Editorial

Editorial (509)

25
September

Many people guess what relationship will occur between the United Arab Emirates -UAE and Israel after being mediated by the United States of America. It turned out that the move was followed by a series of announcements about business deals and contracts between companies of both countries. What has caught the eye is that a number of the UAE companies have signed contracts with Israeli companies and banks. Although they are on the UN blacklist for supporting illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, it is known that among the contracts announced by the UAE media, one of them involved Bank Leumi, whose name is on the UN blacklist.

According to the official Emirati media, this Israeli bank has signed agreements with the top three UAE banks namely Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates NBD. Bank Leumi is Israel's largest bank based on total assets as of 2015, with branch offices in several countries such as Luxembourg, United States, Switzerland, the UK and China. Although it was nationalized in 1981, most of the bank's shares are now in private hands. The Israeli government is still the largest shareholder with 14.8% of the shares (as of June 2006).

In 2016 and 2018, the UN Human Rights Council approved resolutions to compile a blacklist of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The development of settlements and infrastructure has caused Palestinians to lose their freedom of movement and religion, including access to education. Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, in an Arabnews post said that these companies are scooping up the natural resources of the Palestinian territories, thereby reducing the population of their natural wealth. For this reason, PM Mohammed Shtayyeh demanded that they immediately close their headquarters and branches in illegal Israeli settlements. According to PM Mohammed Shtayyeh, the presence of these companies is against the attitude of the international community and the UN resolutions.

From the cooperation with Leumi Bank which is blacklisted by the UN, it is clear that both the UAE and Israel are prioritizing their interests without caring for other parties, including the UN, let alone Palestine.

Naturally, this matter will be in the spotlight and it causes concern. Will this disrespect of the international community's concerns regarding the Palestinian issue continue?

22
September

PHOTO : MONITORKEADILAN

 

 

Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, something that has received full attention of the Indonesian people is the 2020 simultaneous Regional Head Election (Pilkada 2020). The 2020 Pilkada is scheduled to be held simultaneously on December 9, 2020, in 270 cities and regencies across 9 provinces in Indonesia. Over the last few days, proposal for postponement of the Pilkada 2020 hasarisen due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The proposal to postpone the 2020 Pilkada came from various groups, such as the Governors, the largest Religious Organization in Indonesia, and the 12th Vice President Jusuf Kalla. In an interview with a TV station, Jusuf Kalla said that the implementation of the Pilkada on schedule is a choice, namely the choice of taking risks to the people or the choice of choosing a leader who could actually be postponed.

The choice has been made by the Indonesian Government. Presidential Spokesperson, Fadjroel Rachman in a media release published Monday (21/9) entitled ‘Pilkada on schedule, democratic and safe for Covid-19.’ He said that the Pilkada will be on schedule to safeguard the people's constitutional rights, the rights to be voted and the rights to vote. The 2020 Pilkada will be held with the application of strict health protocols. President Joko Widodo reaffirmed that the 2020 Pilkada will continue to be held on schedule. Because no single country knows when the Covid-19 pandemic will shake off. Thereby, the implementation of Pilkada must follow strict health protocols in order to be safe and remain democratic. The implementation of the Pilkada according to schedule also shows the international community that Indonesia is a constitutional democracy and maintains the sustainability of a democratic government system in accordance with the Pancasila ideology and the 1945 constitution.

The 2020 Pilkada must continue. What must be prepared so that it will take place according to the schedule is democratic and safe from Covid-19. On schedule and democratically, God’s willing; Indonesia is able to implement it. The fact is that success of the 2019 simultaneous general election has proven. Heavy duties and responsibilities for organizers, Pilkada participants, supporting parties, supporters and citizens are safe from Covid-19. There is a habit of Indonesian people who are always enthusiastic in every Democratic Party by getting to know the candidates who will be selected. It is undeniable that this could still occur. Obedience to maintaining health protocols is possible to ignore. This is the hard work for the 2020 Pilkada organizers, namely the General Election Commission -KPU. Hopefully, there is still enough time to prepare more appropriate methods and models in the preparation process until the Pilkada implementation. Maybe it can make proposals from many parties to carry out Pilkada by e-voting. Candidates for regional heads and their success teams must think about a more appropriate campaign method by prioritizing the health of their citizens. Of course, prospective voters must improve their awareness of implementing health protocols. Because it cannot be denied that the key success of the 2020 Pilkada which is on schedule, democratic and safe from Covid-9 is the prospective voters.


Hopefully, the Covid-19 pandemic will soon fade away and the world will come to healthy life.

21
September

The Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the world since the end of 2019 has brought about an impact on all aspects of human life in the world. Besides health sector, almost all sectors are affected both socially and economically.

Various efforts have been carried out by countries in the world to overcome the effects of this pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no country is fully prepared to deal with it.

