Asia in 2016: Indonesia

Asia in 2016: IndonesiaIndonesia recorded a fiscally promising 2016, with solid gross domestic growth and a supportive monetary environment bolstering economic momentum. Elected to office barely two years ago, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been focused on improving the economy through public spending and a welcome cabinet re-shuffle in July which saw the widely respected Sri Mulyani Indrawati,…

Indonesia Presents Google With Huge Tax Bill

Indonesia Presents Google With Huge Tax BillIn a move that has sparked deep concern among the multinationals doing business in Indonesia, Jakarta is going after Google Asia Pacific to try to force the communications giant to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.  Other tech giants may be under fire as well. The government alleges Google has obtained hefty revenue…

Controversies Haunt Jokowi’s Tax Amnesty Program

Controversies Haunt Jokowi’s Tax Amnesty ProgramThe Indonesian government is going all-out to promote a tax amnesty program amid jitters from Singaporean bankers, who are estimated to hold tens of millions in assets spirited overseas, and by reformers, who say the amnesty gives fugitives too good a deal. The program is aimed at rich Indonesians who have undeclared assets overseas, with…

Indonesia’s Fire Season: Bad but Not As Bad

Indonesia’s Fire Season: Bad but Not As BadIndonesia’s fire season, in which hundreds of thousands of hectares of primary forest and peatland go up in smoke annually to be replaced by oil palm and paper plantations, is underway, with satellites recording hundreds of hot spots on Sumatra and Kalimantan. However, according to the nonprofit environmental science and conservation website Mongabay, the fires,…

Indonesia’s Complicated Relations with China

Indonesia’s Complicated Relations with ChinaThe open confrontation between Indonesia and China in Indonesia’s fish-rich Natuna area and subsequent coolness between the two countries belies President Joko Widodo’s moves to establish closer ties with Beijing during the first months of his presidency, which began in October of 2014. The president’s first international visit was to Beijing, followed with his full…

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 Fires

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 FiresIndonesian forest fires, fanned by an extended drought associated with El Nino, delivered more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than the entire European Union, an astounding 11.3 million tonnes per day against 8.9 million tonnes for the EU, according to a new study. The study, written  by nine climate scientists from Kings College London in…

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification LawIn December 2014, as one of its last actions before its term ended,  Indonesia’s House of Representatives pushed through a law requiring halal labeling, or Islamic certification of food products and pharmaceuticals that had been hanging fire for eight years, primarily because of a flock of contentious provisions that critics say will damage the interests…

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign Investment

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign InvestmentIndonesian President Joko Widodo has fulfilled a long-awaited promise, delivering a revised list of businesses and sectors formerly closed or limited in terms of foreign investment. The list largely follows a February policy package that described sectors previously closed to foreign investment that are now to be open with varying restrictions. They include the film…

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental Disaster

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental DisasterOn May 28, it will be 10 years since something went disastrously wrong 1800 meters down inside Banjar Panji I, an exploratory gas well being drilled near the Surabaya town of Sidoarjo, about 900 km. southeast of Jakarta in east Java. When drillers attempted to shake loose a stalled drill bit, or it broke or…

Palm Oil Giant Suspended from Environmental Certification

Palm Oil Giant Suspended from Environmental CertificationThe green image of one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates suffered a major blow on Friday with its suspension from the world’s largest association for ethical palm oil production, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. IOI Group was one of the founding members of the RSPO, as the pact is known, but it has been suspended…
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