children in Indonesia. Considering that he was also wanted for similar crime in his country, the Police has extradited him to Australia.

Currently, our media has been reporting a case that took place in Semarang, Central Java, about a 43 years old man Syekh Puji (above photo) who married a 12 years old girl Ulfa on August 2008, based on Islamic way called SIRI. This is controversial, because according our Marriage Law No. 1 year 1974, a girl can only be married at the minimum age of 16 by a man who is at least 19. Due to this fact, Surya reported that last Friday, the Semarang Police has summoned and questioned Syekh Puji for 13 hours. The Police accused Syekh Puji of violating a.o the Children Protection Law Articles 82 & 88, and the Criminal Law Article 290, which can be punished for a maximum 5 years imprisonment.
This Police action was welcomed by the Central Java office of the Indonesian Moslem Ulema Council (MUI) & the National Human Rights Committee (Komnas HAM).

I am very glad that the Police have finally take action on this case, that way other people would know that waht Syekh Puji did was against the national laws, thereby preventing similar cases from happening again in the future.

Pic: Doktertomi

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Melamine contamination

In 2008, people in many countries around the world was shocked by news reports regarding the distribution of Milk and Dairy Products originating from the People’s Republic of China contaminated by Melamine that has caused the death of many babies.

After the Chinese government made high profile efforts to ban the production of those lethal products, including punishing the producers, people’s fear of those products subside.

Then came the announcement of the Indonesian Consumers Association (YLKI)
on 4 March 2009 about the circulation of 10(ten) Food and Beverage products, as
reported by Duta Masyarakat :
1) KINO BEAR Crispy Chocolate, Reg.no: MD662211108168
2) YAKE Assorted Candy, without Reg.no
3) F&N Sweet Condensed Milk, Reg.no: ML505417006156
4) TIROL Choco Candy, Reg.no: ML237103407045
5) DUTCH Mill Yogurt Milk, Reg.no:ML406505001229
6) PURA Low Fat, Reg.no:ML405708002189
7) NESTLE BEAR BRAND Low Fat Milk, No Reg.no:
8) CROWN LONX Biscuit, Reg.no:ML827118009109
9) FAN FUN Sweetheart Biscuit, no Reg.no.
10) YAKE Candies, no Reg.no
According to YLKI Chairperson Zahir Husna, those Melamine Contaminated products were found in a joint survey by YLKI and the Chemical Lab. of the University of Indonesia on the circulation of 28 Food & Beverage products in certain area in Jakarta which are known to be selling legally & illegally imported products among others Kelapa Gading-North Jakarta and Pasar Baru-Central Jakarta.

YLKI’s above announcement has been protested by the producers and distributors of those products, said Viva News. Beside that, according to Kompas, the Australian Ambassador Bill Farmer denied the circulation of Melamine contaminated Milk & Dairy products from Australia.
In its reaction to these protests, YLKI suggested that a third (neutral) party conduct a survey to clarify this matter.

Considering that YLKI’s above announcement is very serious, we hope that our government and its law enforcement agencies would pay very serious attention to this matter and take necessary actions to prevent circulation of Melamine contaminated products in our country.

Friday, March 6, 2009

MUI's threat

Not long ago, the Indonesian Moslem Cleric/Ulama Council(MUI) passed controversial Fatwa/Edicts which determined that Cigarette Smoking, Yoga chanting and Refusal to Vote as Haram/Sinful acts.

While many people are still questioning about MUI's real reason for passing such Edicts, suddenly the news media reported that MUI is now forcing President SBY to follow their wish. According to The Jakarta Globe, a leader of MUI Cholil Ridwan has threatened the President to ban the religious secte Ahmadiyah, otherwise it will pass an Edict banning people from casting votes for the incumbent President in the next Presidential election.
Fortunately, said threat was later on denied by MUI's Chairman Umar Shihab who said that Cholil's statement was his own opinion and does not represent MUI.

I am happy that Cholil's threat does not represent MUI and hope that in the future, leaders of MUI will take actions based on the best interest of Indonesian Moslems as a whole. Because although such Fatwa/Edict are not recognized by our country's legal system, however considering MUI is the highest Moslem religious authority in our country, they will no doubt be obeyed, especially by those living in the rural area.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Outsourced Prosecution

Maintaining permanent status employees seems to be very difficult for employers nowadays, that they tend to outsource the works in their company.

In the legal proffession, lawyers often delegate the authority they obtained from their clients to other lawyers. But, I never heard public authority being delegated to third parties especially private enterprise. However, that seems to change now in America.

According to CNN, since the year 2006, prosecution offices in 17 U.S states have retained a collection agency i.e. American Corrective Conselling Services (ACCS) to pursue consumers who write bad checks. ACCS then splits the collection proceeds with the Prosecutors. Beside that, ACCS also make money from conducting Financial Management courses that people who wrote bad checks are required to attend by the law at their own expenses. With this incentives, ACCS became very aggresive in hunting bad checks that their actions not only victimized people who wrote bad checks on purpose, but also others who did it accidentally. For example, Michael O'Neil who bounced a US$ 14 check to a Florida drugstore ended up spending $285, including $160 for the course fee. Although O'Neil tried to resolve the situation with the drugstore he was told that it was too late, because they had turned the matter over to ACCS.
This kind of outsourcing practices have strongly been protested by Consumer Groups, who accused that prosecutors are also passing on their prosecutorial powers as well. In many cases, stores are sending checks directly to ACCS, and ACCS is sending out collection letters with prosecutor letterhead, and no prosecutor has actually reviewed those cases.

