Editorial

Editorial (415)

21
January

The government has finished the draft of the Omnibus Law to Create Employment. This week, the draft will be submitted to the House of Representatives (DPR) and is targeted to be completed within three months. Omnibus law is a law created to target one major issue that might revoke or amend several laws to be simplified. So far, the government has scrutinized 74 laws that will be affected by the omnibus law. According to President Joko Widodo, if the government only combines the laws one by one and then submits a revision to the DPR, the process can take time more than 50 years. Based on the omnibus law, the existing laws that are viewed to hamper can be revised simultaneously.

In fact, there are two Omnibus Laws submitted by the government to the DPR. They are Omnibus Law to Create Employment and Omnibus Law of Taxation. However, the Omnibus Law to Create Employment is criticized by a lot of people, remembering that there are some points in the omnibus law draft, that are unacceptable. Because, they think that this will threaten the welfare of workers, such as the imposition of workers’ hourly wages. The workers assume there is an effort to eliminate the minimum wage by setting the hourly wage. In other words, if the workers work fewer than 40 hours a week, their wages will automatically be below the minimum wage. On the contrary, according to the government, this hourly wage regulation does not eliminate the minimum wage rule. This rule gives flexibility to business entities or companies in providing salaries to temporary workers. The rules for hourly wage schemes are intended to accommodate certain types of work, such as consultants and part-time workers. In addition, the hourly wage payment rules are intended to accommodate new types of work in the digital economy industry with millennial workers who want flexible working hours. Based on this, socialization is needed for the community to understand correctly what the objectives of the government are in making regulations. Thus, bias information amid the community can be prevented. Now, the DPR's task to study the draft Omnibus Law proposed by the government is whether it is advantageous or disadvantageous to the community. The task of the parliament members is also to provide a correct explanation to the people they represent, and the reasons for their decision on the draft of the omnibus law.

22
January

A mysterious virus outbreak suddenly shook the world. Corona Virus, as it was called, made the World Health Organization -WHO hold an emergency session to discuss the case. From China, it was reported that there are 17 new cases. Chinese officials claim that the Corona virus has caused SARS-like symptoms and caused the sufferer to be in a critical condition. Anxiety arises because of its relationship with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-SARS, which killed nearly 650 people throughout mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. In China itself Corona was declared to attack people aged between 30 to 79 years, and reportedly has infected 62 people, eight of whom are in critical condition. The French news agency AFP even reported that the virus had infected at least 218 people. China's official said that the virus could spread quickly to three neighboring countries of China.

The development of this mysterious Corona virus led WHO to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. It is likely that WHO will determine whether the Corona virus is a virus that can cause a crisis and endanger the community, so it must become a national and even international concern.

 The virus, with its  technical name,  2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV,  was confirmed by the Chinese government by stating that the first case was found on January 20, 2020 in South Guang Dong province.

If the WHO at its meeting in its headquarters in Geneva stated that the Corona virus caused a world health emergency situation, then it could be ascertained that it was the cause of a very dangerous pandemic.

As with the Ebola virus, which once worried the world, there must be a very serious effort to deal with Corona.

20
January

The simultaneous General Elections of the President and the Legislature took place just eight months ago, in April 2019. While the next General Election is still four years away, the excitement in the political arena has already begun.
The discourse of an increase in the parliamentary threshold from 4 percent to 5 percent is circulating among political parties in the Indonesian House of Representatives.

The discussions have developed since the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) held its first National Working Meeting in 2020 between January 10-12.

It produced nine recommendations, one of which was that the parliamentary threshold was to be increased to 5 percent. The PDI-P proposal received both positive and negative responses from a number of political parties in the DPR.

Some parties appreciate it for it may help improve the quality of democracy in Indonesia. However, there were also some parties that objected to the proposed increase in parliamentary threshold.

According to those who support this discourse, an increase in the parliamentary threshold will help reduce the number of political parties. But those who did not get a large number of votes in the 2019 elections, the proposed increase would not be effective enough to simplify the number of political parties. Instead, it will only make the votes won by parties that do not qualify be wasted.

Indeed, the increase in parliamentary thresholds has happened several times in the electoral system in Indonesia. Since 2009 until now the number has continued to increase from 2.5 percent to 3 percent, and then to 4 percent.

