Editorial (338)



Monday (July 30, 2018) is a historic day for the people of Zimbabwe. For the first time, since the fall of former President Robert Mugabe late last year, Zimbabwe held the Presidential, National and Regional Parliaments elections. In the Presidential election, 23 people registered as candidates. But only two have claimed to have the support of the people's votes; namely incumbent president  Emmerson Mnangagwa of ZANU PF party and leader of the opposition Movement of Democratic Change  (MDC),  Nelson Chamisa. If no candidate gets a vote of more than 50%, then a second round of voting will be held on 8 September. President Mnangagwa claimed to win this election, so  did Chamisa. The MDC leader even accused the allegations of fraud, though was  denied by the ruling camp. The chaos in this election has taken at least 3 lives. The government blamed the opposition as the cause of the riots. The provisional announcement of Zimbabwe's legislative elections Wednesday (1 August 2018) says the current ruling party, ZANU-PF, has won 110 of the 210-seats in the  lower house. The opposition MDC won 41 seats, other parties 2 seats, while the remaining 57 seats are still being counted. With the achievement of more than half of the parliamentary seats, the ZANU-PF party may win this election. Like the presidential election, the opposition also refuses to accept this election result because it is considered full of fraud. Meanwhile, the father of Zimbabwe,  Robert Mugabe (94 years) also participated in this election. However, apparently he was still hurt  for being  forcibly taken down last year, making him speak out against his own party, ZANU-PF a few days before the election. He even encouraged people to vote for parties outside ZANU-PF. On election day, Mugabe chose not to issue any statement. Seeing this development and looking at the results of the General Elections, it is certainly not expected to increase the tension in Zimbabwe. Opposition parties should keep  sympathizers not to be anarchists, while the ruling party also provides an opportunity to recount if there is a demand. Anyone who becomes the President and any party that controls the parliament are expected to be a protector for all Zimbabweans.


Changing challenges into opportunities is what the Indonesian government should do to face a trade war between the two world economic giants, the United States of America –USA and China. Increased trade war triggered by the imposition of import duties on certain goods by both countries has made the demand for commodities on each side weakened.

In response to this situation, the Indonesian government should be able to utilize the trade war with various strategies that can increase exports, both to the USA and China.

The Indonesian Ministry of Trade has short-term (6 months), medium-term (18 months), and long-term (3 years) strategies to address this. The short-term measure is the bilateral approaches with the USA and China.

In the short term, Indonesia will request the extension of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program or the exemption of import duty (zero percent) on the import of certain goods from developing countries to the USA.

Related to the opportunity to fill the US and Chinese trade gap, Indonesia has the potential to fill the imported products of China that are blocked by the USA, such as fruits, steel, and aluminum. Indonesia is also likely to fill the US imported products banned by China, such as steel and aluminum.

With China for example, Indonesia can take advantage of the ASEAN Plus China trade agreement.  Almost 95 percent of the commodities produced by Indonesia can be marketed to the USA. So, if there is a shortage of supply, Indonesia can fill it.

The current weakening of the rupiah should make the competitiveness of Indonesia's export products much stronger, instead of making import costs increased. Thus, it is necessary to control imports, especially consumer goods. Import must be calculated based on needs and scheduled in a bid to properly suit the needs.

For the medium term, the Ministry of Trade will encourage the utilization of preferential tariff agreements and lower tariffs on raw materials and capital goods. As for the long term, there will be diversification of exports to non-traditional countries.

What the government is doing today is essentially on the right track, especially in the face of the ongoing trade wars between the United States and China. It is expected that the strategy will be able to transform the challenge into an opportunity for Indonesia's economic growth.



In ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) which was opened on Thursday, August 2nd 2018, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi will struggle for the idea of the Indo-Pacific through more detailed explanation on AMM which would last until the next Saturday. Indonesia will also utilize Meeting of ASEAN Members with the dialogue partners to confirm and to carry on national concerns in various priority issues. The Indo-Pacific idea was initiated by Indonesia after looking the fight threat of the major countries in Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean, such as the USA, China, and India, Australia, and Japan, which would affect Southest Asian countries. Indonesia wants the Indo-Pacific issue to be discussed in the East Asia Summit which is also followed by major countries on August 4th 2018.

Minister Retno will also explain the Indonesia concerns about the strengthening of cooperation in Indo-Pacific region. The issue is the strategic one for Indonesia and ASEAN region located in the middle or as axis of both regions, namely Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Indonesia will offer an outlook towards Indo-Pacific area which is aimed at improving cooperation in maritime, connectivity, and sustainable development agenda. The Indonesian concept is meant to be able to give added value for the mechanism of ASEAN cooperation which has been available nowadays, specifically to strengthen the East Asia Summit-EAS.

