Editorial (399)



General Elections have just been held in Bangladesh. The results are quite astounding. The Awami League party led by Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina won 98% of parliamentary seats. This achievement will make PM Sheikh Hasina take her position for the fourth time. But the opposition considers the ruling government has used all means to win the general elections. Even, some parties consider her government to be authoritarian.

The election this time was marked by the detention of a journalist from a local newspaper. This reporter revealed the potential for fraud after seeing one of the electoral districts having around 20 thousand votes. This was more than the List of Registered Voters in the region. Then, the police arrested the reporter on charges of violating the Digital Security Act. But, the law is considered controversial.

Indeed, under the current administration, Bangladesh's growth rate has been said to be good for the past four years. In 2014, the economic growth of the country with a population of 167 million reached 6.3 percent. In 2017, it increased to 7.4% mainly contributed by trade with the United States and the European Union. But domestic voices want a positive rate of economic growth accompanied by positive democracy. Now, that hope is not realized yet. Opposition accusations are that the government is blocking voters’ sympathy to the opposition, following the arrest of pro-opposition activists. The United States, which is the biggest investor in the country, is ambiguous. On one hand, it expressed concerns over violence and intimidation ahead of the election. On the other hand, the USA gave appreciation to voters in Bangladesh.

On January 10, the new government of Bangladesh will be sworn in to lead the country. Bangladesh needs to learn from other countries that encourage economic improvement without abandoning the fundamental principles of democracy. Some countries with Confucian culture prioritize economic improvement by neglecting democracy. We look forward to whether there have been changes in the development of democracy in Bangladesh by the newly-elected government.



The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has implemented a social forestry program by implementing affirmative policies, namely increasing a sense of justice for the community, including indigenous people. Through this policy, the realization of social forest permits is expected to be completed in five to eight years so that the proportion of people to forests can increase, even though the corporation still dominates. Social Forestry itself is a system of sustainable forest management carried out in state forest areas by local communities to improve welfare, maintain environmental balance and maintain socio-cultural dynamics.

The government for the 2015-2019 period has allocated 12.7 million hectares for Social Forestry, through village forest schemes, community forests, customary forests, community plantations and forestry partnerships. Social forestry programs are aimed to create harmony by improving people's welfare and forest conservation. Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar said that the social forestry will be a program that will continue and be increased in 2019. The program has been allocated around 13 million hectares.

After social forest reserves reach the target, the next step is to increase the issuance of social forest permits. Throughout 2018, the average provision of social forestry permits amounted to 105 thousand forestry permits per month. This number increased compared to the previous year as many as 44 thousand permits per month. This increase occurred in line with improvements in governance in the form of de-bureaucratization and deregulation carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

The process of distributing social forest permits is a significant challenge because it must involve many parties, both regional governments, activists and academics to continue to assist the community in understanding social forest business management. Mentoring is also needed so that plants in social forests can produce maximum economic and ecological values. Companion of the social forest program, Tosca Santoso affirmed that if this social forestry program is implemented correctly, it can improve the regional economy, open employment, prevent natural disasters and help control climate change.


2019 is a political year for the Indonesian nation, because on April 17, 2019, the Indonesian nation will carry out the General Election to elect the President and Vice President, members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) for the period 2019-2024. As we known, there are now 2 Candidates for President and Vice President in the Presidential Election, namely pair number 01, Joko Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin and pair number 02, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. This candidate pair is undergoing a campaign period that runs from September 23, 2018 to April 13, 2019. The most interesting thing from the campaign period for the election of the President and Vice President is the Debate of Presidential Candidates and Vice Presidents. There are 5 series of debates that will be held by the General Election Commission -KPU as the organizer of the General Elections in Indonesia, namely two presidential and vice presidential debates, two presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate. In addition, the KPU has also set themes, panelists and television media schedules which hold the first to fifth debates. The debate between presidential and vice presidential candidates is actually not new in Indonesia’s politics. In the 2014 election and the 2018 simultaneous regional elections, the KPU also held a debate on candidate pairs. From the debate, voters could get to know the candidate pairs of president and vice president and know the extent of their vision and mission if elected later. In contrast to the previous implementation, in the presidential and vice presidential debate this time, the two candidate pairs will first receive a list of questions that will be submitted by the panel a few days before the debating day. Both pairs of candidates can be better prepared to provide clear and substantive answers. It is hoped that this will make it easier for the public to make choices according to their aspirations. The debate is expected to take place naturally and healthily. So far, the presidential and vice presidential debate has often been carried out by the participants with a feeling of reluctance (Ewuh Pakewuh). Although this is closely related to Indonesian national culture, the essence of the debate itself sometimes becomes invisible.


