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Editorial (903)

12
July

 

In recent days, the number of Indonesian COVID-19 cases has continued to increase. It prompted President Joko Widodo to again ask the public to wear masks both indoors and outdoors. Previously, the government had relaxed rules related to the pandemic by allowing people without masks in open spaces.

After the Eid al-Adha prayer at the Istiqlal Mosque, Central Jakarta, Sunday (10/7), President Joko Widodo reminded that COVID-19 still exists. He also asked regional governments, especially in big cities with high mobility, to intensify booster vaccinations so that the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia can be kept under control.

After previously relaxing the rules related to the pandemic because the number of COVID-19 cases continued to decline, people's mobility seemed to be increasing. Economic activity in trade and tourism centers increased. Users of various modes of transportation also increased. However, as the number of COVID-19 cases increases, the government has begun to tighten travel rules again.

The Ministry of Transportation has issued Circular No. 72/2022 concerning Guidelines for the Implementation of Domestic Travel by Rail Transportation during the Covid-19 Pandemic, dated July 8, 2022. According to the regulation, Long-distance Train passengers who have not received a third vaccination or booster, must show a negative result of the RT-PCR or Antigen Rapid Test which is still valid at boarding time. This condition applies from departure on July 17, 2022. They are also still required to wear masks while traveling on trains and at stations.

The requirements for getting a booster vaccine for prospective passengers are also stated in several other circulars of the Ministry of Transportation for land, sea and air travel. In addition, the government also continues to urge the public to get booster vaccines and follow health protocols. The government's efforts are of course meant to provide maximal protection against COVID-19. Therefore, community support, namely by complying with all health regulations, becomes very important.

11
July

 

PT Bank Negara Indonesia -BNI increased exports to South Korea through the 2022 Imported Goods Fair (IGF) exhibition, which was held by the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) at Coex Seoul, South Korea from 23 to 25 June 2022. Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea, Gandi Sulistiyanto said that in this activity, the Indonesian Pavilion brought 19 micro, small and medium business partners - MSME, assisted by BNI and five food and beverage business actors to promote superior products. These products include furniture, wooden decorations, silver jewelry, pearls, cosmetics, coffee, and food products.

Ambassador Gandi in an official statement in Jakarta, Sunday (10/7) explained that this activity was very positive to support the sustainability of domestic MSMEs.

In the event, several potential orders for food and beverage products were successfully recorded, with transactions worth up to U$546 thousand dollars, and this could still increase because several business actors are still communicating and in the negotiation stage with potential buyers.

In an event supported by BNI, the Ministry of Trade, and the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul, six entrepreneurs conducted online business matching with South Korean importers; one of which is the largest retail company in South Korea.

In this activity, a memorandum of understanding was also signed between BNI and KOIMA which was carried out by BNI's Director of Consumer Business, Corina Leyla Karnalies and KOIMA's Executive Vice Chairperson, Kim Young-Sun.

This Memorandum of Understanding includes cooperation in business matching programs and information exchange related to Indonesian exporters and South Korean importers.

Corina said that South Korea has a large market potential for Indonesian MSMEs’ products, considering that 82 percent of South Koreans live in urban areas and have a longer life expectancy.

08
July

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh in Algeria on Tuesday (5/7). This meeting can be regarded as a historic one considering the two leaders last met in Doha, Qatar in October 2016. Abbas and Haniyeh were invited by Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune to attend celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of Algeria's independence from France. A photo released by the Palestinian Presidential office shows Algerian President Tebboune sitting between Abbas and Haniyeh in the meeting room against the backdrop of the Algerian national flag.

A Gaza-based political analyst, Husam al-Dajani said that President Tebboune deliberately invited Abbas and Haniyeh to bring them together. According to Husam al-Dajani, President Tebboune wanted to persuade Abbas and Haniyeh to continue their dialogue. The two conflicting parties are expected to end the internal Palestinian division that has lasted about 15 years and achieve internal reconciliation.

Palestinian internal problems related to Hamas and Fatah began in 2007 when Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip from Fatah. Since then, the Palestinian territories have been divided into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-dominated West Bank.

Until now, countries that have tried to become mediators to reconcile them have not been able to end the internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah Party. Indeed, the two rivals have previously reached a series of understandings and agreements sponsored by Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but have never been implemented.

Hopefully, the historic meeting in Algeria will be a good start for the reopening of dialogue between the two parties so that complete peace can be created in Palestine.

