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11
November

 

Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob visited Indonesia. This was his first visit after being inaugurated in August 2021. There were four issues being discussed in a bilateral meeting at the Bogor Palace in West Java. Also, he is scheduled to visit the Indonesian defense industry in Bandung, West Java.

In a press meeting after the bilateral meeting on Wednesday (10/11), President Joko Widodo said they discussed migrant workers, national border, post-pandemic economic recovery, and regional issues.

Related to the migrant workers, President Joko Widodo affirmed that there is a protection for Indonesian citizens in Malaysia. He also encouraged the MoU on Indonesian migrant worker protection to be finished soon. This is important, considering many Indonesians work in Malaysia.

On the border areas, they discussed the shifting boundary stakes of the two countries. This is a priority since it concerns both countries' stability.

Meanwhile on the economy, trade was being discussed since it is hampered amid the pandemic. Both heads of states agreed to open a Travel Corridor Arrangement. Then, they also discussed the current situation of Myanmar and South China Sea. 

The visit of the Malaysian PM is a wise move since the issues of discussion were crucial. Hopefully, the visit of Prime Minister Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob results in a right solution and strengthens the neighboring countries' relations amid the uncertain global situation. Therefore, mutual understanding and respect are necessary in living as neighbors.

08
November

 

Commission I of the Indonesia House of Representatives -DPR in charge of Defense and Foreign Affairs approved the nomination of Army Chief of Staff General Andika Perkasa as Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI, replacing Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto who gets retired from his duty on November 8, 2021.

The approval was given by all factions in the Commission I in an internal meeting following a fit and proper test, last Saturday (6/11). The meeting also approved the honorable discharge of Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto as Commander of the Military, and gave appreciation for his dedication. The results of the internal Commission I meeting were then brought to a plenary meeting on Monday, today (8/11) for approval from the Indonesian House of Representatives. General Andika Perkasa is the sole candidate for the TNI Commander who was proposed by President Joko Widodo to the House some time ago.

The vision he carried as a candidate for TNI commander was: "TNI Is Us". General Andika wants the Indonesian Armed Forces to be seen as part of the Indonesian and international community.

Under his leadership later, the TNI will focus on several matters related to war military operations and military operations other than war. According to General Andika Perkasa, the first and most important thing is to restore the TNI's duties according to the law and not take on the duties of other ministries or institutions.

General Andika Perkasa will also increase security for land, sea and air borders, including increasing TNI preparedness in various fields, such as cyber operations and intelligence synergy, especially in conflict areas. Other programs are to combine the operations of the three dimensions within the TNI (land, sea, and air), to organize and integrate the organization and the role of military diplomacy within the framework of Indonesia's foreign policy.

General Andika Perkasa will only serve as Commander of the TNI for one year because he will get retired in 2022. Hopefully in a fairly short time, General Andika Perkasa can realize his work programs as the new Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI.

05
November

 

Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO), Hans Kluge in a virtual press conference from Copenhagen, Denmark, Thursday (4/11) said that Europe is now the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. The continent is reported to account for 59 percent of all cases globally. According to Kluge, the speed of transmission in 53 European countries is currently very alarming. He even said that if this continues, there will probably be half a million deaths from Covid-19 in February.

The day before, WHO had reported a steady increase in the confirmed cases across Europe. Most of the case reports came from the UK, Russia, Turkey and Romania. But sharp increases also occurred in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. According to AFP, the number of new cases in Europe increases about 250,000 per day for almost six consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, the number of deaths for more than seven weeks also increases with 3,600 deaths per day.

Hans Kluge also cited that uneven vaccination rates, the loosening of public health protocols, and social activities throughout the region are the cause of the spike.According to Kluge, in Europe only 47 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated. The fact is that vaccines are most effective when used along with other precautions, such as social distancing and wearing of masks. Kluge added that through the use of masks,188,000 lives will be saved between now and February.

For the world community outside Europe, this fact is also concerning. Rich countries in the region that are able to provide sufficient vaccines without cost constraints apparently have not been able to convince all their citizens to get vaccinated. In the name of individual freedom, many European citizens refuse to wear masks and keep distance. They even held demonstrations against the rules for wearing masks. As this continues, the pandemic in the continent will be difficult to control. As Hans Kluge said, the key is vaccination, including wearing masks and social distancing. Three points seem difficult to implement in a society that is said to prioritize individual freedom. Whereas in individual freedom amid this pandemic, there is a responsibility for the safety of others, especially to prevent transmission.