Entering the New Year 2019, the United States federal government once again stopped the operation of some federal government agencies known as “shutdown”. In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass, or the President refuses to sign, appropriations legislation funding federal government operations and agencies.This kind of problem had actually occurred in the first year of President Donald Trump's administration. The reason for the current shutdown is the negotiation issue over the 2019 Budget due to disputes between the Government and Congress. President Donald Trump and Congress on December 22, 2018 faced a deadlock in terms of budget approval to build the country's border wall with Mexico. Back in the beginning of 2018, part of the United States federal government agencies also experienced a weeklong shutdown. Unlike this year, the cause of the shutdown was the failure to reach an agreement on the immigration policy of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the deportation of people who were part of the program. Although not exactly the same, the main cause of both shutdowns was the problem of migration and immigration.This year, the difference in view between the government and Congress is the demand of President Donald Trump for Congress to approve a budget of 5 billion dollars to build a border wall with Mexico. Though towards the close of the year Donald Trump declared canceling his demands, the deadlock still happened. The congressional element questioned the budget proposal because while campaigning Donald Trump had stated that the financing of the construction of the barrier wall would be funded by Mexico. It became a problem when Trump would eventually finance the construction of the border wall by using tax payers’ fund.The case of a shutdown at the beginning of the year did not only occur in the era of Donald Trump. It had already occurred during the previous administrations.For other countries, the shutdown of a number of United States federal government agencies has no significant impact. One possibility is only the delay in US assistance to certain countries whose commitments were made early in the year, and could be constrained due to the non-operation of the institutions that deal with it. In addition, domestic problems that have caused a shutdown, may only provide an overview of the turmoil of US domestic politics which has an impact on budget approval.


Trump's Visit to Iraq

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Almost no one knows that  US President Donald Trump visited an air base in  west of Baghdad, Iraq for about 3 hours on Wednesday (December 26, 2018). This visit was made  to meet US soldiers who were on duty in Iraq. His arrival was kept secret even though there was notice to the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office just hours before the plane landed. Evidence that the landing was in secrecy can be seen from   the presidential aircraft lights, Air Force One,which  was turned off and the window cover was lowered.

Donald Trump, despite coming to Iraq, did not meet up with the Iraqi leader. Talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi were only carried out by phone. Both of them did not meet face to face because there was a matter of meeting arrangements. However, the Iraqi Prime  Minister Office said the President of the United States was invited  to Baghdad. The group in the Iraqi Parliament condemned Trump's arrival. Both the Islah group and its rival Bina consider Trump's visit a violation of sovereignty.

In front of the US  soldiers, Donald Trump conveyed the plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq. Trump doesn't want to delay anymore and states the US has been fighting for a long time for other countries. The US also does not want to play the role of world police. Yet, the statement was not in line with what was conveyed by White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said there had been no plans to withdraw US forces in Iraq.

Trump continues the tradition of US President visiting  troops in the conflict zone. But his mission is to withdraw US forces who have retained their position in Iraq by order of former  President Obama. In some policies, Trump seemed to deliberately cut some of the things Obama had done.

