Editorial

Editorial (461)

26
February

Indonesia’s neighboring country, Malaysia is now in a political crisis. The agreement between Mahathir Muhammad and Anwar Ibrahim ended in a political drama, when Mahathir Muhammad, a 94-year-old senior politician resigned from the position of Prime Minister of Malaysia. Political shocks in Malaysia occurred when Mahathir Muhammad suddenly sent a letter of resignation to the Malaysian King Yang Pertuan Agung Sultan Abdullah on Monday (24/2). Whereas last week, Mahathir said he would continue to become Prime Minister of Malaysia until the holding of the Asia Pacific APEC Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November 2020.

Other political shock after Mahathir Muhammad's resignation was the step taken by Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah. The Malaysian head of state appointed Mahathir Mohammad as an interim Prime Minister. To avoid a government vacuum Mahathir Muhammad was signed to run the government until the election of the new Malaysian Prime Minister and the new cabinet is formed.

Along with Mahathir's appointment as PM ad interim PM, Sultan Abdullah dismissed all cabinet members including Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who is the wife of the President of the People's Justice Party (PKR), Anwar Ibrahim. Before accepting Mahathir Muhammad's resignation, Yang Perttuan Agung Sultan Abdullah had met Anwar Ibrahim and Wan Azizah.

Indications of a political crisis in the neighboring country came as news emerged that Mahathir would form a new coalition which would be supported by the opposition United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). The new coalition will undermine the ruling coalition, Pakatan Harapan, which plans to make Anwar Ibrahim the successor to Mahathir Muhammad in May 2020. Anwar Ibrahim who was disappointed, has criticized the political conspiracy that undermined the commitment to make him Prime Minister of Malaysia replacing Mahathir Muhammad. The new coalition is said to be planned to be formed by Mahathir before his resignation as Prime Minister, allowing Economy Minister Azmin Ali to have the chance to replace Anwar Ibrahim. Some even suggested that Azmin Ali, whose was Anwar Ibrahim trusted friend, was the one who suggested a new coalition which Mahathir Muhammad had originally formed and allowed him to become Prime Minister.

Adagium that there are no eternal friends or enemy in politics, there are only interests, can be used as a reference in looking at the political crisis in Malaysia that is still unclear how it will end.

24
February

The United States, through its Office of the US Trade Representative at the World Trade Organization (WTO), removed China and Indonesia from the list of developing countries. Besides both countries, there are three other countries that have also been removed from the list, namely Brazil, India and South Africa. The five countries are declared as developed countries in international trade. The decision of the US Trade Representative Office requesting the World Trade Organization (WTO) to exclude Indonesia from developing country status officially came out on February 10, 2020. So, what are the pluses and minuses for Indonesia by the changing of status from a developing to a developed country? For some people, it might be considered an achievement. This means that Indonesia can be equalized with the United States or other European countries. Is that true? In terms of trade, Indonesia's rising status as a developed country has several consequences. Take for example; there is removal of the Generalize System of Preference (GSP) facilities or relief of import duties on imported goods to the United States. The GSP facilities are only given to least developed countries and developing countries. In addition, in several trade agreements, developing countries also often get technical assistance from developed countries. With the change in the status of Indonesia from a developing country to a developed country, Indonesia's privileges will naturally be lost. The United States might increase import duties on Indonesian goods to the United States. On one hand, bearing the status as a developing country is indeed profitable in terms of trade, because imported goods from developing countries to developed ones get lower import duties. This rule is intended to help these countries move out of poverty. On the other hand, Indonesia must respond wisely to this status change decision. Upgrading the status of Indonesia to a developed country might erase various facilities, especially related to trade, which has been obtained by Indonesia as a developing country. However, Indonesia must view this decision in a positive way. The ease that Indonesia has received so far, in the form of relief of import duty on goods, may have tempered Indonesia's export performance abroad. Indonesia seems to be spoiled with various facilities provided by developed countries. Changing the status of Indonesia to a developed country and the loss of various facilities as a developing country are expected to whip up Indonesia’s export in a bid to improve competitiveness and improve the quality of Indonesian products abroad. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto said the government was not worried about the impact of the change in status. His side certainly has ways and strategies to deal with the consequences faced by Indonesia after this status change.

