Editorial

Editorial (197)

19
January

At the end of 2010, a wave of revolutions in the form of demonstrations and protests for the change of government, whether peacefully or not, struck some of Middle East and African countries. The occurrence, known as "Arab Spring", originated in Tunisia precisely on December 17, 2010. A few days later, entering the year 2011, the Tunisian government led by Zine el Abidin Ben Ali collapsed. Tunisia also experienced the most democratic transitions and political changes compared to other Arab countries, which were then also affected by Arab Spring. At that time, the ruling regime was overthrown without bloodshed and civil war.

 

But what happened in Tunisia last week, when commemorating the fall of the Ben Ali regime 7 years ago, was a mass demonstration against price and tax increases. Before this demonstration, a protester was killed on Monday, January 8th. The unrest prompted the government to send troops to several areas in Tunisia, and arrested nearly 800 people, including opposition leaders.

 

The act of protest occurred when the Tunisian government announced and provided a "new year gift" in the form of fuel price adjustment and some consumer goods starting January 1, 2018. In addition, some types of taxes and tariffs such as car taxes, telephone rates and internet also rose.

 

Following the demonstration, the Tunisian government also offered a social reform scheme that has been submitted to the parliament, in the form of medical care reforms, housing and assistance to the poor. So far, the government programs have not been able to overcome unemployment and poverty, including unable to restore the tourism industry, after being hit by terror attacks to foreign tourists 3 years ago. Tunisian Prime Minister, Yousef Chahed is trying to convince his citizens that 2018 is the last year of trouble in the country. But it seems that the Tunisian opposition is dissatisfied with the programs offered and urges to stage rally against the government.

 

The escalating violent act in Tunisia that has previously experienced a peaceful transition is alarming. The Tunisian government and the opposition should negotiate a peaceful solution. Solving the problem with the "Tunisian tradition" such as the toppling of the Ben Ali regime 7 years ago should be carried out in a bid to avoid violence, such as bloodshed that may pose casualties.

18
January

3rd Reshuffle Cabinet

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During the period of his government that began in 2014, President Joko Widodo has reshuffled his cabinet for the third times on Wednesday 17 January. There was a change of ministers; They are Idrus Marham replacing Kofiffah Indarparawangsa who resigned as Minister of Social Affairs, General TNI (Ret.) Moeldoko as Chief of Staff of President replacing Teten Masduki, Agum Gumelar as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council replacing Hasyim Muzadi.In addition, the President also inaugurated Marshal Madya, Yuyu Sutisna as Air Force Chief of Staff.

Related to reshuffle head of presidential staff, President Joko Widodo said that the presence of Teten Masduki remains within the palace, but now he becomes the special staff coordinator but in detail his duty will be submitted by the Secretary of State. With the change of position, President Joko Widodo views that Teten Masduki will continue to be close to himself, specifically in the execution of the duties of the president.

After the inauguration, Chief of Presidential Staff, Moeldoko said that he had communicated with Teten Masduki to continue the work programs that exist in the institution of the Presidential Staff. Moeldoko’s communications are done to consolidate a number of work programs at the new institution in his office. It is intended that all the national work programs of government’s Nawa Cita can be completed in 2019.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives DPR, Agus Hermanto views that the cabinet reshuffle will not change the political constellation.He also pointed out that Idrus Marham and Khofifah are both supporters of Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla. Agus Hermanto sees little change in the position of Minister of Social Affairs from Khofifah Indarparawangsa to Idrus Marham. Agus assessed that the cabinet reshuffle is the prerogative of the President.

Indeed, the 3rd cabinet reshuffle does  not change significantly in the performance of the government. The purpose of the cabinet reshuffle is certainly to improve the performance of the cabinet ministers of government in the implementation of the Nawa Cita programs of the government. We can see that the positions are replaced by many vacant positions such as Social Affairs Minister, Presidential Advisory Board, and Air Force Chief of Staff. So politically, this does not disturb the work programs of Nawa Cita. In addition, it seems that President Joko Widodo does not want political turmoil in his government. Because the year -2018 is called as a kind of political year that he says at every opportunity. So, the stability and harmony of the cabinet in the government must continuously be maintained. In addition, the increasing number of ex-military elements within the government indicates the importance of strong people from the established environment in maintaining the stability of the situation and the field conditions in completing the government's work programs until 2019.

