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Editorial

Editorial (905)

08
February

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.

04
February

The Ministry of Industry is focusing on improving the performance of export-oriented processing industries to improve the structure of the current national economy. So far, manufactured products have contributed the most to the value of national exports, which amounted to 74 percent. In addition, the manufacturing industry also contributes to the Gross Domestic Product -GDP of 20 percent and taxation of around 30 percent.The Indonesian government through the Ministry of Industry is committed to revitalizing the manufacturing industry through the implementation of the 'Making Indonesia 4.0' road map to be ready to enter the 4th generation industrial era or the 4.0 industrial revolution era.There are five main sectors in the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, namely the food and beverage industry, textiles and clothing, automotive, electronics and chemistry. These five manufacturing groups contribute 65 percent of the total value of national exports, the Ministry of Industry noticing that exports from the non-oil and gas processing industry have continued to increase over the past four years.There are five main sectors in the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, namely the food and beverage industry, textiles and clothing, automotive, electronics and chemistry. These five manufacturing groups are able to contribute 65 percent to the total value of national exports. The Ministry of Industry also noted that exports from the non-oil and gas processing industry have continued to increase over the past four years.Through the Making Indonesia 4.0 road map, the Ministry of Industry also seeks to implement a number of strategic steps in increasing the competitiveness and quality of national industries, such as through industrial labour competency certificates and human resource development. In addition, the Ministry of Industry also seeks to develop regional and industrial centres. In the last three years, the Ministry of Industry has succeeded in developing 13 new industrial estates in and outside of Java. Improving the performance of the manufacturing industry is the right step to increase the national economy. Moreover, the world is facing an industrial era 4.0 in which there will be very tight competition. The government's efforts to improve the national economy through various measures also require support from the private sector and the community. Hopefully, the steps taken by the government can improve the national economy and increase Indonesia's competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global environment.

31
January

 

Financial Services Authority –OJK will revise a regulation No. 39/2017 about single bank ownership or single presence policy. Based on the regulation, each party can only become a controlling shareholder of one bank. The ownership of two banks can be done if one of them is a mixed bank or a bank with sharia principles. If the controlling shareholder of a bank wants to take over another bank, he or she is obliged to choose one option through mergers, parent formation in the banking, or holding function.

This regulation aims to encourage banks to compete in Indonesia and abroad. Many banks in Indonesia are difficult to compete because they have little capital. There are still a large number of banks with little capital in Indonesia. The number of commercial banks in Indonesia currently reaches 115 banks. Although it has experienced a significant decline from the previous 250 banks, the number of 115 banks is still too many. Indonesia is ranked first as the country with the highest number of banks in Southeast Asia. The large number of banks in Indonesia is caused by banking deregulation policy in the New Order era. During the New Order era, establishing a new bank only needed capital worth Rp 10 billion.

Since the stipulation of the regulation No. 39/2017, the number of banks is still stagnant at 115. This means that there are no banks that have merged. Even if banks form a parent company, or merge, they will have large capital and they are able to be competitive.

Why aren't any small banks merging according to OJK regulations, even though the condition of the bank is unable to compete?

The factor of obligation to merge, and the establishment of a holding company are considered to be a barrier. Thus, the plan to revise the single presence policy is expected to provide flexibility for the controlling shareholders of a bank to choose other options besides mergers and the establishment of a holding company.

If the OJK does not revise regulation No. 39/2017, OJK needs to provide banking incentives. In addition, the OJK also needs to be firmer in encouraging banks to merge. 

30
January

 

After the melting of South Korea's relations with North Korea, Japan seems to be trying to improve its relationship with North Korea. Although still a discourse, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to discuss a number of issues between the two countries. Shinzo Abe's wish was expressed in an official forum, namely the opening of the Parliament session last Monday. Shinzo Abe said he would immediately meet Kim Jong-Un to encourage the start of a new phase of relations between the two countries. One that will become a priority according to Abe is the restoration of diplomatic relations. There is also the issue  of two Japanese citizens who were traveling to North Korea kidnapping. Furthermore the Japanese Prime Minister said that his  planned  visit to North Korea was an effort to normalize diplomatic normalizationship. Shinzo Abe's statement is very different from what he affirmed with a strong tone last year and a threat to North Korea.

The two countries have been hostile toward each other  since the end of the Japanese aggression on the Korean Peninsula during the second world war. Efforts to end  the hostility  were carried out in the 90s through negotiations. But they failed because North Korea demanded that Japan compensate for what it called damage during a period of aggression. While Japan insisted on asking North Korea to stop nuclear tests before compensation was given. Tensions between the two countries after the negotiations that suffered a deadlock have escalated due to the kidnapping of some Japanese citizens who visited North Korea, allegedly by North Korean agents. Pyong Yang's government strongly denied it.

Tensions over the issue of kidnapping were softened by news that Pyong Yang would release a Japanese tourist, as reported  by the official North Korean government news agency KCNA. It was said the arrest of a Japanese tourist by the North Korean authorities was caused by accusations that the man  had videotaped one of North Korea's military facilities.