05
July

 

The Indonesian government will apply a booster vaccination as a condition of travel and social activities. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto conveyed this plan in his statement at the Presidential Office in Jakarta, Monday (4/7). He explained that the third dose would be required for various activities by involving a large number of people and also for various trips. He added, according to President Joko Widodo's direction, the airport is also prepared for the third dose of vaccination.

The Indonesian government, in this case the Ministry of Health, will also carry out a sero survey. Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the sero survey has been carried out since Monday (4/7). It is hoped that the results will be out next month. This sero survey is conducted to see the total population in Indonesia who already have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Minister Budi Gunadi further explained, based on the sero survey conducted in March 2022, 99 percent of the population already has antibodies from 3,000 to 4,000 levels. These results show that the antibody is much higher than the sero survey conducted in December 2021. At that time, 88 percent of the antibody population was around 400 - 500.

Accelerating booster vaccinations and conducting the third sero survey are preventive measures to face the possibility of a spike in cases of new variants of Covid-19, namely BA.4 and BA.5. Minister Budi Gunadi estimated that the peak of cases in Indonesia would be reached in the second and third week of July 2022.

Prevention is much better. Moreover, recently there has been an increase in the number of exposed cases. Based on the Ministry of Health's records distributed by the COVID-19 Task Force, as of Monday (4/7), there were 1,434 new cases. The Indonesian people are asked to continue to pay attention to health protocols, one of which is the use of masks.

Not wearing a mask in open spaces is allowed indeed. There has been no change in policy regarding removing masks in open spaces. But, still wearing a mask for prevention is much better, isn’t it?

The discipline of improving health protocols must be carried out by all Indonesian people. To immediately reach zero positive cases of Covid-19 is certainly the hope of all Indonesian people. To achieve that, the government cannot go alone. All Indonesian people must participate in implementing it.

Continuing to wear masks, as a form of implementing one of the health protocols until the estimated time for peak cases in Indonesia has passed, is a good step. Implementing the current health protocols to achieve the best results for the Indonesian nation next is the best step.

28
June

 

Starting on Monday (27/6), President Joko Widodo attended the G7 Summit which is held at Elmau Palace, in the Alps region, Bavaria, Germany. The G7 is a forum for developed and industrialized countries consisting of the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and France. As quoted by Reuters, Germany, as the host of this year's G7 summit, invited Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina, India and South Africa as partner countries to this summit.

President Joko Widodo seized this invitation to promote investment opportunities in the clean energy sector in Indonesia. This was conveyed by President Joko Widodo, Monday (27/6) while attending the G7 Summit working lunch session with the topics of climate change, energy, and health. This is the information on the presidenri.go.id page.

President Joko Widodo also seized the trip to Europe to visit Ukraine and Russia, which are in conflict. Before leaving for Europe, he had informed that his visits to Ukraine and Russia were to encourage the two countries to open dialogue for peace.

Some people may think that President Joko Widodo's visit to Ukraine and Russia will be in vain. This is because the big countries, which have the resources and power to coerce, have not been able to prevent Russia from continuing to attack Ukraine. Indeed, President Joko Widodo himself did not say that he was trying to reconcile the two countries. He wants to encourage the leaders of the two countries to open dialogue so that through dialogue, they themselves would seek peace.

President Joko Widodo's efforts also need to be supported by all Indonesian people, because there is a bigger interest, namely securing the food supply chain. The Russian-Ukrainian war has hampered food distribution, disrupted the economy and made it difficult for developing and low-income countries to find food, plunging them into extreme poverty. Indonesia itself is still a developing country. If the war continues, Indonesia will also experience food shortages and economic collapse due to skyrocketing food prices. Hopefully, President Joko Widodo's efforts are followed by leaders of other developing countries, so that all countries support the creation of Russia-Ukraine peace.

01
July

 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was sworn in as president of the Philippines in a ceremony in Manila on Thursday (30/6), succeeding Rodrigo Duterte. In his first speech as president, Marcos Jr. thanked the Filipino people for granting what he called the "largest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy". He promised to take his country forward, with policies that benefit everyone.

On one hand, a number of people are waiting for his promises, including increasing job opportunities and lowering the price of basic commodities and basic needs. On the other hand, both the Philippines and the international community are also waiting for Marcos Jr.'s foreign policy stance, especially related to the relationship between the Philippines and the United States and between the Philippines and China, which is often problematic.