17
January

At least 20 countries on Tuesday  held  a High Level Conference discussing the two Korean conflict in Vancouver, Canada. In the meeting initiated by the United States and Canada, the start of the talks was still focused on imposing sanctions on North Korea, for its activities in conducting nuclear tests. Perhaps that is why, China was not invited in Vancouver. As is known, Beijing is North Korea's major ally and trade partner.

The China’s absence  may  related to  US and Japanese statements before the conference. They insisted that the conference would focus on sanctions imposed on North Korea, rather than seeking solutions to the feud between the two nations living on the same peninsula. Japanese government sources said that countries in the world need to force the North Korean government to change its policies. By  maximizing  pressure through all available means, including through full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

On the other hand, it is still possible that  the Vancouver summit would  come up with another solution that leads to both Koreas’ peace move. Host of the Conference, Canadian Foreign Minister Christia Freeland, as reported by Vietnamese radio, had been in talks with her South Korean counterpart Kyung-wha on various issues including bilateral relations.

On the sidelines of the summit yesterday, Foreign Minister Freeland revealed the possibility of a diplomatic solution to solve the North Korean nuclear test problem. On the same day, Foreign Minister Freeland also held a separate meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Taro Kono. From these facts, there appeared to be an attempt to resolve the crisis of North and South Korea through a diplomatic approach.

The efforts of a truly diplomatic solution are still open. North Korea and South Korea on Tuesday 9 January seemed to have a similar view about the need for military talks, to ease tensions between the two countries. As reported by the BBC, South Korea called on North Korea to end hostile acts that could escalate tensions, while North Korea agreed to the need of a peaceful atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula.

It remains to be seen whether the summit in Vancouver could help both Koreans solve their problems or not. Apparently, the key is in the United States that hosted the meeting with  Canada. If Washington persists in its policy, diplomatic efforts may still be difficult to achieve. While the shift in Washington's stance is likely to change Beijing's position as Pyongyang's main ally. It is undeniable that the two Koreas can not be separated from the influence of the United States and China.

16
January

 

 

The implementation of the 18th Asian Games is few months ahead. The Asian Games will be held from August 18 to September 2, 2018. Various preparations continue to be done by the government of Indonesia, whether by the central government, as well as the two regional governments to host the implementation, Jakarta and Palembang.

 

The preparation of all infrastructures and facilities has at least satisfied the Asian Olympic Council. This was expressed by the Chief Organizer of the 2018 Asian Games 2018 –INASGOC, Erick Thohir after attending the 8th Committee Coordination Meeting in Jakarta on last Sunday (14/1). The Asian Olympic Council has seen significant progress made by INASGOC, the central government and the government of South Sumatra.

 

The success of Indonesia as the host for the second time is certainly expected. In 1962, Indonesia had successfully hosted the 4th Asian Games and grabbed second place in the achievement of medals after Japan. This could at least be an inspiration to achieve success in this event. In addition, because this activity is international scale, the eyes of the world at least Asia, will be on Indonesia. It is no exaggeration for Indonesia to expect a positive impact from the 18th Asian Games in various fields, including social, political and economic spheres.

 

The spirit to make the 2018 Asian Games successful must be echoed by not only Indonesian government, event organizers and athletes, but also all stakeholders, especially Jakarta and Palembang. The spirit of promoting the activities that will be themed "The Energy of Asia" should continue to be intensified.

 

Some ornaments of the 2018 Asian Games have been already installed in Jakarta and Palembang. Office Buildings of the government and recreation areas have been colored by the distinctive ornaments and attributes of the Asian Games. The spirit of hosting the Asian Games has also been felt, not only in the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex, but in other places of the sport implementation.

 

The involvement of all stakeholders to resound the implementation of the 2018 Asian Games should continue to be strengthened. The utilization of all promotional media, including social media, should be further improved. So, the 2018 Asian Games fever can be widespread in Indonesia in particular and Asia in general.

