Editorial

Editorial (379)

09
October

Turkish and Kurdish relations in Syria continue to experience ups and downs. The entry of The United States of America into the conflict between the two, made the situation more complicated. On one hand so far, the US military cooperated with Kurdish forces (YPG) fighting against ISIS militias in northern Syria. On the other hand, Turkey has insisted on destroying Kurdish forces which they accuse of being a terrorists group. A new, unpredictable development came when a few days ago, President of the United States of America, Donald Trump approved the Turkish military operation in Syria against Kurdish forces which had been the main US ally in fighting the ISIS group.

 

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said that the USA just respected the wishes of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to protect his people from terrorist attacks. Then, the US withdrew its troops from the Turkish - Syria border.This made the Kurds starting to feel that they have lost support from the United States and are betrayed. Citing Reuters reports, the withdrawal of the US troops from the region will make Kurdish-led forces in Syria, which have long been allied with Washington, vulnerable to attacks planned by the Turkish military labeling them terrorists. Observers argue that the rapid withdrawal of the US troops from Syria will only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime in Syria. This will increase the risk of ISIS and other terrorist groups regrouping.


What's interesting is the change in American attitudes that happened so quickly and quite confusing
. Monday (7/10/2019), President Trump even chirped in his Twitter account threatening to "wipe out" the Turkish economy if deemed excessive acts. But in fact, American troops, The union which has defeated the 'Caliphate' in the ISIS region, no longer supports or engages in operations in the region. In essence, America no longer supports the Kurds. Predictably, as a continuation of the attitude of the United States, Turkey is getting ready to launch attacks on Kurdish militias. Previously, Ankara had twice carried out attacks, in 2016 and 2018. The target was the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG), the militia that became Kurdish backbone. The White House states that Turkey will assume all responsibility for ISIS militias captured by Kurdish forces for the past two years.


The question now is what is the attitude of the international community towards the actions that Turkey will launch against the Kurds (?) Will Kurds experience the most extreme population reductions? The Kurdish population in Syria concentrates in Hasakah province (the Syrian-Turkish border), Aleppo province in the Ain Arab region (including Kobani which they are currently defending against ISIS attacks). 120 thousand Kurds have been curbed off from Syriaso far. Which country will stand next to the Kurds who feel betrayed?


08
October

 

At the second week of September 2019, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani said, the Indonesian Government would like to increase the cigarette excise by 23%. She added, with this increase, the retail sale price of cigarettes also increases to 35%. This decision will be stipulated in the Minister of Finance Regulation and will take effect on January 1, 2020.


In Indonesia more recently, the price of a pack of cigarettes has become viral. The price of locally produced cigarettes, which is currently around Rp 23.00, is rumored to reach Rp 48,000. The rising price of cigarettes in Indonesia received a great deal of attention. Based on the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) Report entitled 'The Tobacco Control Atlas', the ASEAN Region showed that in 2013 around 65.19 million Indonesians were smokers.


Raising cigarette excise in Indonesia has become a dilemma. If the cigarette excise tax does not increase, the number of deaths due to consumption of tobacco products may increase. On one hand, the results of the 2015 Health Research and Development Agency study showed that Indonesia accounts for more than 230,000 deaths due to consumption of tobacco products annually. Lung cancer ranks first cause of death which is equal to 12.6%. On the other hand, the tobacco industry is one of the national manufacturing sectors, that has a large contribution. The Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia noted that the cigarette industry sector absorbs nearly 6 million workers.


But there is one thing that must be prioritized. Increasing the excise on cigarettes must be taken by the government without further delay, remembering that Indonesia is strongly committed to creating excellent human resources. The fact shows that tobacco consumption has become an effective instrument to degrade the quality of Human Resources in Indonesia. Creating excellent human resources must be done earlier. One cause of the non-formation of excellent human resources is stunting, the failure of child growth due to malnutrition for a long time. Facts on the ground show that almost about 70 percent of smokers in Indonesia are poor families. For them, cigarette becomes the second priority after rice.


An optimal increase in the price of cigarettes needs to be done. There are no cheap cigarette prices. Thus, the poor do not easily buy cigarettes, and the funds spent to buy cigarettes can be used to meet nutritious intakes. Hopefully, Indonesia's excellent human resources will be formed more quickly.

07
October

The flurry of the Indonesian political elites apparently did not stop at the time of the contest   for the presidency and the Speaker of the House of Representatives -DPR. The empty seat of the chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly -MPR which had not yet been filled was also contested.

