Editorial (508)



This week and next week, several Asian countries will host the visit of Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. Before arriving in Jakarta next Monday, Prince Mohammed will visit Pakistan, China and Malaysia. The visit to Pakistan consists of more than 1,000 people who would invest$15 million dollars. Even though it helps a lot, the Saudi Kingdom is not very popular in Pakistan. Even 4 years ago, the Pakistani Parliament rejected the involvement of Saudi forces in Yemen.

In his agenda, Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit China and India. These two countries become the Kingdom’s oil customers. Meanwhile, Indonesia is the destination of the visit after King Salman's visit 2 years ago. There are Saudi kingdom interests in Indonesia, which are the biggest visitors of the Hajj ritual every year. In addition, there are plans to increase investment after the signing of the agreement which reached $1 billion dollars. In fact, the Indonesian side hopes for greater investment. Unfortunately, the signed program has not been implemented.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit in Asia will end in India where this country will hold its general election. India is a huge oil consumer of SaudiArabia.

For this visit, the situation is not the same compared with the one 2 years ago, given the mysterious murder case against Kashoggi may disruptthisvisit. 2 years ago, the Saudi Arabia’s visit was hailed and promises were spread for investment. The key point is whether Saudi Arabia wants to realize its investment promises. If not, the Prince’s visit is only an ordinary one.


The second debate on the Presidential Candidates who will compete in the upcoming Presidential and Vice President Elections on April 17, 2019 is over. Unlike the first debate which took place on January 17, the second one that took place at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Sunday night (17/2/2019) only presented presidential candidates: number 01, Joko Widodo and presidential candidate number 02, Prabowo Subianto. In addition, the General Election Commission (KPU) as the organizer of the election and the debate over the presidential candidates did not provide a list of questions to the two presidential candidates. The second debate began with the delivery of the vision and mission of the two presidential candidates. Then, the two candidates were asked to take lottery questions about the set themes: energy, food, infrastructure, environment and natural resources. In the question about food, Prabowo promised to guarantee food availability at affordable prices. In addition, he also promised to reduce electricity prices and prices of staple foods and promised to prepare the fertilizer needed by farmers. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Joko Widodo emphasized the importance of infrastructure for the future of Indonesia so that he will be consistent in continuing to build infrastructure if he is re-elected as president of the 2019-2024 period. In addition to answering questions prepared by 8 panelists consisting of academics, the presidential candidates also asked questions that were answered by the arguments of each presidential candidate. The atmosphere of the presidential candidate's debate seemed different than the first one. The two presidential candidates were able to refrain from attacking each other, so as not to create tension between the presidential candidates and the supporters of the two presidential candidates. There is still one more debate, namely on March 17 between 2 vice-presidential candidates: Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno. The KPU has set the theme of the 3rd debate, namely Education, Health, Employment, and Social and Cultural matters. Hopefully, the 3rd debate will also run smoothly, safely and conducively until the General Election takes place on April 17, 2019.



The development of financial technology -Fintech in Indonesia is increasingly widespread. Until the end of 2018, the Financial Services Authority-OJK noted that there were 88 lending fintech companies that had been registered. In addition, 738 illegal or unregistered fintech at the OJK, including 211 websites and 527 applications on Android have been blocked by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia. With the increasingly "booming" lending fintech in Indonesia, in 2019, lending fintech continues to grow. In fact, some lending fintech companies will cooperate with banking and e-commerce.

According to the Hinrich Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on global trade, the added value of digital trade for the Indonesian economy is estimated to grow eightfold from Rp125 trillion in 2017 and is estimated to be Rp.2,305 trillion by 2030.

Meanwhile, Deputy of the Creative Economy, Entrepreneurship and Foreign Power of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises -SMEs at Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Rudy Salahuddin said that even though the development of fintech is growing rapidly in Indonesia, Indonesia does not yet have national official data regarding the achievement of e-commerce or electronic commerce transactions. The reports which have been received so far are only based on the results of research reports of certain marketing research institutions.