Take for example Indonesia; to deal with the impact of the pandemic, the government has made various efforts by strengthening the health sector in a bid to ensure access for everyone to good-quality health services. In addition, the Indonesian government is also carrying out economic recovery efforts, namely by providing support to affected communities, including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the business world.

Efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic are carried out by not only the Indonesian government at home, but also other countries such as those who are members of the G20 to jointly pursue collaboration.

Indonesian Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati in her official statement in Jakarta, Sunday (20/9), said that member countries of the G20 have agreed to continue to co-work and carry out global actions, especially to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the health, social and economic sectors. The G20 countries will continue to implement policies to protect lives, jobs and incomes, support the global economic recovery, and boost the resilience of health and financial systems.

In the health sector, global cooperation among the G20 countries is carried out on vaccines. The G20 countries are expected to be the driving force for equal access to the Covid-19 vaccine at an affordable price for everyone.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about not only negative impacts on social, economic and health sectors, but also improvement of the world cooperation and solidarity. Countries, that are less affected or that have recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, are helping countries that are still affected. All have to account for and take part in the global action against the Covid-19 pandemic.

18
September

The United Arab Emirates -UAE and Bahrain are the third and fourth Arab countries to recognize Israel since its inception in 1948. Previously, only Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel in the Middle East in 1979 and 1994 respectively.

The peace agreement between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel, called the "Abraham Accords", was conducted at the White House in Washington D.C, the United States of America. US President, Donald Trump has praised the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain and called it "the dawn of the new Middle East".

For decades, most Arab states have boycotted Israel, insisting that they would only establish relations after Israel's dispute with Palestine is resolved. President Trump has claimed that as many as five or six other countries will soon undertake a similar deal with Israel. However, he did not mention the names of the countries that would normalize relations with Israel

Will the signing of this peace agreement change international support for Palestine ahead?

Indonesia, which is one of the supporters of Palestine, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain will not change its position towards Palestine. Indonesia will continue to defend the rights of the Palestinian people. Because basically, the settlement of the Palestinian issue must respect the UN Security Council resolutions related to it, as well as the internationally agreed parameters, including a two-state solution.

Spokesman of Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Teuku Faizasyah said that the peace agreement could not invalidate the Arab Peace Initiative decision in 2002. It stated that Arab countries could establish diplomatic relations with Israel once the Palestinian issue is resolved. Arab countries should remember and comply with this agreement. Unfortunately, this didn't happen. Naturally, Palestinians feel betrayed.

However, it is quite interesting to see the steps of other Arab countries regarding support for Palestine amid improving relations between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel. Saudi Arabia, for example, in the Arab League meeting recently emphasized its support for the birth of an independent Palestinian state, an attitude that Saudi Arabia has not shown for a long time. So far, it has been suspected that Saudi Arabia's closeness to the USA has brought it closer to Israel.

Apart from Indonesia, which has firmly demonstrated its stance, how various countries will respond to the normal relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain is not seen yet, especially those who have expressed support for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

17
September

               

photo : JP

 

 

 

 

On September 15, Indonesian Statistics Agency (BPS) announced that Indonesian import grew negatively in August 2020. However, the trade balance experienced a surplus, because the export was higher than import. BPS announced that Indonesia's import in August 2020 was US$10.74 billion dollars. Meanwhile, the export was US$13.07 billion dollars. Therefore, Indonesian trade balance in August 2020 was surplus US$2.33 billion dollars. The surplus was a surprise amid Covid-19 pandemic which caused a sluggish economy not only in Indonesia but also in almost every country. Based on Indonesia's economic development in this difficult time, Asian Development Bank (ADB) projected that Indonesian economic growth will improve in early 2021. ADB Economist for Indonesia, Emma Allen in a webinar on Asian Development Outlook 2020 in Jakarta on Tuesday (15/9) said that ADB projected the recovery will occur quickly along with domestic demands which can increase purchasing manager's index on manufacturing until surpassing 50 limit in August. Therefore, in its annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2020 which was just released maintains its prediction for Indonesian economic growth next year around 5.3 percent after experiencing 1 percent contraction in 2020.

ADB's projection about Indonesian economy is not too different from the government's explanation to the House of Representatives last year. Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati in a working meeting with the House's Budget Committee stated last week that the economic growth in State Budget Draft 2021 which was targeted between 4.5 to 5.5 percent, now becomes 5 percent. She also explained that the economic growth target change was a right decision which represents the hope and caution towards uncertainty in 2020.

Covid-19 epidemic is truly a bad hit against economic growth in almost every country. For Indonesia, 1 percent contraction in the 4th quarter was a rare occurrence after the 1997-1998 monetary crisis. However, many policies taken by the government, such as cash aid to boost domestic purchasing as well as investment and business leniency, had given hope for economic recovery. Although Indonesia is facing the 2nd wave of Covid-19, the joint effort against Covid-19 with some countries, mainly in vaccine development which had been in the final clinical test had also given hope for the people to live healthily and normally so it moves again the domestic economy namely in industry, service, manufacture, and tourism.

