Editorial

Editorial (509)

17
October

 

 

Eventually, PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines can resume its operations after 10 State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) synergized to help it be active again. Garuda Indonesia along with nine other SOEs synergized to form a strategic partnership in a bid to restructure the business of PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines. The cooperation agreement includes collaboration in the field of air cargo services, ground-handling, overhaul maintenance, and training centers. The cooperation agreement was signed directly by President Director of PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk, Ari Askhara, Managing Director of PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Asep Ekanugraha, and directors of nine other SOEs in Jakarta, Wednesday (10/16/2019).


PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines has ceased operations since February 1, 2014. This is due to Merpati's debt to a number of creditors, which reached Rp10.72 trillion.

PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines had experienced its golden time in 1989-1992. At that time, Merpati had various types of aircraft, from jets to small-sized propeller planes, which totaled 100 aircraft. With a considerable number of fleets at the time, Merpati controlled pioneer flights in Indonesia. Short-distance routes to remote areas could be controlled by Merpati. The airline operated on the routes that were considered uneconomical.


At the time, Merpati's performance was strengthened by the synergy with Garuda Indonesia. Merpati served as a Garuda Indonesia feeder to serve flights to all corners of the country. During its golden time, PT Merpati also served international flights: to the United States and Australia. For the United States, Merpati had served Biak-Honolulu-Los Angeles route.


At present, the aviation business in Indonesia has developed rapidly and is able to increase human mobility efficiently and has proven to contribute positively to the regional economy. Unfortunately, access to remote areas and remote islands is still limited, considering the implementation of pioneering flights has not been optimal.

With the re-operation of PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, of course, access to remote areas and remote islands is increasingly open. Certainly, the re-operation of PT Merpati will support the efforts of the Indonesian government to build connectivity across Indonesia. 

14
October

It is still about a  week ahead before the inauguration of the Indonesian President and Vice-President which is scheduled to take place on October 20, 2019. But the signal that non-coalition  parties will join the Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin coalition, is increasingly clear. President Joko Widodo has invited two chairmen of these  non-coalition parties to discuss their possibility to joing the government.

Last Thursday (October 10), President Joko Widodo met Democratic Party Chairperson, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace in Jakarta. On Friday (October 11), it was the turn of the General Chairperson of the Gerindra Party, Prabowo Subianto who was invited by President Joko Widodo to the State Palace. The President admitted that in the two meetings, he discussed the possibility of the Democratic Party and Gerindra to enter into his second period of his administration. The meeting certainly became a new chapter of President Joko Widodo's relationship with Prabowo and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who were in a different camp during the 2019 elections.

It is not wrong if President Joko Widodo calls for Gerindra and Democrat parties to join the coalition government later. Gerindra and Democrats are the two major parties outside the coalition of Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf.

Although Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not provide information for the outcome of the meeting, in his contemplative speech some time ago, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recommended Democratic cadres and the public to support the Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin government. In fact, Democratic Party Secretary General, Hinca Pandjaitan told reporters on Friday (11/10)  that  his party is ready to join the cabinet if requested.

Meanwhile before President Joko Widodo, Prabowo said that he is ready to join the government coalition if needed. If in the end his cadres do not engage in  the government, Prabowo promised that Gerindra would still help the government but in a different way.

The possibility of Gerindra and Democratic parties to join the government is believed to change the map of the coalition in the next five years. It is certain that there will be seats in the Jokowi-Ma'ruf cabinet for the cadres of the two parties. That means that the Democratic Party and Gerindra, which originally would become the opposition parties  and are expected to be a counterweight to the Jokowi-Ma'ruf government, will support the government.

In a democratic system, the opposition is very important. Its existence is needed to control the government. So, the possibility of  tyranny  can be minimized. However so far, the political system in Indonesia does not recognize the opposition party. Even in deciding various problems, both in the DPR, the MPR and other forums, Indonesians tend to seek deliberations to reach consensus rather than voting which is considered a last resort. Whereas in a democracy, voting is very normal and natural.

10
October

 

Indonesia is an archipelagic country whose waters is bordering directly with 10 neighboring countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Republic of Palau and Timor Leste.


The maritime boundary between Indonesia and Australia has been agreed. However, Indonesia is reviewing the process for the maritime boundary agreement between Indonesia and Australia that was signed in 1997.