In fact, digital trading is very promising because someone does not need to carry cash, and the convenience in each transaction can be done anywhere without obstacles even through gadgets or headphones. Electronic transactions are also prone to be carried out by parties who want to be fraudulent and criminal by stealing someone's data by hacking data and parties who carry out illegal transactions for acts of corruption. So far, corruptors have been detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission -KPK or the police in the form of red-handed operations. But if someone carries out a digital transaction or through Fintech, this will be difficult to track.


In February 2019, the Iranian Revolution is 40 years old. Precisely on February 11, 1979, the country experienced what was called the Iranian Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini and ended the era of Shah Reza Pahlevi government. On the anniversary day this year the Iranian people left their homes and exposed the road under the cold air, expressing their loyalty to the principles of Shi'a Islam which were the basis of the country. The expression of loyalty is a marker for every commemoration of the Iranian Revolution. It was carried out in all embassies and representatives of the country, including in Jakarta. Iran's Ambassador to Indonesia Vailollah Mahammadi, in his speech stated that the Iranian people remained loyal to the Revolutionary movement and supported the government. That is what causes the country to survive the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. In fact, according to Ambassador Mohammadi, Iran still managed to score progress. The United States is one of the countries that imposed sanctions on Iran because Tehran is accused to have developed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.The commemoration of the Iranian Revolution this year, in fact, still happened as the United States intensifies the pressure of economic sanctions. Anti-US and Israeli shoutings came from the people who went down to celebrate the historic event that had succeeded in replacing the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi regime. They also contained criticism against the Al Saud Government in Saudi Arabia. In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani again stated that the 1979 Revolution had saved Iran from tyranny , occupation and dependence. Rouhani also claimed that his country had succeeded in thwarting a conspiracy led by the US and Israel. The Iranian leader even vowed that his country would continue to carry out a missile program on the grounds of keeping the country from the threat of foreigners.From the commemoration of the Iranian Revolution and the overflow of people on the streets amid the cold weather, it can be seen clearly that the people remained loyal to the revolution and supported the government. The people's support was the capital of President Rouhani's government to defend against the pressure of economic sanctions. Nevertheless, the Iranian Government certainly cannot ignore the expectations of people who feel economically depressed. In addition, it is also necessary to pay attention to the hopes of the reformists who want economic transparency and freedom among the people, as well as the cleansing of the government from corrupt practices.



Tomorrow, February 13, 2019, the world commemorates World Radio Day. This date was set at the 36th UNESCO General Conference on November 3, 2011. Starting in 2012, World Radio Day was commemorated with special themes. This year, "Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace" is the main theme.

Radio is a powerful tool for conveying all information or ideas. This was also conveyed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guteres in his message for the World Radio Day 2019. He said that Radio is a powerful tool; even when the world is dominated by digital communication, radio broadcasts reach more people than other media. He also pointed out that in a UN peace operation, radio was a vital means to inform people affected by war and reunite them.

In Indonesia, even though it has been enlivened by various new media, such as online media or television, radio broadcasts still have their own listeners. Each radio station presents content and creations to attract listeners. This year, ahead of the 2019 general elections, radio broadcasters in Indonesia are also expected to broadcast information on presidential and legislative elections. The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission as an institution that functions as a regulator of broadcasting in Indonesia even requires the broadcasters to socialize the 2019 General Elections through public service advertisements.

The campaign period for commercial broadcast stations can be a moment to get income. On March 23rd to April 13th, 2019, more than 7,900 legislative candidates could use more than 2,600 radio broadcasts as their campaign media. Undeniably, in delivering their working plans, election participants use various ways to get votes, including via radio.

Radio broadcast administrators must be extra careful to maintain the campaign content of legislative candidates, to uphold the values of unity and integrity, tolerance, and to provide peace. They also have to maintain campaign material according to the rules set by General Election Commissions (KPU). With the spirit of promoting dialogue, tolerance and peace, the radio broadcast administrators contribute a lot to the 2019 General Elections which are direct, general, free, confidential, honest and fair.