It should be noted that in the 2014 elections, there were only 12 national parties and three local parties in Aceh that participated in the election. While in the 2019 elections, with a threshold of 4 percent, the number of parties participating in the contestation actually increased to 16 national parties and four parties in Aceh. This shows that an increase in parliamentary threshold is not very effective in reducing the number of political parties participating in elections. It only made the votes casted for parties which fell below the threshold become wasted.

An increase in the parliamentary threshold from 4 percent to 5 percent might improve the quality of democracy in Indonesia. However, the reality on the ground also needs to be considered.

17
January

There is no endless storm. There is no war that lasts forever. Maybe, that's the right phrase to describe the new phase of the United States and China trade war that has occurred for two years and caused a slowdown in the global economy. United States President, Donald Trump and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Liu He signed the first phase of a trade peace agreement on Wednesday 15 January at a meeting at the White House. Even though this phase I agreement has been signed, the US will still impose tariffs on imported goods from China until there is a phase II agreement. However, the US agreed to suspend tariffs on a number of electronic products worth $ 160 billion US dollars. The tariff is valid on December 15, 2019. This phase I agreement is expected to be a good start after the two countries are involved in a trade war. However , many parties still doubted what would happen after the signing of this first phase of the trade agreement.

The thing that can be underlined is that in the agreement China will buy more goods from America.
This will slightly cover the impact of trade wars that have been felt by America for 2 years. The impression is that the agreement that was signed last did produce several victories for the US. Because China agreed to buy US goods of around US $ 200 billion. More over, in the next two yearsUS companies will get more access to the Chinese market, and more intellectual property protection. But the Chinese economy is actually also seen as getting a short-term boost from the trade agreement. There are some stimulatory measures, such as more spending by local governments, lower taxes, and more bank credit. A ceasefire can also help reduce the slump in business and investment sentiment in China.

The question now, how is the impact on countries whose economy has also been affected by the American-Chinese trade war so far? In 2020, the tariff rates that have been applied or announced will make global economic growth drop 0.8 percent. This was revealed by IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgiva. Global economic conditions have already been affected by the trade war that has occurred over the past 2 years.

Of course, the world community welcomes phase I of the trade agreement between America and China.
Yet, the effects of a trade war need time to recover. For the internal conditions of China and America and globally as well. Hopefully, the next phase of the trade agreement will immediately accelerate the improvement of the global economy.



   
16
January

In a limited cabinet meeting on Wednesday (16/1), President Joko Widodo instructed his ministers to immediately finish the law which can accelerate national economy in 2020. Omnibus Law is made to target one great issue that can revoke or amend some laws to be simpler. To stimulate economic growth, the Indonesian government must move quickly so that the 5.5 percent economic growth projection in 2020 can be achieved. There are three focuses in the 2020 Omnibus Law, namely tax, providing employment, as well as empowering micro small and medium enterprises. In the limited cabinet meeting, the President targeted the Omnibus Law for employment and tax to be finished before 100 working day of Indonesian cabinet Onward. Therefore, he instructed all ministries and institutions, including National Police, State Intelligence Agency (BIN), and Attorney General Office to build one-way communication, as well as to communicate with involved organizations. President Joko Widodo hoped the Omnibus Law discussion can be finished soon. Because it can make Indonesia a country with good business ecosystem. Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto said that the Omnibus Law bill is ready to be ratified before 2020 Idul Fitri. According to him, the discussion in government’s internal level had been finished. Therefore, he ensured the bill can be submitted to the House of Representatives immediately to be ratified. One of the main priorities under development in the Omnibus Law bill is manpower. The Omnibus Law is needed to increase Indonesian economic growth that was  stagnant in 2019. The bureaucracy complexity that hampers business activities is the main target in the bill making. Therefore, Omnibus Law completion and implementation are very needed for the government as long as for prosperity and welfare of the people. However, it should be carefully checked again if related parties can make win-win solution for the developing and more complex current economic issues.