What happens in Europe will certainly bring about a serious impact on other regions, considering the mobility of the world's population starts increasing in line with the decline in Covid-19 cases outside Europe.

Take for example; Indonesia experiences a significant decline in the Covid-19 cases. This country starts opening its international doors. Given the current situation in Europe, the Indonesian government should vigilantly and immediately take appropriate policies regarding the arrival of European citizens so that there will be no more spikes in the Covid-19 cases across Indonesia.

04
November

 

Currently, some countries are meeting at the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland until November 12 2021. This conference aims to accelerate the Paris Agreement in a bid to suppress climate change impact caused by greenhouse gas emission.

The latest report in 2021 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as quoted from wri-indonesia.org revealed that greenhouse gas emission, including carbon dioxide, is the main cause of climate change that results in a chain reaction, such as extreme weather, rising sea level, and disasters like drought and flood.

The global greenhouse gas emission, which has risen by 43% over the last two decades, indicates that a worse climate crisis will happen sooner. All efforts to suppress greenhouse gas emission need to be done right now.

All countries, including Indonesia must join hands in reducing the greenhouse gas emission. Otherwise, there will be a great impact, including the economy.

Indonesia set the 29% greenhouse gas emission reduction target by itself and 41% with international support in 2030. The Indonesian government is committed to achieving that target. The commitment has been written in the Nationally Determined Contribution document.

The Indonesian government is very serious in implementing its commitment to achieve the greenhouse gas emission target. The Indonesian government had implemented various policies and taken strategic moves. One of which was Carbon Economic Value policy.

President Joko Widodo in the COP 26 stated that he had ratified the Presidential Decree on Carbon Economic Value.

Head of Fiscal Policy Agency at the Finance Ministry, Febrio Kacaribu in his official statement, as quoted from kontan.co.id explained that the Presidential Decree on Carbon Economic Value ratification was an important milestone in deciding Indonesian policy towards the NDC target in 2030 and Net Zero Emission in 2060.

The efforts by the Indonesian government in reducing greenhouse gas emission needs cooperation with other countries. It is surely a great work that needs cooperation and a huge fund.

02
November

 

President Joko Widodo explained that with its rich natural potential, Indonesia continues to contribute in handling climate change. This was stated by President Joko Widodo when speaking at the World Leaders' Summit on Climate Change or COP26 at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday (1/11). He added that the rate of deforestation fell significantly, the lowest over the last 20 years. Forest fires decreased 82 percent in 2020.

On that occasion, President Joko Widodo also pointed out concrete actions that have been taken, starting from the rehabilitation of mangrove forests with a target of 600 thousand hectares by 2024 until the rehabilitation of 3 million critical forests from 2010 - 2019. Other actions that have been taken by Indonesia are the development of an electric car ecosystem, the construction of the largest solar power plant in Southeast Asia, the use of new and renewable energy, including biofuels, and the development of clean energy-based industries, as well as the construction of the world's largest green industrial area in North Kalimantan.

What's interesting about what President Joko Widodo stated at the summit which was attended by nearly 200 countries was that President Joko Widodo loudly questioned how much contribution and technology transfer of the developed countries could be shared with Indonesia. He also emphasized the need for immediate concrete action and implementation.

The concrete action must be shown immediately by all parties. On various occasions, this was also pointed out by Indonesia to the leaders of developed countries, such as in a bilateral meeting with U.S.  President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the COP 26 Summit. As reported by VOA, President Joe Biden supported Indonesia's proposal to urge rich countries to assist poor countries in mitigating climate change for their climate action plans.

The statement and question disclosed by President Joko Widodo at the World Leaders' Summit on Climate Change are the consistency of the commitment. Indonesia has been working hard to fulfill that commitment to achieve its zero emission target by 2060, not just rhetoric. Of course, it can't work alone.