 

15
January

Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium preened to face the Asian Games 2018. After undergoing renovation since August 2016, finally President Joko Widodo inaugurated the new face of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Senayan, Jakarta, Sunday (14/1/2018), seven months before the Asian Games 2018 is  held.

Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium was built in the era of President Soekarno in 1961 and is part of the Bung Karno Sports Center complex. The stadium is usually used as an arena of international football matches. The name Bung Karno was given to honor Sukarno, the first President of the Republic of Indonesia, who sparked the idea of ​​building this sports complex. In the New Order era, precisely in 1984, the name of the stadium was changed to Senayan National Stadium. In the era of Reform in 2001, it was restored to Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium again .

Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium now appear more elegant with blinking red  and  white light on the outside. No more elongated seats. Currently, the stands are converted into single seaters and can be folded or flipped up and have  met the evacuation accessibility standard. Each seat can withstand loads of up to 250 kilograms and can not easily be moved or pulled out  to prevent vandalism. This  change reduced the stadium's capacity from  90,000 to over 76,000 seats.

In terms of lighting, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is one of the best in the world. The stadium lighting system is also integrated with a powerful sound system. The grasscovering the  field surface is  of the best kind, the zoysia matrella,  equipped with an automatic sprinkler and a flood anticipation   drainage system.

Changes and luxuries of Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium at this time deserve to be the  proud of Indonesia. Moreover, many  have praised that the Bung Karno Stadium is one of the largest and most grand stadiums in the world. However, the grandeur and luxury of a Sports Stadium is not enough if not followed by good maintenance and improved performance of the athletes . What is the use of  having  a magnificent stadium without being offset by  sporting achievements?May the luxury and splendor of Bung Karno National Stadium at this time can spur the Indonesian athletes to improve their performance ahead of the grand event of Asian Games August 2018 and other international sporting events. So Indonesia is not only proud because it has a magnificent and luxurious Sports Stadium, but also  great sports achievements.

12
January

Coalition in Germany

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Angela Merkel indeed won the election in Germany held in September 2017. But this does not necessarily make Angela Merkel easily govern. After negotiating with the Green party and the Liberal party, eventually the coalition, often called Jamaica, failed to be formed. The name of ‘Jamaica’ arises because the color of the CDU party's flag is black, and the green as a Green party color and the Free Democratic Party is yellow exactly the flag of Jamaica. This failure made German politics uncertain.

 

Entering 2018, it appears that a coalition between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) will be possible. One of the problems concerning the issue of immigrants has come to light. Both sides agreed on a law restricting trained immigrants. But that does not mean that everything is easy. CDU and CSU want to limit the number of incoming immigrants, which is only 70 thousand people per year, while the SPD still allows the immigrants to come. In fact, Germany is now in need of skilled workers because many of its citizens who enter over age are not productive anymore.

 

If both sides agree on the issue of immigrants, it seems open to discuss cooperation in the coalition to form a government. But the SPD itself needs to make an internal vote whether to cooperate with CDU and CSU. If some members of SPD refuse to form a coalition, the coalition plan is over.

 

Bagi Angela Merkel masih ada dua pilihan, yaitu menjalankan pemerintahan dengan suara minoritas, atau melaksanakan pemilihan ulang. Dengan pemilihan ulang peluang Merkel untuk menjadi Kanselir keempat kalinya bisa saja kandas.

 

For Angela Merkel, there are still two options: running the government with a minority vote, or carrying pout re-election. By holding re-election, Merkel's chance to become Chancellor for four times might fail.

 

This uncertain political condition in Germany is not expected to continue. As one of the major countries in the European Union, Germany acts as a dynamiter in Europe. The crisis in Germany can affect the European Union as a whole.

11
January

 

 

Of the total peat-land in the world reaching 400 million hectares per February 2016, the area of tropical peat-land is only eight percent. Of that amount, as much as 60 percent are in Southeast Asia. Tropical peat-land is the one which has the richest type of peat in carbon stocks. The benefit of the peat-land, that is only 3% of the total land area in the world, is capable of storing 75% carbon in the atmosphere. Indonesia is known to have the largest tropical peat-land which covers around 11.5 million hectares, while Malaysia has only 7 million hectares.

