Editorial

Editorial (390)

07
February

 

After going through various diplomacy, including two-round negotiation between Indonesia and Switzerland, finally a mutual legal assistance agreement-MLA was signed by Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly and Swiss Minister of Justice, Karin Keller-Sutter at Bernerhof Bern, Switzerland Monday (4/2). The agreement consisting of 39 articles regulates legal assistance regarding tracking, freezing, confiscation and seizure of assets resulting from crime. The scope of this broad range of criminal reciprocal assistance is an important part of supporting the process of criminal law in the requesting country.

This agreement is an attempt by the Indonesian government to ensure that Indonesian citizens or legal entities comply with Indonesian tax regulations and avoid tax crimes. Minister Yasonna said that the MLA agreement could be used to combat crime in the taxation sector. To reach the crime that has been committed before the entry into force of the agreement, Indonesia proposes that the agreement is to adhere to the retroactive principle. For Indonesia, this agreement is the 10th MLA. Previously, Indonesia signed MLA with ASEAN, Australia, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, India, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Iran. As for Switzerland, this agreement is the 14th MLA with non-European countries.

This signing will be beneficial for the two countries, especially for Indonesia to enforce the law against corruption, money laundering and tax criminality. So far, cases related to money laundering and tax crimes have been difficult to disclose due to constraints on access and coverage. With the signing of the MLA, this will make it easier to track and recover assets resulting from criminal acts stored in Switzerland. Quoted from Gabriel Zucman's research in 2017, the amount of global assets in tax haven countries reached 10% of global GDP equivalent to Rp800,000 trillion. Of that amount, Rp32,000 trillion is deposited in Switzerland. Therefore, the Indonesian Government has a strong reason to sign MLA with Switzerland and immediately implement it.

 

05
February

Almost no country in this world is without the Chinese community. Today is Chinese Great Day, the Chinese New Year 2570 which falls on Tuesday 5 February 2019. This event is celebrated by people of Chinese descent throughout the world, including in Indonesia. Chinese people in Indonesia have even been preparing for this annual celebration with great fanfare.

Other Indonesians, despite the majority of diverse Muslims, have respected their traditional celebrations as fellow Indonesians, although they are of different ethnicity. General Secretary of the Muhammadiyah Central Leadership, Abdul Mu'ti considers the Chinese New Year belongs to not only Chinese people, but also people of Indonesia. To Media Indonesia on Sunday (3/2), Abdul Mu'ti said that differences are no longer foreign, but are inevitable. According to him, Chinese New Year has become the property of the Indonesian people, even enriching national culture.

In line with perspective of the General Secretary of Muhammadiyah, one of the Chairmen of the Executive Board of the Nahdlatul Ulama, Marsudi Syuhud said that the Chinese New Year is a momentum to restore national traditions based on unity and compassion.

Not only leaders of religious organizations, in this case, Islam, but also leaders of this country recognize that the celebration of the Chinese New Year reflects the spirit of unity in diversity. Deputy Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly of the People's Consultative Assembly, Muhaimin Iskandar emphasized that national politics will continue to be the color of Indonesian politics for good. Tolerance and diversity are guaranteed in this country.

Muhaimin further stated this at the Chinese New Year Reflection 2570/2019 event which was attended by the Chinese community in Jakarta Thursday (1/31). In addition to being attended by Minister of Village and Development of Disadvantaged Regions, Eko Putro Sanjoyo and Minister of Manpower, Hanif Dhakiri, the event was also attended by interfaith leaders and entrepreneurs of Chinese descents.

01
February

After much speculation, the second meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks set to take place. This follows the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling US television the meeting would be held later this month. During this interview Pompeo said the location was yet to be determined, but he had sent a team to prepare for a meeting somewhere in Asia.

This may end up to by mere showmanship, as the director of the National Intelligence Agency Dan Coats, revealed so far there had been no progress on the issue of nuclear disarmament. In these reports the director said he doubts North Korea is serious about disarming its nuclear arsenal. Within the intelligence forecast of the annual Worldwide Thread Assessment the report admited North Korea was at least no longer carrying out provocative nuclear tests of previous years. The Coats Report is supported by the United States Defence Intelligence Agency.