This position certainly was not necessarily only occupied by the coalition parties, but the opposition also wanted to obtain it.  This was seen in the election of the chairman of the MPR which took place in a plenary session at Nusantara Building on Thursday night (3/10). After being suspended several times to give an opportunity to political parties to lobby, finally Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party was elected by acclamation.

Bambang Soesatyo in his inaugural address as the chairman of the MPR expressed his commitment to carry out his best duties, so that the institution he leads could function optimally.

His statement is certainly reasonable. After the reform era, the existence of the MPR could only be felt when there was a certain agenda. This is reflected in Article 2 paragraph (2) of the Constitution which explains that the MPR convenes at least once in five years in Jakarta, or appoints the President and Vice President. In addition, the MPR may also impeach the president and amend the Constitution.

After the amendment of the Constitution, the People's Consultative Assembly lost its authority to determine the course of government by the president, because the State Policy Outline (GBHN) had been abolished and replaced with the Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJM) which was discussed by the Parliament and the President.

In his speech, Bambang Soesatyo also emphasized that the MPR for the 2019-2024 period is open to reviewing various ideas regarding the nation and state's problems. The MPR will become the National Home where the fundamental and strategic issues of the country are discussed.

It is expected that what was conveyed by the elected Chairman of the MPR for the 2019-2024 period is not merely rhetoric, but it is followed by  concrete actions for the progress of the nation and state of the Republic of Indonesia.

02
October

The independence day   of the People's Republic of China, or the 70th National Day of China, is celebrated on October 1, 2019 with excitement and splendor. President Xi Jinping stood at the Podium watching the military parade that appeared in the parade and defile. The celebration of the national day, as before, was the  symbol of the rise and progress of China since the commencement of the Communist government in 1949. The celebration was also intended to show how China had risen to become a modern communist state. President Xi Jinping also wants to show how China has become an economically and militarily strong country. The international community acknowledges that China's influence continues to grow.

But in 2019 China also faces at least two problems, namely a trade war with the United States and demonstrations in Hong Kong. The trade war, sparked by President Donald Trump, is one of the potential challenges. Not only economically, but can also be seen in the perspective of geopolitics. Economically there is an indication of slowing economic growth in the country. Relations between Beijing and Washington, which have declined recently, may be able to remind the international community in the early decades after the establishment of communist China. A few decades after Mao Zedong's rule, the United States has suspended diplomatic relations with China.

The 70th anniversary of China has also been marked by protests in Hong Kong, a part of the country that has a special status. Demonstrations of months as a conflict over the extradition bill are still ongoing. Despite stopping the proposed draft of the exradition bill, the demonstration continued until ahead of the celebration of the Chinese national day. Protesters cynically refer to October 1 as Day of Grief.

China indeed continues to grow to become one of the largest and most powerful countries and has global influence. But it's not without any  problems. If the crisis in Hong Kong has given a bad image in terms of democracy, the trade war with the United States has an economic impact not only in the country, but also on a global economic scale.

30
September

Every September 30th,  people in  Indonesia are always reminded of the incident of the 30th-September Movement of the Indonesian Communist Party –PKI or better known as G-30 S PKI which is a black record of Indonesian history. On  September 30, 1965, there were PKI rebellions in Jakarta and Yogyakarta and the kidnapping 10 officers of the Indonesian National Armed Forces . Seven of them  were killed in Jakarta and three others in Yogyakarta.

The uprising on September 30, 1965 was not the first time for the PKI. Previously in 1948, the PKI had held a rebellion in Madiun. The aim of the rebellion was to replace the Republic of Indonesia with a communist state.

Shortly afterwards, the Commander of the Strategic Command of the Army (Kostrad) at the time, Major General Soeharto moved quickly, quelling the rebellion. The hunt for the G-30 S perpetrators was carried out quickly. The PKI was declared to be behind the violent takeover of power. They were hunted down and captured. Members of the organization who were considered sympathizers or related to the PKI were also arrested. Various community groups also destroyed PKI headquarters in various regions. They also attacked institutions, shops, offices and universities that were accused of being related to the PKI.

Some PKI leaders were tried at the Extraordinary Military Court, some were sentenced to death. PKI Chairman, DN Aidit who was accused of designing this movement together with PKI Special Bureau Chairman, Sam Kamaruzzaman fled to Central Java, but was later arrested, and killed. Then, the New Order government set 30 September as the  Remembrance Day of the 30 September Movement and 1 October as the Pancasila Sanctity Day.

