Editorial

Editorial (412)

28
May

 

A few days before the celebration of Idul Fitri 1440 Hijriah, a lot of remittance of Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) who work in some countries is sent to some regions throughout Indonesia, such as Sukabumi, West Java. Money transfer service of Sukabumi Post Office reported that there is an increase of 15 percent this Ramadhan month compared to the normal months. The amount of remittance from abroad reaches around Rp 40 to 50 billion per month through the post office. The amount of the migrant workers' remittance is huge, because in addition to the Post Office, several banks can receive the remittance service. In addition, many Indonesian migrant workers send money to their families through their colleagues who come back to Indonesia in a bid to enjoy ‘Lebaran’. Most of the remittance comes from the Middle East countries, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Cianjur Post Office is busy receiving the TKI’s remittance. Through the Cianjur post office for this year's Ramadhan, the amount reaches Rp97 billion. Head of the Cianjur Post Office, Deni Ahmad Zaenudin stated that the remittance in Ramadhan this year is likely to increase compared to last year's Ramadan which reached Rp.113 billion. The remittance comes from Middle East countries and Southeast Asian countries in general.

Other regions in the border point such as Nunukan in North Kalimantan also use the services of the Post Office to receive remittance from abroad. The fact is that from year to year, the number of Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) who go abroad to work is getting bigger. But if you look at the high rate of remittance through post office services, there are probably not many migrant workers who use banking services. Even though the migrant workers may have accounts at banks, their families in the villages do not necessarily have them.

Government’s data in 2017 showed that the level of financial inclusion in Indonesia has only reached 63 percent. This means that every hundred Indonesian citizens, only 63 have an account at the bank. If the family in the village has a bank account, sending money can be easier and faster. They can also enjoy holidays during Lebaran without worrying about waiting a little longer.

27
May

 


The heated situation of the trade war between the United States (US) and China may bring about an impact on Indonesia's national economic growth. Moreover, the US has raised China's import tariffs to 25 percent more recently. According to some observers, at present, the global conditions make Indonesia's economic growth this year projected to only reach around 5.1 percent or below the government's target set in the 2019 State Budget (APBN), which is 5.3 percent. The argument put forward is that the trade war has made the demands of both countries, the US and China decline and the prices of major export commodities are also low.


On the contrary, the government is optimistic that this year's economic growth target of 5.3 percent can still be achieved, even though the temperature of the trade war between the United States and China is increasingly heating up. What is the basis of the government's belief that 5.3 percent economic growth can be achieved?


The realization of economic growth in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018, which was maintained positively, seems to strengthen the optimism. To achieve the economic growth target, the government is now committed to encouraging the export of a number of priority industrial groups, especially what has been decided by the Ministry of Industry in Industry 4.0. Five priority industry groups are included in Industry 4.0. They are food and beverage industry, textiles and clothing, electronics, automotive, and the chemical industry. In addition, the government is also committed to encouraging the processing of natural resources such as the construction of smelters and processing of palm oil. These efforts make the government optimistic that the 5.3 economic growth target can be achieved this year.

24
May

 

Since Monday (May 20, 2019), Ukraine has been officially led by Volodymyr Zelensky who won the country's elections. His victory was quite fantastic because he could reach more than 70% of the votes in the second round, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko. This was quite surprising because Zelensky defeated his opponent who has a lot of experience  in the political world. However, the fact is that the Ukrainian people prefer a 41-year-old comedian who often plays the role of president to become a real president. Dissatisfaction with the political situation in Ukraine was a factor in Zelensky's victory.

Other surprises also happened after Zelensky was elected. Before being sworn in, the presidential elect disputed with parliament about the date of his inauguration. After being sworn in, the surprise continued with President Zelensky's plan to dissolve the parliament. Instead of waiting for the general election to be held in October, Zelensky chose to dissolve the parliament. Thus to form a new parliament, early elections will be held next July. The President, despite having a large people's mandate, apparently was not too supported in the parliament. So, the agendas, including choosing key officials, are not necessarily going smoothly.

