Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Singapore is a Safe Place to Hide

On 23 May, the Democrat Party dismissed M. Nazaruddin as it's General Treasurer for his alleged role in a Bribery case surrounding a South East Asian Games construction project and an attempt to bribe the Secretary General of of the Constitutional Court Janedri Gaffar with Sing $ 120,000.00.

On 24 May, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) asked the Immigration Office to forbid Nazaruddin from traveling outside Indonesia so as to facilitate investigation on the allegations against him.
Unfortunately, Nazarrudin has departed for Singapore the night before immediately after he was dismissed by his party.

KPK also targeted Nunun Nurbaeti. wife of former Vice Chief of the National Police now a member of the House of Representatives of the Welfare Justice Party (PKS) Adang Darajatun, who has recently been named a Suspect in the Bribery of members of the House of Representatives during the election of Miranda Gultom as the Deputy Chairperson of the Bank Indonesia.

Until now Nunun cannot be questioned because she was reported to be suffering Amnesia, can't remember what happened to her in the past, and before she was named a Suspect Nunun went to Singapore for medical treatment.

Before that, there were other people wanted by the National Police who ran away to Singapore. One of them was ex Tax man Gayus Tambunan who was investigated by the Police for allegations of corruption. Luckily the National Police was able to persuade Gayus to return to Jakarta.

Beside that, there was also Anggodo Wijaya who was found guilty of corruption by the Court in Jakarta, but cannot be jailed because he ran away to Singapore before the authorities arrested him.

The fact that Indonesian and Singapore do not have extradition treaty has made it impossible for Indonesian law enforcement agencies to ask Singapore to turn anyone who broke the laws in Indonesia if they go and hide in Singapore.

However, I hope that  Indonesia and Singapore would soon sign an extradition treaty, especially that both are members of the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) which in 2015 will become the ASEAN Community.

World No Tobacco Day 2011

Poster :  Courtesy of World Heath Organization (WHO)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Lapindo Hot Mud Flow is Now 5 Years Old

On 28 May 2006, PT Lapindo Brantas targeted Gas in the Brantas area, East Java, by drilling a borehole well.

In the first stage of drilling the drill string first went through a thick clay seam, then sands, shales, volcanic debris and finally into permeable carbonate rocks. At this stage the borehole was surrounded by a Protective Steel Casing to help stabilise it.

One day later, a second stage of drilling began and the drill string went deeper to about 2,834 meter, this time without a Protective Steel Casing, after which water, steam and a small amount of Gas erupted at a location about 200 meter Southwest of the Well.

In spite of the above, PT Lapindo Brantas and some foreign geological experts said in various scientific meetings that the Hot Mud Flow was caused by an earthquake that hit Yogjakarta on 27 May 2006. However, the company agreed to pay compensation.

Today, the Mud Flow is slowing down five years after it swallowed 12 villages, 30 factories, dozens of shops and a busy highway near the country's second largest city of Surabaya. Twelve people have been killed, but many more lives have been wrecked. Some 40,000 people have been forced out of their homes by the inexorable ooze.

Many of the victims said they still have not been paid all of the compensation they were promised five years ago by PT Lapindo Brantas, a company part of the business empire controlled by the family of Golkar Party Chief Aburizal Bakrie.

For that reason, the people of Sidoarjo recently protested against the plan by PT Lapindo Brantas to drill new Gas well in the area.

Considering that until now we still do not know when will the Lapindo Hot Mud will stop flowing, I hope that the authorities would not allow new drilling operations in the area. 

Sources :
Sidoarjo mud flow (Wikipedia)
Five years on, Indonesia's mud volcano still erupting (AsiaOne News)
Warga Tolak Pengeboran Baru Lapindo (Media Indonesia)

No Ban on Cigarette Ads

Cigarettes manufacturers seemed to have very strong influence on the government that efforts to impose a total ban on cigarette advertisements and sponsorship will surely fail.

