Editorial (274)



Every February 21st, the world including Indonesia commemorates International Mother Language Day. For the Indonesian people, this commemoration is a right momentum to intensively protect and teach regional languages to children.

Indonesia is very rich in regional languages. The number of regional languages in Indonesia is the second largest in the world after Papua New Guinea. Based on data of Language Development Agency at the Ministry of Education and Culture, the number of regional languages spread in Indonesia per 2018 is 668 regional languages. Among the regional languages in Indonesia, there are three languages with more than 10 million speakers, namely Javanese (84.3 million speakers), Sundanese (34 million speakers), and Madurese language (13.6 million speakers).

The wealth of regional languages is a treasure and pride for Indonesia, because each language has its own uniqueness. The characteristics of social, cultural, economic, political and various aspects of the life of the Indonesian people are reflected in the language.

Therefore, efforts to protect and maintain the diversity of languages in Indonesia must continue. If not, there will be many regional languages that will become extinct or without speakers.

Based on data from the Language Agency, as many as 11 regional languages in Indonesia were declared extinct. There are 16 languages whose status is endangered. There are several causes of language extinction, including shrinking the number of speakers, large natural disasters, inter-tribal intermarriage, and the language attitude of speakers.

Real efforts are needed from both the community and the government to protect and maintain the diversity of languages in Indonesia. The regional governments need to make regulations to protect their respective regional languages. In Indonesia, there is only one regional regulation that regulates regional language protection, namely North Sumatra Province.

Efforts to develop, foster and protect regional languages are through not only legislation, but also efforts from individual speakers of regional languages. For example, the regional languages can be documented. Each individual needs to take the initiative to document the local language. The documentation is very necessary for its sustainability so that it does not become extinct. This is the right way to protect the cultural and intellectual heritage of Indonesia.



Over the last few weeks, prices of flight tickets in Indonesia have been very expensive. The situation was made worse by the elimination of promo tickets and paid baggage policies for some airlines. The increase in airplane ticket prices is quite surprising, because the peak season has passed, which should have dropped the price of airline tickets. But in low season, the price of airline tickets is still expensive.

After the government tried to overcome this problem, the price of airline tickets began to decline. However, the public considered the price of airline tickets to be still expensive.
Aviation corporations accuse the price of airplane fuel is very high, which is the reason for rising flight ticket prices. They say that Avtur prices in Indonesia are more expensive than abroad. As a result, the price of foreign airplane tickets from Indonesia abroad has become cheaper than domestic flight tickets abroad.

Compared to Southeast Asian countries, Avtur prices in Indonesia are actually classified as competitive, the third lowest recorded after Singapore and Malaysia. Compared to the selling price of Avtur at Changi Singapore, the price of Avtur in Cengkareng is indeed more expensive at around 5 to 10 percent. However, the difference in the Avtur price is due to the imposition of Sales Tax (VAT) on Avtur by 10 percent, while the Avtur price at Changi is not subject to VAT. If it is not subject to VAT, Avtur prices in Singapore and Indonesia should be equal. In addition, since November 2018 until mid-February 2019, Avtur prices in Indonesia have tended to fall, reaching 18.5 percent. The proportion of Avtur costs of 24 percent is indeed quite significant in the formation of ticket selling prices. However, when the Avtur price dropped to 18.5%, the price of airline tickets did not decline, but instead experienced an increase during low season in early January to mid-February, the Avtur prices are assumed to unfair.

Some observers suspect that there are price cartels from several major airlines that control flights in Indonesia. So now, it is the time for the government to control the corporate actions of a number of airlines, related to the policy of eliminating promo ticket prices and paid baggage.

Indonesian Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) needs to ensure that there are no price formation cartels from certain airlines. Without the efforts of the Government and KPPU, it is difficult for the public to expect airline ticket prices, which are burdensome for consumers, to be reduced in the near future.