16
September

The 2020 United States Presidential Election is only two and a half months away. The American people in November will elect a President for the next four-year term. It is still not known who will lead the country next. Whether Donald Trump will come to power as President for the second time, or his Democratic opponent who will replace him.

What is certain is that the Democrats and Republicans must convince the people of the United States to choose one of the candidates. The progress of democracy in that country is increasingly felt.

To reassure voters, the two presidential candidates, the incumbent Donald Trump and Joe Bidden of the Democratic Party, have started their campaign. Both are working hard to become the 46th President of the United States.

Observers and several surveys named Joe Bidden as the favorite candidate. Joe Bidden, who in the past accompanied Barack Obama as Vice President, based on research results last week or since the official campaign began, shows his national superiority over Donald Trump. Even so, the two presidential candidates still have to fight to win in several places often called swing states.

Swing states are several states in the United States where voters tend to flip between the two parties in  each election cycle and could determine the victory of the presidential candidate. Based on the results of an interim survey, the two presidential candidates, namely Trump and Bidden, have an equal chance of winning in those states. Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin are often said to be swing states where tough competition occurs.

Along with the campaigns carried out by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, opinions are usually voiced by various survey institutions. Experts and observers will also speak up through the mass media. Survey results and opinions as well as news coverage may influence people's choices. But four years ago, the facts showed that the campaign method and content as well as the strategic approach to voters largely determined election results.

If in November, the Democratic party candidate manages to win over most of the votes, the US  state policies then, both internal and external, are very likely to change.

14
September

A Chinese Coast Guard ship was again spotted roaming the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone in the North Natuna Sea on Saturday morning (12/9).

The Chinese ship was detected at around 10:00 West Indonesian Time (WIB) on the radar and automatic identification system of the KN Nipah-321 Maritime Security Agency ship and was immediately asked to leave Indonesian jurisdiction. Via VHF channel 16 radio, KN Nipah-321 asked about the activities of the Chinese Coast Guard ship. When communicating, they insisted that they were patrolling the nine dash line area which they said is the territory of China.

Then, KN Nipah-321 personnel explained that based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -UNCLOS, the existence of the nine dash line was not recognized. The Chinese Coast Guard ship was in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone area and was asked to leave immediately.

This incident is the third times since 2016.  In June 2016 and early January 2020, China's Coast Guard ships had also entered the Indonesian jurisdiction while guarding the country's fishing vessels.

The North Natuna Sea is the jurisdiction of Indonesia with sovereign rights over natural resources in the water column. Foreign ships are allowed to cross, but on the condition that they do not carry out other activities that are against national and international law.

The Indonesian government has protested strongly against China regarding the presence of foreign ships in the Natuna Sea. President Joko Widodo has also issued a firm statement saying that there is no compromise on Indonesia's sovereignty. To show the seriousness of the Indonesian government in safeguarding and defending its territory, President Joko Widodo even immediately inspected the situation in Natuna by boarding the Indonesian Battleship -Imam Bonjol 383 in June 2016. Likewise, after the incident of the re-entry of Chinese ships last January, the President left for Natuna with both sea and air military power.

The Chinese government should respect what has been agreed by the international community. The Natuna Exclusive Economic Zone has a strong legal basis, namely UNCLOS 1982 and this was confirmed again by the Permanent Court of Arbitration which was revealed in the settlement of disputes between the Philippines and China.

10
September

    photo : kpu klaten

 

 

One of the crucial problems during the regional election that will be simultaneously held in 270 regions on December 9 2020 is not only about people’s participation but also keeping the neutrality of the state civil apparatus. The state civil apparatus’ neutrality is regulated in Law no. 5 year 2014. Article 70 verse 1 of the Law says that state civil apparatus involved in candidates’ campaign can be charged 6-month imprisonment. Based on data from the State Civilian Bureaucracy Commission until August 2020, there were 499 reports on suspected neutrality violations. Then after further investigation, 389 state civil apparatus were proven guilty. 

The neutrality violations done by them included giving support for prospective candidates on social media or mass media, introducing prospective candidates through campaign equipment, attending activities that benefit the candidates, declaring themselves as prospective candidates, inviting or intimidating people to support a candidate. State civil apparatus’ neutrality is important to avoid division and conflict of interest, as well as to guarantee the bureaucracy as the keeper of unity in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Therefore, neutrality must be kept and monitored so that the regional election can be fair and honest between candidates who have power and those who do not possess power relations in a government bureaucracy environment.