The Jakarta Globe reported that the Health Ministry has announced on Friday that clauses regarding total ban on cigarette advertisement and sponsorship have to be deleted from the draft of implementation regulation of the Health Law of 2009.

The head of the Ministry's Legal Bureau i.e. Budi Sampurno, was quoted as saying that after considering the importance of many sectors, the Ministry have decided not to ban cigarette ads and sponsorship, but would only control it.

Budi said the planned ban was hampered by two existing laws i.e the Press Law and the Broadcasting Law which allowed advertising as long as cigarettes or their packaging were not shown on television. 

I am not surprised about this report, how about you ?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Protection of Traditional Markets in Jakarta

The rapid growth of modern Supermarkets and Mini-markets in Jakarta have been protested by the owners of traditional markets and small shops who feared that those modern markets would endanger their businesses.

In order to provide better protection for the Traditional market, the  Governor of Jakarta Fauzi Bowo last Wednesday submitted a draft of revision of By-law No. 2/2002 regarding Markets to the Jakarta House of Representatives.

According to Berita Jakarta, the revision was actually planned in 2006, but postponed because waiting for the President Regulation No 112/2007 about Modern Shop and Traditional Market Management, and the Trade Minister Regulation No 53/M-DAG/Per/12/2008 about Modern Shop and Traditional Market Management.

Pos Kota reported that the draft By-Law stipulated that Mini Markets with a building area of 200 square meters should be located at least 400 square meters away from a Traditional market.

While Supermarkets with a building area of 2,000 square meters should be located around 2 Kilometers away from a Traditional market.

I hope that the draft of the revision of By-Law will be accepted soon, so that the owners of traditional markets and small shops would not be worried anymore.  

Photo: Courtesy of Berita Jakarta.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Facebook is not a Friend of Bank Robbery Suspects

The news media have been reporting about some people who used the social media Facebook to take advantage of other people.

There were stories about young girls who were abducted or seduced by their male friends whom they met in Facebook, there were other stories about people losing money because they deal with the people they met in Facebook, etc.

However, there were also good stories about Facebook, for example an article by Paula Martersteck in Legal Blog Watch tells us about two bank robbery cases in the U.S whose suspects were arrested by the Police based on information available in Facebook.

In the first case, two bank tellers and their acquaintances were indicted this month in connection with a Texas bank robbery that netted US$ 62,000.00.

Investigators determined that the robbery was an inside job in part because of an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip that led them to two suspects' Facebook pages.

Two days prior to the bank robbery, one of the tellers posted a Facebook status update that read: "Get $$$." And two days after the crime, she posted, "I M RICH".

Meanwhile, the teller's boyfriend, who is apparently prone to similar celebratory online outbursts, allegedly posted the day after the robbery: "WIPE MY TEETH WITH HUNDEREDS." 

In the second case, a Michigan man was indicted after an informant told the FBI about the suspect's Facebook account, which was registered under the name of  "Anthony Mrshowoff Wilson."

According to U.S Federal Court records, Wilson's Facebook photos show him wearing attire (some with Polo emblems) that matches the clothing worn by the suspect in at least two bank robberies.

Facebook gave Wilson's birth date, cell phone number, photos, messages and friends information to the FBI, which compared the Facebook photos to images taken from a bank surveillance video.

This is a good news, and I hope that Facebook will keep on supporting our society in the future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who Will Be The Next President ?

President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY)  will end his second office term in 2014, and according to the  amended Constitution of Indonesia, he cannot be nominated again as candidate in the next presidential election.

Although until now there is still no one who seems to be good enough to be the next president of Indonesia, but I am very certain that there is one person out of the 240 million population who is eligible to take that job.

In this regards, I would like to share with you an article that I have read in Kompas about the nomination of  the Chief of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD and Director of the International Monetary Fund Sri Mulyani as Presidential candidates.

As Indonesian citizens, both of them may be nominated as Presidential candidates if they fulfill requirements stipulated by the Presidential Election Law among others should be nominated by one or more political parties that won enough votes in the 2014 General election.