Indeed, the PKI G-30 S had long been crushed. The main culprits were arrested and tried. However, this does not mean that the Indonesian people are unaware of the communist threat. Communist ideology that does not recognize the existence of God is not appropriate for the Indonesian people with the Pancasila ideology which believes in God.

The Indonesian people do not want bloody tragedies like the PKI G-30 S to be repeated. However, even Chief of Indonesia Armed Forces, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto acknowledges that communism is still a threat to the Indonesian people, so they must always be vigilant and anticipated for its existence because it could appear anytime and anywhere.

26
September

 

Ahead of the inauguration of the President and Vice President in October, the condition in some cities across Indonesia is heating up. There has been strong polemic about moving the capital, forest and land fires in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java, as well the actions related to Papuan iissue, as well as the latest one: protest against draft bills made by the House of Representatives -DPR. The dynamics that occur in Indonesia today are part of democracy and the follow-up of reforms that began in the late 90s. The Indonesian people chose reforms to make democratic change instead of revolution. Because if there is a revolution, the Indonesian nation could set back. However, the actions carried out more recently can disturb the people of Indonesia. Because in almost every major city throughout Indonesia, university students, senior high school students and farmers staged a demonstration. This action is reminiscent of the actions that occurred in 1998.

In a discussion on national television, legal expert -Supardi Ahmad said that more recently, the community has been concerned about the planned revision of the Corruption Eradication Commission’s law -KPK and the Draft of Criminal Code Book -KUHP that would be completed by the DPR. These points are the main focus of the demonstrators. Supardi Ahmad hopes that all demonstrators' demands must be accommodated. All relevant stakeholders must engage and take part in reviewing and disseminating information to the public regarding the contents of the Draft of Criminal Code Book and the revision of the KPK law. In this regard, the government has issued a communiqué to delay discussion and endorsement along with the DPR.


With all-inclusive participation by related stakeholders: the executive, legislative, judicative, academics and 
multi-discipline experts, the problems of the Indonesian people related to legal products can be resolved together. Thus, all legal products that will be produced can be understood and accepted by all groups towards a just and prosperous Indonesia.

23
September

On Friday night (9/20), President Joko Widodo conveyed his decision to postpone the discussion and ratification of the Draft of Criminal Code Book (RKUHP) in the House of Representatives -DPR.

President Joko Widodo took a stand after examining inputs from many stakeholders who objected in line with the emergence of polemic in the community. He perceived that there are some controversial points, at least 14 articles in the Draft of Criminal Code. Furthermore, he ordered Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly to convey the government's attitude to the DPR. President  Joko Widodo also asked that the discussion on the RKUHP be continued by members of the DPR for the period of 2019-2024.

The draft of Criminal Code has passed the 1st stage decision-making in the DPR to be ratified immediately at the next plenary meeting on September 24. The agreement was taken in the 1st Level Discussion Working Meeting conducted by the House of Representatives Commission III with Minister Yasonna Laoly in Jakarta on Wednesday (18/9/2019).

However, the decision was widely rejected in the community. A number of articles contained in the draft of Criminal Code are considered to be contrary to the mandate of reform and freedom of expression. A large demonstration was then carried out by activists and students in front of the Parliament Building on Thursday (9/19/2019).


In some articles which are considered controversial, one of them is the article of insulting the president. This article was aborted by the Constitutional Court in 2006. However, this reappears in the draft of Criminal Code as of August 28, 2019. The insult to the president is regulated in the articles 2018-220. People convicted of insulting the president face 4-and-half- year prison.

The draft of Criminal Code also fines the scroungers. This rule is contained in the Article 432 about the existence of the scroungers. The rule is considered to be contrary to the mandate of reform, democracy and human rights. In fact, the law is enacted  to provide legal protection, human rights and a sense of justice and security for the whole community. So, it would be wise if members of the House of Representatives for the period of 214-2019 do not force their willingness to ratify the Draft of Criminal Code according to President Joko Widodo's request.