With early elections, an important stage of political and economic reform can be passed. That’s something difficult to do with the current parliament. Some of the most difficult things confronted by Zelensky include: the occupation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, armed conflict in the eastern part of the country, and the economic crisis that plagued Ukraine.

Being a president in a play may be done by a comedian by following the script storyline. But being a true president, the leader of a country must carry out in accordance with the mandate of the constitution, not just a simple script. The Ukrainian people will judge whether the comedianwho turns to be president can carry out his duties as a true leader by resolving the problems at hand.

23
May

 


Indonesians agricultural sector has kept showing impressive achievements in recent years. This can be seen from the surge in export value and the increase in Gross Domestic Product -GDP which contributes to economic growth and declines poverty rate.


Since 2015, exports of agricultural products have experienced a surge compared to the previous period. In 2015, the volume of agricultural exports reached 40.4 million tons. In 2014, the volume of agricultural export products only reached 36.1 million tons. In 2017, exports of agricultural products reached 41.3 million tons. In 2018, the volume of agricultural product exports rose to 42.5 million tons. If accumulated, the total exports have reached Rp 1,764 trillion over the past four years.


Various achievements in the Indonesian agricultural sector received appreciation from several international delegations who attended the Regional Conference on Strengthening Southeast Asia's Food Security, Nutrition, and Farmers' Welfare through the UN Decade of Family Farming in Jakarta more recently.


Deputy Country Director of World Food Program, Peter Holtsberg admitted, he was impressed with the achievements of Indonesian agriculture sector development in the recent years, especially related to development initiatives focused on infrastructure, capacity building, training, and efforts to bring access for small farmers to local and international markets.

Furthermore, IFAD Country Program Manager for Pacific, Taufiq El-Zabri acknowledged that the efforts made by Indonesian government were enough to inspire and encourage other countries to do the same in pushing the development of the agricultural sector. He was impressed with models of capacity building, training, infrastructure development, and efforts to increase added value. According to him, the support made by the government has been considered successful and shows an increase in farmers' income, improved nutritional status, and better education and livelihoods.

Quoting FFTC website, the Food Sustainability Index released by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2016 placed Indonesian agriculture sector at 25th of 113 countries; and 16th for agriculture sustainability.


When the national exports are weakening, the achievement of the agricultural sector is very encouraging, because Indonesian agricultural products show impressive performance. It is appropriate for agriculture to become the backbone of the Indonesian economy, given that many agricultural products have potential export.

22
May

Scott Morisson from the Liberal Party will return to lead the Australian government after winning the Federal General Election held on Saturday 18 May 2019. Scott Morisson's victory was quite surprising especially for survey institutions that carried out polls and predicted victory for the Labor party. The results of the Australian Federal General Election showed Labor's convincing  defeat which resulted in the resignation of Bill Shorten as the supreme leader. The President of the United States welcomed and congratulated Scott Morisson on his victory. While China  showed a cold attitude. The Chinese state media in its news and editorial didn’t  show much interest in  Scott Morisson's victory. Scott Morisson's next task is to form a new government. He called it new, because in the cabinet led by Morrsion earlier, several figures in the government had resigned. Some of the key figures were Jullie Bishop, Christopher Pyne, Kelly O'Dywer, Michael Keenan and former minister Craig Laundy. In this perspective, Scott Morisson stated that a lot of work had to be done. In his victory speech while convincing Australians to unite after the election, Scott Morisson reiterated his commitment to return to work soon. The assertion to reunite the people of Australia was strengthened by his opponent in the General Election,  Bill Shorten. The Labor Party leader immediately congratulated Scot Morisson and hoped for a better Australia. The question is,  will Scott Morisson be able to carry out the mission to realize the hopes of the Australian people in making a better Australia? This certainly will be determined by how  solid his government is. Scoot Morisson must be very careful in choosing supporters of his government, especially considering that his  Liberal Party needs to form  a coalition with other parties. The previous fact shows several times, the rift in the government which led to the withdrawal of important figures in the government. For Indonesia, a good relationship with this  close neighbor will also be realized through Scott Morisson's foreign policy. Indonesia certainly hopes that good relations can continue to be maintained,  even further enhanced. As noted in the course of time,  Australia and Indonesia relations have often experienced a decline and even deteriorated.