Whether the statement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the possibility of   the release of the  Japanese citizen detained in North Korea are signs   for the resumption of relations between the two countries, are  still awaiting further processing. When the recovery of the relationship can be realized, there will certainly be geopolitical changes in Asia, especially in East Asia.

29
January

 

Entering 2019, Indonesia is actively carrying g out promotion overseas. The promotion is carried out by the Indonesian Embassy in the country of placement and in international meetings. Some of the programs that received remarks from the local community included the Promotion of 10 New Bali in Table-Top Meeting in Lithuania, Indonesian Product Exhibition in Pakistan, and Indonesian Product Exhibition at the 36th Khartoum International Trade Fair in Sudan, including ‘Indonesia Night’ that has just taken place on the sidelines of the implementation of the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos, Switzerland.

Indonesia must indeed promote itself. Many targets have been announced for this year. For example, in the field of tourism, Indonesia targets 20 million foreign tourist visits. Although the number of foreign tourist arrivals until November 2018 has only reached 14.4 million, Indonesia remains optimistic, the target of 20 million foreign tourist visits can be achieved.

The Indonesia Night was also welcomed by the international community. Indonesia is indeed using the event held every year to expand networking and promotion of various leading sectors. At the same time, it attracted the interest of global business people who were present at the World Economic Forum to collaborate or invest in areas of interest in Indonesia.

In his opening speech, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, WTO and other organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Hasan Kleib emphasized that the Indonesia Night was more than just a promotion of Indonesia's posture and profile in Davos. The event is also a momentum to keep showing Indonesia's bright future at the global level. The Indonesia Night also provides an opportunity to build networks and improve connections among business stakeholders by exploring every potential and business opportunity with Indonesia.

It is hoped that the international community will not only be interested, but take concrete actions to visit and invest in Indonesia. Indonesia must show its potential and advantages as an investment destination. With regulations that simplify the licensing process, Indonesia must also take advantage of the momentum of the trade wars between China and the United States. For example, by showing that Indonesia has the potential as the right destination for business relocation. In addition, Indonesia must actively promote industrial investment 4.0 and shape the image of Indonesia in line with technological developments and global innovation in various fields.

28
January

The General Election will take place in the next two and a half months. However, some cases of bad behaviour in some legislative candidates have emerged.Several candidates committed violations of General Election’s law No. 7/2017. For example; in their campaign, candidates have been caught using government facilities, places of worship, and distributed some items of basic food, and even coupons for Umroh.Some have already been convicted and sentenced, but have continued to commit violations. As a candidate for members of the House of Representatives they should not break the law. If they are elected in the future, they will involve in writing bills. But, before being elected, they have violated previous DPR laws. So, it is possible they could commit serious violations after being elected.Of course, it is no secret if there are several members of DPR involved in breaking in the law. A lot of them have been jailed because of their shameful actions.On April 17, 2019, the Indonesian people will cast their votes to elect candidates for President and Vice President and members of the DPR. The track record of the two candidates for President and Vice President is certainly clear. But, for the prospective parliament members, there may be many voters are not aware of the corruption. In a conversation with a senior reporter of Voice of Indonesia, Daulat Pane, one of the Commissioners of the General Election Commission, Viryan Azis urged the public to educate themselves before voting. This is to avoid making a bad decision, or "buying something in a sack".

25
January

The leaders of a number of countries and a number of businessmen and environmentalists are discussing various economic issues which are expected to reduce this year. The world’s leaders are gathering and discussing the issues at the World Economic Forum, in Davos Switzerland from 22 to 23 january, 2019. Unlike previous years, at least 3 leaders of developed countries are not present at the World Economic Forum meeting which started to convene since 1971. The three absent leaders are British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emanuel Macron, and US President Donald Trump. Theresa May and Macron are not present at Davos due to crucial problems at home. Whereas Donald Trump, besides still having to struggle to overcome the frozen part of the Federal government due to the turmoil of Immigration and the Border of the United States and Mexico, his absence can also be seen from other aspects. Trump's absence at this annual meeting can be seen from the attitude of Donald Trump, who, from the beginning of his administration is seen to maintain a distance from Europe. In this conference, the United States is represented by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who got the opportunity to give a speech after the opening ceremony, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. From Asia Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is present while from Latin America the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro. Unlike other Summit, the World Economic Forum in Davos is attended by a number of prominent businessmen such as Bill Gates and environmentalists and broadcast practitioner Sir David Attenborough. David Atenborough called on the world leaders to find practical steps to protect environmental damage due to the symptom of industrial development of climate change. The Davos meeting which is held annually in the mountainous region of Switzerland, initially has sought to find solutions to the impact of industrial and economic development on the environment and humanity. In the economic field, this year's meeting will certainly pay attention to predictions of declining economic growth. The trade war between China and the United States, which still has not found an agreement on how to end it, should be highlighted in this year's meeting. Nevertheless, the world certainly cannot really hope that this year's World Economic Forum meeting will be able to influence the economic policies of countries that have a major influence in the economic field. Donald Trump's absence, among others, gives clues about that.

