As the number of positive cases of Covid-19 continues to decline, the Indonesian government has set the opening of international flights on October 14. The Ministry of Transportation has also confirmed the readiness of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport ahead of the opening of international flights. The simulation of various services at the international arrival terminal has been carried out in detail.
The Ministry also stated that all service facilities are available and operating well at the international arrival terminals. Matters related to facilities for health protocols are also available. 35 hotels have been alerted for quarantine for new arrivals.
Foreign media have also been busy reporting plans to open international flights in Bali, such as CNN, New York Times, Bloomberg, Japan Today and Xinhua. Even since last week, the Chinese media has introduced the term PPKM or the Enforcement of Restrictions on Community Activities as restrictions on the movement of local people imposed in Indonesia. In recent years, China has been the largest contributor of foreign tourists, especially to Bali. Every year, no less than 2.5 million Chinese tourists visit Indonesia.
Thus, the world community longs for a vacation to Bali. However, only 18 countries are allowed to enter Indonesia. This does not include Singapore, because the country has not met the WHO level 1 and 2 alert requirements. This is the statement of the Java-Bali PPKM Coordinator, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in his press statement Monday (11/10). The government's plan is also sure to be a breath of fresh air for the people of Bali in particular. The province's economic activities have been hit hardest during the nearly two-year Covid-19 pandemic. Because the income is mostly from the tourism sector.
However, airport readiness is not enough. The arrival of foreign tourists in Bali must also be handled carefully by all Balinese people. Strict health protocols must still be enforced in every house, street, restaurant and tourism destination. The safety of the public and tourists is the most important aspect, because the Covid-19 pandemic has not shaken off.
Until now, the Indonesian government is still implementing a regulation of restrictions on community activities to suppress the spread of Covid-19. This regulation includes restrictions on residents' activities through blocking the entrances between cities and between provinces by land, sea and air.
This step has been effective in suppressing the development of Corona (Covid-19) cases in Indonesia.
Data from the National Disaster Management Agency broadcast on Sunday (10/10) reported that there were 894 new positive cases of Covid-19 to have occurred in the last 24 hours.
This addition brings the total positive Corona in Indonesia to more than 4 million cases since it was first discovered in March 2020.
Meanwhile, the government has carried out mass Corona vaccination throughout the country. Nearly 100 million of the approximately 270 million population have been injected with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than half have received the full dose. The government targets at least 200 million people to be vaccinated.
Head of the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, Prof. Wiku Adisasmito said that the decline in Covid-19 cases put Indonesia in the same position with a number of countries that had experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases, but succeeded in decreasing in a relatively short time, such as India, Japan, Vietnam and Turkey. The spike in cases in Indonesia is said to have been successfully suppressed by 90 percent within a month and has lasted for the last five months.
Indonesia is indeed quite successful in dealing with the second spike in Covid-19 cases, compared to other countries which were also attacked by the Delta variant. Although it must be admitted, there are many factors that affect the handling of Covid-19 in different countries
The achievements made by the Indonesian government should be appreciated. However, to keep suppressing Covid-19 cases, the public should comply with the Government's appeal to continue with the Covid-19 prevention health protocols by wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping a distance.
The COVID-19 Handling Task Force emphasized that even though the pandemic was starting to slow down, people in Indonesia should remain vigilant and not be careless. Referring to a number of countries, that are currently facing the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This potential can occur at any time.
Russia was shocked by the leaking of videos of sexual violence and torture of prisoners in the country's penitentiary. According to Russian prison inspectors, this has become a systemic culture in the Russian prison system and has happened more frequently.
As reported by the AFP news agency, Thursday (7/10), the leaked video evoked memories of the deadly riots that took place in a high-security prison in the Siberian region in April 2020. After the photos and videos were circulated to the public, the Russian Investigative Committee has promised to thoroughly investigate this case. Russia's Federal Correctional Service has also fired five senior prison employees, including one of its directors.
This is not the first time Russia's penitentiary system has come under scrutiny for violence. In July 2018, a video circulated the torture of an inmate named Yevgeny Makarov in Yaroslavl prison. At that time, the Russian authorities arrested 14 perpetrators.