As far as I know, Sri Mulyani is not a member of a political party, while Mahfud is a former official of the National Awakening Party (PKB).

What do you think ?

Related articles :
- Mahfud MD - Sri Mulyani President 2014-2018 (Blog)
- MMD - SMI 4 President (Facebook)

The Democrat Party and Nazaruddin

The ruling Democrat Party last night announced the dismissal of Muhammad Nazaruddin from his position as the party's Treasurer.

The party's senior official Amir Syamsuddin told the media that the decision was made in response to the growing rumors in society about Nazaruddin's involvement in several criminal allegations including an attempt to bribe the Secretary General of the Constitutional Court and receiving bribe from the contractor of the South East Asia Games 2011 Athletes Complex in Palembang, South Sumatera.  

He said that the allegations against Nazaruddin have grown so wide and might have great impact on the party as well as Nazaruddin himself. The dismissal would avoid the party from bad publicity related to this case, and would enable Nazaruddin to concentrate on defending himself against those allegations.

The party will leave it all to the law enforcement agencies to process this case, but request that any legal actions should be based on the principle of presumption of innocence.

In spite of the above, Nazarrudin shall maintain his status as a member of the House of Representatives.

Considering that until his dismissal last night Nazaruddin was the Treasurer of the Democrat Party whose duties includes getting, maintaining and spending money for and on behalf of the party, therefore it would not be easy to prove that he is the only one responsible for all the bad things alleged against him

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Two Years Forest Moratorium

President SBY last Thursday signed a Presidential decree No. 10/2011, authorizing a two year moratorium on new logging concession, under a billion dollar concession with Norway.

This decree is an implementation of an agreement signed by Indonesia and Norway on May last year, in which Indonesia promised to carry out a moratorium (halt) on the cutting of forest and peatlands for two years in exchange for $1 billion in funding from Norway, under a UN-backed scheme designed to pay developing countries to preserve forests.

However, this moratorium is only for new forest licenses, and will exempt permits already given in principle by the Forestry Ministry and extensions of existing permits, as well as projects to develop supplies of energy, rice and sugar.

This decree was welcomed by the Norwegian government who said that the moratorium is one important step forward for Indonesia
But it was protested by the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) who felt that the decree would restrict business activities.

While green activists said the moratorium would only be applicable to 64 million hectares of the country’s 132 million hectare forest coverage.

In spite of the pro and contra, I hope that the Indonesian government would carry out the moratorium i.e stop cutting forests and peatlands in the next two year as it promised

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wake Up Indonesia!

On 20 May 1908, a group of young people led by Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo established the Boedi Oetomo movement that aimed to awake the people in the Dutch colony of East India about their rich cultural heritage and values.
This step has unite young people from various cultural and religious backgrounds in the country to take a bigger step on 28 October 1928 when they pledged that they are part of one nation called Indonesia, using one language called the Indonesian language, and living in a country called Indonesia

On 17 August 1945, the independence of Indonesia was declared, and after four years of guerrilla warfare, in the late 1949 the Indonesian people drove away the last foreign soldier from Indonesia.

Due to the above mentioned facts, every year the people of Indonesia commemorate the 20 May as the National Awakening Day.

I hope that this year's commemoration of the National Awakening Day would awake government officials, the courts of justice and the national and regional Houses of Representatives in Indonesia to work much harder, smarter and more serious in eliminating Poverty, Injustice, Corruptions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Football Leadership

Football is the most popular sports game in Indonesia

Because of this, many politicians have made efforts to join the management of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), so that they can be popular and people want to elect them in the general election, or perhaps the President would want to pick them as Cabinet Minister or other governmental positions.

I believe that's the reason why so many people have nominated themselves as candidate Chairman of PSSI which will be elected during its congress in Jakarta this Friday and Saturday.