However, President Donald Trump criticised the US intelligence report on his social media accounts. Trump wrote on Twitter that the talks last year had made a difference and he was looking forward to meeting North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. President Trump also rejected the intelligence claims that ISAS had the potential to rebuild in Syria

Based on Pompeo’s statement, the second meeting between the leaders at least provides a hope of a breakthrough in the settlement of the Korea peninsula. However, the talks could be cancelled at any time, if reports North Korea is continuing its nuclear program are proven correct, or if President Trump changes his attitude and trusts the intelligence reports he receives from his government defense agencies.

 

08
February

The puzzle of which country is going to host the second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un is finally solved, after President Donald Trump delivered his States of the Union Address on February 5.  Earlier in an interview with the media, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo did not explicitly state in which country in Asia the meeting will take place. Yet, in his speech, President Trump announced the meeting is to be held in Vietnam on February 27-28. In fact, rumors had indeed been circulating that Vietnam is to be the host of the meeting. But why Vietnam? There are some possible reasons. First, the distance from North Korea to Vietnam can be reached by Kim Jong-un’s state aircraft in one trip. Second, both the US and North Korea have diplomatic relations with Vietnam so their embassies in Hanoi can support the preparation of the meeting. Late last month, North Korean negotiator, Kim Yong-chol who brought home a letter from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was satisfied with its content. Kim Jong-un has prepared for his second meeting with Donald Trump. An analyst argued that the reason that Vietnam is chosen as the venue for the meeting is that North Korea can learn from a fellow socialist country. Apart from the desire of the United States to make North Korea not only depends on China. Skeptics said what was done at the first meeting was like a small talk because there was no follow-up after the meeting. The two parties do not have the same definition of "denuclearization". The challenge in the second meeting is more difficult because the first meeting has not produced significant progress. Now, both leaders must prove that the term ‘denuclearization’ has the same meaning for both sides and can be immediately implemented. The world is watching closely to whether or not North Korea will take a compromise path like Vietnam and China that apply Socialist ideology to a free economy. It is a powerful prescription for the economic development of the two countries.

04
February

The Ministry of Industry is focusing on improving the performance of export-oriented processing industries to improve the structure of the current national economy. So far, manufactured products have contributed the most to the value of national exports, which amounted to 74 percent. In addition, the manufacturing industry also contributes to the Gross Domestic Product -GDP of 20 percent and taxation of around 30 percent.The Indonesian government through the Ministry of Industry is committed to revitalizing the manufacturing industry through the implementation of the 'Making Indonesia 4.0' road map to be ready to enter the 4th generation industrial era or the 4.0 industrial revolution era.There are five main sectors in the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, namely the food and beverage industry, textiles and clothing, automotive, electronics and chemistry. These five manufacturing groups contribute 65 percent of the total value of national exports, the Ministry of Industry noticing that exports from the non-oil and gas processing industry have continued to increase over the past four years.There are five main sectors in the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, namely the food and beverage industry, textiles and clothing, automotive, electronics and chemistry. These five manufacturing groups are able to contribute 65 percent to the total value of national exports. The Ministry of Industry also noted that exports from the non-oil and gas processing industry have continued to increase over the past four years.Through the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, the Ministry of Industry also seeks to implement a number of strategic steps in increasing the competitiveness and quality of national industries, such as through industrial labour competency certificates and human resource development. In addition, the Ministry of Industry also seeks to develop regional and industrial centres. In the last three years, the Ministry of Industry has succeeded in developing 13 new industrial estates in and outside of Java. Improving the performance of the manufacturing industry is the right step to increase the national economy. Moreover, the world is facing an industrial era 4.0 in which there will be very tight competition. The government's efforts to improve the national economy through various measures also require support from the private sector and the community. Hopefully, the steps taken by the government can improve the national economy and increase Indonesia's competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global environment.