 

As the country with the largest tropical swamp peat-land ecosystem in the world, it is natural that Indonesia offers itself to be the world's tropical peat-land center. Indonesia’s experience for year in dealing with forest and land fires and restoring and providing peat protection should be a mainstay. Central Kalimantan and Sumatra are among those nominated as tropical peat-land candidate because they have done a lot of research, utilization and all related things to peat-land management programs.

 

The international response that appreciates Indonesia's performance in the protection, management and restoration of the burnt peat-lands is one of the reasons why Indonesia deserves to be the world's tropical peat-land center. Head of Research, Development and Innovation Agency of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Agus Justianto said that the concept is being discussed.

 

The management of the tropical peat-land center is planned to be under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and in collaboration with the Peat-land Restoration Agency (BRG). Currently, the BRG is working on restoration on 2 million hectares of land in 7 provinces until 2019.

BRG itself was set up to deal with peat-land matters and strengthen peat-land regulation through government regulations and ministerial regulations, following the case of forest fires by 2015. According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the effort contributed significantly to the reduction of hotspots. In 2015 – 2017, the number of hotspots dropped dramatically from nearly 22,000 spots to fewer than 2000 spots. This became a successful story of Indonesia in a bid to become a tropical peat-land center.

 

Head of the Peat-land Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead said that Indonesia will build a center of tropical peat-land ecosystem in Bogor, West Java. This centre will be a place for information sharing. While the peat-land laboratory is located in Riau, Jambi and Kalimantan. The center of this tropical peat-land ecosystem will be a place of learning for other countries that want to know about tropical peat-land and how to restore and care for tropical peat-land. Nazir also remarked that Indonesia has a lot of research on peat-land, and the research should be featured in the center of the tropical peat-land ecosystem. Indonesia also opens up the economic potential of the swamp peat-land whose moisture and humidity are kept. The potentials include genuine timbers of swamp peat-land as a substitute for acacia, peat-land coffee, forest honey, rubber and pineapple.

 

The efforts made by Indonesia are certainly not meaningful if not supported by similar activities by other countries. However, Indonesia is only a small part of this vast earth. All countries in the world must have the same responsibility to care for the earth.

10
January

 

 

 

French President Emannueal Macron, was  in China for a state  visit,  starting last January 8. It is Macron’s first visit to that country  since he took office as President. The presence  of the French President in Beijing was in response to President Xi Jinping's invitation.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing ahead of Macron's departure that this visit has significance for the China-France relationship. China certainly welcomed Macron's first visit warmly. This is demonstrated by preparing a series of state events involving President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Kegiang and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang. From Beijing it was informed that the two sides had exchanged insights on bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern.

 

In his lecture in front of some  entrepreneurs, academics and other important guests in the city of Xi'an, Macron affirmed his commitment to support the Chinese government to rebuild the silk road. In 2013, the Chinese Government launched the "One Belt One Road" program. It is a special expression for the Silk Road Development, reflecting China's bilateral and multilateral relations through economic and trade cooperation with other countries including Europe.

 

The "One Belt One Road" project aims to connect China through roads, railways and sea routes, with Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Central Asia and further to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Macron's support for the ambitious project Beijing is certainly also expecting reciprocity. France views China as an influential country in Asia that can be invited to forge a strategic partnership covering several issues. Two very important issues for Macron are Terrorism and Climate change. Regarding the climate change, Macron certainly really hopes that President Xi Jinping is  willing to implement the Paris agreement on climate change. China's support is seen as crucial, following the US withdrawal from the deal.

 

09
January

 

In 2018, 171 regions in Indonesia will carry out simultaneous regional head election -PILKADA. This is the third simultaneous election, after the ones in 2015 and 2017. The implementation of the election which will be held on 27 June 2018 seems  different from the previous two elections as this year’s election is adjacent to the holding of the 2019 Presidential Election -PILPRES.

 

Chairman of the General Election Commission -KPU, Arief Budiman remarked that  there are 158 million voters who will participate in the 2018 election, almost 80% of the total national voters. This quantity is far greater than the 2015 election with a total of 96 million voters, and the 2017 election with a total of 41 million voters.