The most ambitious were Army Chief of Staff General George Toisutta and businessman Arifin Panigoro, that when their candidacies were rejected by the world football federation FIFA, they appealed with the Court of Sport Arbitration (CAS) tribunal in Switzerland. 

Their persistence has made the caretaker of PSSI i.e. General (Ret.) Agum Gumelar very angry and accused General Toisutta of using the military institution to force his way into the PSSI leadership.

Considering that the conflict in PSSI's leadership has been going on for too long, I hope that all the candidates would give priority to what is best for PSSI and the development of football in Indonesia

I also hope that General Toisutta and businessman Arifin Panigoro would let others who are more skilled in matters related to football to lead PSSI.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Huge Earthquake in Jakarta and Vicinity

President SBY's Special Staff for Social and Disasters Management Andi Arif told radio audience last Sunday that an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.7 on the Richter Scale could hit Jakarta and vicinity.

The Jakarta Globe quoted Andi Arif as saying that the epicenter of such earthquake would be located in the Sunda Strait (that separates the islands of Java and Sumatera). 

In reaction to this statement, the Governor of West Java which borders with Jakarta, asked the public not to be panic. He said that he will coordinate with the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) to obtain more accurate data.  

Further, a member of the House of Representatives criticized Andi Arif  for making people panic with such prediction  He said that Andi Arif should communicate it with the proper authorities i.e BMKG and the Ministry of  Mineral Resource and Energy. 

Considering that we are already very sick and tired of all those terrors caused by mysterious bombs, the so called NII, etc, I hope that government officials would not make any statements that would make the public panic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

World Gymanstics Body Suspends Indonesia

The International Gynastics Federation (FIG) suspends Indonesia and 10 other countries from international Gymnastics competitions for failing to pay fees to the sport's ruling body.

The Washington Post reported that FIG bared Indonesia, Cyprus, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Macau, Syria, Macedonia, Paraguay, Seychelles, Tajikistan, and Yemen from organizing or competing in international events, and contacting other national federations.

FIG shall reinstate the statuses of those countries after they settled those fees.

I hope that the national gymnastics authority in Indonesia can clarify this matter.

US Officials Returned Artifacts to Indonesia

Officials in the United States hand over five Dayak hand carved 18th and 19th century Human Skulls to the Indonesian Consulate in New York.

According to The Wall Street Journal, those decorated Human Skulls raised suspicion when they arrived at a mail facility in Newark, New Jersey, last summer.
They were delivered from Bali, declared at a value of less than US$ 5, but  later, U.S. investigators determined the artifacts are actually worth US$ 3,000 to US$ 5,000 each.

This is a very good news. I hope that other countries would also be willing to return illegal artifacts to Indonesia.

Happy Waisak 2555

To each and everyone of you who are celebrating, May All Beings Be Happy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is Soeharto really better than SBY?

A recent public opinion survey conducted by Indo Barometer shows that the late former President Soeharto is more popular than President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY).

The survey, conducted from 24 April until 4 May 2011 on 1,200 respondents in 33 provinces of Indonesia, shows that 36.5% choose Soeharto as the most favorite President of the country, 20.9 % choose SBY, 9.8% choose the late President Soekarno, 9.8% choose former President Megawati, 4.4% choose former President Habibie and 4.3% choose the late former President Abdurrachman Wahid. 

Beside that, the survey also show that 40.9% of the respondents prefer the condition during Soeharto's New Order regime, compared to only 22.8% who preferred the so called post 21 May 1998 Reformasi Era.

In reaction to that survey result, Presidential Palace spokesman questioned the reliability of the respondents, who are they, what are the parameters of the survey.

As a person who has experienced living during the Soeharto era, I felt that the above survey result is not accurate because it was only conducted on 1,200 respondents in 33 provinces, no details about the respondents like their ages, do they know that Soeharto was a ruthless authoritarian ruler, et cetera.