 

15
January

Peace in Libya

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Published in Editorial

 

The sound of gunfire and bomb explosions are not heard anymore at the moment in Libya. Two warring camps. namely, the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA), January 13, 2020 agreed a ceasefire. The agreement was reached at a meeting in Moscow. which was attended by LNA Commander, Khalifa Haftar and GNA Leader Fayez al Serraj. The decision was received positively by various parties including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As is known Russia and Turkey each supports the opposite party.

Although there has been an agreement, and the use of heavy weapons and bombs has not been heard, but sometimes the sound of gunfire can still be heard here and there though on a small scale. Therefore the United Nations urges both parties to abide by the ceasefire. Calls to both parties to keep commitments were also made by the Arab League and the European Union.

In Tripoli various foreign representatives through their respective Ambassadors, urged the Libyan people to use this peaceful opportunity to rise and overcome various problems, such as political, economic and security. Calls to the two warring parties for an immediate end to the fighting were also conveyed by the Arab League. Conflicts and the civil war have occurred in Libya since almost a decade ago. The chaos began when Muamamar Gaddafi, who was the Leader of the Libyan Revolution, was overthrown in 2011 through a revolt. Since then, the oil-rich Lybia split into two camps namely GNA and LNA, which respectively controlled the East and West. The conflicts have destroyed the country's economy and disrupted world oil supplies. It is in this perspective that a number of countries view the resolution of the crisis as very important so that oil supply from Libya to various countries will return to normal.

To what extent did the ceasefire agreed in Moscow become a momentum for peace in Lybia? All depends on the further steps to be taken. The leaders of the two warring sides must be able to use the opportunity of a ceasefire to bring peace to the oil-rich nation.

13
January

Indonesian President Joko Widodo left for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Sunday morning (12/01). Some of the agendas to be carried out by President Joko Widodo include bilateral meetings with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and attending the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week meeting. In the forum, President Joko Widodo will be the keynote speaker to discuss  sustainable development, and energy.

However, the most important goal of the President Jokowi's visit to Abu Dhabi is a meeting with the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. Besides talking about matters relating to Islam and Wakaf or endowments,  both parties will also expand cooperation in the investment sector.

The visit to the United Arab Emirates is President Joko Widodo's first overseas working visit in 2020 carried out as a follow-up to the UAE Crown Prince's visit to Indonesia in June last year. The president intends to 'fetch' an investment of 4 billion US dollars to  be disbursed by the United Arab Emirates. During a visit to Abu Dhabi, President Joko Widodo is scheduled to sign four Memorandums of Understanding in the investment sector.

The first cooperation is Balikpapan Refinery project between the Emirates’ oil and gas company, Mubadalah and PT Pertamina from Indonesia. The second one is Balongan Refinery project, which will be undertaken by Pertamina along with another company from the Emirates, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). The third cooperation is the employment contract between Enterprise Global Aluminum (EGA) and PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminum (Inalum), and the fourth one is a working  project between PT PLN Indonesia and Masdar in a floating solar power plant project in Cirata Reservoir, West Java.

Data from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) on 31 October 2019 shows Singapore is still listed as the highest country to invest in Indonesia with an investment value of US$ 1.9 billion dollars, followed by the Netherlands at US$ 1.4 billion, and China with a value of US$1 billion dollars.

In 2020, the BKPM targets an investment achievement worth Rp886 trillion. The influx of large amount of investment is expected to help the economy continue grow amid a global economic slowdown.

United Arab Emirates' investment in Indonesia worth US$ 4 billion dollars or Rp56 trillion shows the country's high level of confidence in the investment climate in Indonesia. This also shows that Indonesia is still an attractive country to invest and proves that the level of global investors’ confidence in Indonesia is still quite good.

The signing of the four Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) in the field of investment between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates is also expected to further enhance world confidence in the investment sector in Indonesia.

06
January


Ahead of year-end 2019, Indonesia was shocked by the entry of foreign vessels, the China Coast Guard and its fishing vessels into Natuna region. With the Nine Dash Lines principle from the outermost point of China, China considers Natuna waters as its territory.


For several times, Indonesian sea areas rich in marine products have been entered by foreign ships, especially for illegal fishing purposes. When Susi Pujiastuti was Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in the last cabinet, foreign vessels caught to steal fish in Indonesian territory were even sunk. But now it is different, China not only illegally caught sea products, but also claimed Indonesia's sea area as its own territory. Even when the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a memorandum of protest over this action, China still reasoned with its Nine Dash-Lines argument.