21
February

Next week, United States President Donald Trump is going to visit India to attend an event called "Namaste Trump" or "Trump’s Regards" at the cricket stadium. He will be accepted by the ranks of "Howdy Modi" supporters of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. According to the plan, President Donald Trump will drive along a road opposite the slum area. The interesting thing is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi built a wall along the slum area that reaches a half kilometer. So, around 2000 poor people in the area would not be spotted. Domestically, the prime minister's move has been criticized. PM Modi is considered to want to cover India's original face. However, senior official Bijal Patel denied this. The wall that was built is for security reasons, not to cover the slum area. The unique point is also the similarity between Narendra Modi and Trump in the wall problem. President Trump was once becoming a controversy when he would build a stockade on the American and Mexican borders. Thus, Trump and Modi can be said to be similar. But more than that, America and India have become long-term partners. The Trump administration has consistently portrayed India as one of its main allies in the Indo-Pacific region; The US Pacific Command has changed its name to the Indo-Pacific Command, emphasizing the strategic relationship between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. As India strives to make its presence felt at the international level with increasing involvement, China's reluctance to recognize India's global revival has a negative impact on India's involvement in its immediate environment. India seeks to improve many of its strategic challenges by expanding relations with the United States.


Basically, the Asia Pacific region has become a focal point for several major countries. In particular, India and China are fighting for influence in the Asia Pacific region. Since the beginning of his administration, President Trump has approached India, and vice versa. With US-China relations experiencing ups and downs, India certainly hopes for the U.S. support to gain global influence to become global power. Will this relationship get closer amid various American interests polarization. No one can guarantee that the U.S. and Indian relations will continue to last. So far, America and India support each other, especially the problem of technological development, and India is willing to authorize some technology to America. But like political idioms, there are never eternal friends and enemies. Only common interests that are mutually beneficial will make the allies continue together.

19
February

Afghanistan Election Commission last February 18, 2020, officially announced Ashraf Ghani was re-elected as President of Afghanistan for the second period. In this Presidential Election, Ghani won 50.64% over his rival Abdullah Abdullah. Afghan politics is in a polemic after President Ashraf Ghani's main rival rejected the results of the initial September elections. Abdullah's team submitted thousands of evidence of fraud about the initial results and said tens of thousands of votes for Ghani were fraud. He rejected the results of the count after being announced by calling himself "the winner based on clean votes."

Ashraf Ghani's re-election was also in the spotlight. Bearing in mind that in 2014, the second round was held amid complaints of massive fraud. After an agreement facilitated by the US, Ghani became president, sharing power with Abdullah in the Government of National Unity. These two figures have shared power over the past five years in a unity government formed by the United States after allegations of widespread fraud and corruption in the 2014 poll. The Taliban, which was overthrown by US forces in 2001 demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, and condemned the election as 'fraud'. The Taliban even urged Afghans to boycott the polls and threatened to attack security forces, blockade roads and target polling stations across the country. More than 72,000 security personnel were deployed to 49,402 national polling stations, while 410 polling centers were closed Saturday due to security concerns

With the completion of the Election process in Afghanistan, in fact the homework of the President-elect is still quite a lot. Among them, ensuring his political rivals support his leadership period to completion, and securing negotiations with the Taliban.

Hopefully Afghanistan can overcome the various problems being faced.

17
February

This year, Indonesia through the Central Statistics Agency once again is carrying out  a population census by using two methods, namely, online and direct interviews with officials. The online method is carried out independently from Saturday 15 February until 31 March 2020. The conventional method or officials visiting residents' homes begins in July 2020 for people who have not yet been recorded via online.

The results of the seventh population census conducted by Indonesia are expected to be a solution in overcoming the confusion of population data and can be used to optimize the benefits of demographic bonus that will be enjoyed by Indonesia by 2030. The census is intended to get information not only related to when to obtain demographic bonus, but also to what steps the government should take.

Indonesia is expected to experience the demographic bonus, when the number of productive ages between 15-64 years is more than the number of unproductive ages under 15 years and above 64 years.

According to the Deputy for Population and Employment at the National Development Agency, Pungky Sumadi, one of the most important data that will be obtained from the population census is about population poverty. So far, the poverty data is considered to have been inaccurate. So, there must be collaboration between the central and regional governments for data accuracy in overcoming the poverty.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Directorate General of Population and Civil Registration of the Ministry of Home Affairs, I Gede Suratha said, the 2020 population census will make the life planning of millennials more mature. Thus, the opportunity for success in the future will open wider in various sectors.