The question is, whether  Trump is serious about withdrawing US troops from Iraq. If that happens and the ISIS forces are not in Iraq anymore, the country can begin to build its ruins from the war. Hopefully a peaceful Iraq in the coming year can be realized soon. 




Indonesia was hit by another disaster. Not long after the earthquake in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and in Palu & Donggala, Central Sulawesi, tsunami in Sunda Strait hit Banten and South Lampung Provinces on Saturday (23/12).


Until Sunday (23/12), there were 222 people died, 843 wounded, and 30 missing in the disaster. The tsunami damaged many buildings and infrastructure.


Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency BMKG had confirmed that the tsunami was caused by vulcanic activity and eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau that had been seen since Saturday evening. This condition had been warned and the volcano was given alert status since June 2018.


The activity of Mount Anak Krakatau keeps increasing since June 18 2018. In the previous months, from July until November, eruptions keep happening. The latest one was on December 22, which was suspected to cause the dreadful tsunami in Banten and Lampung.


The tsunami which killed hundreds had become global concern. Some foreign media reported the disaster. Condolences and sympathy kept coming from some world leaders.


Series of disasters actually never makes Indonesian weak and desperate. Disaster must be faced, overcome, and seen – simply as a divine trial, so that Indonesians can be stronger in facing greater challenges. We could see the Japanese, who turned into an advanced country despite of frequent earthquakes.


Disasters which often hit Indonesia must be a lesson for her to avoid and anticipate them. Indonesians must stay alerted and ready to face the possibility of other disasters. Among others is by having simulations, so that the people will know what to do during disasters. Besides that, proper early warning system must be ready, so that both the people and local government can be alerted and save themselves before the disaster happens. This is expected to lower down casualties in disasters.




Although the two parties in dispute in Yemen, namely the Government troops and the Houthi rebels agreed to a ceasefire, there were still several shootingshappened. As a result, there is a possibility that an armed conflict will occur again between the two parties. Based on an agreement mediated by the United Nations, a ceasefire should  begin on Tuesday (December 18). But the UN apparently has not socialized the plan, as seen at a videoconference on Wednesday regarding troop withdrawals from Hodeidah.

The Saudi Arabian coalition supporting the Yemeni government, recorded that on Tuesday which should have been included in the ceasefire agreement, there were still 20 times of armed contact. If it turns out that it comes from both sides, then it is just a matter of timebefore  the Stockholm agreement becomes  a historical record on paper only.

In the war in Yemen, the issue of humanity also deserves the attention of the world. During the 4 years of war, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted, at least 10 thousands people died. However, various human rights activists said the  number is 5 times the WHO record. The war left nearly half of Yemen's 30 million people in starvation. It is also not wrong if the United Nations calls the case of Yemen the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Unfortunately the UN record is still exacerbated by the deaths of 6 thousands children. Why did  they become  victims? Apparently they were recruited to be involved in warfare. Houthi rebels are claimed to recruit up to 18 thousand children. Why were the children recruited? One reason is the unbalanced number of power. The coalition forces are supported by 140 thousand personnel while the Houthi rebels have only 60 thousandsin number.

But apart from that reason, it is not appropriate to involve children in armed conflict. This  should be solved  together by  the warring groups, to immediately end the battle. They should  think more about the fate of the war-torn country. When will the two parties begin to  think more about the interests of the Yemeni people instead of  the interests of their respective groups?



December 20 is commemorated as the Social Solidarity Day. The date was chosen since in 1948, all Indonesian people were united to protect the nation’s sovereignty by expelling the colonizers from Yogyakarta, the capital of Indonesia at that time. Ten years afterwards, the Social Solidarity day was initiated and later commemorated annually.

Social solidarity is an original value of Indonesia. The soul and spirit of social solidarity in the nation and people’s lives have principally existed long before Indonesia stands as an independent nation. Therefore, the social solidarity becomes an identity and is practiced until now. In the struggle for independence, it became a tool to fight the colonization.