National Press Day

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On February 9, Indonesia commemorated National Press Day (HPN) which took place in Surabaya, East Java. The date was determined by a Presidential Decree in 1985, based on the results of the 28th congress of the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) in Padang City, West Sumatra in 1978. This was driven by the eagerness of the community to set a historic day in a bid to commemorate the role and existence of the national press.

The commemoration of National Press Day is not only a ceremony to give awards to individuals and institutions that are considered instrumental in advancing press freedom, but is also an event that aims to improve the protection of workers in the media and maintain press freedom in Indonesia.

The national press is only able to develop and achieve success through continual support from the public. After a long journey, Indonesia obtained press freedom as the era of the New Order government began to collapse. Based on Law No. 40/1999 Concerning the Press, the government developed a new set of rules to develop the journalism profession and the realm of media activists, which provide written norms that allow the press to obtain legal protection that recognized the press’s social function as a communicator of public information. 

Unfortunately, the Indonesian press does not always get full protection from all parties. According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Indonesian press still faces a number of challenges. Cases of violence against journalists still occur, the AJI chronicling 64 cases of violence in 2017, up 60% from the year before. In addition, the press still faces challenges of maintaining high standards of professionalism, the level of public complaints to the Press Council almost doubling in 2017, an increase to 721 complaints in comparison to 400 in 2016.

For 2018, the ranking of Indonesian press freedom in the world is actually still at number 124, below Timor Leste. While Indonesia does compare better than some ASEAN members countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam there is still room for improvement. This shows that the important role carried out by the Indonesian press needs to be of continual focus by the public.




After going through various diplomacy, including two-round negotiation between Indonesia and Switzerland, finally a mutual legal assistance agreement-MLA was signed by Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly and Swiss Minister of Justice, Karin Keller-Sutter at Bernerhof Bern, Switzerland Monday (4/2). The agreement consisting of 39 articles regulates legal assistance regarding tracking, freezing, confiscation and seizure of assets resulting from crime. The scope of this broad range of criminal reciprocal assistance is an important part of supporting the process of criminal law in the requesting country.

This agreement is an attempt by the Indonesian government to ensure that Indonesian citizens or legal entities comply with Indonesian tax regulations and avoid tax crimes. Minister Yasonna said that the MLA agreement could be used to combat crime in the taxation sector. To reach the crime that has been committed before the entry into force of the agreement, Indonesia proposes that the agreement is to adhere to the retroactive principle. For Indonesia, this agreement is the 10th MLA. Previously, Indonesia signed MLA with ASEAN, Australia, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, India, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Iran. As for Switzerland, this agreement is the 14th MLA with non-European countries.

This signing will be beneficial for the two countries, especially for Indonesia to enforce the law against corruption, money laundering and tax criminality. So far, cases related to money laundering and tax crimes have been difficult to disclose due to constraints on access and coverage. With the signing of the MLA, this will make it easier to track and recover assets resulting from criminal acts stored in Switzerland. Quoted from Gabriel Zucman's research in 2017, the amount of global assets in tax haven countries reached 10% of global GDP equivalent to Rp800,000 trillion. Of that amount, Rp32,000 trillion is deposited in Switzerland. Therefore, the Indonesian Government has a strong reason to sign MLA with Switzerland and immediately implement it.



Almost no country in this world is without the Chinese community. Today is Chinese Great Day, the Chinese New Year 2570 which falls on Tuesday 5 February 2019. This event is celebrated by people of Chinese descent throughout the world, including in Indonesia. Chinese people in Indonesia have even been preparing for this annual celebration with great fanfare.

