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Editorial (580)

01
March

 

The Indonesian government is committed to continuing the Pre-Employment Card program which has been running for eleven batches in 2020. The registration for batch 12 was opened on Tuesday (23/2/2021). For the implementation this year, a budget of Rp 20 trillion has been prepared. This doubled the initial amount in the 2021 State budget which was worth Rp10 trillion. The Pre- Employment Card Program was opened for the first time on April 11, 2020. The government is targeting the number of participants who take part in the program to be 5.6 million people.

Initially, the government planned to provide an offline training for the program participants. They would receive free facilities and pocket money during the training. However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. The government then used this program to become one of the social aids for the community, especially the victims of layoffs who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme and budget amount automatically changed. Part of the training cost budget was diverted for incentives to the participants in a larger amount than originally planned. Thus, the budget for the Pre-employment Card program has increased sharply.

After a year running, of course, there are points that need attention and to be improved regarding this program, starting from the matter of appointing training partners who were considered not transparent to the training materials that some said were too simple. However, as one of the economic recovery programs from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pre- Employment Card program, of course, has its own benefits. The government says those who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be targets of the Pre-Employment Card program. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many have enjoyed the benefits of this program. Unfortunately, the selection of the participants proved to be often inaccurate, so that many were not on target. Those who still have jobs managed to get assistance. While many of the unemployed have not been reached by this program.

It is hoped that this year, the Pre-Employment Card program can run with improvements so that it can be maximized and right on target. Thereby, there needs to be joint monitoring from the community.

22
February

The performance of the Indonesian economy continues to show a direction of recovery and is already on the right track. In 2021, the government of Indonesia will continue to focus on carrying out the National Economic Recovery program to support both households and the business sector, especially Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises. To encourage consumption and increase financing for the business world, Bank Indonesia as the Central Bank -BI harmonized monetary policy, including lowering the benchmark interest rate.

The meeting of the Board of Governors of BI on 17-18 February 2021 decided to lower the BI 7-day Reverse Repo Rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 3.5 percent. The Central Bank also lowered the interest rate for placement of rupiah funds by 2.75 percent and the rate for provision of rupiah funds by 4.25 percent. The decline in interest rates this time continues the trend that has been going on since early 2020, when BI cut its benchmark interest rate by 150 bps.

This decision is consistent with the forecast for low inflation and maintained stability of the rupiah exchange rate. This is also an effort to boost the momentum of national economic recovery.

The 25-bps cut back in the BI benchmark interest rate was also driven by the slow transmission of the BI benchmark interest rate to banking interest. Throughout 2020, bank lending rates only fell 83 bps to 9.7 percent, although in the same period, the BI benchmark interest rate had fallen by 125 basis points to a level of 3.75 percent.

Apart from easing interest rates, BI also took other steps as a follow-up to the synergy of the Financial System Stability Committee's policies. From March 1 to December 31, 2021, Bank Indonesia will relax the provision for down payment for credit or motor vehicle financing to a minimum of 0 percent for all types of new motorized vehicles. During the same period, BI will also relax the ratio of loans or financing to value for credit or property financing to a maximum of 100 percent. This policy applies to all types of property, from landed houses, flats, to shop houses or home offices.

All of these stimuli are expected to be able to encourage Indonesian economic recovery which has slowed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

17
February

 

The Myanmar military junta did not budge despite pressure from the United States and the United Nations. Instead of reducing violence against protesters, the Military Rulers increased their pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi.

After being accused of illegally possessing a walkie talkie, the civilian leader faces a second criminal charge. Military authorities accuse Suu Kyi of violating Myanmar's Natural Disaster Act.

Last Saturday the military junta has enacted a law to be able to arrest anyone deemed to be disturbing security without going through procedures. Even so, the people of Myanmar continued to protest against the military coup and asked their leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be released.

The United Nations has warned the junta to stop treating protesters harshly. In a statement, UN envoy Christine Schraner Burgener said there would be severe consequences if the military carried out acts of violence against protesters. The UN also emphasizes that blocking the internet violates the basic principles of democracy.

Against various pressures, including sanctions imposed by the United States, the military junta only stated that it would hold a general election. Without confirming when it will be implemented, they promised to hand over power to whoever wins the election. In the lead-up to the coup, the military had stated that the elections, which the LDP party won absolutely, were fraudulent.

Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia that has recently embraced a democratic system through general elections. The change in the political and state administration system in Myanmar is one of the reasons that has made ASEAN accept Myanmar as a member. At that time, western countries including the United States saw democratization in Myanmar as a good sign and a new era. But a recent military coup in the country has reversed international views. Meanwhile, the military, which is now in power after staging a coup, seems to have not been too disturbed by international views, criticism or even sanctions.

If the United States immediately pays attention and imposes sanctions, this will not be the case with China. So far, China seems silent and does not react to the coup in Myanmar. It is only natural that the civilian protesters, in one of their demands, ask Beijing not to support the military junta. Whether China will act differently from the United States, the international community still has to wait for further developments.

15
February

Stop Spreading Hoax

Written by
Published in Editorial

One piece of little news in the long weekends circulated that the police are looking for a Sampang resident who published hoaxes or fake news on his social media accounts. It said that in Lar Village, Sampang, Madura, East Java, there was a bloody riot which resulted in many victims. Maybe, this can be considered little news because the perpetrator is not a public figure and the location of the incident is not in a big city. However, what is interesting is that law enforcement for spreading fake news has actually reached remote areas in Indonesia.

The spread of hoaxes can have a troubling impact. So, it is necessary to carry out strict law enforcement. In addition, the perpetrator is said to have spread fake news that has gone viral on social media more than once.

Law enforcement against the perpetrator who spread fake news should be strictly enforced. In the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic today, there is a tendency for people to increasingly rely on social media for information, even with a very high level of trust. It seems as if anyone could upload any content very easily and then spread it and could be read by everyone. This is, of course, a new challenge for law enforcers because very often, the contents are things that are disturbing to the community.

The circulation of hoaxes, misinformation and disinformation is not easy to stop. In the last three years, the number of hoaxes spread across various platforms in Indonesia has continued to grow significantly.

It is necessary to raise awareness among people to be more careful in spreading any content or information on social media. In a country with a very large geographical location with a population of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, such as Indonesia, the impact of hoaxes or fake news can indeed be very detrimental. Therefore, education about healthy and useful contents needs to be continuously provided in order to form a wise culture in social media.

12
February

Tomorrow, February 13, 2021 will be commemorated as the 10th World Radio Day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO designated this date as World Radio Day because of the role of this media in all walks of life.

The history of the commemoration of International Radio Day began in 1946. February 13, 1946 is the day when the UN for the first time operated UN radio to disseminate information about its activities to the entire world community.

What is interesting to note is how radio still exists, especially amid the existence of many new media platforms nowadays. Whether realized or not, the advancement of new media, such as the internet does affects the existence of radio. Even so, in fact, it turns out that not all regions of a country can be reached by the internet, whether it is for technological reasons or geographic location. This makes radio still the media of choice for access to news and entertainment, especially in remote areas. The frequency of the short waves is proven to be able to deliver information to various places that may not even be penetrated by the internet.

Based on data released by UNESCO in 2019, there are around 44,000 radio stations around the world. In some places, the number of radio stations is even higher than other media. Take for example, there are more radio stations in Africa than newspapers and television channels.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, radio is a very reliable medium. When people are expected not to leave the house, radio is a very effective medium to be used to obtain various information or as study facilities at home, not to mention its very important function in times of disaster. In addition, with the advancement of digital technology, the role and function of radio can increasingly be improved following the times. Radio with its uniqueness and technological advancement that continues to develop, is able to penetrate boundaries and spaces to disseminate news, information and entertainment to listeners.

It is hoped   that in the future, the uniqueness of radio can be used more for things that are needed by the community, across time and space.

10
February

Myanmar has become the center of international attention again. The rejection of the Myanmar people towards the coup of civilian rule by the military has attracted the attention in various countries. Although television and news coverage at home is limited, news of the coup and demonstrations of thousands of Myanmar people across the country, has spread throughout the world. To reduce the spread of calls for demonstrations and news about it, the military has taken steps to close access to social media.

Concern over a military coup against civilian rule will be discussed at the United Nations. It was reported that on Friday, February 12, 2021, the UN Human Rights Council will meet specifically. As reported by Reuters news agency, the UN Security Council has stated that the agenda to be discussed is the crisis in Myanmar. On Monday, February 8, 2021, Britain and the European Union had requested a special session on this matter. The Asian countries that have supported the Movement at the United Nations are South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, until the beginning of the second week of February 2021, not a single ASEAN member country has commented on this issue. Understandably, the ASEAN Joint Commitment affirms that ASEAN members may not interfere in their respective domestic affairs. The political crisis in Myanmar also seems to be seen as a domestic problem in that country.