21
May


May 21st is commemorated by Indonesian people as a historical day. Over the past 21 years of the May 21st, the New Order's power was overthrown. However, this date is also important for Indonesia and the world. May 21st is commemorated by the world as a Cultural Diversity Day, Dialogue and Development.

 

The United Nations –UN has designated May 21st as the World Day for Cultural Diversity, Dialogue and Development since 2002. This commemoration begins when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO issued a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Through UN Resolution No.57/249, May 21 is designated as a day to commemorate diversity throughout the world.

The United Nations recorded that 75 percent of the major conflicts occurred in the world today comes from the cultural dimension. The UN also launched a dialogue to bridge the culture in a bid to create peace. A simple action suggested by the UN to commemorate the cultural diversity is to visit cultural exhibitions, listen to music from different cultures, and invite neighbors of different religions or tribes to eat together, or watch films that tell a different culture.

 

Indonesia is listed as one of the most diverse countries in terms of culture in the world. The Central Statistics Agency reported that there are 1,128 tribes in Indonesia, spreading over more than 17 thousand islands.

 

Cultural diversity is actually a very valuable asset for Indonesia that is dynamic, and always developing. No matter how small the changes, all cultures in this country develop. Because of developing simultaneously, there are often conflicts between cultural groups. For example, a conflict happened between ethnic Dayaks and Madurese in Sampit, conflicts between Christian groups and Islam in Ambon, as well as the May 1998 riots which affected Chinese ethnic.

 

However, history also records the success of the Indonesian people in overcoming the conflicts with cultural diversity. The Indonesian nation has succeeded in addressing cultural diversity so that it becomes a source of wealth, not a source of splitting.

17
May

 


One day after the drone attacks by Houthi in seven locations in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (May 15), the Saudi-led coalition launched 11 airstrikes into Sana, the capital of Yemen and its surroundings. After the incident, the coalition claimed the target was entirely Houthi military installations. Before the attack on Saudi Arabia, two Saudi tankers and one tanker from the United Arab Emirates were attacked by unknown parties. Until today, no one has claimed to have launched the attack on the three ships. The United States has accused Iran; meanwhile Iran has accused Israel, an ally of the United States.


The Houthi attack carries the message that this militant group has been able to carry out attacks that can disrupt security in the surrounding country. Thus, the Houthis may obtain a higher bargaining position if they advance in negotiations.


Two incidents to the target in the coalition region made the Government of Saudi Arabia hold a meeting led directly by King Salman. After the meeting, a statement emerged that the acts of terrorism and sabotage not only targeted the kingdom, but also the security of oil supplies and the world economy.


Abu Dhabi, an area in the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Saudi Arabian coalition immediately, responded to the escalating tension. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan met with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the attack. According to sources in Egypt, President Al-Sisi supports Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.


The heating situation becomes a joint concern if the tension in the Gulf region is increasing. Not only because of mutual reciprocal attacks but also because of increasing tension between the United States and Iran. Obviously, the tension in this region can disrupt oil export traffic and the regional economy. Now, how all the conflicting parties can reduce the tension and find the best solution by shunning confrontation or even armed conflict.

16
May

National Book Day

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Published in Editorial

 

National Book Day in Indonesia, ratified by former Minister of Education, Abdul Malik on May 17 2002, was adopted from the inauguration of National Museum on May 17 1980. Although the celebration is never as lively as national music or film days, the National Book Day should be celebrated by book readers. The day is aimed at enhancing interest in reading books among Indonesian people. Reading culture and book sales increase is also expected results from the Day.

National Book Day in Indonesia shares vision and mission with the global version namely celebrating reading culture to gain more insights, creativity, and imagination. World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated by UNESCO and other related organizations on April 23 annually. The date was chosen by UNESCO to pay respect for world’s greatest literature figures such as William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who passed away on April 23rd. It was first proclaimed in 1995 during UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France to respect all writers and books across the globe. Besides respect, World Book Day is celebrated to recognize scope of book as the bridge between the past and the future, as well as every culture and generation.