Last week, a suicide bombing in Kashmir, India killed 40 Indian paramilitary police. After this attack, India accused Muslim groups in Pakistan of playing a role. The attack took place just few days before the arrival of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan, which continued to India. This attack increased the tension between Pakistan and India. During his visit, Prince Mohammed bin Salman brought investment to both Pakistan and India. In Pakistan, the Saudi Arabia invests US$20 billion dollars. Meanwhile in India, the value of Saudi’s investment is 5 times bigger than in Pakistan. In addition to the economic mission, Prince Mohammed bin Salman also promised to mediate the issue of Kashmir. Although this mission was successful, it was marked by the refusal of the entry of a plane that brought Prince Mohammed to India on the grounds that he immediately came from Pakistan so that the plane returned to Riyadh and then entered India. Kashmir which includes Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is a region disputed by the two countries for more than 7 decades. History states that the King of Kashmir has decided to join India instead of Pakistan. The war occurred for two years and at the end of the war, Pakistani forces did not withdraw from Kashmir. Finally, Kashmir is divided in two. India and Pakistan have fought twice to get full control of Kashmir. In fact, parts of eastern Kashmir have been slowly occupied by China since 1950s. The problem is now more complicated because India and Pakistan are currently two countries with nuclear powers. The United Nations –UN has sought to mediate by proposing a referendum on Indian-backed Kashmir. Initially supporting the idea for possible status of Kashmir as a sovereign territory, India later  refused the referendum. No one wants a beautiful region like Kashmir hit by armed conflict. Both parties, including the United Nations must find the best solution for Kashmir. Because without an immediate solution, the victims are still the people of Kashmir. The question is now whether Pakistan and India are willing if the Kashmir people choose their own sovereignty and do not join the two countries.


Civil War in Yemen

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Efforts to end the civil war in Yemen continue to be carried out with the help of outsiders. The United Nations has been trying hard  to be the mediator of the two rival parties, in the midst of uncertain situations. On Sunday the United Nations sent Martin Griffiths to Yemen to find a solution. From the Houthis came the statement that the UN envoy had met their leader Abdul Malek Al Houthi. Their talk was around efforts to implement the ceasefire agreement set last December in Sweden. At that time,  the Yemeni Government and the Houthi Rebels agreed to stop the war. Both parties tried  to build trust and stop fighting in Houda. They were also committed to conducting prisoner exchanges. Even so, some attacks still occurred. The main port city of Yemen, Hodeida, was affected by the unrealized  ceasefire and is now in a gripping situation. Non-compliance with the ceasefire agreement resulted in the future of Yemen becoming increasingly unclear. Civil war in a poor country that has been going on for  the last 3 years has increasingly made the Yemeni people live in uncertainty. The war that began due to  the  resistance from the Shiite  Houthis  has continued until now. They have  kept on   increasing  their strength against the Sunni government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Although the UN as the  international body has intervened, the crisis in Yemen is still uncertain. Because in fact,  peace in Yemen, can only be resolved by parties inside the country itself. The willingness to make peace and live side by side as a compatriots, without having to depend on foreign parties, is the key to  end the war which has been proven to only cause loss and misery.



This week and next week, several Asian countries will host the visit of Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. Before arriving in Jakarta next Monday, Prince Mohammed will visit Pakistan, China and Malaysia. The visit to Pakistan consists of more than 1,000 people who would invest$15 million dollars. Even though it helps a lot, the Saudi Kingdom is not very popular in Pakistan. Even 4 years ago, the Pakistani Parliament rejected the involvement of Saudi forces in Yemen.

In his agenda, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit China and India. These two countries become the Kingdom’s oil customers. Meanwhile, Indonesia is the destination of the visit after King Salman's visit 2 years ago. There are Saudi kingdom interests in Indonesia, which are the biggest visitors of the Hajj ritual every year. In addition, there are plans to increase investment after the signing of the agreement which reached $1 billion dollars. In fact, the Indonesian side hopes for greater investment. Unfortunately, the signed program has not been implemented.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit in Asia will end in India where this country will hold its general election. India is a huge oil consumer of SaudiArabia.

For this visit, the situation is not the same compared with the one 2 years ago, given the mysterious murder case against Kashoggi may disruptthisvisit. 2 years ago, the Saudi Arabia’s visit was hailed and promises were spread for investment. The key point is whether Saudi Arabia wants to realize its investment promises. If not, the Prince’s visit is only an ordinary one.