Meanwhile, maritime boundaries with other neighboring countries have only been determined by setting the boundaries of the continental shelf and part of the territorial sea boundary (Territorial sea). The completion of Indonesia's maritime boundaries with neighboring countries has been a priority program since the beginning of reform era. However, the process looks slow, and until now the determination has not been completed.
Indeed, it is not easy to negotiate with various countries related to the borders among the neighboring countries. There are several reasons why the negotiation of maritime boundary has been in a slow process. The first cause is that the boundary line must be agreed upon by the two sovereign states. This means that the shared principle must be carried out by both parties. Second, boundaries are related to sovereign ones. Thus, the two countries have to be very careful because once a border is established; it can no longer be questioned. Third, international law on maritime borders, even the 1982 UNCLOS (The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), has not provided standard norms to guide countries to determine a just and acceptable borderline for both parties.


The Indonesian government keeps encouraging the acceleration of Indonesia's maritime border agreements with the 10 neighboring countries. In fact, Indonesia has made accelerating negotiations on the determination of maritime boundaries as one of the priorities of foreign policy.


In accelerating negotiations to determine maritime boundaries, the Indonesian government must not stick on the legal aspect. The more important point is to establish good bilateral relations with other countries. Because good relations between the two countries are one of the factors that influences the acceleration of the border negotiations. 

11
October

It can be ensured that any protracted regional conflict or civil war always involves a superpower country. The civil war in Syria and the situation in Afghanistan are two significant examples. Russia, the United States of America and Iran, including Turkey, are involved in a war in Syria where the initial dispute was between the government and the opposition. In Afghanistan, the involvement of the United States and Russia has been taking place for long time. Another conflict that has lasted for more than five decades is the dispute over the Kashmir region. This conflict involves not only Pakistan and India, but also China. The three countries are disputing parts of Kashmir which are claimed as their territory.

The latest developments show China's support for Pakistan over its conflict with India. Beijing's support is interesting to observe, because it was stated precisely a few days before the meeting of Chinese President, Xi Jinping with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The two leaders' meeting is scheduled to take place in Beijing these weekends.


Chinese support for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue was conveyed by President, Xi Jinping after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan in Beijing on Wednesday (9/10). President Xi Jinping stated that India should not act unilaterally over Kashmir. Beijing emphasized the importance to resolve the conflict through dialogue.


For decades, the three countries: China, India and Pakistan have been in dispute because each country recognizes control of a part of Kashmir. Pakistan recognizes Azad Kashmir; India claims Jammu and Kashmir, while China claims that Aksai Chin is its territory. The three countries were not only once involved in armed clashes, even the war over Kashmir.


Therefore, even though talks have taken place several times, the Kashmir conflict is not over. The meeting between Chinese President, Xi Jinping Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Prime Minister Narendra Rodi cannot be expected to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

09
October

Turkish and Kurdish relations in Syria continue to experience ups and downs. The entry of The United States of America into the conflict between the two, made the situation more complicated. On one hand so far, the US military cooperated with Kurdish forces (YPG) fighting against ISIS militias in northern Syria. On the other hand, Turkey has insisted on destroying Kurdish forces which they accuse of being a terrorists group. A new, unpredictable development came when a few days ago, President of the United States of America, Donald Trump approved the Turkish military operation in Syria against Kurdish forces which had been the main US ally in fighting the ISIS group.

 

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said that the USA just respected the wishes of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to protect his people from terrorist attacks. Then, the US withdrew its troops from the Turkish - Syria border.This made the Kurds starting to feel that they have lost support from the United States and are betrayed. Citing Reuters reports, the withdrawal of the US troops from the region will make Kurdish-led forces in Syria, which have long been allied with Washington, vulnerable to attacks planned by the Turkish military labeling them terrorists. Observers argue that the rapid withdrawal of the US troops from Syria will only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime in Syria. This will increase the risk of ISIS and other terrorist groups regrouping.


What's interesting is the change in American attitudes that happened so quickly and quite confusing
. Monday (7/10/2019), President Trump even chirped in his Twitter account threatening to "wipe out" the Turkish economy if deemed excessive acts. But in fact, American troops, The union which has defeated the 'Caliphate' in the ISIS region, no longer supports or engages in operations in the region. In essence, America no longer supports the Kurds. Predictably, as a continuation of the attitude of the United States, Turkey is getting ready to launch attacks on Kurdish militias. Previously, Ankara had twice carried out attacks, in 2016 and 2018. The target was the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG), the militia that became Kurdish backbone. The White House states that Turkey will assume all responsibility for ISIS militias captured by Kurdish forces for the past two years.