Basically, the concept of Indo-Pacific is aimed to optimize the architecture which has been established instead of forming the new architecture in ASEAN area. ASEAN is actually the right place in offering the Indo-Pacific idea with the inclusive values, cooperation, and the dialogue. In more than 50 years of its existence, ASEAN never threatens any party and does not have any tradition of confrontation.

By the dialogue tradition, ASEAN wants to convey to the major countries to accentuate the discussion in solving the different interests. ASEAN has to improve the crisis management capacity, specifically by solving faster the conflicts and the human rights.

The efforts of Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to keep doing so that the Indo-Pacific concept is more relevant in creating peace and regional safety not only in Pacific area  but also in Indian region. The support of ASEAN countries is needed so that the concept could be realized and enjoyed by the whole countries in both regions.



Cambodian people have followed the sixth election in the country last Sunday. The quick count results that 82 percent of the Cambodian people, numbering around 7 million people, have participated in this year's elections. People's participation increased from the previous election which only reached 62 percent. On the quick count results, the Cambodian People's Party is almost certain to return to power by seizing control of all parliamentary seats, amounting to no less than 100 seats. Thus the election results will extend the power of the ruling party for 33 years. The Electoral Winner Party is the Cambodian People's Party-CPP, formed by Prime Minister Hunsen who is now 65 years old. The victory of the Cambodian People's Party is not surprising because the main opposition, the National Rescue Party, CNRP, has disbanded a year before the General Elections are held. Thus the government of Prime Minister Samdech Hun only had to deal with small parties numbering around 20.A CPP spokesperson responded to the quick count result, that his party had at least 80 percent of the seats in parliament, which amounted to 125 seats. On the other hand, the Cambodian National Salvation Party declares that the election has been full of fraud and that his party will not recognize the results of this election. However, such protests may not have any effect on the election results to be determined by the Cambodian National Elections Commission. The Commission, after the closing of the ballot box stated that the 2018 election was successful.As a matter of fact, Cambodia will again be led by Hunsen who came to power in 1985 when the country was still in civil war. As quoted by the media, Hunsen responded to the election results by stating that the people of Cambodia have chosen to take the path of democracy and use their rights as citizens. The people of Cambodia certainly hope that in the next five years, they will enjoy various advances in life. Will that hope come true? And will Cambodia also play a better role in the ASEAN scene? Only time will tell.



Nowadays, the use of gadget in the society has been so close in their dayly life. It happens not only in adults but also in children. Even, it has been introduced to toddlers since early age. This phenomena in adults and children is worrying enough because it can cause the children’s growth and development to be disturbed. Their social interaction can be hampered. Anna Surti Ariani, a child and family psychologist says that the parents’ indecision in limiting the time for the children to play gadget mainly the online game is one of the factors why the children are addicted to the gadget. Another factor is that the parents’ literacy is less in technology. There are a lot of parents who are not smart in technology and they do not know which particular application or content that should be avoided by the children. Protecting the children from the bad impact of the internet can be done in many ways; one of them is by providing the safe and suitable web page for the children.

For Indonesia, the digital literacy understanding has been too urgent, remembering that the number of population migrating to cyber world has been so huge. The fast advancement of technology needs to be balanced by the intelligence in using modern techlonogy devices.Thus, the sophisticated technology advancement must be useful for the society’s life comprehensively, particularly in the social interaction. All of them have to start from early age of the children in recognizing digital devices.

According to Chairman of National Digital Literacy Movement, Dedy Permadi, it is important for the parents to make sure that their children gain the maximal advantage from the internet. The movement’s activity always gives training “to digital literacy” in 140 cities in Indonesia and there are about 90 thousands of people who have joined the training. The hope is that they are competentin digital literacy in accessing the internet  technically and in filtering various information and entertainment on the internet.

Multi-dimensional approach is needed in learning process of society so that they are educated digitally, smart in technology literacy and intelligent, creative and cultured. Amidst information distribution in digital media, digital literacy ability becomes the strategic thing. By the massive and extensive  socialization of the importance of digital literacy understanding, cooperation between thegovernment and society in providing the safe internet access for children and adults, certainly can realize the advantage of using positive internet. The true digital literacy pushes the digital netizens to be wiser in using the technology intrument.



Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita is in the United States to meet with US Trade Minister -Wilbur Ross, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and the US Chamber of Commerce. During his visit, Minister Enggartiasto is accompanied by representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), the Indonesian Exporter Companies Association (GPEI), the Indonesian Importers Association (GINSI), the Indonesian Palm Oil Entrepreneurs Association (Gapki), Indonesian Association of Biofuel Producers (Aprobi), Indonesian Textile Association (API), and producers of automobile tires, palm oil, marine catering, steel, aluminum and beverage food.