In response to this case, Chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Torture, Jens Modvig urged Russia to process all cases of violence in the Russian penitentiary system.
The call for an investigation should also be followed by an urge to immediately reform the system in correctional institutions so that this incident does not repeat anymore. It is said that the death rate of prisoners due to torture in Russia is one of the highest in Europe.
The case of the leaked video has also been known by President Vladimir Putin. Through his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, President Putin has urged the investigation to be carried out quickly and sedately.
It is necessary to be careful in dealing with such cases, especially in determining the authenticity of the material as evidence for further investigation. Those who are guilty must be punished according to the laws of the country. It is known that anyone who commits a crime of sexual violence in Russia carries a maximal sentence of 10 years in prison.
The contribution of micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the Indonesian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is very great. The Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro Small Medium Enterprises recorded, the MSMEs contribution to GDP in 2019 was 60.51% from total state revenue. Quoted from npar.ac.id (1/6), from 99.99% of the MSMEs, 50% of them are managed by women.
Based on data from International Finance Corporation (IFC), as quoted from katadata.co.id (11/8/2020), at least 43% formal MSMEs in Indonesia were owned by women. At a glance, the number is quite significant. However, if measured by scale, the businesses managed by women are still in micro-scale. IFC research showed that 52.9% women MSMEs are on a micro scale. There are only a very few women MSMEs in or developing into small and medium scale.
Most of the women MSMEs are still struggling in developing their businesses. Their businesses are not only affected by basic issues faced by any business people, such as capital, but also women's double responsibility: doing business and household chores.
The Indonesian government keeps encouraging women MSMEs to not only handle the micro-scaled ones, but also to develop them into small and medium level; one of which is funding.
Coordinating Minister for Economy, Airlangga Hartarto as quoted by Antara (6/10) said that one of the government's supports for MSMEs owned by women is the Super Micro People's Business Loan (KUR) targeting housewives who are doing business. The other way is MSMEs digitalization.
The effort to develop the women MSMEs certainly needs cooperation and coordination with many sides. The most important thing is giving various training classes for women MSMEs, such as e-commerce, digital marketing, promotion, and financial management.
With good cooperation and coordination, the MSMEs managed by women are expected to level up.
Two neighboring countries, Singapore and Malaysia, are still sensitive to border issues. Tuesday, October 5, 2021, there was an incident by a Malaysian police helicopter crossing Singapore's airspace illegally. In response to the incident, Singapore reportedly deployed F-16 fighter jets to drive the Royal Malaysian police helicopter back into its airspace.
Singapore seems to be seriously responding to the incident. Singapore's Ministry of Defense commented on it as a potential air threat. Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Malaysian police helicopter passed through Malaysian airspace as it flew to Tanjung Penglih in Johor. The Singaporean side at that time had made a call and warned it not to cross Singapore's air border. Channel News Asia reported that the F-16 fighter jet was then flown in to repel the Malaysian helicopter. In addition to the Ministry of Defence, the response to the airspace violation was also conveyed by the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs. So far there has been no clarification from the Malaysian side regarding the incident.
Relations between Malaysia and Singapore are quite sensitive in terms of the borders of the two countries, be it at sea, air or land. The last problem related to the border occurred in 2018. The two countries had an argument over the expansion of the Port boundary. At that time, the Singapore government expanded the boundaries of the port off the Tuas waters, supposedly in response to Malaysia's expansion of the Johor Baru port area. The Singaporean government calls the expansion of the Johor Baru Port an invasion of its territory.
The ebb and flow of relations between the two neighboring countries, especially regarding border issues, can occur at any time. National borders are indeed a sensitive matter. Therefore, in order to maintain good relations and improve cooperation, the possibility of actions that can be called intrusion or even invasion need to be avoided. Regarding the police helicopter flight incident which was deemed by the Singaporean authorities to have violated airspace boundaries, Malaysia needs to provide an explanation. In this way, tensions between the two neighboring countries can be avoided.
