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…

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public Outrage

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public OutrageRising public anger over a gruesome gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl by seven teenage boys and seven men has brought together activists and much of the Indonesian public in a show of solidarity for the victim, at the same time raising national awareness of widespread sexual violence, which one critic called a “national…

Indonesia Prepares for New International Condemnation

Indonesia Prepares for New International CondemnationOnce again, Indonesia’s Police Mobile Brigade Unit is preparing an unknown number of firing squads to be deployed to the Nusakambangan prison island, where they are expected to shoot an as-yet undetermined number of drug offenders, including a British grandmother who was caught smuggling cocaine into Bali. Police have been keeping the number of individuals…

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISIS

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISISSiyono’s wife Suratmi probably did the best thing she could when she asked for help from Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, to figure out why her husband died in the custody of the Indonesian police’s feared counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 last month. Along with her effort to seek for the truth through Muhammadiyah, she…

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental Disaster

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental DisasterOn May 28, it will be 10 years since something went disastrously wrong 1800 meters down inside Banjar Panji I, an exploratory gas well being drilled near the Surabaya town of Sidoarjo, about 900 km. southeast of Jakarta in east Java. When drillers attempted to shake loose a stalled drill bit, or it broke or…

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…

Palm Oil Giant Suspended from Environmental Certification

Palm Oil Giant Suspended from Environmental CertificationThe green image of one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates suffered a major blow on Friday with its suspension from the world’s largest association for ethical palm oil production, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. IOI Group was one of the founding members of the RSPO, as the pact is known, but it has been suspended…

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…

Indonesian Gas Field Decision Shows Joko’s Indecision

Indonesian Gas Field Decision Shows Joko’s IndecisionIndonesian President Joko Widodo has disappointed and bewildered international investors and undermined the government’s credibility by announcing that infrastructure for one of the world’s biggest gas fields is to be built onshore despite concerns that the onshore plant is economically not viable. In doing so, he finds himself at the center of a tug of…

Indonesian Economy Brightens Up

Indonesian Economy Brightens UpThere has been much fussing over the past year about whether or not Indonesian President Joko Widodo has the determination and backing to get a grip on the nation’s politics and rule effectively. The balance of opinion has now mostly shifted in his favor. But behind all this lies what can only be described as…