18
September

US relations with Iran have deteriorated due to the burning of one of Saudi Arabia's oil factories, ARAMCO in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, Saturday, September 14th. Shortly after the fire, Houthi rebel groups in Yemen claimed to be the perpetrators and were responsible. They said the attack on the Aramco oil factory was carried out using Drones. But the claim of Houthi rebels was denied by the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday 15 September accused Iran of setting fire to the Aramco oil plant. From Washington, Pompeo stressed there was no evidence that the attack originated in Yemen, where the Houthis are. Mike Pompeo, who is a former CIA chief, firmly accused Iran of launching attacks on the Aramco oil plant which is one of the world's suppliers of oil, including to the United States.

Iran has denied US allegations and considers it to have damaged its reputation. Iran's Foreign Minister, Abbas Mousavi said the US allegations were the maximum pressure on Iran. For that, Iran said it was ready to fight against the United States. Earlier from Washington, United States President Donald Trump via Twitter said that his country was ready to deploy its military to attack Iran. Nevertheless, Trump said he would still await the reaction of Saudi Arabia. Wahington awaits confirmation from Riyadh about who really attacked the oil factory. The United States is furious because Aramco's burning has forced it to use its oil reserves.

The increasing tension between Iran and the United States and Saudi Arabia, due to the burning of Aramco, is not certain to cause war. Parties involved in tensions and crises are certainly still counting on the worse effects, when war occurs.

16
September

Forest is a very vital area for the earth and human life source. Indonesia is known as the world’s third biggest country of forest in the world. It consists of tropical forest in some regions across Indonesia, especially rain forest in Kalimantan and Papua. Based on the date of Forest Watch Indonesia, around 82 hectares of Indonesian land is covered with thick forest. Forest is also one of supporting parts for natural equilibrium and microbiological energy resources that are in need. The question is that what happens if the forest is burnt? The forest and land fires almost occur in some regions throughout Indonesia every year, usually entering dry season. Anyhow, the forest and land fires may bring about disadvantages for both local and people and neighboring countries. The serious negative impacts are the losses of flora and fauna, and air pollution. As consequences, the people impacted may suffer from many kinds of diseases such as respiratory infection, asthma and chronic lungs disorders. In addition, the smoke of the forest and land fires also interrupts the sight distance, mainly for the flight. In general, the causing factors of the forest and land fires are lightening and human activities which are carried out intentionally or unintentionally. The intentional burning is aimed at opening new land for plantation. The government of Indonesia has attempted to address the forest and land fires by mobilizing the local people, the police and armed forces personnel. More importantly, the government through the Ministry of Environment has seriously punished those who are proven to have burnt the forest. So far, there have been hundreds of suspected people and four companies. The serious efforts of Indonesian government to cope with the forest and land fires are worth appreciating. The local people, primarily the individual planters also have to take part in maintaining their environment. They must be aware of the negative consequences of the forest and land fires.

13
September


Israel's re-election to take place next week on September 17 evokes international reaction. Ahead of the election, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu promises to annex the West Bank which has been known as the Palestinian territory, as if he wanted to explore anyone who agrees and disagrees with this problem. This also shows that he is not alone with the planned annexation of the area.    

The West Bank as PM Netanyahu mentions is known by the name ‘Judea’ and ‘Samaria’ which are part of the territory of the Palestinian state, west of the Jordan River. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are part of the Palestinian territories declared in 1988. It is estimated that around 65 thousand Palestinians and 11 thousand Israelis live in the region.Indonesia and Arab countries strongly criticized PM Netanyahu's statement. The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that PM Netanyahu's promise is contrary to international law and various UN resolutions. This will obviously threaten the follow-up of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Saudi Arabia views that Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan is an escalation of dangerous tensions. Member countries of Islamic Conference Organization -OIC will hold a special meeting in Jeddah to discuss the threat of PM Netanyahu on 15th of September. On one hand, Jordan views Prime Minister Netanyahu's promise to trigger violent conflict in the Middle East. On the other hand, the European Union says that it would not recognize any changes relating to Jerusalem. The European Union believes that settlement construction and expansion in East Jerusalem is a violation of international law. In contrast, since last June, the United States through its Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman mentioned that Israel has the rights to annex the West Bank, Palestine.Apart from the strong international reaction, PM Netanyahu is actually facing panic with domestic political situation in Israel. After being re-elected as prime minister of Israel through the April 9 elections, it turned out that within the given deadline, PM Benyamin Netanyahu failed to form a new government, because it failed to reach a coalition agreement. This would threaten his position as Israeli prime minister. Raising sensitive issue in the campaign and evoking international reaction were an attempt by PM Netanyahu to win the re-election even though many said it was like rowing in the middle of the ocean with a leaky boat.

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