31
January

 

Financial Services Authority –OJK will revise a regulation No. 39/2017 about single bank ownership or single presence policy. Based on the regulation, each party can only become a controlling shareholder of one bank. The ownership of two banks can be done if one of them is a mixed bank or a bank with sharia principles. If the controlling shareholder of a bank wants to take over another bank, he or she is obliged to choose one option through mergers, parent formation in the banking, or holding function.

This regulation aims to encourage banks to compete in Indonesia and abroad. Many banks in Indonesia are difficult to compete because they have little capital. There are still a large number of banks with little capital in Indonesia. The number of commercial banks in Indonesia currently reaches 115 banks. Although it has experienced a significant decline from the previous 250 banks, the number of 115 banks is still too many. Indonesia is ranked first as the country with the highest number of banks in Southeast Asia. The large number of banks in Indonesia is caused by banking deregulation policy in the New Order era. During the New Order era, establishing a new bank only needed capital worth Rp 10 billion.

Since the stipulation of the regulation No. 39/2017, the number of banks is still stagnant at 115. This means that there are no banks that have merged. Even if banks form a parent company, or merge, they will have large capital and they are able to be competitive.

Why aren't any small banks merging according to OJK regulations, even though the condition of the bank is unable to compete?

The factor of obligation to merge, and the establishment of a holding company are considered to be a barrier. Thus, the plan to revise the single presence policy is expected to provide flexibility for the controlling shareholders of a bank to choose other options besides mergers and the establishment of a holding company.

If the OJK does not revise regulation No. 39/2017, OJK needs to provide banking incentives. In addition, the OJK also needs to be firmer in encouraging banks to merge. 

30
January

 

After the melting of South Korea's relations with North Korea, Japan seems to be trying to improve its relationship with North Korea. Although still a discourse, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to discuss a number of issues between the two countries. Shinzo Abe's wish was expressed in an official forum, namely the opening of the Parliament session last Monday. Shinzo Abe said he would immediately meet Kim Jong-Un to encourage the start of a new phase of relations between the two countries. One that will become a priority according to Abe is the restoration of diplomatic relations. There is also the issue  of two Japanese citizens who were traveling to North Korea kidnapping. Furthermore the Japanese Prime Minister said that his  planned  visit to North Korea was an effort to normalize diplomatic normalizationship. Shinzo Abe's statement is very different from what he affirmed with a strong tone last year and a threat to North Korea.

The two countries have been hostile toward each other  since the end of the Japanese aggression on the Korean Peninsula during the second world war. Efforts to end  the hostility  were carried out in the 90s through negotiations. But they failed because North Korea demanded that Japan compensate for what it called damage during a period of aggression. While Japan insisted on asking North Korea to stop nuclear tests before compensation was given. Tensions between the two countries after the negotiations that suffered a deadlock have escalated due to the kidnapping of some Japanese citizens who visited North Korea, allegedly by North Korean agents. Pyong Yang's government strongly denied it.

Tensions over the issue of kidnapping were softened by news that Pyong Yang would release a Japanese tourist, as reported  by the official North Korean government news agency KCNA. It was said the arrest of a Japanese tourist by the North Korean authorities was caused by accusations that the man  had videotaped one of North Korea's military facilities.

Whether the statement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the possibility of   the release of the  Japanese citizen detained in North Korea are signs   for the resumption of relations between the two countries, are  still awaiting further processing. When the recovery of the relationship can be realized, there will certainly be geopolitical changes in Asia, especially in East Asia.

29
January

 

Entering 2019, Indonesia is actively carrying g out promotion overseas. The promotion is carried out by the Indonesian Embassy in the country of placement and in international meetings. Some of the programs that received remarks from the local community included the Promotion of 10 New Bali in Table-Top Meeting in Lithuania, Indonesian Product Exhibition in Pakistan, and Indonesian Product Exhibition at the 36th Khartoum International Trade Fair in Sudan, including ‘Indonesia Night’ that has just taken place on the sidelines of the implementation of the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos, Switzerland.

Indonesia must indeed promote itself. Many targets have been announced for this year. For example, in the field of tourism, Indonesia targets 20 million foreign tourist visits. Although the number of foreign tourist arrivals until November 2018 has only reached 14.4 million, Indonesia remains optimistic, the target of 20 million foreign tourist visits can be achieved.