Nowadays, Indonesia does not face colonizer anymore, but social issues such as poverty, social gap, natural disasters, diversity, and many others.

The struggle against those issues is not easy. Soekarno, the 1st President of Indonesia once said, “My struggle is easier, since it’s against colonizer. But, your struggle will be heavier, since you are facing your own brothers.” That quote reminds the current generation that the next struggle is social issues.

However, the Indonesian government cannot work alone. The people need to cooperate in solving it together. In solving the issues, the people must prioritize the social solidarity values such as mutual cooperation and helping each other.

Indonesian people’s work is how to maintain the social solidarity to stay in the mind set and real work of Indonesians in politics, economy, social, and culture. And that is not an easy task.



Indonesia is a country located in the ring of fire where aspects of volcanology and fractures of the earth's plates often occur. Indonesia also has many volcanoes both on the surface of the earth and on the seabed. The effects of volcanic activity often cause disasters. One of the mountains that has made a disaster is the tsunami in Banten and Lampung, which was caused by the activities of Anak Krakatau volcano. The question is to what extent is Indonesia's readiness to further address volcanology activities as happened in several regions in Indonesia?

We still remember the tsunami tragedy in Aceh that occurred on December 26, 2004. This tragedy killed more than 200,000 people. Now, the tsunami happened again in Banten and Lampung, due to the effects of the eruption of Anak Krakatau. Previously, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency -BMM did not expect that the eruption effect in the form of a cliff landslide affected the underwater so that it was not well detected by seismographs. Initially, it was thought only the effect of the tide due to the full moon. But what happened was a tsunami that devastated Serang, Pandeglang and South Lampung. Regarding the tsunami danger, President Joko Widodo during a visit to the effected disaster areas said that the advanced early warning equipment of tsunami needs purchasing and installing in areas with potential high waves so that they can prevent many casualties.

Head of the Data Information and Public Relations Center for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency -BPPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the regional governments of Banten and Lampung regional apply emergency response period post-tsunami of Sunda Strait. The emergency response period is applied differently between the two provinces. According to Sutopo, for the Pandeglang region, Banten, the emergency response period is valid for 14 days from December 22 to January 4. For the South Lampung region, the emergency response period lasts 7 days from December 23 to 29. However, he emphasized that the Sunda Strait tsunami is not categorized as a national disaster because the regional administration is able to cope with.

Looking at a number of high-wave tragedies, Indonesia must have many sophisticated early warnings to be placed at several disaster-prone points. In addition, earthquake detection equipment or seismographs must also be more sensitive so that such Sunda Strait tsunami can be reported as soon as possible to the public. Based on the latest data as of December 26, the impact of the tsunami that hit the west coast of Banten and South Lampung on Saturday night, December 22, 2018 claimed more than 430 lives; more than 1,400 injured, 154 missing, and 16,082 people are displaced.


China signaled that there would still be a trade war with the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping implied it in a speech commemorating 40 years of Reformation in the country, in the presence of leaders of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing on Tuesday. In his speech, the President of China stressed that no other party could dictate the course of the country's economic development.
In Washington US President Donald Trump, called for China to stop trading practices that are considered unfair. Trump also urged Beijing to stop the practice of intellectual property rightstheft and carry out comprehensive reforms.So, it was not a coincidence that in his speech, Xi Jinping stressed that his country could not be dictated by anyone.The speech delivered by the President of China is a sign that the country with the most population in the world, will continue to try to be a driver as well as the central global economy to shift the role of the United States.The assertion that no country may dictate China’s economic policy has confirmed Beijing's position in the face of trade wars with the United States.What was said by both Donald Trump and Xi Jinping should be a warning to other countries to anticipate the situation and global economic development in 2020. As many economists predict, trade wars between China and the United States will be a major factor in the slowdown in world economic development in 2020.The world economy in 2020, especially in developing countries that have China or the United States as their main partners will be affected by the economic relations between the two world economic giants.

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