Other Indonesians, despite the majority of diverse Muslims, have respected their traditional celebrations as fellow Indonesians, although they are of different ethnicity. General Secretary of the Muhammadiyah Central Leadership, Abdul Mu'ti considers the Chinese New Year belongs to not only Chinese people, but also people of Indonesia. To Media Indonesia on Sunday (3/2), Abdul Mu'ti said that differences are no longer foreign, but are inevitable. According to him, Chinese New Year has become the property of the Indonesian people, even enriching national culture.

In line with perspective of the General Secretary of Muhammadiyah, one of the Chairmen of the Executive Board of the Nahdlatul Ulama, Marsudi Syuhud said that the Chinese New Year is a momentum to restore national traditions based on unity and compassion.

Not only leaders of religious organizations, in this case, Islam, but also leaders of this country recognize that the celebration of the Chinese New Year reflects the spirit of unity in diversity. Deputy Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly of the People's Consultative Assembly, Muhaimin Iskandar emphasized that national politics will continue to be the color of Indonesian politics for good. Tolerance and diversity are guaranteed in this country.

Muhaimin further stated this at the Chinese New Year Reflection 2570/2019 event which was attended by the Chinese community in Jakarta Thursday (1/31). In addition to being attended by Minister of Village and Development of Disadvantaged Regions, Eko Putro Sanjoyo and Minister of Manpower, Hanif Dhakiri, the event was also attended by interfaith leaders and entrepreneurs of Chinese descents.


After much speculation, the second meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks set to take place. This follows the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling US television the meeting would be held later this month. During this interview Pompeo said the location was yet to be determined, but he had sent a team to prepare for a meeting somewhere in Asia.

This may end up to by mere showmanship, as the director of the National Intelligence Agency Dan Coats, revealed so far there had been no progress on the issue of nuclear disarmament. In these reports the director said he doubts North Korea is serious about disarming its nuclear arsenal. Within the intelligence forecast of the annual Worldwide Thread Assessment the report admited North Korea was at least no longer carrying out provocative nuclear tests of previous years. The Coats Report is supported by the United States Defence Intelligence Agency.

However, President Donald Trump criticised the US intelligence report on his social media accounts. Trump wrote on Twitter that the talks last year had made a difference and he was looking forward to meeting North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. President Trump also rejected the intelligence claims that ISAS had the potential to rebuild in Syria

Based on Pompeo’s statement, the second meeting between the leaders at least provides a hope of a breakthrough in the settlement of the Korea peninsula. However, the talks could be cancelled at any time, if reports North Korea is continuing its nuclear program are proven correct, or if President Trump changes his attitude and trusts the intelligence reports he receives from his government defense agencies.



The puzzle of which country is going to host the second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un is finally solved, after President Donald Trump delivered his States of the Union Address on February 5.  Earlier in an interview with the media, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo did not explicitly state in which country in Asia the meeting will take place. Yet, in his speech, President Trump announced the meeting is to be held in Vietnam on February 27-28. In fact, rumors had indeed been circulating that Vietnam is to be the host of the meeting. But why Vietnam? There are some possible reasons. First, the distance from North Korea to Vietnam can be reached by Kim Jong-un’s state aircraft in one trip. Second, both the US and North Korea have diplomatic relations with Vietnam so their embassies in Hanoi can support the preparation of the meeting. Late last month, North Korean negotiator, Kim Yong-chol who brought home a letter from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was satisfied with its content. Kim Jong-un has prepared for his second meeting with Donald Trump. An analyst argued that the reason that Vietnam is chosen as the venue for the meeting is that North Korea can learn from a fellow socialist country. Apart from the desire of the United States to make North Korea not only depends on China. Skeptics said what was done at the first meeting was like a small talk because there was no follow-up after the meeting. The two parties do not have the same definition of "denuclearization". The challenge in the second meeting is more difficult because the first meeting has not produced significant progress. Now, both leaders must prove that the term ‘denuclearization’ has the same meaning for both sides and can be immediately implemented. The world is watching closely to whether or not North Korea will take a compromise path like Vietnam and China that apply Socialist ideology to a free economy. It is a powerful prescription for the economic development of the two countries.