 

This year’s simultaneous election is followed by not only male candidates, but also female ones. However, many say that women's political participation in the  election is paid less attention by political elites. Political parties pay more attention to the electability and capital strength in nominating their cadres. They tend to use the 2018 election as a barometer for success in the 2019 Presidential Election. These electability and capital requirements are applied equally between male candidates and female ones. As a result, women's candidacy opportunities in the election are smaller because women politicians are generally less well-known and they do not have huge financial capital.

 

A discussion entitled "Opportunity of Women Candidates in 2018 Regional Election" was held in Jakarta on Sunday (January 7th). A politician from the United Development Party -PPP, Lena Maeyana, who was present, views that the political condition increasingly overlook Indonesian women. Indonesian law No. 7 of 2017 states that 30% of women's representation must be applied at the central level. In fact, in the previous General Election Law, 30% of women's representation is also regulated until the regency/city level.

 

Article 28D Paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution states that every citizen has the right to have equal opportunity in government. However, in the context of the 2018 regional election, the involvement of women has not been materialized as expected.

    

According to the Coordinator of Civil Society for Women and Political Alliance (Ansipol), Yudha Irlang Kusumaningsih, the participation of women in the 2018 election will simultaneously produce many policies that show women's partiality, especially if the candidates are elected as head of the region. A policy that shows women's partiality is necessary, given that women's empowerment is one of the 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the 2016-2030 period. That is to improve welfare evenly. The fifth point in the goal of sustainable development is to achieve gender equality and empower women. One way is by ensuring full and effective participation, and equal opportunity for women to lead at all levels of decision making in political, economic, and social spheres. Yudha also views that the empowerment of women at the regional government level is also considered urgent, because women are currently considered not equal to men. A number of studies have shown that poverty rates, school dropouts, income, and women's nutrition are still poor compared to men. It is important for women to advance in the election as representatives of their regions such as governors, mayors, regents, or deputy governors, deputy mayors and deputy regents. Thus, if there is a problem concerning women, this will be addressed by women as well.

08
January

 

 Indonesia experienced a period of self-sufficiency in food, especially rice, in the 1980s. At that time,  World Food Organization, FAO even gave a special award to the Indonesian government for its extraordinary achievements. However, many years after that,  the self-sufficiency in rice seems difficult to repeat itself. Very often  Indonesia had  to import rice from neighboring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam.

 

 

 

Today, during President Joko Widodo and vice-president Jusuf Kalla administration, Indonesia's desire to return to food self-sufficiency, especially rice, chili, corn and onions, is likely to come true. In early 2018, it looks like that Indonesia’s  food self-sufficiency will  be realized soon,  as stated by Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman some time ago.

 

The desire is further strengthened by the revelation of the Head of Agricultural Counseling and Development Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Momon Rusmono. After harvesting rice crop in Kutuk Village, Undaan District, Kudus Regency, Central Java, Sunday (07/01/2018), Momon Rusmono said at present,  the rice import discourse is considered not urgent,  because domestic  rice crop is currently quite abundant.

 

 Nationally, Momon said, rice stock could reach one million tons, so it is enough to meet the needs for the next two to three months. Especially in the next month there will be a great harvest, so the target of 2018 for the absorption of 3.7 million tons of rice by the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) is likely to be achieved. If this happens, until next year Indonesia will no longer lack of rice, and food self-sufficiency target can be met.

 

 

 

Several efforts have been made by the Indonesian government, in this case the Ministry of Agriculture, to achieve food self-sufficiency. Among others is through the food self-sufficiency Special Effort program in 2015-2017, which focused on three commodities, namely rice, corn, and soybean. In addition, the government is also working to increase the area of planting. Based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture, the national planting area in July-September 2017 reached 1 to 1.1 million hectares per month. It doubled compared to the period before the program, which was only 500,000 hectares per month.

 

 

Of course Indonesia's desire to return to a self-sufficient state in  food, especially rice, is not a grandiose desire that can not be achieved. But it's not as easy as turning a palm. It takes the government's hard work and also support from various parties such as agricultural counseling  workers, farmers, traders and other stakeholders.

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