Therefore, to keep the state civil apparatus neutral, Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform along with Ministry of Home Affairs, National Civil Service Agency, State Civilian Bureaucracy Commission, and Election Supervisory Board had readied Joint Decree on Guidance for Monitoring State Civil Apparatus Neutrality in Simultaneous Regional Election 2020. The Joint Decree signing was done on September 10 20202 at the Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry Office in Jakarta. The Joint Decree aims to be the guidance for government institutions in keeping the neutrality of state civil apparatus, especially during the Simultaneous Regional Election 2020.

Besides, there must be synergy, effectiveness, and efficiency to be created in monitoring the state civil apparatus’ neutrality and realizing legal certainty towards neutrality violation. It is certainly expected that the violation of state civil apparatus neutrality will not happen again or at least is kept at minimum level with the synergic monitoring.

09
September

Relations between the two neighboring countries, namely Greece and Turkey, have recently deteriorated. The leaders of the two countries even began to discuss the deployment of troops to face each other.

Facing Turkey's military might, Greece said it would strengthen its military with new weapons, increasing troops and developing its defense industry. Greece also mentioned France, which it said would cooperate. As stated by government spokesman, Stelios Petsas, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will announce plans to increase the country’s military strength in his annual economic address this weekend. Greek mass media reported that the Greek government is likely to buy French fighter jets, Rafale, and a frigate.

Greece's tension with Turkey was triggered by a dispute over the boundary of the East Mediterranean Sea which has a lot of hydro-carbon content.

The Turkish government carried out military maneuvers in the disputed region and issued a tense discourse following an agreement between Greece and Egypt over the East Mediterranean. The European Union, as said by its Secretary General Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, will try to help overcome tensions between the two countries that are members of the European Union.

From an economic point of view, the discourse of fighting against Turkey is likely to further aggravate Greece's economic conditions. Apart from experiencing the burden of having to strengthen the economy, the Greek government is also trying to overcome various problems due to the Corona pandemic. This condition also seems to be used by Turkey to pressure Greece to enter into negotiations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously warned Greece to discuss resolving territorial disputes in the East Mediterranean region.

In fact, it is still open for the two governments to hold talks and find a solution. It is hoped that the two countries will not repeat history. At the beginning of the 20th century, after the first world war, the two of them fought with each other's strengths. This cannot be repeated. Because war everywhere always costs lives, including innocent people, and property. Something no one wants.

08
September

PHOTO : BRITISH COUNCIL 

 

 

September 8 is commemorated by the world as International Literacy Day. Since 1967, every year International Literacy Day has been commemorated to remind people of the importance of literacy as a matter of human dignity and rights.

UNESCO notes that there is progress in efforts to eradicate illiteracy. However, currently at least, 773 million adults worldwide still lack basic literacy skills. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia said that the illiteracy rate at the age of 15-59 years in Indonesia reaches 1.78 percent of the total population. When compared with previous years, this figure continues to decline. Director General of Early Childhood Education –PAUDat the Basic Education and Secondary Education Ministry of Education and Culture, Jumeri said that his side is targeting the achievement of illiteracy by 0 percent by 2023.The Illiteracy must be done, although it has to face challenges. Then what efforts should becarried out and what kind of literacy learning program is effective amid the Covid-19 pandemic? Of course, every country has its own answers and methods. Indonesia has chosen “Literacy Learning in the Covid-19 Pandemic, Momentum for Paradigm Change” as the theme for the commemoration of International Literacy Day 2020. This theme refers to the theme carried out by UNESCO, namely, “Literacy Teaching and Learning in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond with a Particular Focus on The Role of Educators and Changing Pedagogies”.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, various efforts, innovations and participation must be carried out. If in the period before the pandemic, the introduction of literacy at an early age might be mostly done in Early Childhood Education (PAUD) or kindergartens. However nowadays, it is mostly done in the family. Parents can use any method to introduce characters, including through online broadcasts, of course with tight supervision. Currently, a lot of children actually recognize characters through broadcasts on the internet. Direct community participation in the eradication of illiteracy in their neighborhood must be further enhanced. One of them is through reading gardens. With the support of the government, of course the reading gardens in the community will be able to improve their role. In addition to eradicating illiteracy, and creating individuals who can read, write and count, the provision of the reading gardens is one solution to addressing gaps in the distance learning process. The reading gardens can facilitate environmental, character and social learnings for children. Of course, health protocols should not be ignored.

Based on the awareness that literacy is the right of every human being, illiteracy freedom should be the concern of all stakeholders. The involvement of every individual with any method must be boosted. The government support for community participation in literacy eradication could be further improvedby providing financial assistance, training and facilities to people who actively contribute to efforts to eradicate illiteracy. So, zero percent illiteracy in Indonesia in 2023 can be achieved. In the end, this can improve the welfare of the Indonesian people.

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