Over the past few years, the Philippines has had a territorial dispute with China. In solving this problem, the Duterte administration prioritizes diplomatic relations with China rather than resolving it firmly. However, in 2016, an arbitral tribunal established under the International Law of the Sea ruled in favour of the Philippines over China's claims.

Regarding the South China Sea dispute, Marcos Jr. Emphasized that he would stick to the decision that clarified the Philippines' sovereign rights. In this regard, the new Philippine president promised to be firm and consistent with his stance. However, that doesn't mean choosing the hard line or war, he will still prioritize diplomacy.

What about the Philippines-US relations? Under the Duterte administration, relations between the two countries, which have a very long history, experienced ups and downs, especially in the military field. In February 2020, Duterte scaled back joint military exercises and threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement. But the problem was finally resolved in July 2021.

Will the Marcos Jr. government continue to maintain good relations between the Philippines and the United States? Doubts arose because of the poor past track record of relations between the Marcos family and the United States government. This raises the view that the situation will not improve in the future.

People may have doubts, yet, Marcos Jr clearly said, as quoted from mediaindonesia.com (26/6), that he wants to be friends with everyone. This means that Marcos Jr. will establish partnerships with other countries, including China and the United States without compromising the interests of the Philippines.

To be sure, ASEAN and Indonesia in particular, hope that the new government in the Philippines will further enhance cooperation among countries in the Southeast Asian region which has been well established.

 

28
February

 

More recently, the Indonesian people have been disturbed by the discourse that the 2024 General Election should  be postponed for one or two years. This was voiced by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who is also General Chairperson of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Muhaimin Iskandar after receiving guests from a group of entrepreneurs and banking economic analysts. He perceived that Indonesia’s economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has not fully recovered so that the 2024 General Election may have the potential to cause conflict. If the election is postponed, President Joko Widodo will get an extension of the term of office.

The proposal immediately resulted in pros and cons. The National Mandate Party (PAN) became one of the parties that supported the proposal. On the contrary, the NasDem party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Democrats, and PDIP rejected the proposal.

The proposed postponement of the election evoked public memories of the discourse in 2019 on the extension of the presidential term of office for three terms. This was firmly rejected by President Joko Widodo. He even suspected that the party who proposed it deliberately wanted to mislead him. The President also emphasized that he was a product of direct elections based on the Constitution 1945 post-reform.

The discourse of a three-term presidency reappeared in 2021. Once again, President Joko Widodo asserted that he had no intention and no interest in serving for three terms. He also affirmed that his stance of rejecting the discourse would never change. President Joko Widodo brings this up as a commitment to interpret the contents of the 1945 Constitution that the term of office of the president is limited to two terms only. He also asked all sides not to make trouble. According to President Joko Widodo, it would be better if all focus on handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Postponing the election would have an impact on the extension of the president's term of office. Until now, President Joko Widodo has not responded to the current discourse. However, the potential for disruption has begun to appear. A number of parties also want the president to respond immediately.

If the five-year extension is vehemently rejected by President Joko Widodo, just a short extension through the postponement of the election seems unlikely to be approved. Even though he stated his stance in the past. But now, President Joko Widodo should immediately respond to the discourse so that the controversy is not prolonged by encouraging the General Elections Commission to immediately prepare for the 2024 election as well as possible. This action can at the same time answer public questions on the president's position in responding to the discourse of postponing the election.

21
February

 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo calls world leaders to stop rivalry and tension in various regions so that the world recovery process is not disrupted.

During a virtual speech at the opening of the First G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting from the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Thursday (17/2), President Joko Widodo appealed to the world leaders to focus on synergizing and collaborating to save and revive the world.

He further stated that on one hand, the revival of one region will revive another. On the other hand, the collapse of one area will also collapse other areas. Thereby, he emphasized that such a situation is not the time to put forward rivalries or create new tensions that disrupt the world's recovery. Moreover, causing conflict may endanger the safety of the world, as it is happening in Ukraine nowadays.

The President also said that global uncertainty must be faced by working together to control inflation which tends to increase. In addition, synergistic cooperation is also needed to anticipate food scarcity and increase in prices, as well as to overcome the scarcity of containers and other logistics chains.