The United States will support the proposals of the UK and the European Union, because since Joe Biden became President, the United States has regained its membership in the UN Human Rights Council. Washington has also reacted to the military coup in Myanmar and stressed the possibility of sanctions.

Facing the international community reactions, the Myanmar Military Junta has so far not responded. Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has said he will hold elections soon. It is very likely that this election will not be followed by Suu Kyi, who has been detained by the police, on charges of unsubstantiated matters.

Whether international pressure, minus ASEAN, will destabilize the military junta is still uncertain. The Military coup and forced elections will certainly have implications for the life of democracy and the people of Myanmar. The country, which has just recently entered the democratic era after ended the military dictatorial regime, is now in a decisive moment. Going back to a totalitarian or democratic era.

08
February

The Covid-19 transmission rate in Indonesia has yet to show signs of slowing down. Daily positive cases of the Covid-19 pandemic confirmed that the recent figures still show above 10,000 thousand people. Large-Scale Social Restrictions that were enforced in several areas and the Public Activity Restrictions which are currently still in effect seem unable to curb the spread of the Covid-19. To make it effective, the government will impose micro-scale restrictions starting on Tuesday (9/2).

President Joko Widodo when meeting Governors of Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and Bali last Wednesday (3/2) emphasized two things that were still lacking during the Public Activity Restrictions. First, it’s the implementation of health protocols in the community, namely the lack of discipline in wearing masks, maintaining distance and avoiding crowds and the second point is the testing, tracing, and treatment efforts by the government. President Joko Widodo emphasized that the contact tracing process must be carried out for at least 30 people who are suspected of having close contact with Covid-19 patients. Thereby, he has instructed to limit community activities at the micro level, namely at the village and neighborhood community levels.

This micro-based approach will involve the Covid-19 Task Force from the central to the smallest levels. To ensure community discipline, of course, it is necessary to enforce the law that involves security elements at the micro level, including the Village Guidance Officer.

Throughout the implementation of the Public Activity Restrictions on a micro scale, the government will pay attention to the needs of the community through micro-operations in 98 regions that implement Community Activity Restrictions. Each village will be encouraged to establish a Covid-19 response post which acts as a companion to the Community Health Center and a team to track the spread of the Covid-19. One of the post's duties is to supervise and deliver food to local residents who undergo self-isolation for 14 days.

The success of implementing the Micro-scale Restrictions Community Activities will certainly depend on community discipline and compliance. Unless, hopes to reduce the rate of spread of the Covid-19 will be in vain.

03
February

 

The move by the Russian government to arrest thousands of protesters demanding the release of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, drew reactions from the European Community and the United States.

To stop and anticipate wider protests, the Russian government has taken firm steps to arrest and detain at least 5 thousand protesters on Sunday, January 31, 2021. The cold weather and heavy snow did not dampen the morale of the citizens of Moscow and other cities in Russia. They took to the streets asking the government to release Alexei Navalny, an opposition figure who is not afraid to criticize President Vladimir Putin's policies. Alexei Navalny, just returned to Moscow after recuperating in Berlin. Last summer, the critic of Putin's policies traveled to Berlin, Germany for treatment due to suspected poisoning by the nerve agent Novichok. Russian authorities have denied the allegations. But when Navalny returned to Moscow after nearly half a year of recovering, the police arrested and jailed him. Thousands of supporters and sympathizers immediately protested against Navalny's arrest by taking to the streets across Russia, until the police dispersed and arrested them. It was reported that the prison was full because of the mass arrests and detentions that were carried out.

The chaos in Russia has drawn reactions from both the United States and the European Community. Antony Blinken, Biden's new US Foreign Minister, has expressed deep concern. Blinken is concerned about the arrest of the Russian opposition figure which has been followed by the detention and arrest of protesters. As Minister of the Democratic Party Government, Blinken views the detention of Alexei Navalny and the arrest of thousands of protesters as concerning from a human rights perspective.

Like the United States, the European Union has also raised concerns over the actions of Russian police. The European Union Foreign Ministers, on Monday 24 January 2021, met and discussed Novolny's and thousands of Russian citizens arrest. European Union officials have stressed that they are not only paying attention, but also worrying about the incident, partly because Russia is Europe's close neighbor. Vladimir Putin's repressive actions could have an impact like the arrival of refugees from Russia to European countries which will cause new problems and difficulties.

