Jakarta Election seen as ‘Battle for Country’s Soul’

Jakarta Election seen as ‘Battle for Country’s Soul’This Wednesday, February 15, Indonesia holds simultaneous local elections involving 101 provinces, districts and municipalities throughout the archipelago. The polls are an important mid-term read on the nation’s mood under President Joko Widodo ahead of 2019 national elections, but the real battle is along the contentious religious lines in Jakarta’s governor’s election. Some are calling…

Bribery and Airlines: Business as Usual

Bribery and Airlines: Business as UsualThe naming of Garuda Indonesia’s former chief, Emirsyah Satar, by the Corruption Eradication Commission as a bribery suspect in the purchase of Rolls-Royce aircraft engines is just the latest chapter of a long string of such cases stretching across Asia and across generations. Indeed, the British aerospace giant, the world’s third-largest engine manufacturer after General…

Massive Jakarta Rally Aimed at Indonesia’s President?

Massive Jakarta Rally Aimed at Indonesia’s President?On Friday, December 2, Indonesia’s political structure – and even the fabric of the nation as a secular republic – is expected to be further tested by a massive rally aiming to bring tens of thousands of Muslims into Jakarta to protest against the city’s Chinese Christian governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who has been…

Jakarta Governor Beset by Religion (and Politics)

Jakarta Governor Beset by Religion (and Politics)In the wake of Friday's larger-than-expected rally against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over allegations of blasphemy against Islam, President Joko Widowo postponed a state visit to Australia. Meanwhile rumors are rising that the massive demonstration was funded by political forces -- including former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- trying to oust the popular…

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…

Indonesian Leader Names Dodgy Spy Chief

Indonesian Leader Names Dodgy Spy ChiefPolice General Budi Gunawan, the close personal friend of Megawati Sukarnoputri who was caught two years ago in a major bribery scandal, has been appointed by President Joko Widodo as the country’s new National Intelligence Agency  head, raising concerns among reform organizations over the integrity of the nomination process. Budi, known to some as Budi…

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,…

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…
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