In my opinion, the survey should be carried out on at least 100 respondent per province (total 3,300), they should at least be 17 years old when Soeharto stepped down 13 years ago, their education level should be mentioned, they should be explained that Soeharto was a ruthless authoritarian ruler, while President SBY is a liberal democratic ruler.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Monday is a Free day

As I was driving home last Friday evening, I heard on the radio that the government has declared Monday 16 May as a collective leave day ahead of the public holiday of the Buddhist Waisak on Tuesday.

This announcement surprised me and many others, because it was made very sudden, unlike previous years whereby additional free days were announced at the end of the year before.

If it was announced several days earlier, we would be able to make plans on how to spend four long holidays (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) properly, for example by going out of town. That way, I don't have to make any appointments at the office for Monday, therefore I don't have to cancel those appoinments.

I hope that in the future the government would announce free days before the end of previous year so that  they can be printed on the calendars just like before.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celebration of Israeli Independence

A group of people who called themselves the Indonesian Jewish Society, last week announced their plan to celebrate the independence of Israel on 14 May.

This plan is very controversial because the majority people in Indonesia who are Moslems regard Israel as an enemy.  They believed that the land where the state of Israel now is located actually belongs to the Palestine.
For this reason, Palestine and other Arab countries i.e Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have fought wars against Israel since it declared independence on 14 May 1948.

Various Moslem organizations in Indonesia, including political parties, have frequently show their supports to the Palestinian cause i.e. by holding protests demonstrations in various parts of Indonesia.

Moreover, the Indonesian government does not recognize Israel until now, however it maintained diplomatic relationship with Palestine.

As a logical consequence, many people in Indonesia protested against the above celebration plan, and the Police refused to issue a permit.

Considering the above reasons, I felt that the plan to celebrate Israel's independence day was just a sensational effort by its organizer to get popularity.

Under the Mercy of Blogger.com

Something wrong to my blog yesterday, I can open, see and read the posts but I cannot do other things.

Every time I want to reply to comments, compose post, edit or do other things on my blog, there would be a message from the administrator of Blogger.com saying that their site was unavailable, and I should click open another page to get more details.

After I clicked, there was another message from said administrator saying that on Friday, 13 May 2011, their site will be unavailable for almost the whole day.

This morning, I can finally open my blog but found that many of the comments were missing, however I can now reply to comments, edit etc. Thank God!

I am aware that Blogger.com is a free domain and web hosting services that enable people to make and maintain blogs, therefore they can do anything they want to their site.
And although I have been using my own domain, which I obtained and paid via Blogger.com since last December however as long as I am still using Blogger.com's web hosting,  I would always be under the mercy of Blogger.com.

Considering the above, I would like to apologize to my visitors of my blog for the inconveniences. I hope that you would all have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones.

Harry Nizam

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Trisakti Tragedy - 12 May 1998

Thirteen years ago, 12 May 1998, four students of the Trisakti University, Jakarta, were shot to death while they were demonstrating against the 32-years old authoritarian government of President Soeharto.

Until this moment the death of those students i.e Elang Mulia Lesmana, Heri Hertanto, Hafidin Royan, dan Hendriawan Sie is still a mystery, no thorough investigation has made on the shootings. 

However, the facts at the scene of Crime show that they were shot in vital parts of their bodies i.e. either in the head, or neck or chest. Which means that the shooting was done Snipers i.e. specially skilled persons who were well trained and armed to shoot from long distance.

Considering that civilians who own firearms in Indonesia are very strictly limited, I believe that only certain people has Sniper Skill in Indonesia. But this does not necessarily mean that the shooting was done by Indonesians, there is also a possibility that it was done by foreigners hired by some people here.

Considering that witnesses to the Trisakti Tragedy are getting old, some have even died, I hope that there will be an open and thorough investigation to reveal this tragedy in the near future. Otherwise it would always be a mystery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Arrest of a Gigolo in Jakarta

Mustofa (27), a Gigolo, was arrested by the Jakarta Police for allegedly attempted to chloroform his female customer Ami (30) in room No. 423 at the Mega Anggrek Hotel, West Jakarta yesterday afternoon.