The second debate on the Presidential Candidates who will compete in the upcoming Presidential and Vice President Elections on April 17, 2019 is over. Unlike the first debate which took place on January 17, the second one that took place at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Sunday night (17/2/2019) only presented presidential candidates: number 01, Joko Widodo and presidential candidate number 02, Prabowo Subianto. In addition, the General Election Commission (KPU) as the organizer of the election and the debate over the presidential candidates did not provide a list of questions to the two presidential candidates. The second debate began with the delivery of the vision and mission of the two presidential candidates. Then, the two candidates were asked to take lottery questions about the set themes: energy, food, infrastructure, environment and natural resources. In the question about food, Prabowo promised to guarantee food availability at affordable prices. In addition, he also promised to reduce electricity prices and prices of staple foods and promised to prepare the fertilizer needed by farmers. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Joko Widodo emphasized the importance of infrastructure for the future of Indonesia so that he will be consistent in continuing to build infrastructure if he is re-elected as president of the 2019-2024 period. In addition to answering questions prepared by 8 panelists consisting of academics, the presidential candidates also asked questions that were answered by the arguments of each presidential candidate. The atmosphere of the presidential candidate's debate seemed different than the first one. The two presidential candidates were able to refrain from attacking each other, so as not to create tension between the presidential candidates and the supporters of the two presidential candidates. There is still one more debate, namely on March 17 between 2 vice-presidential candidates: Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno. The KPU has set the theme of the 3rd debate, namely Education, Health, Employment, and Social and Cultural matters. Hopefully, the 3rd debate will also run smoothly, safely and conducively until the General Election takes place on April 17, 2019.



The development of financial technology -Fintech in Indonesia is increasingly widespread. Until the end of 2018, the Financial Services Authority-OJK noted that there were 88 lending fintech companies that had been registered. In addition, 738 illegal or unregistered fintech at the OJK, including 211 websites and 527 applications on Android have been blocked by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia. With the increasingly "booming" lending fintech in Indonesia, in 2019, lending fintech continues to grow. In fact, some lending fintech companies will cooperate with banking and e-commerce.

According to the Hinrich Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on global trade, the added value of digital trade for the Indonesian economy is estimated to grow eightfold from Rp125 trillion in 2017 and is estimated to be Rp.2,305 trillion by 2030.

Meanwhile, Deputy of the Creative Economy, Entrepreneurship and Foreign Power of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises -SMEs at Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Rudy Salahuddin said that even though the development of fintech is growing rapidly in Indonesia, Indonesia does not yet have national official data regarding the achievement of e-commerce or electronic commerce transactions. The reports which have been received so far are only based on the results of research reports of certain marketing research institutions.

In fact, digital trading is very promising because someone does not need to carry cash, and the convenience in each transaction can be done anywhere without obstacles even through gadgets or headphones. Electronic transactions are also prone to be carried out by parties who want to be fraudulent and criminal by stealing someone's data by hacking data and parties who carry out illegal transactions for acts of corruption. So far, corruptors have been detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission -KPK or the police in the form of red-handed operations. But if someone carries out a digital transaction or through Fintech, this will be difficult to track.


In February 2019, the Iranian Revolution is 40 years old. Precisely on February 11, 1979, the country experienced what was called the Iranian Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini and ended the era of Shah Reza Pahlevi government. On the anniversary day this year the Iranian people left their homes and exposed the road under the cold air, expressing their loyalty to the principles of Shi'a Islam which were the basis of the country. The expression of loyalty is a marker for every commemoration of the Iranian Revolution. It was carried out in all embassies and representatives of the country, including in Jakarta. Iran's Ambassador to Indonesia Vailollah Mahammadi, in his speech stated that the Iranian people remained loyal to the Revolutionary movement and supported the government. That is what causes the country to survive the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. In fact, according to Ambassador Mohammadi, Iran still managed to score progress. The United States is one of the countries that imposed sanctions on Iran because Tehran is accused to have developed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.The commemoration of the Iranian Revolution this year, in fact, still happened as the United States intensifies the pressure of economic sanctions. Anti-US and Israeli shoutings came from the people who went down to celebrate the historic event that had succeeded in replacing the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi regime. They also contained criticism against the Al Saud Government in Saudi Arabia. In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani again stated that the 1979 Revolution had saved Iran from tyranny , occupation and dependence. Rouhani also claimed that his country had succeeded in thwarting a conspiracy led by the US and Israel. The Iranian leader even vowed that his country would continue to carry out a missile program on the grounds of keeping the country from the threat of foreigners.From the commemoration of the Iranian Revolution and the overflow of people on the streets amid the cold weather, it can be seen clearly that the people remained loyal to the revolution and supported the government. The people's support was the capital of President Rouhani's government to defend against the pressure of economic sanctions. Nevertheless, the Iranian Government certainly cannot ignore the expectations of people who feel economically depressed. In addition, it is also necessary to pay attention to the hopes of the reformists who want economic transparency and freedom among the people, as well as the cleansing of the government from corrupt practices.



