Indonesian Economy Brightens Up

Indonesian Economy Brightens UpThere has been much fussing over the past year about whether or not Indonesian President Joko Widodo has the determination and backing to get a grip on the nation’s politics and rule effectively. The balance of opinion has now mostly shifted in his favor. But behind all this lies what can only be described as…

Politics May Block Huge Indonesian Gas Field

Politics May Block Huge Indonesian Gas FieldA venture by Indonesia to develop one of the world’s potentially biggest gas fields appears to have foundered, at least temporarily, on the rocks of economic nationalism that flies directly in the face of President Joko Widodo’s ambitions to open the country to investment. While the president is telling the world and Indonesians the country…

Indonesian Supreme Court Nixes Acquittal of International School Teachers

Indonesian Supreme Court Nixes Acquittal of International School TeachersIndonesia’s Supreme Court has overturned the acquittal of two teachers, a Canadian and an Indonesian, convicted of sexually abusing students at Jakarta’s most prestigious international school and ordered them to serve out their original 10-year sentence plus an extra year. The reason for the decision Thursday, Feb. 25,  appears to be a mystery, although local…

Indonesia May Drop Mining Export Ban

Indonesia May Drop Mining Export BanThe Indonesian government appears about to relax or drop altogether provisions in a controversial law requiring mining companies to construct smelters to process ore domestically, officials said on Feb. 16 in Jakarta. Sudirman Said, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, told reporters that the government needs to review its mineral ore export ban policy…

Indonesian President Rolls Out Dramatic Economic Reforms

Indonesian President Rolls Out Dramatic Economic ReformsIndonesian President Joko Widodo today, Feb.11, rolled out the details of the plan he called a “big bang" the day before, to open nearly 50 sectors of the economy to foreign investment. The package of reforms is designed to ease investment rules in e-commerce, retail, health care and moviemaking. It is the most sweeping of…

Indonesia’s Economy Heads into Turbulence

Indonesia’s Economy Heads into TurbulenceIndonesian President Joko Widodo is starting to face jarring setbacks on the economic front, starting with a 20,000-member labor rally slated for Feb. 6 in front of the Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court to protest layoffs and urge the government to revoke its recently introduced formula for setting minimum wages. However, there seems little…

Indonesia’s Transport Ban Shows President’s Inability to Control Ministers

Indonesia’s Transport Ban Shows President’s Inability to Control MinistersIndriaty Octarina was enraged when she found out that her favorite mode of transport, the popular Uber-style motorcycle taxi service Go-Jek, was temporarily declared illegal by Indonesian transport minister Ignasius Jonan last week until President Joko Widodo was forced to step in and countermand the order. As a worker who must go through the traffic…

Can the Asean Economic Community Get Off the Ground?

Can the Asean Economic Community Get Off the Ground?The ASEAN Economic Community, which is supposed to come into existence in just 13 days, on Dec. 31, is far from the 10-member alliance’s “EU moment,” as it was supposed to be called, or even a semblance of it. The kickoff has already been delayed for a year. The proposed pact is supposed to move…

Indonesia House Speaker’s Resignation Leaves Many Questions

Indonesia House Speaker’s Resignation Leaves Many QuestionsThe speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, Setya Novanto, may have resigned but the questions raised over allegations of a spectacular bribery attempt involving US mining giant Freeport McMoRan have hardly been answered. Setya abruptly stepped down on Wednesday, Dec. 16, just as a House ethics committee was poised to hand down a guilty verdict…

Malaysia’s Chinese Dilemma

Malaysia’s Chinese DilemmaIn the last days of August, Bersih, or Clean, the coalition for free and fair elections, held one of the biggest rallies the country has ever seen, with hundreds of thousands of people expressing their disgust over the levels of corruption exemplified by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd. scandal and the US$681 million that was mysteriously…