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…

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 Fires

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 FiresIndonesian forest fires, fanned by an extended drought associated with El Nino, delivered more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than the entire European Union, an astounding 11.3 million tonnes per day against 8.9 million tonnes for the EU, according to a new study. The study, written  by nine climate scientists from Kings College London in…

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in Indonesia

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in IndonesiaAn ever-weary 52-year-old housewife named Saeni lies on the floor of her tiny, humble rental house in the town of Serang in West Java, feverish and sick, she says, after having made national headlines for the past two weeks in a brouhaha that has alarmed many over the growing clout of conservative Islamists.  “I can’t…

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification LawIn December 2014, as one of its last actions before its term ended,  Indonesia’s House of Representatives pushed through a law requiring halal labeling, or Islamic certification of food products and pharmaceuticals that had been hanging fire for eight years, primarily because of a flock of contentious provisions that critics say will damage the interests…

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign Investment

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign InvestmentIndonesian President Joko Widodo has fulfilled a long-awaited promise, delivering a revised list of businesses and sectors formerly closed or limited in terms of foreign investment. The list largely follows a February policy package that described sectors previously closed to foreign investment that are now to be open with varying restrictions. They include the film…

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…