The Indonesia Night was also welcomed by the international community. Indonesia is indeed using the event held every year to expand networking and promotion of various leading sectors. At the same time, it attracted the interest of global business people who were present at the World Economic Forum to collaborate or invest in areas of interest in Indonesia.

In his opening speech, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, WTO and other organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Hasan Kleib emphasized that the Indonesia Night was more than just a promotion of Indonesia's posture and profile in Davos. The event is also a momentum to keep showing Indonesia's bright future at the global level. The Indonesia Night also provides an opportunity to build networks and improve connections among business stakeholders by exploring every potential and business opportunity with Indonesia.

It is hoped that the international community will not only be interested, but take concrete actions to visit and invest in Indonesia. Indonesia must show its potential and advantages as an investment destination. With regulations that simplify the licensing process, Indonesia must also take advantage of the momentum of the trade wars between China and the United States. For example, by showing that Indonesia has the potential as the right destination for business relocation. In addition, Indonesia must actively promote industrial investment 4.0 and shape the image of Indonesia in line with technological developments and global innovation in various fields.

28
January

The General Election will take place in the next two and a half months. However, some cases of bad behaviour in some legislative candidates have emerged.Several candidates committed violations of General Election’s law No. 7/2017. For example; in their campaign, candidates have been caught using government facilities, places of worship, and distributed some items of basic food, and even coupons for Umroh.Some have already been convicted and sentenced, but have continued to commit violations. As a candidate for members of the House of Representatives they should not break the law. If they are elected in the future, they will involve in writing bills. But, before being elected, they have violated previous DPR laws. So, it is possible they could commit serious violations after being elected.Of course, it is no secret if there are several members of DPR involved in breaking in the law. A lot of them have been jailed because of their shameful actions.On April 17, 2019, the Indonesian people will cast their votes to elect candidates for President and Vice President and members of the DPR. The track record of the two candidates for President and Vice President is certainly clear. But, for the prospective parliament members, there may be many voters are not aware of the corruption. In a conversation with a senior reporter of Voice of Indonesia, Daulat Pane, one of the Commissioners of the General Election Commission, Viryan Azis urged the public to educate themselves before voting. This is to avoid making a bad decision, or "buying something in a sack".

25
January

The leaders of a number of countries and a number of businessmen and environmentalists are discussing various economic issues which are expected to reduce this year. The world’s leaders are gathering and discussing the issues at the World Economic Forum, in Davos Switzerland from 22 to 23 january, 2019. Unlike previous years, at least 3 leaders of developed countries are not present at the World Economic Forum meeting which started to convene since 1971. The three absent leaders are British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emanuel Macron, and US President Donald Trump. Theresa May and Macron are not present at Davos due to crucial problems at home. Whereas Donald Trump, besides still having to struggle to overcome the frozen part of the Federal government due to the turmoil of Immigration and the Border of the United States and Mexico, his absence can also be seen from other aspects. Trump's absence at this annual meeting can be seen from the attitude of Donald Trump, who, from the beginning of his administration is seen to maintain a distance from Europe. In this conference, the United States is represented by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who got the opportunity to give a speech after the opening ceremony, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. From Asia Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is present while from Latin America the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro. Unlike other Summit, the World Economic Forum in Davos is attended by a number of prominent businessmen such as Bill Gates and environmentalists and broadcast practitioner Sir David Attenborough. David Atenborough called on the world leaders to find practical steps to protect environmental damage due to the symptom of industrial development of climate change. The Davos meeting which is held annually in the mountainous region of Switzerland, initially has sought to find solutions to the impact of industrial and economic development on the environment and humanity. In the economic field, this year's meeting will certainly pay attention to predictions of declining economic growth. The trade war between China and the United States, which still has not found an agreement on how to end it, should be highlighted in this year's meeting. Nevertheless, the world certainly cannot really hope that this year's World Economic Forum meeting will be able to influence the economic policies of countries that have a major influence in the economic field. Donald Trump's absence, among others, gives clues about that.

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