Tomorrow, February 13, 2019, the world commemorates World Radio Day. This date was set at the 36th UNESCO General Conference on November 3, 2011. Starting in 2012, World Radio Day was commemorated with special themes. This year, "Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace" is the main theme.

Radio is a powerful tool for conveying all information or ideas. This was also conveyed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guteres in his message for the World Radio Day 2019. He said that Radio is a powerful tool; even when the world is dominated by digital communication, radio broadcasts reach more people than other media. He also pointed out that in a UN peace operation, radio was a vital means to inform people affected by war and reunite them.

In Indonesia, even though it has been enlivened by various new media, such as online media or television, radio broadcasts still have their own listeners. Each radio station presents content and creations to attract listeners. This year, ahead of the 2019 general elections, radio broadcasters in Indonesia are also expected to broadcast information on presidential and legislative elections. The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission as an institution that functions as a regulator of broadcasting in Indonesia even requires the broadcasters to socialize the 2019 General Elections through public service advertisements.

The campaign period for commercial broadcast stations can be a moment to get income. On March 23rd to April 13th, 2019, more than 7,900 legislative candidates could use more than 2,600 radio broadcasts as their campaign media. Undeniably, in delivering their working plans, election participants use various ways to get votes, including via radio.

Radio broadcast administrators must be extra careful to maintain the campaign content of legislative candidates, to uphold the values of unity and integrity, tolerance, and to provide peace. They also have to maintain campaign material according to the rules set by General Election Commissions (KPU). With the spirit of promoting dialogue, tolerance and peace, the radio broadcast administrators contribute a lot to the 2019 General Elections which are direct, general, free, confidential, honest and fair.



National Press Day

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On February 9, Indonesia commemorated National Press Day (HPN) which took place in Surabaya, East Java. The date was determined by a Presidential Decree in 1985, based on the results of the 28th congress of the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) in Padang City, West Sumatra in 1978. This was driven by the eagerness of the community to set a historic day in a bid to commemorate the role and existence of the national press.

The commemoration of National Press Day is not only a ceremony to give awards to individuals and institutions that are considered instrumental in advancing press freedom, but is also an event that aims to improve the protection of workers in the media and maintain press freedom in Indonesia.

The national press is only able to develop and achieve success through continual support from the public. After a long journey, Indonesia obtained press freedom as the era of the New Order government began to collapse. Based on Law No. 40/1999 Concerning the Press, the government developed a new set of rules to develop the journalism profession and the realm of media activists, which provide written norms that allow the press to obtain legal protection that recognized the press’s social function as a communicator of public information. 

Unfortunately, the Indonesian press does not always get full protection from all parties. According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Indonesian press still faces a number of challenges. Cases of violence against journalists still occur, the AJI chronicling 64 cases of violence in 2017, up 60% from the year before. In addition, the press still faces challenges of maintaining high standards of professionalism, the level of public complaints to the Press Council almost doubling in 2017, an increase to 721 complaints in comparison to 400 in 2016.

For 2018, the ranking of Indonesian press freedom in the world is actually still at number 124, below Timor Leste. While Indonesia does compare better than some ASEAN members countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam there is still room for improvement. This shows that the important role carried out by the Indonesian press needs to be of continual focus by the public.


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