The visit of the Indonesian Trade Minister's entourage from 23 to 27 July is closely linked with the US government's plan to review the Generalized System of Preferences -GSP facilities, which Indonesia has received so far. The GSP is a tariff exemption program on imports of certain goods from developing countries. This policy has been in operation since 1976, but was suspended in 2013 before being reinstated in June 2015. Last year, Indonesia's export products to the US receiving GSP benefits were worth $1.95 billion dollars. Based on data from Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics –BPS, the value of exports to the USA reached $17.79 billion dollars and imports $8.12 billion dollars. Indonesia surplus to US was worth $9.67 billion dollars. Indonesia's main exports to the US include shrimp, natural rubber, footwear, vehicle tires, and garments. While Indonesia's main imports from the US include soybeans, cotton, wheat flour, cornstarch, and animal feed.

This visit is aimed at negotiating and explaining the position of Indonesia. So, Indonesia is not excluded from the GSP facilities. The Indonesian government's move is much better than retaliation to the United States, for example raising tariffs on the entry of US goods to Indonesia. Because in fact, the USA and Indonesia are not currently at trade war as happens to the USA and China nowadays.

Actually, the grant of GSP benefits the US businesspeople, because business practices in Indonesia are conducted under the Free On-Board (FOB) scheme. Through the scheme, Indonesian businesspeople are not responsible for any duties or taxes imposed on goods exported through ports. This practice is also done when Indonesian businesspeople import goods from the USA. So, all tariffs imposed by the US government on Indonesian exports are paid by buyers and importers from the USA.

The essence is that the US consumers and employers are the main beneficiaries of the GSP scheme. The amount is estimated to reach $1.95 billion dollars. This reflects the amount of money that the US businesspeople have to spend in the future when the scheme is revoked. This can be viewed that the nature of trade relations between the United States and Indonesia has been complementary so far and they need each other. The USA will certainly not be hurried up to stop the GSP facility for Indonesia if this will ultimately make the USA be disadvantageous.



Today, July 30, 2018 is commemorated as the Day of Trafficking in Persons. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that every year, millions of children, women and men are victims of human trafficking. They are entranced by false promises and deceit. Human trafficking has become a global business with multi-billion dollar, affecting almost every country in the world. Over the last five years, human trafficking has brought about a negative impact in many countries, including in Indonesia. It is a question of not only criminality, but also the most basic violations of human rights, such as the rights to freedom, the rights to gain a decent life and prosperity, the right of human beings as dignified humans. Trafficking in human beings is a very serious and severe form of human rights violations, and usually occurs in conjunction with other forms of human rights violations, such as slavery, smuggling, and human exploitation. Data from UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014 states that human trafficking crimes occur almost in every country around the world. There are 152 countries that experience it, regardless of the socio-economic status, history, and structure of the country. The perpetrators of this crime have created an international market for trading human beings. This crime is done because it brings huge profits. In addition, the high demand for commercial and labor sex with low prices makes the business of human trafficking more and more growing.  While data from CARITAS Indonesia, globally, between 2005 and 2014, there were 2.5 million victims of human trafficking. 1.4 million or 56% of whom were in the Asian region. Most victims are aged between 18-24 years. Each year, approximately 1.2 million children become victims of trafficking in different regions of the world. Many causes trigger the rise of human trafficking cases. Most are due to economic demands. For the interest of money, many people are willing to violate the norm or against a state law. In addition, the number of employment that is not comparable with the human population sometimes triggers the occurrence of this case. Human trafficking should be a common concern of all aspects of society, not only national but also regional and global. To suppress these crimes, international world must jointly cooperate to cope with human trafficking cases in a bid to especially break the chain of human trafficking among the countries.


Peace in Afghanistan

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The political and security situation in Afghanistan is expected to be better after a meeting of negotiators from both Taliban and the United States this week in Doha Qatar and other places in the Middle East. The meeting is a good move to end the pro-longed conflict in Afghanistan, a country in central Asia bordering on Tajikistan, Turkmenistas, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Iran. With its mountainous and multi-ethnic geographic region, it has made the country a conflict-prone and difficult field to reconcile. To end the conflict, US officials met with former Taliban members amid intense efforts to end America's longest war. As quoted by AFP, Senior Officer of the Department of Home Affairs Bureau for Southern and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells has met with representatives of Taliban this week in a bid to find a way toward ending the 17-year-old Afghan conflict. The US State Department did not directly confirm the report, but noted that Alice Wella had been in Doha this week where he met with Qatari officials. Meanwhile, according to Taliban sources, talks with US officials have taken place in Afghanistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. Peace in Afghanistan, as it came to light, refers to a 3-day truce echoed by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in June during Eid al-Fitr. The ceasefire has spawned a phenomenon that never happened when Taliban fighters and Afghanistan soldiers hugged each other and shook hands on Idul Fitri Day in the area where war always happened. Therefore, President Ghani wants the Eid al-Fitr truce could be a path to a more lasting peace, and calls on Taliban side to advance to the negotiating table. Since the fall of Taliban in 2001 after the US-led Coalition, the situation in Afghanistan has not been good. Violence often occurs despite the efforts of developing Afghan security forces and nearly 70,000 international troops, serving under NATO or as part of the US-led Operation of Endless Freedom. But peace in Afghanistan does not only involve the United States because it must also involve the state of Pakistan and Iran because of historical and geopolitical linkages. In addition, strong figures are needed to be able to unite the nation of Afghanistan among the people. The reinforcement of Loya Jirga, the high council of the people will continue to be strengthened so that the trust of the parties concerned in the conflict can be represented in the institution.