Today October 5, 2021, The Indonesian Armed Forces –TNI commemorates its 76th anniversary. A lot of challenges and successes have been passed by the TNI. This year, Indonesia's military strength is ranked 16th in the world based on Global Firepower data. The TNI's capabilities have also long been recognized by the world. Indonesia regularly takes part in the United Nations peacekeeping force in conflict countries. Domestically, the TNI along with elements from other countries has been working hard to help the community face the Covid-19 pandemic. The TNI has played a major role from the establishment of Covid-19 hospitals to vaccination programs throughout Indonesia. In such a situation, the TNI has succeeded in growing people's trust as an institution that protects them.
At the age of 76, the TNI continues to modernize its defense equipment according to the demands of the times. However, Indonesia still adheres to the agreement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -ASEAN, which is to maintain the ASEAN region as a nuclear-weapon-free area. But, the principle appears to be facing challenges nowadays. Mid last month, the United States, Britain and Australia formed the Australia, UK and US -AUKUS defense pact. The pact includes elements of cyber warfare, artificial intelligence, underwater capabilities and nuclear technology. Under the AUKUS agreement, Australia will receive assistance from the United States and Britain to develop nuclear-powered submarines.
The formation of this pact surprises countries in the ASEAN region, because this pact is regarded as not in line with nuclear non-proliferation commitments or promises not to make or deploy nuclear weapons. Of course, Indonesia is worried about this development. Moreover, this pact was formed by three major countries. Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi said that AUKUS could trigger tensions between major countries. Indonesia does not want the possibility of an increased arms race that could threaten regional security stability.
Meanwhile, there will soon be a change in the TNI Commander. Chief of TNI, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto will soon get retired. The issue of possible tensions in the region is expected to be the attention of the new TNI Chief. The attitude of the TNI Chief towards the development of regional security is quite essential to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.
Happy 76th Anniversary of the TNI! Hopefully, the TNI will remain victorious and be able to maintain security both at home and in the region.
The 20th National Sports Week (PON) was officially opened by President Joko Widodo at the Lukas Enembe Stadium, Jayapura Regency, Papua on Saturday night (2/10). In his speech, the President expressed his pride of Lukas Enembe being in the best stadium in Asia Pacific. He also called on the public, especially the participants to celebrate PON XX with joy, uphold sportsmanship, strengthen brotherhood, togetherness, equality, and national unity.
The Head of State also emphasized that the multi-event sports week which was held for the first time in Papua proves that the infrastructure is ready to use in Papua. The magnificence of the Lukas Enembe Stadium is not the only symbol of progress in Papua. According to President Joko Widodo, sea, land and air connectivity, as well as the construction of airports, ports, highways, as well as the development of Papua's human resources are other very proud achievements.
The biggest sporting event in Indonesia, which will last until October 15, is being attended by more than 6,400 athletes accompanied by 3,000 coaches from all over Indonesia. A total of 37 sports branches and 56 sports disciplines are contested in newly built or renovated venues with a huge enough budget. It is only natural that President Joko Widodo, when inaugurating the venues for the matches, asked all parties, especially the regional and provincial governments of Papua to properly care for, maintain and utilize the venues at the 20th National Sports Week (PON) later on. The President does not want the sports facilities that have been built with huge funds and with international standards to become a lonely and unkempt place.
The availability of new and international-class sports facilities and infrastructure in Papua and other places in Indonesia must, of course, be used for screening and training so as to produce quality and accomplished athletes. Placing 4th in the 2018 Asian Games is the highest achievement ever made by Indonesia in a multi-event sporting event. But, this is certainly not the pinnacle of achievement. It is hoped that continuous screening and coaching will be able to produce outstanding athletes at both national and international levels.
The atmosphere of the cold war can still be felt in the Korean peninsula. North and South Koreas are still feuding and there is no sign of real peace. Various maneuvers in the form of military statements and actions are still ongoing. The role of major powers, which used to be the main factor in the splitting of North and South Koreas, still greatly influences the ups and down of tensions.