Ami was introduced to Mustofa by her Pimp friend Adit who arranged them to meet in the hotel  room. 

But after they both met, they failed to reach an agreement on the sex tariff. Mustofa was disappointed that he tried to chloroform Ami so he can steal her belongings. Later on, Ami was able to coax Mustofa back into a romantic mood, allowing her to alert the hotel’s staff.

The Police has interviewed Mustofa and Ami, and is still looking for Adit the Pimp. Mustofa told the Police that he worked as a Masseur at a Massage Parlor owned by Adit.

I hope that this incident would make ladies think twice before they want to meet a Gigolo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Endangered Sumatera Tigers

In this video image, Sumatran tiger cubs played with a leaf in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park on Sumatra island, Indonesia. 

The Sumatera Tigers are on the brink of extinction because of destruction of forests, poaching and clashes with humans.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which placed video cameras at Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in the Provinces of Riau and Jambi, the number of Sumatera Tigers have decreased from 1,000 in the 1970s to only around 400 today.

It seemed that their numbers will be decreasing again, because a pulp and paper manufacturer i.e. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), has plans to clear large areas of the forest.  

1)  Tigers Spotted in Forest ... (New York Times)
2)  Endangered Sumatran Tigers Captured in Video (Boston Globe)

Photo: Courtesy of Boston Globe

Monday, May 9, 2011

About Justice

" Justice has been done! "  That's what U.S President Barack Obama told reporters after he announced that the world terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S naval Seals in Pakistan last Monday.

By saying those words, he made it sound as if the killing was legitimate based on the verdict of the court of law, while actually it was based on executive order to avenge the death of thousands of U.S citizens killed by the suicide bombings of the World Trade Center, New York, on 11 September 2001, allegedly instructed by Osama.

The above words reminds me of the lyrics of a song of one of my most favorite rock band YES i.e. Hold On, as follows : 

Justice to the left of you 
Justice to the right
Speak when you are spoken to
Don't pretend you're right
Life is not for living
It's for fighting and for war
No matter what the truth is
Hold on to what is yours

Jigsaw puzzle traitors
Set to spill the beans
Constitution screw up
Shattering the dreams
Blood flow in the dessert
Dark citadels burning too
Watch! Look over your shoulder
This one is strictly for you

Hold on, hold on

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Merpati Plane Crash - 27 Died

A Merpati airlines Flight MZ8968 plane plunged to the sea yesterday as it approached the Utarom Airport, Kaimana, West Papua. All of its 21 passengers and 6 crews were predicted died in the accident.

Kompas quoted the Director General of Air Transportation Herry Bhakti as saying that the made-in China MA-60 turboprop plane was scheduled to land at 1.55 pm. At that time the weather was bad, rain was falling heavily and cloudy,  the plane was almost ready to land when suddenly communications broke off before the crash.

The fact that the plane was manufactured in 2010, therefore very young, has made people questioned the quality of the plane. Especially that former Vice President Jusuf Kalla has once rejected Merpati's plan to buy fifteen MA-60 because it was not certified by the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Aviation observer Dudi Soedibyo said that the CN-235 passenger plane produced by Indonesia is much better than the Chinese MA-60. This can be seen from the fact that our CN-235 has been used by US Coast Guard, South Korean Air Force, French Air Force and Merpati airlines.

In a hearing with the House of Representatives in June 2009, the President Director of Merpati Bambang Bhakti revealed that the airlines has once grounded an MA-60 plane because they found a Crack in the Rudder of the plane.

Meanwhile the Director General of Air Transportation said that the plane has been certified in China and Indonesia, therefore there should not be any problem flying it here.