The above shows that although outsourcing maybe good for private businesses, but for public services, especially prosecution offices, its application should be carried out very carefully, so as to avoid bad excess.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crimes by Lawmakers

Since the year 2008, our news media have been reporting about the arrests of many members of the Parliament (DPR) for charges of receiving Bribes that caused great financial loss to the state.

According to Okezone , from January 2008 until early March 2009, at least seven lawmakers have been arrested i.e Al Amin Nur Nasution, Sarjan Tahir, Yusuf E. Faishal, Bulyan Royan, Abdul Hadi Jamal, Hamka Yamdu, and Antony Zeidra Abidin. These arrests have caused Sebastian Salang, an NGO activist, to suspect that there is a relationship between the crimes commited by those lawmakers and the preparation for general election next April.

According to The Jakarta Post, Abdul Hadi Djamal was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) last Monday, carrying with him US$ 90 thousand and Rp 54 million. Beside him, KPK arrested Darmawati Dahore, offical of the Department of Transportation, and Hontjo Kurniawan, businessman. An unnamed source said that Hontjo gave Rp 2 billion to Abdul, and Rp 600 million to Darmawati.
In a press conference last Tuesday, KPK Chairman Antasari Ashar suspected that the money is related to the development of airport and seaport in Eastern Indonesia. He said that the three suspects shall be charged with violating the Anti Corruption Law Articles 5 & 11 regarding Gratuities and Article 12(a) & 12(b) regarding Bribery, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The series of arrests of those lawmakers brings mixed feelings for me. On the one hand I am very sad that people who are supposed to make law have violated those laws instead, but on the other hand I am glad because they will face legal proceedings thus pay for their crimes. I hope that the general elections on 9 April will result a lot much better lawmakers for our country.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Porn Addiction

Children experts said that pornography addiction among children might cause brain damage that could lead to depression and behavioral problems similar to those caused by illegal drugs.

According to The Jakarta Globe/D.Sagita, this alarming theory has been mentioned by several speakers at a Seminar on the Effect of Pornography on Monday, as follows :
Dr. Jofisal Janis, the Head of Intelligence Development Center of the Department of Health, said that pornography addiction among children would damage the function and structure of their brain. He also said that children are vurnerable to brain damage because their brains absorb information faster than adults, and pornography addiction is likely to degrade their intelligence potential.
Donald Hilton Jr., a neurosurgeon from the Methodist Specialty & Transplant Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, said that pornography addiction could cause changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters and may interrupt oxygen metabolism in the brain. Such changes would cause the brain to focus too much on pleasure receptors, thus failing to control behavior.
We and Our Children Foundation reported a 2008 survey claiming that 66 percent of the 4th. through 6th. grade students in Jakarta & vicinity have seen pornography from various media, including comics, games, the Internet, movies and magazines.
The Children Protection Committee reported a 2007 survey claiming that 97 percent of 4,500 teenagers they surveyed in 12 big cities of Indonesia, had seen a blue movie.

Considering the dangerous effect that Pornography might bring to the children, many efforts have been made to ban pornography, such as by imposing strict laws e.g the Anti Pornography Law, Communication and Electronic Exchange Law etc. However, in my opinion, the main cause of Pornography Addiction among children is caused by their parents unability to take a good care of their children. If they always pay full attention on their children, such addiction could be prevented or minimised.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Abandonment of Babies

Yesterday morning, I saw two TV channels reporting young girls committing illegal abortions at two medical clinics, one in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, and another one in Paseban, Central Jakarta.

In the evening, I saw TransTV’s Termehek-Mehek reality show that has helped people locate someone they have not seen/heard for a long time. This time, the story was about Nana (30) who abandoned her baby girl 13 years ago in an Orphan Home in Tangerang, Banten, because her parents forbid her to marry her boy friend, i.e. Angga whose age is the same as hers but belong to a different social class.
Now, Nana (30) lived in Surabaya, East Java, has married twice, has no child and has been suffering from Womb Cancer.
As any normal woman, she feels a growing need to see her long lost baby, for which purpose few weeks ago she contacted TransTV. Not long after, she and several crews of TransTV visited the Orphan Home in Tangerang. Their persistence enabled them to locate the child, whose name is Rizkia and now living with her father, Angga in Jakarta.
Angga was furious when they came to meet him, and did not allow Nana to meet Rizkia. So, few days later Nana picked Rizkia at school and kept her at a friend’s house.
Angga helped by the TransTV crews later found Rizkia and take her back to his home.

The above two paragraphs show the tragic results of human behaviors i.e. pre-marital sex, unwanted babies and abandonment of babies. In the first paragraph the young girls abandoned their babies by ‘killing’ them before they were born, while in the second paragraph a young girl abandoned her baby after it was born, by leaving it at an orphanage, which she regretted 13 years later. The baby can be considered lucky because her father took her out of the orphanage and raised her by himself.