01
November

 

Christmas and New Year's holidays are still less than two months away. However, the Indonesian government has begun to urge people, especially those living in the cities, not to travel to their hometowns as customary at the end of this year. This is to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases after the 2021 Christmas and 2022 New Year holidays. The government also controls community mobility and tightens health protocols.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy stated last week that the collective leave which is usually applied on days close to official holidays, such as Christmas, New Year or Eid al-Fitr this time will be abolished, including the day before Christmas, which is Friday, December 24, 2021. The abolition of collective leave is to limit the mobility of people, which usually increases towards the year-end holidays. The goal is to reduce the potential for the spread of Covid-19. Moreover, a number of epidemiologists have warned about the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 attacks.

To prevent an increase in positive cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Transportation through the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, issued the latest rules regarding the requirements for boarding a plane. For flights on Java-Bali, passengers are required to show a vaccine card (minimum first dose) and negative Covid-19 information via RT-PCR (maximum sample 3x24 hours), before departure. Meanwhile, outside Java, the requirements are also the same.

Some regional governments even enforce an odd-even system policy for private-vehicle numbers to limit people's movement.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indeed lowered the level of Covid-19 for Indonesia. After being judged to have succeeded in carrying out good Covid-19 control, Indonesia was given a Level 1 or "low for Covid-19 transmission". However, this does not mean that Indonesia is completely free from the pandemic. Neither the government nor the public should be careless about the transmission of the virus. Experience shows that Indonesia always experienced an increase in the number of Covid-19 spreads at the end of the long holiday period. The August 2020 holiday season, for example, resulted in an increase in cases of up to 119% and the weekly death rate to 57%. Meanwhile, in May-June 2021, Indonesia endured the Covid-19 wave due to a combination of delta variant factors and neglected health protocols during the long Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Currently, a number of countries, including the UK and Singapore, are experiencing an increase in daily cases.

So, it is very natural for the Indonesian government to issue various policies to prevent any potential return of the Covid-19 storm, especially ahead of the long Christmas 2021 and 2022 New Year holidays.

29
October

 

Military tensions between China and Taiwan are at their worst since 40 years ago. This condition comes after China sent a record number of military jets to Taiwan's air defense zone for four consecutive days.

AFP in its report on Thursday, October 28, 2021, said that relations between Beijing and Taipei continued to heat up, especially after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took office.

Regarding the escalation of tension in Taiwan-China relations and the attention of foreign countries towards Taiwan, it can actually be seen from the geographical position of the country.

The island of Taiwan, which is not far from mainland China, has become a strategic point in terms of Indo-Pacific geopolitics. For China, reunification is an ideal choice because by unifying Taiwan, Beijing will have a strategic point in the Pacific for its defense.

As for the United States, as well as Japan, the existence and independence of Taiwan is important. At least to reduce China's power related to the security and geopolitical strategy of the Pacific region.

The threat of armed conflict between China and Taiwan will always exist. This is in line with the increasing tension in relations related to the sovereignty of the two countries. However, although the situation seems often alarming, military experts say, China is not yet ready to launch a military campaign to occupy Taiwan.

One consideration is the response of the United States, which has been known to support Taiwan from the start. Although military planners in Beijing feel that Chinese troops have many advantages, it is not yet known how the United States will react if there really is an open armed conflict, especially regarding military assistance to Taiwan. In addition, any Chinese military intervention to force Taiwan's unification with the mainland could potentially pose its own risks related to China's broader economy and foreign policy.

28
October

 

After 19 years, Indonesia finally won the Thomas Cup after defeating China on Sunday (17/10). However, this victory was not exciting. During the ceremony, Indonesia's national flag was replaced with Indonesian Badminton Association's flag. This happened because of an issue between Indonesia and the World Anti-Doping Agency -WADA. The "flagless" punishment in every international event was imposed by WADA for IOC member countries that have problems with doping tests or the doping itself on the athletes.

On that matter, Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali, as President Joko Widodo's instruction to immediately solve this issue, has moved quickly by forming a special task force led by Raja Sapta Oktohari.

Raja Sapta, who is also Indonesian Olympics Committee Chairman said that he has opened communication with WADA to relieve the country's anti-doping agency LADI from the sanction. In opening the communication, Raja Sapta Oktohari met directly WADA's President, Witold Banka and Secretary General, Olivier Niggli at the Association of National Olympic Committee's General Assembly in Greece on Sunday (24/10).

