Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s Legislature

Massive Scandal Swamps Indonesia’s LegislatureThe Indonesian political sphere has been rocked by what has been called the biggest scandal ever to engulf the House of Representatives, with officials embezzling Rp2.3 trillion (US$171.9 million) from a program to supply the public with smart identity cards. On March 9 the Jakarta Corruption Court put two high-ranking former Home Affairs Ministry officials,…

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian Visit

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian VisitModerate Muslims and non-Muslims alike may worry that the high-profile visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Malaysia and Indonesia signals another Saudi Salafi assault on traditionally more flexible Southeast Asian interpretations of Islam. But the royal tour, which also includes official visits to Japan and China as well as holidays in non-Muslim Bali, and…

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh Dispute

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh DisputeThere is rising concern among business sources in Jakarta that tension between the Indonesian government and the US-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, Indonesia’s oldest foreign investor, which has been in a months-long deadlock over future mining, could affect relations between Washington and Jakarta. In addition to taking off a huge share of Freeport’s profits, business sources…

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…
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