The results of the 2020 population census are expected to become an accurate database for determining government policy. Therefore, the public participation in the 2020 population census is very important to assist the government in formulating policies that ultimately aim to prosper the people.

14
February

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is thinking about a reshuffle of his cabinet, after being successfully elected as Head of the British government. He successfully serves as prime minister after the Conservative Party he led won elections after the Brexit chaos. Johnson will adjust the cabinet by increasing the number of women ministers. The addition of women's quota in the cabinet of Boris Johson is carried out on account of the demands of various parties for the Prime Minister to increase the number of women ministers in the cabinet.


News in various media in the UK reported speculation that there would be removal of at least 3 female ministers from Boris Johnson's cabinet. The three names that are expected by the media to be removed are Theresa Villiers, Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss. Over the speculation, pressure arises so that Boris Johnson continues to place women in his cabinet. In response, the government ensures that the figures of women in the cabinet would be maintained. Domestic media has estimated that five women will enter Johnson's new cabinet. The number is more than before. Internal government revealed that if the current female minister is only 18 percent, in the next reshuffle, the number will reach 60 percent of the cabinet composition.


A cabinet reshuffle is carried out by Boris Johnson to smooth the path of his administration, primarily in anticipation of Britain's departure from the European Union. Several ministers in the current cabinet will be substituted.


Before the election, Boris Johson often faced problems with parliament and several ministers in his cabinet. In that perspective, an overhaul is carried out. In addition to streamlining his government, increasing the number of women in the new cabinet can also improve Boris Johnson's image in the eyes of the British people. Thereby, Boris Johnson certainly needs to be careful in choosing the female figures he will choose. The consideration is certainly good not only in the eyes of the community, but also the smooth running of the government.

12
February

Philippine relations with the United States are entering a new phase. Indonesia's neighboring country has terminated its membership of the Visiting Forces Agreement-VFA, which is a military cooperation between the two countries. Duterte's decision that the Philippines left the VFA had been conveyed to the United States government. Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin has confirmed that it has been conveyed and received by the deputy head of the diplomatic mission at the US Embassy in Manila.

The reason for the termination of Manila from VFA membership is because Washington refused a visa for Ronald Dela Rosa, who is a political ally of Duterte.

The VFA military cooperation agreement was  in effect satrting 1998. Through this collective agreement the Philippines has received thousands of US military forces in the country  for military training and humanitarian operations. Therefore, the United States responded quite cautiously to President Duterte's steps.

As quoted by the Associated Press news agency, the United States Embassy in Manila stated the need to consider this issue very carefully. According to  the US,  Duterte's decision could have significant implications in  relations between the two countries, which has been going well so far. On the other hand, Washington also has not explained what is the reason for refusing the visa application of a person close to President Duterte. Ronald de La Rosa is a former national police chief who is now a senator. During his time as chief of police, the Philippines fought a war with drug dealers. Because of this, a number of Philippine officials suspected that his visa rejection was related to the drug war that had been criticized by the United States. Washington itself, until the termination of membership from VFA military cooperation by Duterte, still has not explained the reason.

However Washington certainly is seriously considering terminating military cooperation by President Duterte. Because the United States views its military presence in the Philippines as a counterweight to China's military strength in the South China Sea region.

The United States still has 180 days before answering President Duterte's decision. Interestingly, the Philippine President has shown who he is against the United States which is actually a super power. The Philippines and America are even known to have a history of close relations so far. However, if deemed necessary it seems the Philippines did not hesitate to show its firm attitude to the United States.

10
February


Information has become one of the important needs in people's lives in the era of digital technology these days. It can be said that information cannot be separated from people's daily lives. Nowadays, people get information easily, both through conventional media such as radio, television or newspapers and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or WhatsApp.

 
At present, the amount of information circulating in the community is massive and instant. It’s hard to imagine how many thousands, even millions of information items circulating in the public throughout the world in just seconds.

The development of information technology which is so fast and extensive was previously predicted by Marshal McLuhan, a Canadian communication scientist. In his book entitled ‘Understanding Media: Extension of a Man’ in 1964, McLuhan delivered the concept of the Global Village that illustrates the development of communication technology. In this concept, McLuhan predicted that one day, information would be very open and accessible to everyone.

According to McLuhan, in the era of Global Village, there would be no longer any clear time or place limits. Information could move from one place to another in a very short time through internet technology. In his predictions, McLuhan said that in due time, humans would be very dependent on technology, especially communication and information technology. That fact is proven today.