Now, Indonesia's diplomacy must be pursued more intensively. In addition, patrols in the Natuna Sea must also be strengthened. Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi has reminded China that China is also bound by the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea -UNCLOS 1982 which ensures the outermost points of Indonesia, complete with Exclusive Economic Zones. China's claim to Natuna waters which refers to the nine dash-lines is not based on UNCLOS 1982. China is one of the UNCLOS member countries, that is obliged to respect its implementation.


Obviously in Natuna waters, China has the courage to maneuver, because the investment promised by China to Indonesia is quite high. It is not clear exactly where the relationship is. However, the issue of the magnitude of Chinese investment in Indonesia should not be a burden for Indonesian government to deal with Chinese maneuvers in the Natuna region. The sovereignty of the Indonesian nation is the most important aspect that must be guarded and maintained.

03
January

North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un announced that his side has revoked a moratorium on nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic missile tests. He set deadline December 31 2019 for the United States to make several concessions after 18-month diplomacy, President Donald Trump did not produce satisfactory results.

In the 5th Plenary Meeting of the North Korea Workers' Central Committee on Tuesday (31/12), Leader Kim Jon g-un emphasized that his country would turn to concrete actions that might shock and make the United States pay the pain suffered by North Korean people.


North Korea will introduce new strategic weapons in the near future. However, it is still unclear whether the test will be conducted soon. It is possible that Leader Kim Jong-un's announcement is a "shot" warning to President Donald Trump to lift the sanctions.


Pyongyang will continue to develop the strategic weapons and prerequisites needed for the country's security until the US changes its unfriendly policies and builds stronger peacekeeping mechanisms with North Korea.


Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump, who has met Leader Kim Jong-un for three times, often calls North Korea's restraint a major diplomatic achievement. In contrast to Kim Jong-un's statement, when speaking with reporters on Tuesday (31/12) night at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, President Donald Trump even said that he still had "very good relations" with Leader Kim Jong-un. President Donald Trump believes North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un will uphold his commitment to denuclearization.


North Korea has conducted ballistic missile tests that can reach the mainland of the United States of America. But of course, acts of violence are not the best way to solve problems on the Korean Peninsula, as stated by US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo so that Washington can choose peace and prosperity instead of disputes and battles with North Korea.

01
January

Iran carries out political and military maneuvers in the midst of its conflict with the United States. After resolving domestic problem, which was to quell demonstrations in the country some time ago, Tehran showed the support of two major countries, namely Russia and China in terms of military power. Iran along with Russia and China held joint exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.

The Iranian Navy commander stated that the four-day joint exercise towards the end of 2019 with China and Russia was intended to give a message to the United States. Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Hosseinof Khanzadi said that the joint exercises of the three countries were aimed at increasing security in the region. Earlier Tehran warned any country not to approach the region. Khosein Khanzadi claimed that he had received an order to shoot any foreign aircraft or ship trying to approach the area that was used as a joint training ground. Especially with the intention of spying or in intelligence activities. As is known, tension in the waters of the Indian Ocean especially around the Gulf of Oman increased after two Saudi Arabian tankers were mysteriously attacked. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of carrying out attacks which caused damage to two Saudi Arabian tankers.

The maneuvering of Iran's military cooperation by cooperating with two major powers namely Russia and China marked the new development of relations between Iran and the United States. It can even be said that relations between the two countries have become tense. Iran is trying to strengthen its position by cooperating with two big countries which in some cases are also not well-connected with Washington. China and the United States, for example, have not yet fully completed the trade war, although a new agreement has begun to be reached towards the end of the year. Russia itself is at odds with the United States in their involvement in the Syrian war.

Entering the new year 2020 the world is still tinged with the tension of relations here and there. One of them is between Iran and the United States. There are two things to be noted related to Iranian military cooperation with China and Russia. First, it is a new bargaining position for a balance in negotiations. Secondly, it ignited an escalation that was a sign that US-Iran relations might be getting worse in 2020.

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