The United States criticism   towards the arrest of Russian opposition figures and the detention of thousands of supporters could be the beginning of a possible change in policy in bilateral relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, the European Union's reaction to what happened last weekend in Russia might trigger tensions in diplomatic relations between the two.

Whether Vladimir Putin will stick with his moves and policies towards Navalny remains to be seen in the near future.

05
February

 

February 2021 turns out to be the month for a planned coup in Myanmar. The country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was detained by the Myanmar military. The detention was based on allegations that Aung San Suu Kyi had illegally purchased radio communications which was discovered by the military during a search of Aung San Suu Kyi's house. Some democracy activists in Myanmar argue that the military coup that took place on Monday (1/2) is one of the strategies of the top military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, so that he can remain in power after retiring from military service in July 2021.

Khin Ohmar, a veteran democracy and human rights activist in Myanmar, at a press conference with the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Tuesday (2/2) perceived that the military coup was carried out not because of general election fraud in the November 8, 2020. According to Khin Ohmar, General Min Aung Hlaing's reason for a coup against a democratically elected government in Myanmar is that he wants to maintain his position in the military. This is to secure business networks within the military that involve the families of high-ranking officers and their business partners. Interestingly, although the majority of the community disagrees with this coup, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar see it as something grateful. Suu Kyi is considered to have ignored the torture experienced by the Rohingya Muslim community. She is considered to have tolerated and taken side with what they call genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the US and a number of Western countries reacted by pressing the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) to release a number of government officials, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. White House spokesman, Jen Psaki, said that the US urged the military and all other parties to comply with democratic norms and rule of law, and release those detained.

The international community, including Indonesia and Singapore, have criticized what happened in Myanmar and hoped that all parties would exercise restraint. So far, the location whereabout Suu Kyi is detained has not been officially published by the Myanmar military. But in fact, after Suu Kyi's detention, there was a massive cabinet reshuffle by the new ruler, and 24 ministerial seats were replaced.

Seeing what Suu Kyi experienced and the pace of democratization efforts in Myanmar is like seeing a thick fog that is difficult to predict. In 2015, Suu Kyi became the de facto leader, a position that made her unable to touch and control the Myanmar Military which eventually became her rivals in her leadership. In 2015, there was a shift in global perceptions of Suu Kyi, who had previously become an icon of democracy and human rights. The military's crackdown and brutality against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State has been criticized by many countries. About one million Rohingyas have been forced to flee from the military by taking refuge in Bangladesh or other countries, including in Indonesia, without adequate provisions. Unfortunately, Suu Kyi defended the military action as part of a counter-terrorism operation and asked the court to drop the case. 

Although there are many international parties that condemn the coup action in Myanmar at this time, it seems that support for Suu Kyi is not the same as before. Still, of course all parties hope that democracy in Myanmar can continue to develop and Suu Kyi will receive protection and justice.

27
January

 

The United States and China, may improve relations in the future. The authorities in Beijing have hinted at this, albeit with a few caveats. Not long after Joe Biden took his oath as the 46th President of the United States, the Chinese government expressed hope for better relations with the United States.

As reported by the CNBC network, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying expressed the hope of a new day in relations between the two countries.

Beijing's relations with Washington have deteriorated in the last year of Donald Trump's administration. The trade war between the two major countries has even affected the global economy. No wonder the Chinese government hopes for an improvement in relations in the near future.

Tensions between the US and China were still strong at the end of the Domald Trump administration. Shortly before Trump left the White House, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly criticized the Chinese government and declared it was committing genocide against Muslims in Uygur. The remarks that angered the government in Beijing were met with Chinese sanctions against a number of Americans, one of whom was Mike Pompeo. The Chinese government will sanction US companies associated with names that are mostly elements of Donald Trump's administration.

So far, the Joe Biden administration has not provided a concrete response in the form of policies regarding future relations with China. However, it is interesting to note that at the time of the inauguration of the president, the Biden administration had invited representatives of Taiwan. Joe Biden and his government certainly have certain intentions by inviting Taiwanese representatives to the event, given Beijing's policy regarding One China Policy. The fact of Taiwan's presence in the Capitol Hill Building becomes interesting when it is related to Beijing's statement that it will improve relations with the note that the United States must pay attention to China's sovereignty.

From the recent facts, it can be seen there are intentions of the two major countries to improve relations, under certain conditions.

What can be said is, there will be a change in the White House's policy in looking at relations with China. At least under Joe Biden's administration, the United States government's policy towards China could become more lenient, according to the character of every President who comes from the Democratic Party.

 

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