Considering that Merpati has purchased fifteen MA-60 planes, four flying - waiting for eleven more, I hope that the Indonesian government and aviation authority would investigate this accident thoroughly, . I also hope that the House of Representatives would hold hearing with Merpati and relevant parties on the real reason why has Merpati purchased the Chinese MA-60 plane, instead of our own CN-235 plane which is much better and safer. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sanctions on Citibank Indonesia

Today I received an e-mail from Citibank Indonesia explaining about the sanctions that the Indonesian banking regulator i.e. Bank Indonesia, has imposed on said bank for violations of internal bank regulations and risk management as well as weaknesses in its internal control and operating procedures.

In connection with the two ongoing scandals, one surrounding suspicions of embezzlement by its former Senior Manager and the other involving the death of a credit card customer, Citibank promised that it will it do its best to follow all the laws and regulations in Indonesia, like it has done for so many years.

Earlier I read on The Jakarta Globe that the sanctions were a two-year freeze on new credit card customers for Citibank Indonesia, a ban on acquiring new priority banking customers for one year and a one-year moratorium on opening new branch offices.

I hope that the above sanctions would not stop the Investigations that are now being carried out by the Police on the possibility of Money Laundering and the Murder cases by officials of Citibank Indonesia.

ASEAN Summit 2011

The Head of States / Governments of 10 members of the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) will meet today, Saturday 7 May, and Sunday 8 May, at the Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta.

As the annual Chairman of ASEAN for 2011, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono is scheduled to open the meeting at 9 am this morning. There are three main agenda for the summit meeting :

1)  To ensure the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015
2)  To ensure that South East Asia will remain as a peaceful and stable region 
3)  ASEAN participation in maintaining world peace.

Beside that, there are other important issues such as the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, South China Sea dispute, Thai-Cambodia border conflict, Joint Rice Buffer Stock, Fighting Pirates, etc.

In connection with the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015, I hope that all the governments of member countries would socialize the ASEAN programs to their people.

Related articles :
Indonesia will lead Charge to Establish ..... (The Jakarta Globe)
Tiga Priotitas Ketua ASEAN (Indonesian Foreign Ministry)
KTT ke 18 ASEAN di Jakarta (Detik)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Promise to End Illegal Logging

Last Wednesday, the Indonesian government and the European Union concluded the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (VPA FLEGT).that would redule Illegal Logging, Log Laundering and other related activities in Indonesia.

According to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs this agreement will support Indonesia's efforts to strengthen Good Governance, Law Enforcement and Accountability in its Forest sector.

Indonesia plan to audit all of its 4,500 producers, processors and exporters to ensure the legality of all Timber, Paper, and Pulp products exported to the E.U and other markets.

And the E.U will guarantee free and unrestricted access for all FLEGT licensed Timber products coming from Indonesia and will seek to increase the visibility of FLEGT products in the E.U.

Indonesia and the E.U aimed to commence FLEGT licensing procedures at the beginning of 2013, ahead of the entry into operations of the E.U Timber Regulation in March 2013 which will prohibit the first sale of illegal Timer in the E.U.

I hope that this agreement will end, or at least reduce illegal logging that has plagued Indonesia for many years. 

Corruption Court for every Provinces

In an effort to increase the efforts to eradicate the widespread corruption in Indonesia, the Supreme Court has planned to build one Corruption Court in every province.

Pos Kota quoted the Chief Justice Harifn Tumpa as saying that at present there are already 18 Coruption Courts in 18 provinces, therefore we still need 12-14 more. And he is very optimistic that they will all be ready by the end of this year, because the budged for that is ready.

Considering that there are so many Corruption cases involving local government officers in the provinces, I agree that the existence of Corruption Courts in every provinces would help expedite the handling of Corruption in those provinces.

In order to do that, the said Courts and local law enforcement agencies should be ready, and highly qualified, tough Court Judges and officers, as well as KPK, Prosecutors and Police must also be available.

Frankly speaking, I am not sure that preparations for all that can be completed within a very short time.