The question now is what is the attitude of the international community towards the actions that Turkey will launch against the Kurds (?) Will Kurds experience the most extreme population reductions? The Kurdish population in Syria concentrates in Hasakah province (the Syrian-Turkish border), Aleppo province in the Ain Arab region (including Kobani which they are currently defending against ISIS attacks). 120 thousand Kurds have been curbed off from Syriaso far. Which country will stand next to the Kurds who feel betrayed?


08
October

 

At the second week of September 2019, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani said, the Indonesian Government would like to increase the cigarette excise by 23%. She added, with this increase, the retail sale price of cigarettes also increases to 35%. This decision will be stipulated in the Minister of Finance Regulation and will take effect on January 1, 2020.


In Indonesia more recently, the price of a pack of cigarettes has become viral. The price of locally produced cigarettes, which is currently around Rp 23.00, is rumored to reach Rp 48,000. The rising price of cigarettes in Indonesia received a great deal of attention. Based on the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) Report entitled 'The Tobacco Control Atlas', the ASEAN Region showed that in 2013 around 65.19 million Indonesians were smokers.


Raising cigarette excise in Indonesia has become a dilemma. If the cigarette excise tax does not increase, the number of deaths due to consumption of tobacco products may increase. On one hand, the results of the 2015 Health Research and Development Agency study showed that Indonesia accounts for more than 230,000 deaths due to consumption of tobacco products annually. Lung cancer ranks first cause of death which is equal to 12.6%. On the other hand, the tobacco industry is one of the national manufacturing sectors, that has a large contribution. The Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia noted that the cigarette industry sector absorbs nearly 6 million workers.


But there is one thing that must be prioritized. Increasing the excise on cigarettes must be taken by the government without further delay, remembering that Indonesia is strongly committed to creating excellent human resources. The fact shows that tobacco consumption has become an effective instrument to degrade the quality of Human Resources in Indonesia. Creating excellent human resources must be done earlier. One cause of the non-formation of excellent human resources is stunting, the failure of child growth due to malnutrition for a long time. Facts on the ground show that almost about 70 percent of smokers in Indonesia are poor families. For them, cigarette becomes the second priority after rice.


An optimal increase in the price of cigarettes needs to be done. There are no cheap cigarette prices. Thus, the poor do not easily buy cigarettes, and the funds spent to buy cigarettes can be used to meet nutritious intakes. Hopefully, Indonesia's excellent human resources will be formed more quickly.

07
October

The flurry of the Indonesian political elites apparently did not stop at the time of the contest   for the presidency and the Speaker of the House of Representatives -DPR. The empty seat of the chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly -MPR which had not yet been filled was also contested.

This position certainly was not necessarily only occupied by the coalition parties, but the opposition also wanted to obtain it.  This was seen in the election of the chairman of the MPR which took place in a plenary session at Nusantara Building on Thursday night (3/10). After being suspended several times to give an opportunity to political parties to lobby, finally Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party was elected by acclamation.

Bambang Soesatyo in his inaugural address as the chairman of the MPR expressed his commitment to carry out his best duties, so that the institution he leads could function optimally.

His statement is certainly reasonable. After the reform era, the existence of the MPR could only be felt when there was a certain agenda. This is reflected in Article 2 paragraph (2) of the Constitution which explains that the MPR convenes at least once in five years in Jakarta, or appoints the President and Vice President. In addition, the MPR may also impeach the president and amend the Constitution.

After the amendment of the Constitution, the People's Consultative Assembly lost its authority to determine the course of government by the president, because the State Policy Outline (GBHN) had been abolished and replaced with the Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJM) which was discussed by the Parliament and the President.

In his speech, Bambang Soesatyo also emphasized that the MPR for the 2019-2024 period is open to reviewing various ideas regarding the nation and state's problems. The MPR will become the National Home where the fundamental and strategic issues of the country are discussed.

It is expected that what was conveyed by the elected Chairman of the MPR for the 2019-2024 period is not merely rhetoric, but it is followed by  concrete actions for the progress of the nation and state of the Republic of Indonesia.

02
October

The independence day   of the People's Republic of China, or the 70th National Day of China, is celebrated on October 1, 2019 with excitement and splendor. President Xi Jinping stood at the Podium watching the military parade that appeared in the parade and defile. The celebration of the national day, as before, was the  symbol of the rise and progress of China since the commencement of the Communist government in 1949. The celebration was also intended to show how China had risen to become a modern communist state. President Xi Jinping also wants to show how China has become an economically and militarily strong country. The international community acknowledges that China's influence continues to grow.