The old saying “book is a window to the world” is true. In the past, Indonesian independence proclaimer, Moh. Hatta would voluntarily be imprisoned if accompanied with books. It signifies that book is also an important need. A lot of knowledge is accessible only through books. For this year’s World Book Day, Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said that books are also a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience.

Based on survey in 2005, Indonesians’ reading interest was averagely 18 thousand books only per year. This number is very possible for increase. Books and reading are a close unity. Besides, there should be a platform for book appreciation and writers’ creativity through competition in all education levels. Competition will be the reason for the available and future best authors to keep writing. Still, the real appreciation for authors is buying their original prints instead of the pirated copies.

Happy National Book Day of Indonesia! Happy reading and improving insight, and appreciating the works of your local authors!

20
May

Rising to Unite

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Published in Editorial


On May 20, 1908 or 111 years ago, the first youth organization named Boedi Oetomo was established in Indonesia. The organization initiated by Dr. Wahidin Sudirohudo was founded by Dr. Soetomo and the students of the Dutch East Indies Medical School, STOVIA when Indonesia was still colonized by the Dutch.
Boedi Oetomo is a social, economic and cultural organization. However, the establishment of Boedi Oetomo became the beginning of a movement aimed at achieving Indonesian independence. Then, May 20 is commemorated as National Awakening Day.The theme of this year's National Awakening Day is ‘Rising to Unite’. The theme is very relevant to the current condition of the Indonesian people post-April general elections. When the energy and emotion of most of the Indonesian people were drained for the success of the democratic party, when the aspiration of the Indonesian people was divided because of differences in choice, this is the right time for the Indonesian people to rise again and unite.It’s still inherent in the Indonesian memory. In the Dutch colonial period, the struggle of the Indonesian people for independence was carried out regionally. Each region in Indonesia struggled to free from the Dutch’s colonization. However, the independence might not be achieved due to the lack of unity in Indonesian people. The colonizer could easily crush the struggle of the Indonesian people at that time. Until finally, the youth organization, Boedi Oetomo was established on May 20, 1908 and then there was the Second Youth Congress on October 28, 1928 which resulted in the Youth Oath which voiced the determination of the Indonesian people to unite.The independence achieved by the Indonesian people 74 years ago began with the rise of a sense of unity among the youths and founders of the nation. Now, it is the right time for the Indonesian people to rise again from various problems that may trigger splitting. They remain united for the sake of progress and implementation of development in all fields.

15
May

 

As the tension between the United States and Iran was increasing,US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo visited Russia to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and  President Vladimir Putin.

In his meeting with Sergey Lavrov and other Russian leaders,  Tuesday Moscow time, Mike Pompeo stated that US  President Donald Trump has a strong desire to improve good relations between the two countries. The statement very possibly is  in connection with increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow related to new  US pressure on Iran.

The US hostility  against Iran, in the form of new economic sanctions and sending  American carriers to the Gulf region, has made Washington's relations with Moscow tense. This happened because Russia has good  relationship and cooperation with Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile, was eager to find out   the American plans  in resolving its tensions with Iran. Washington's policy towards Tehran, became important for Russia, because in a few weeks President Vladimir Putin will likely meet Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G 20 Summit in Osaka Japan.

Commitments of the two countries to find a way out for crisis in various regions, especially in the Middle East including Iran will influence the geopolitical conditions of the world. As is known the US new sanctions for Iran were applied while Western European countries still  have economic relations with Iran.

Last year  , western European countries disagreed with US decisions last year  to pull out  from the Iran Nuclear agreement.  Now  Washington  has continued  to increase its pressure on Tehran including imposing  sanctions on Iran's Metal sector.  This despite of the fact that  Iran and some Western European countries still have  trade relations in the sector.

Whether  US policy towards Iran will change, will be determined,  among other things, by Mike Pompeo's talk with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, May 15, as well as further talks between the two Presidents in Osaka the next few weeks.

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