The Court Houses maybe ready by the end of this year, but how about highly qualified and tough Court Judges and officers, and law enforcement officers ?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

13 more Indonesians held by Somali Pirates

Last Sunday, 20 Indonesians and 11 foreign crews of Indonesian flag ship MV Sinar Kudus were released by Somali pirates who held them as hostages since 16 March 2011.

Kompas reported that the release was made after PT. Samudera Indonesia as owner of the ship paid a ransom demanded by those pirates, which according  to the pirates amounts to US$ 4.5 Million.

Actually, the government had decided to combine two options in efforts to free the ship crews i.e. negotiations and military operations. For which purpose three ships, one aircraft, one helicopter and special commando unit have been sent to the Somali sea to carry out the mission.

Last Saturday, 13 Indonesians together with 12 other ship crews of a Singapore flag ship MT Gemini were hijacked by Somali pirates at the Somali sea.

In reaction to this new piracy, the Commander in Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces Admiral Agus Suhartono said that Indonesia will coordinate with Singapore to secure the release of 13 Indonesian sailors.

Considering that 13 of the 25 crews of the Singapore ship are Indonesians, it would be very interesting to know whether or not this time our government (and Singapore) would choose to give in to the pirates' demand, or take military action instead.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

After Osama's Death

After US President Barack Obama announced the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden yesterday, the news media reported that almost every one are happy with his death.

Even a radical website in Indonesia seemed to be happy too, only they assumed that Osama's death has been a Syahid Death (killed in a holy war).

However, there were some alarming news about the possibility of Osama's organization Al-Qaeda making efforts to revenge his death.

The Chief of U.S Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta warned the world to be on high alert because he believed that Al-Qaeda almost certainly will try to avenge.

While the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said that the government is bracing for possible reactions by local hard-line groups following Osama bin Laden’s death and stepping up security.

I hope that Osama's death would not soften our government's efforts to eliminate any acts of terrors in Indonesia.

Monday, May 2, 2011

National Education Day 2011

Indonesia has been commemorating 2 May as its National Education Day since 1908, and every time I would always think about the quality of education in our country.

Around 30 years ago, higher education fees were not so expensive. First class state universities/institutes like University of Indonesia (U.I) and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) only charged entrance fees of not more that a few millions of Rupiah, compared today which can be as high as 75-100 Million Rupiah or even more. 

I am not sure whether the quality of education at that time was a lot much lower than it is today, but I know for sure that at that time we were able to sent lecturers, medical doctors and engineers to Malaysia and Middle East countries.

Whereas today we only sent lesser skilled labors to work as house maids, constructions and plantations workers abroad.

So, is the quality of our education today higher that before ?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Labor's Day a.k.a May Day

An estimate of 60,000 labors representing 67 Labor Unions in Jakarta and vicinity gathered peacefully today to celebrate the Labors Day a.k.a May Day held at the HI Roundabout in downtown Jakarta

According to Kompas, they started to gather at 6 am and planned to walk to the State Palace, the official residence of President SBY, at midday.

The Labors carried posters and banners mentioning their demands to the government, among others the issuance of the Social Security Organizing Agency Law, realization of President SBY's promise during May Day last year i.e. to pay more attention on the faith of the Labors.

They demand that all Labors, including those under Outsourcing and Contractual statuses, must be protected.
Meanwhile, the President visited two factories in Bogor, West Java, accompanied by the Minister of Man Power Muhaimin Iskandar.

The Minister said that there are three goals that his Ministry wished to achieve this year. First,to increase the Man Power Social Security (Jamsostek), second, to strictly limit, or if possible to stop Outsourcing, and third not to limit or ban labor union.

I am very happy that the commemoration of the Labor's Day a.k.a May Day in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia went quite peacefully. I hope that the government would do its very best to keep its promised to the Labors i.e. provide better working conditions for all labors working in Indonesia and in foreign countries.

I also hope that the government would do its very best to provide more working opportunities for our Labor force a.o. by creating an attractive environment for local and foreign to invest their money and create businesses in Indonesia.