Elections in Pakistan

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The heat in Pakistan today is not only because of the weather, but also due to the rising political temperatures ahead of the General Election, which is planned to be held today. Several incidents of bomb attacks and even legal cases seem to be the way to compete in this general election.Ahead of the election there was a bomb attack that killed 149 people. Another attack even killed a candidate who was going to join the elections, albeit at a local level. Another point of interest is the court's verdict to a strong candidate from the Pakistani Muslim League Party (PML-N), which is the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The verdict is suspected to be under pressure from certain parties in Pakistan. Sharif and his daughter are currently facing sentences, each 10 and 7 years in prison, due to some corruption cases. In addition, a Pakistani court ruling, also imposed on Sharif a lifetime political ban.In Pakistan, the military has a strong influence. Half of the country's 71-year history was  ruled or controlled by the military. This time  some parties also  suspect the military of  pressing the media and politicians. Of course the military denied it and declared that it does not have a direct role in the election.This election was a battle between PML-N and the Tehreek-e-Insaf opposition party (PTI) led by Imran Khan. Another party is the People's Party of Pakistan led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal is the son of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was killed in an attack. In order to occupy the Prime Minister's seat, the People's Party inevitably had to compete with other parties that become competitors in this election.It is hoped that the general election in Pakistan run  peacefully  and is able to come out with    a figure who is  really elected by the people to become the leader of the country. The parties who have been facing each other  in the election should prioritize the common interests rather than the interests of their respective groups and parties. Peace in Pakistan is a key in order to mitigate the situation in the restive neighboring countries, Afghanistan, and South Asia. That was commentary.



Today, July 23rd is the special day for Indonesian children. Because, the day is commemorated as the National Children Day. The commemoration of the National Children Day is based on Presidential Decree No. 44/1984. Since, Indonesian people annually ccommemorate the National Children Day  in many kinds of events. The theme of the National Children Day 2018 is “Indonesian Children, The GENIUS Children”. The GENIUS in the theme is the abbreviation of Gesit (nimble), Empati (empathic), Berani (brave), Unggul (excellent), and Sehat (healthy). Certainly, we hope that the Indonesian children are actually the smart ones or those who are amazingly capable and talented in thinking and creating. The nimble, empathetic, brave, excellent, and healthy children certainly become the hope of all the Indonesian family. Nowadays, there are some things that parents and educators are afraid of in Indonesia. With the technology advancement, many Indonesian children  pay more attention to their gadgets. Possessing the gadget certainly has good side, as long as it is used to the good things. But there are some of the children who are too busy with their gadgets, and these make them interact less with surroundings, even with their family. The efforts of creating the nimble, empathetic, brave, excellent, and healthy children must be done by all stakeholders. Moreover at this time, 84 million children will be the agents of Indonesia development in the future. They are the assets for Indonesian advancement. Another anxiety of what some parties are afraid of is early age. The National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) specially invites the children to pledge “stop the early marriage”. We hope that the awareness will make both Indonesian people and the government be committed to protecting the children’s rights in a bid to prepare good family planning. Preparing strong physics and mentality for Indonesian children must be done continuously. Because, they will be part of the Indonesia’s demographic bonus in 2030. The productive employees in great quantities at that time become a golden opportunity for Indonesia to push the economic wheels. The Indonesia’s success in achieving the goal of Sustainable Development is also determined by the quality of the children. Thus, to assure the children to be able to grow freely of poorness, to be  healthy, educated, happy, and safe, is the basic of creating the mature humans who can contribute to economy and society with high social cohesion. To achieve the goal of the Sustainable Development, Indonesian children must become the most important investment. The investment will make them to be the agents of change for the Sustainable Development. May the Indonesian children will actually become the genius children who are nimble, empathic, brave, excellent, and healthy. Happy National Children Day 2018!