But in 2019 China also faces at least two problems, namely a trade war with the United States and demonstrations in Hong Kong. The trade war, sparked by President Donald Trump, is one of the potential challenges. Not only economically, but can also be seen in the perspective of geopolitics. Economically there is an indication of slowing economic growth in the country. Relations between Beijing and Washington, which have declined recently, may be able to remind the international community in the early decades after the establishment of communist China. A few decades after Mao Zedong's rule, the United States has suspended diplomatic relations with China.

The 70th anniversary of China has also been marked by protests in Hong Kong, a part of the country that has a special status. Demonstrations of months as a conflict over the extradition bill are still ongoing. Despite stopping the proposed draft of the exradition bill, the demonstration continued until ahead of the celebration of the Chinese national day. Protesters cynically refer to October 1 as Day of Grief.

China indeed continues to grow to become one of the largest and most powerful countries and has global influence. But it's not without any  problems. If the crisis in Hong Kong has given a bad image in terms of democracy, the trade war with the United States has an economic impact not only in the country, but also on a global economic scale.

30
September

Every September 30th,  people in  Indonesia are always reminded of the incident of the 30th-September Movement of the Indonesian Communist Party –PKI or better known as G-30 S PKI which is a black record of Indonesian history. On  September 30, 1965, there were PKI rebellions in Jakarta and Yogyakarta and the kidnapping 10 officers of the Indonesian National Armed Forces . Seven of them  were killed in Jakarta and three others in Yogyakarta.

The uprising on September 30, 1965 was not the first time for the PKI. Previously in 1948, the PKI had held a rebellion in Madiun. The aim of the rebellion was to replace the Republic of Indonesia with a communist state.

Shortly afterwards, the Commander of the Strategic Command of the Army (Kostrad) at the time, Major General Soeharto moved quickly, quelling the rebellion. The hunt for the G-30 S perpetrators was carried out quickly. The PKI was declared to be behind the violent takeover of power. They were hunted down and captured. Members of the organization who were considered sympathizers or related to the PKI were also arrested. Various community groups also destroyed PKI headquarters in various regions. They also attacked institutions, shops, offices and universities that were accused of being related to the PKI.

Some PKI leaders were tried at the Extraordinary Military Court, some were sentenced to death. PKI Chairman, DN Aidit who was accused of designing this movement together with PKI Special Bureau Chairman, Sam Kamaruzzaman fled to Central Java, but was later arrested, and killed. Then, the New Order government set 30 September as the  Remembrance Day of the 30 September Movement and 1 October as the Pancasila Sanctity Day.

Indeed, the PKI G-30 S had long been crushed. The main culprits were arrested and tried. However, this does not mean that the Indonesian people are unaware of the communist threat. Communist ideology that does not recognize the existence of God is not appropriate for the Indonesian people with the Pancasila ideology which believes in God.

The Indonesian people do not want bloody tragedies like the PKI G-30 S to be repeated. However, even Chief of Indonesia Armed Forces, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto acknowledges that communism is still a threat to the Indonesian people, so they must always be vigilant and anticipated for its existence because it could appear anytime and anywhere.

26
September

 

Ahead of the inauguration of the President and Vice President in October, the condition in some cities across Indonesia is heating up. There has been strong polemic about moving the capital, forest and land fires in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Java, as well the actions related to Papuan iissue, as well as the latest one: protest against draft bills made by the House of Representatives -DPR. The dynamics that occur in Indonesia today are part of democracy and the follow-up of reforms that began in the late 90s. The Indonesian people chose reforms to make democratic change instead of revolution. Because if there is a revolution, the Indonesian nation could set back. However, the actions carried out more recently can disturb the people of Indonesia. Because in almost every major city throughout Indonesia, university students, senior high school students and farmers staged a demonstration. This action is reminiscent of the actions that occurred in 1998.

In a discussion on national television, legal expert -Supardi Ahmad said that more recently, the community has been concerned about the planned revision of the Corruption Eradication Commission’s law -KPK and the Draft of Criminal Code Book -KUHP that would be completed by the DPR. These points are the main focus of the demonstrators. Supardi Ahmad hopes that all demonstrators' demands must be accommodated. All relevant stakeholders must engage and take part in reviewing and disseminating information to the public regarding the contents of the Draft of Criminal Code Book and the revision of the KPK law. In this regard, the government has issued a communiqué to delay discussion and endorsement along with the DPR.


With all-inclusive participation by related stakeholders: the executive, legislative, judicative, academics and 
multi-discipline experts, the problems of the Indonesian people related to legal products can be resolved together. Thus, all legal products that will be produced can be understood and accepted by all groups towards a just and prosperous Indonesia.

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