Recent diplomatic discourse has surfaced from Pyongyang regarding an emergency rapprochement or hotline. As quoted by various international mass media, North Korean state agency, KCNA reported that Kim Jong-un is willing to restore a hotline that can connect leaders and high-ranking officials of the two countries to communicate. KCNA also reported the North Korean leader's statement that the resumption of emergency relations would be a means of realizing the hopes of the entire Korean nation.
Kim Jong-un's political rhetoric regarding the hotline came days after North Korea test-fired two hypersonic missiles towards the sea of Japan. This missile is said to have the potential to become one of the fastest and most accurate weapons in the world and can be equipped with a nuclear warhead.
Since the statement made by Kim Jong-un, until Friday October 1, there has been no response from South Korea. The hotline has not been restored since North Korea disconnected it last August. The move was carried out by North Korea in reaction to South Korea's joint military exercises with the United States which is known to have always supported South Korea. On one hand, the United States seems to be consistent with its stance since the separation of the two Koreas after the end of the Second World War. On the other hand, North Korea's relationship with another super power at that time, the Soviet Union, was cut short when the country broke apart in the early 1990s. Yet, things improved again after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in April 2019. However, unlike Washington, the Kremlin did not openly support North Korea.
To be sure, both the United States and Russia certainly view the Korean peninsula as an important region in the geopolitical perspective of the East Asia region. Korean seas are also a world trade route, not only for Russia and the United States, but also for China and Japan. Seeing this reality, the conflict in the Korean peninsula and its resolution efforts will still involve major countries.
Every October 1, Indonesia commemorates the Pancasila Sanctity Day. This commemoration refers to the incident on September 30 1965. It was a dark time in Indonesia.
Maintaining independence is a winding journey. The people of Indonesia, with the Pancasila ideology, even must sacrifice both commoners and important figures. September 30 1965 was a moment when Pancasila was threatened by some people who wanted to replace it.
The September 30 1965 movement took the lives of some high-ranking military officers. However, it could be stopped, and it showed the sanctity of Pancasila.
This has made the people realize that there are other ideologies that want to change the soul of Indonesian people. Then based on MPRS Decree XXV/MPRS/1996, communism or marxism was officially banned in Indonesia.
Pancasila is the ideology of Indonesian people. Pancasila even differs Indonesia from any other nations.
In commemorating the Pancasila Sanctity Day, Indonesians must respect the fallen heroes in protecting the national ideology. Indonesians must also grow more nationalism and patriotism to fight other ideologies.
Myanmar's future remains uncertain. The fighting between military junta soldiers and the resistance forces made people of the country live in fear. The military junta is reported to have launched air strikes on the southwest region in the third weekend of September following a battle between the two sides. Predictions about the impending civil war in the country, have begun to materialize. Now, the question that arises is, how and when will this problem be solved?
In this regard, at least two things can be put forward. First from the internal side of Myanmar, and secondly, the role of outsiders in the turmoil in the country.
As for the case at home, there is still no common ground between the military junta and its opponents consisting of the Shadow Government of Myanmar-NUG and civilian resistance forces. The NUG, which consists of parliamentary figures who were ousted after the military coup, views the military junta government as illegitimate. Meanwhile the military junta held on to its position in power by promising there would be elections. On the other hand, opponents of the junta outside the NUG have also formed the People's Defense Forces-PDF, to fight against the junta. From this condition, the facts show that the internal settlement is still deadlocked.
From the external or foreign side, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations- ASEAN, an organization where Myanmar is a member, has not been able to play a real role in encouraging conflict resolution. Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi at the UN General Assembly in New York, Saturday, September 25, stated that ASEAN's role was still very insignificant. Retno Marsudi stated that from the political aspect the ASEAN special envoy has not been able to carry out his duties because he has not been able to meet with the parties to the dispute. Access is still needed to facilitate meetings with the military authorities, the NUG and other resistance groups. It seems NUG will object when the ASEAN special envoy meets the junta, and vice versa.
In fact, it takes a joint commitment from Myanmar's internal parties to resolve the conflict that has led to a civil war. Indonesia, which has been active in taking the initiative, can actually play a greater role in seeking peace in Myanmar.