From the meeting, Raja Sapta said that there are some obstacles in the communication between LADI and WADA. However, direct access for every LADI personnel to WADA's has been opened. So, the issue can be solved quickly. Also, the task force keeps pushing LADI to solve some 24 postponed issues. Raja Sapta also ensured that if all the requirements are fulfilled by LADI, Indonesia will regain her rights on sports events and can host another international championship again.

The issue of doping is a serious one for every athlete, since they are demanded to be honest in their achievements. Therefore, there should be more education for the athletes, medical team, and LADI officials. Besides, the cooperation with Japan in building an anti-doping lab needs to be finished soon so that Indonesia will not depend on anyone in doping testing the athletes in every championship.

27
October

 

The African continent has been hit by a military coup again. Sudan is in a state of uncertainty after the military took power Monday, October 25, 2021. Coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told reporters that military actions were being taken to secure the country. He justified his actions by blaming the civil government's political conflict. Civilian and military leaders have been at loggerheads since the  long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019. Last September, in Sudan there was an attempted coup by the military, but it was thwarted.

Civil society, especially the youth, regards General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's rhetoric as a lie. Protests sprang up, not only in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, but also in several other places. Protesters barricaded the road, causing  clashes with soldiers. As a result, seven protesters were reportedly killed and hundreds injured. The army is said to have acted tough to contain the protests.

Sudan's military seized power as the country is in transition after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir two years ago. To fill the transition period until the elections are held, a military-civilian Sovereign Council has been formed which is planned to lead Sudan to become a democratic country. During the transition period, Sudan has appointed Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, as Prime Minister. Now, with the military taking power, general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has dissolved the Sovereign Council.  PM Hamdok and his wife, as well as multiple government ministers and officials, were detained on Monday, and later returned to their residence on Tuesday, according to a source with Sudan Prime Minister Office and a military source. It was not clear whether Hamdok and his wife are able to move freely after they returned to their home, or whether other government ministers and officials are also let go or still detained.

The military coup in Sudan has sparked international reactions. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the coup and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials. The European Union has "strongly condemned" the coup and stressed the "serious consequences" for the EU's engagement with Sudan, including its financial support, unless the situation is reversed immediately. Meanwhile, the United States withheld aid funds amounting to 700 million dollars, as a form of protest over the Sudanese coup. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the United States rejected a military coup and called for the immediate release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

 It is still uncertain what the next situation will be in Sudan after the military coup. Reflecting on the military coup in Myanmar, there is still a long way to go. During that time, violence will still occur with many victims and not small economic losses. In the end, it is the people of Sudan who will feel the negative impact.

26
October

 

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo had the opportunity to deliver his speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Monday (25/10). He conveyed about the economic revival of ASEAN member countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He disclosed three key points to revitalize the economy in the Southeast Asia region.

First, health care must become a top priority. The short-term agenda to accelerate and equalize vaccination in all countries in the region must be carried out jointly. Thereby, the target of vaccination of the ASEAN population as many as 70 percent must be achieved immediately.

Second, ASEAN's economic recovery must be accelerated by reactivating safe travel, including safe tourism. According to the records of the United Nations World Tourism Organization –UNWTO, the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia is 82 percent, the highest in the world.

With the Covid-19 situation increasingly under control, President Joko Widodo believes that these restrictions can be reduced. However, it must be guaranteed safe from the risk of the pandemic. He also reminded again that a year ago, Indonesia initiated the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework. He perceived that this idea needs to be implemented immediately. In addition, President Joko Widodo has encouraged the recognition of vaccine certificates in the region, including the interoperability of vaccine systems. Travel arrangement for people who have been vaccinated and healthy is necessary by implementing vaccinated travel lanes in the region.

The third key that was pointed out by President Joko Widodo is by accelerating the adaptation of regional economic activities towards a digital economy. Because, the digital technology is the most effective solution in dealing with the limitations of movement and face-to-face meetings in community economic activities. He also viewed that ASEAN is the region with the fastest internet growth in the world. Therefore, the potential of ASEAN's digital economy is very large. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital economy grew and reached US$100 billion in 2020. President Joko Widodo also emphasized that Indonesia supports ASEAN to become a digitally connected community.

In regard to President Joko Widodo's explanation, it is implied that fast and integrated steps must be taken immediately by all ASEAN member countries. This disclosure can be felt as urgency for the regional economy to recover sooner. However, the main requirement is a common vision, common step and cooperative spirit for all ASEAN member countries.