Editorial

Editorial (390)

01
March

The attention of the international community towards a summit between the President of the United States, Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was directed at a meeting which ended sooner than scheduled. For a while, high expectations for the results of the two leaders' meetings did not materialize. The meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam ended without agreement. President Trump and Leader Kim Jong-un did not sign any agreement.The meeting in the communist-leaning country like North Korea was a follow-up to Trump and Kim's historic meeting on the date. June 12, 2018 in Singapore. Unlike the statement made after the meeting in Singapore, the meeting in Hanoi was marked by a reflection of the lack of trust from the President of the United States over the goodwill of the North Korean leader. Trump's optimism which was stated before the meeting ended with the statement that Kim could not meet the expectations of the United States of America. In his statement, President Donald Trump said that Kim requested that all sanctions be revoked, but without full commitment to carry out denuclearization. President Trump also stressed that the United States had not given up on Kim's demands. 'UM YET GIVE UP' is really interesting to observe. In terms of negotiations, the word 'Not yet' can imply a possibility of a problem to be renegotiated. By using the word 'Not yet', there are two things that can be stated.First is the possibility of further talks, and the two North Koreans can actually feel that they have a strong bargaining position. North Korea has shown its existence to the world.Through the stages of the meeting with Donald Trump, Kim has shown himself and his country to have become a big country calculation, such as the United States. In the end, North Korea will reap more benefits from the next meeting with the United States, besides depending on North Korea itself. Of course it can also be seen from the extent to which large countries such as China will show their support for Leader Kim Jong-un. Because it is recognized or not, so far China is a country that has close relations with North Korea.

27
February

Sharm el-Sheikh, a beautiful tourist city in the Red Sea region, in Egypt, Saturday and Sunday (24-25 February 2019), hosts a High-Level Conference between Arab League member countries and the European Union. This became the first summit of the two regions. Qatar, which at the last  Arab League summit was not present, this time attended with its representatives who sat in the Secretariat in Cairo. One reason why the Arab League held  this summit iwas the desire for the European Union to play a greater role in the Middle East region. Moreover, the United States slowly began to reduce its role. Palestinians at the summit specifically called on the Arab League and the European Union to cooperate in holding an international peace conference to revive the Israeli Palestinian negotiations which have stalled  since 2014. Palestinians object to the single role of the United States in mediating its problems with Israel especially since Washington moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Arab League and the European Union agree on the Palestinian issue, namely the two-state solution according to the UN resolution. On the other hand, the European Union seems to be displeased if the vacant role left by the United States is filled with other major influences, namely Russia and China. So in his closing speech European Council President Donald Tusk expressed the need for cooperation and not to let the Middle East region be under global power far from the region. In fact, Russia has been present strong enough with naval and air bases in Syria. While China does not enter from the military side, but from investment cooperation planted in Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is indeed hard for the European Union to immediately implement plans in the declaration because its position has been left behind. But the influence of the European Union can be strengthened because Arab countries open doors in the region. Now, the Summit is over, the Declaration has been signed. Remain action must be taken by the two regional organizations so that the declaration is not just a signed paper.

26
February

 

President Joko Widodo wants power plants in Indonesia not to depend on the energy of fossil fuels. He also revealed plans to develop a power plant with new and renewable energy. The intention and plan was affirmed when he inaugurated the 1x660 Megawatt Expansion Power Plant in Cilacap, Central Java on Monday (25/02).

Indonesia has begun to develop power plants with new and renewable energy. President Joko WI dodo took an example; until now power plants with wind, water, and even steam have been developed in various regions in Indonesia. One of them is wind power plants in Sidrap and Jeneponto, South Sulawesi.

President Joko Widodo's wish is not hope without strong reason. Indonesia has great potential in new and renewable energy. As a tropical country in the equatorial region, Indonesia's solar energy potential is abundant to be processed into solar power plants. Indonesian rivers with large volumes and fast flowing have also great potential as renewable energy sources to produce electricity.

Moreover, Indonesia has expressed its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 29 percent by 2030. The Indonesian government has also targeted a portion of the mix of new renewable energy use to reach 23 percent in 2025, and processing waste into an energy source.

At least, the desire without energy of fossil fuels has begun to be carried out by operating 12 waste power plants from 2019 to 2022. The 12 plants will be able to produce up to 234 megawatts of electricity from around 16 thousand tons of waste per day.

Unfortunately, there are still some obstacles in the development of this new and renewable energy. In Indonesia, the process of converting new and renewable energy into electricity requires substantial costs, especially related to the infrastructure. Meanwhile, State Electric Company, PT PLN as a seller of electricity services must sell electricity at affordable prices.

Realizing this condition, awareness of empowering natural resources to produce electricity must be increased. In mountainous areas, for example, river flows can be used to produce electricity through micro-hydro technology.

With its huge potential, Indonesia must be aware of realizing the new and renewable energy. Regulations must be enacted and provision of incentives must be provided for any investors to develop the new and renewable energy so that the target of new renewable energy in the national energy mix in Indonesia to reach 23 percent by 2025 can be achieved.

25
February

 

Even though it is still in February, the government has announced about the grant of 2019 holiday allowance (THR). The Ministry of Finance (Kemenkeu) has even confirmed that the holiday allowance for the state civil apparatus (ASN) will be paid in May 2019 in accordance with the plan. Based on written information on Saturday (02/23/2019), the Ministry of Finance said that the THR would be given before Idul Fitri arrives.

The reason is an effective working day. This year's Idul Fitri holiday will start from June 1st to 7th. Thus, the effective working day for the THR payments is in May. For this reason, the Ministry of Finance has encouraged the government to create a regulation (PP) from the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform as the institution that initiates the THR grant. The Ministry of Finance hopes that the government’s regulation will be in place before the 2019 General Elections are held on April 17th.

As a competitor in the 2019 General Elections, of course the government's announcement is criticized by the presidential candidate's National Winning Body (BPN) 02: Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno. They consider that President Joko Widodo intentionally announces the plan in a bid to win votes in the presidential election. Actually, they agree that in May, it’s the right time for THR or the 13th salary to be disbursed. But what they could not accept is that there is strong willingness that the regulation related to the grant of 2019 holiday allowance could be set before the presidential election.

Meanwhile, Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin's National Campaign Team (TKN) asked the Prabowo camp not to always relate everything with politics. The National Winning team of candidate pair 01 affirmed that Jokowi is committed to paying attention to people's welfare. If paid faster, of course it is better. Consequently, the State Civil Apparatus can prepare for the feast early.

Accusing each other does not really need to happen if both parties think clearly the upcoming presidential election. Isn't choice a personal right? Voters will freely vote for any candidates who are good according to their hearts.

Of course, there is something more important than just questioning the announcement of the THR that is considered faster. It would be fine if the two sides discuss how to make this year's the grant of 2019 holiday allowance not be followed by price hike, especially the price of staple foods.

21
February

 

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.

19
February

 


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.

22
February

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.

20
February

Civil War in Yemen

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Published in Editorial

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.

15
February

 

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.

18
February

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.

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