US Citizenship Costs Indonesian Energy Minister His Job

US Citizenship Costs Indonesian Energy Minister His JobIndonesian President Joko Widodo dismissed his newly minted Energy Minister Archandra Tahar late Monday after it was found out that he also holds American citizenship, which is illegal under Indonesian law. Archandra, a senior petroleum engineer who spent 20 years working in the United States, was appointed to the post of energy and mineral resources…

Executed Indonesian Drug Dealer’s Tale of High-Level Help

Executed Indonesian Drug Dealer’s Tale of High-Level HelpIndonesia executed four convicted drug traffickers on July 29, the third group execution since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014. A firing squad killed them amid pouring rain shortly after midnight on the Nusa Kambangan penal island in Central Java. The executed inmates were identified as Freddy Budiman from Indonesia and Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson…

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…

Jakarta’s Governor Drinks the Kool-Aid

Jakarta’s Governor Drinks the Kool-AidJakarta’s popular, graft-busting governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama will run for reelection on a party ticket after all, jettisoning an independent 2017 bid that had thrilled millions and rankled the political establishment. The governor, popularly known as Ahok, cooled on his earlier commitment as it became clear an independent run would leave him overly exposed to…

Jokowi Reshuffle Drops Reformers, Allows Politics

Jokowi Reshuffle Drops Reformers, Allows PoliticsIndonesian President Joko Widodo’s long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, presented today, July 27, shows the president accommodating more political interests into his chain of command. In all, 12 ministers are being moved or dropped and independent reformers are among those being shown the door. The biggest, and probably most encouraging, name in the reshuffle is Sri Mulyani…

Indonesia’s Oldest Party Picks a Shakedown Artist

Indonesia’s Oldest Party Picks a Shakedown ArtistGolkar, Indonesia’s oldest political party, has just elected as its chairman a man who was caught on tape in mid-November attempting to shake down Freeport McMoRan for 20 percent of the US mining giant’s Indonesian shares under a divestment scheme. He is Setya Novanto, 60, who was driven from the speakership of the House of…

Jakarta Governor Seeks to Break Indonesia’s Political Mold

Jakarta Governor Seeks to Break Indonesia’s Political MoldDenied an endorsement by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama says he will run independently in next year’s gubernatorial election, upsetting a time-honored tradition in which politicians pay parties for the privilege of running. The decision is causing consternation in political circles in Jakarta. But it is at one…

Provoked by China, Jakarta Backs Away From South China Sea Dispute

Provoked by China, Jakarta Backs Away From South China Sea DisputeIf Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants to be taken as seriously as he claims in defending Indonesian sea rights as an archipelagic nation, he may need a foreign minister from a culture less accommodating than that in his Foreign Ministry. The incident took place over the weekend when an Indonesian special task force vessel took…

The Jakarta IS Attacks and the Year Ahead

The Jakarta IS Attacks and the Year AheadThose behind the attacks in Jakarta on Jan. 14 desperately hoped to emulate the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. This time they fell far short. The attackers, contrary to initial impressions, were entirely locally organized and failed at almost every level. Four innocent lives were lost but they had clearly hoped to take many more.…

Indonesia’s Jokowi Blocks Move to Weaken Anti-Graft Body

Indonesia’s Jokowi Blocks Move to Weaken Anti-Graft BodyIn a demonstration of his growing sway, President Joko Widodo has put his foot down against a move in the House of Representatives to push through legislation designed to weaken Indonesia’s fearsome Corruption Eradication Commission, the country’s anti-graft watchdog. “Jokowi slowed [the amendments] down,” said a Jakarta-based businessman. “He has the legislature under control. It…