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…

World Bank Counts Cost of Indonesian Haze Crisis

World Bank Counts Cost of Indonesian Haze CrisisThe record number of slash-and-burn fires that swept through large parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan for five months earlier this year cost Indonesia an estimated Rp221 trillion (US$15.73 billion), wiping a full 1.9 percent off gross domestic product, according to a new report released Tuesday by the World Bank. Between June and October, according to…

The end of the line for Japanese influence in Indonesia

The end of the line for Japanese influence in IndonesiaIn 2015, China outbid Japan for the first high-speed rail project in Indonesia, reflecting Beijing’s eagerness to realize its 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative. So what does this signify for the Asia Pacific region? Indonesia made a big and highly significant decision to award China rather than Japan the Jakarta–Bandung high-speed rail project, which…

Investment Firm Runs into Three-Card Monte in Indonesia

Investment Firm Runs into Three-Card Monte in IndonesiaAfter a record 562 ignored legal summons served on Nobuyoshi Fujisawa, the chief executive officer and controlling shareholder of J Trust Ltd. and on J Trust, a Tokyo-based firm that now controls the remains of the ill-starred Indonesian Bank Century, the process server finally taped them to the front door of Fujisawa’s Singapore residence. The notice of…