24
January

 

Improving People's Nutrition to become a Healthy and Outstanding Nation is the theme of the National Nutrition Day 2019 to be commemorated on January the 25th 2019. Meanwhile, Nutrition Awareness, Healthy and Productive Indonesia is the sub-theme of the event. Director General of People's Health the Indonesian Health Minister, Kirana Pritasari, said that in a bid to improve the nutrition of Indonesian people, commitment and dedication from all stakeholders are required. The Indonesian Health Ministry is trying to introduce a program called Healthy Indonesia to Indonesian families. The program has four priorities namely reducing the mortality rate of infant and mother effectively, improving nutrition in a bid to prevent stunting, and overcoming infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Stunting is the impairment of children's growth. It is a condition when infants and children cannot grow properly due to the lack of nutrition. However, stunting is preventable since pregnancy by consuming healthy foods which contain essential nutrients like iron and providing exclusive breastfeeding for the infants.

A number of health issues especially children's health issues have become a serious challenge for Indonesia. Although child's health has improved particularly regarding the fulfillment of nutrition, it has not yet been maximum in accordance to the standard of the World Health Organization. Nutrition affects children's growth and development therefore children must acquire sufficient nutrition to support their growth since their first 1,000 days.

The development of health by improving the quality of Indonesia's human resources contributes to providing long-term and sustainable benefits. One of the most important aspects in developing Indonesian people health is by fulfilling their nutrition.

Indonesian youths hold the key to support the development of this nation. Without having proper nutrition, they cannot develop their potentials to advance the country. The time has come for us to be more aware about the importance of implementing a healthy and balance lifestyle so that we can achieve a better, healthier, and more quality life.

21
January

 

Indonesia’s tourism sector celebrated an outstanding achievement in the beginning of 2019. Indonesia’s tourism sector won the ASEAN Tourism Award 2019 for four different categories. The ASEAN Tourism Award 2019 was organized by the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF). The four award categories comprise Community Based Tourism, Homestay, Spa, and Public Toilet. The award was directly received by Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Arief Yahya, in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, on Friday (January the 18th). Tourism has been a featured sector in Indonesia. Indonesia’s tourism sector shows significant progress each year. The sector provides substantial contributions for the country’s economy compared to other sources of income such as oil, gas, coal, and palm oil commodities whose performances keep declining. In addition to having significant progress, tourism is thought to be an advantageous sector as most of the activities in this sector are service-oriented.Therefore, it provides sustainable and extensive contributions for all levels of society. Indonesia’s wonderful and diverse natural beauty is a great potential that can lure foreign tourists to explore the country. Indonesia’s tourism sector is incredibly promising as it significantly contributes to providing high Gross Domestic Product (GDP), foreign exchange reserves, and job opportunities. The development of Indonesia’s tourism sector is supported by the increasing amount of foreign tourists. Based on the data of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia keeps rising. In 2017, as many as 14.04 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia. The amount increased by 23% than the one in 2016. The achievement of Indonesia’s tourism sector could be realized by establishing cooperation amongstakeholders. Indonesia’s competitive index ascended sharply from the 70th rank in 2013 to the 42th rank in 2017.The achievement surely boosts Indonesia’s confidence to keep improving its tourism industry. We hope Indonesia’s tourism industry shall prosper and improve in a bid to enhance the country’s foreign reserves.

18
January

After decades, for the first time, an Australian Prime Minister set foot on Fiji and Vanuatu. This week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the two countries. For Australia this is like keeping the promise made two months ago. At that time Australia was committed to pouring funds of up to 2 billion US dollars in grants and soft loans to Pacific countries. What made Australia suddenly open its maneuver to the east, which had been neglected? Apparently the People's Republic of China has approached the Pacific region in eastern Australia since 8 years ago. The money poured out by Beijing for cooperation with countries in the Pacific has reached 1.3 billion US dollars. That amount places China as the number 2 donor country after Australia. Another thing is President Xi Jin Ping's 4-day visit in Papua New Guinea in the series of his attendance at the APEC Summit in Port Moresby. Australia is actually in a dilemma. If it disturbs Beijing in the Pacific region, Australia will also accept the consequences because Beijing is a key trading partner. Yet, Australia and its main ally, the United States are worried that China will not only build trade relations but also place military bases in the region. Australia must also be clever to play a role so that its relationship remains good with both the US and China which currently are involved in a trade war. China entered the Pacific to reduce Taiwan's influence in the region. Taiwan, a country that is not recognized by Beijing, has helped many Pacific countries. Of course with the aim that they support Taipei. The presence of Beijing has prompted several Pacific countries to cease their  support for Taiwan. If Australia is in a state of anxiety, this is not the case with Pacific countries. They were suddenly like having a windfall because of the kindness  race between Australia and Beijing. The problem is, a  good deed usually  deserves another.