As an illustration, in early 2020, the world community was shocked by the spread of a deadly new type of corona virus. Various information is received by the public, both from conventional media and social media. As it turns out, much of this information is hoax and misleading news. The question, especially for Indonesia, is how is the role of the national press in counteracting hoax information circulating in the community?


Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), Puan Maharani on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 2020 National Press Day (HPN) in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan on Saturday (8/2) said that the national press was the frontline in fighting hoaxes. The press has the function of providing information, education, entertainment, and being a social control. Compared to social media which prioritizes speed and controversy, conventional media or mainstream media must be more reliable because it holds the principle of checks and balances on information before being reported to the public. Thus, information conveyed by conventional media is far more trustworthy than social media.

The national press must be able to provide accurate information to the public. It is also expected to be able to straighten out incorrect information in the community.


It is time for the public to choose the information that is currently circulating. It is like two sides of a coin; information technology has both positive and negative sides. On the positive side, information can quickly disseminate without space and time. On the negative side, the information that is circulating in the community may not have been verified.


Happy National Press Day!

07
February


At the trial of the impeachment of the President of the United States (US), Donald Trump at the Senate level had met the final round. The Senate chose to acquit Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 48 Senators declared Donald Trump guilty of abuse of power, while 52 other Senators chose to acquit him. This
conclusion cameafter holding the trial for almost a week, until the Senate rejected Democrats' requests to present new witnesses at the trial.

Before Donald Trump, American history recorded, there were two American Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton who had been impeached. The third US president involved in the impeachment investigation, Richard Nixon, resigned before his impeachment which was almost certain to occur, for trying to hide his role in the theft of Democratic campaign material.


An interesting aspect to look at is the level of popularity of Donald Trump and his cabinet amid the impeachment process. The ranking of public acceptance of President Donald Trump was reported to have reached the highest level amidst the impeachment process against him. Based on a survey conducted by Quinnic University, Trump received 43 percent ranking of public acceptance, the highest during his tenure at the White House. The university reported that the acquisition of high public revenue was due to the strengthening of the US economy in recent times. According to 73 percent of respondents, the US economy is currently in good condition. Although personally, Donald Trump always causes controversy not only in America, but also abroad, it turns out that the
impeachment outcome did not depend onpersonality performance. Tale for example, American history recorded that the US Congress submitted articles about impeachment against US President Lyndon Johnson, a successor to Abraham Lincoln, after Johnson removed US War Minister, Edwin Stanton. Johnson was said to have been a pro-Union figure but did not fully support the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. Johnson often opposed the US Congress when lawmakers turned aid to displaced black Americans. Johnson was impeached on February 24, 1868, but was acquitted at a US Senate hearing. He could remain in office with one Senate vote. Just because a president is not liked, this does not mean impeachment will positively occur.

05
February

The controversial statement of US President Donald Trump, who proposed the city of Jerusalem to remain Israel's capital, was resisted by Arab states' organizations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abas said he would stop any relations with Israel and this was welcomed with a firm stand by countries in the Arab League. President Donald Trump's controversial statement was made when meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Washington DC Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

According to Trump, his proposal would benefit both Israel and Palestine and be a peaceful solution for the Palestinians and Israelis. Jerusalem is determined to be the capital of Israel while Palestine will be given the right to manage East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Arab League strongly rejected President Donald Trump's proposal,  arguing   that the proposed solution would not provide justice for the Palestinian people. Arab leaders said they would not cooperate with the United States administration  to implement Donald Trump's proposal. The Arab League's strong rejection was expressed at an urgent  meeting in Cairo, Saturday , February 1,  which was also attended by representatives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The presence of Saudi Arabia became a significant element given Riyadh's close relations with Washington. The organizations of Arab states also stressed that the borders of the Palestinian state should be  as they were before the Six-Day War in 1967. After the war Israel annexed the West Bank and Gaza and made East Jerusalem its capital.

Palestine at the Arab League meeting in Cairo expressed its  firm stance  and rejection. President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to stop all relations with the United States and Israel including their cooperation in the security sector. Dismissing Trump's proposal, Mahmoud Abbas stressed that the Palestinian people will continue to fight for their  sovereignty and rights through legal means and peaceful solutions. Since Trump threw out the controversial proposal, the atmosphere has continued to heat up. Palestinian fighters protest by holding various actions.

In such circumstances, in addition to the Arab League, countries that support Palestine, including Indonesia, of course should show their stance and support.

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