According to an energy analyst for the Netherlands-based financial services provider, Rabobank, there are several economic impacts that the world might face if the conflict in Ukraine does not end peacefully, or Russia receives economic sanctions. The Ukraine conflict is said to be able to push up oil prices which have already reached the level of US$ 90 per barrel to US$ 125 per barrel. Meanwhile, the price of gas and major metals will also increase. Other major commodities that will also be affected are wheat, barley, corn, and sunflowers because Russia and Ukraine are the main producers of these agricultural products. In addition, a prolonged conflict will also push the inflation rate in a higher direction.

Hopefully, President Joko Widodo's call to stop rivalry and tension in various regions, so that the world recovery process is not disrupted, will receive a positive response from world leaders. Many parties are optimistic that the meeting of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors of the G-20 countries can formulate fiscal and monetary policy measures that are in synergy between countries. So, efforts to solve world problems can become a reality. It is fitting that the 'devastation' caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is repaired together, in accordance with the theme of the Indonesian G-20 Presidency, namely, Recover Together, Recover Stronger.

14
February

“Radio and Trust”

Written by
Published in Editorial

 

Yesterday, February 13, 2022 was observed as the eleventh World Radio Day. The World Radio Day was introduced on 3 November 2011, at the 36th General Conference of the United Nations organization for Education, Science and Culture -UNESCO. The first Radio Day commemoration was proposed by Spain on September 20, 2010. Then,  in 2011, UNESCO conducted extensive consultations with various stakeholders, related to the observance of the World Radio Day. As a result, 91 percent support World Radio Day. February 13 was chosen as the anniversary date, because it was on that date in 1946, UN Radio was founded.

On its website, UNESCO says, radio continues to be one of the most trusted and accessible media in the world; UNESCO also states, radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and is a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most consumed medium. Its unique ability to reach the widest possible audience enables radio to shape the experience of people's diversity. On the one hand, it can stand as an arena for all voices to be spoken, represented and heard. On the other hand, radio stations are required to be able to serve diverse communities, offer a variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences within their organizations and operations.

The theme for this year's Radio Day is ‘Radio and Trust’. The theme has 3 sub-themes.  First, Trust in Radio Journalism: Produce independent and high-quality content. Second, Trust and Accessibility: Take care of the audience or listeners. Third, Radio Station Trust and Survival: Ensure competitiveness.

The 3 sub-themes seem appropriate to see the current radio situation. Amid the development of social media, the internet and various information and communication platforms, radio is required to maintain its strength as a trustworthy medium. The number of hoaxes on various information and communication platforms makes people still need mainstream print media, such as newspapers or magazines, and electronics media, such as television and radio to find true and factual information.

In accordance with the times, today's radio stations, including Voice of Indonesia, continue to try to reach a wider audience through various platforms, including short wave, websites, live streaming, and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and others. Thereby, it can be said that radio is still the medium with the widest reach.

10
February

 

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine do not seem to show any signs of subsiding even though Russian President, Vladimir Putin gave assurances to ease the tensions after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, Monday (7/2) local time. The reason is that Russia remains steadfast in its requests to NATO and the Western world. The first request is that Russia has asked NATO to stop "expansion" by including new members. Second, Russia asked NATO troops to withdraw their troops from Eastern Europe. Third, Russia also asked the United States to promise not to back NATO member countries in Eastern Europe with nuclear weapons.

The Western Alliances did not grant Russia's request. The Western Alliances responded to Russia's request with threats of sanctions. German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock on Monday (Feb 8) urged Russia to defuse tensions and warned Russia to face severe political and economic sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said sanctions and other measures would be imposed in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine. The British government will ask parliament to sanction Russian individuals and companies. Amid this threat of sanctions, Russia does not seem to be backing down. Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border in recent weeks. Recently, Russia has also deployed MiG-31 K fighter jets armed with hypersonic land-attack missiles, Kinzhal in Kaliningrad, Baltic Coast region.

In fact, there is always a solution to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine backed by Western alliances. The threat of sanctions does not solve the current crisis. The diplomatic approach is a way to resolve the crisis or at least avoid the worst. What has been done by French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the diplomatic efforts to prevent heating escalation. Amid rising tensions; Macron flew to Kiev, Ukraine after visiting Moscow on Monday (7/2). In Moscow, he had discussions with President Putin for more than five hours.

According to President Macron, the aim of meeting President Putin is to prevent escalation and to create new perspectives. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave assurances to ease tensions after holding talks with President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, Monday (7/2) local time. It is hoped that all conflicting parties need to support and continue the diplomatic approach taken by French President Emmanuel Macron. Thus, the worst can be avoided.

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