On Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 11 provinces, 115 districts and 39 cities are about to hold simultaneous Regional Head Elections (Pilkada) across Indonesia. According to the General Elections Commission -KPU, up to now the preparation of the elections has been good enough. Even, Chairman of the Commission, Arief Budiman affirmed that 2 days ago, there were no reports related to interference that might hamper the plan of this grand democratic activity.
To prepare for smooth, safe and neutral elections, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto has held a coordination meeting which was attended by the Chairman of the General Elections Commission, the Chairman of the Election Supervisory Board, the TNI Commander and the Police Chief a few days ago.
Although all the preparations for the implementation, including security have been carried out, Indonesian people and the government should not be negligent. All related stakeholders must remain vigilant to take care of the implementation of simultaneous Regional Head Election.
It is not impossible that a recent court verdict over Aman Abdurrahman, the leader of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah -JAD affiliated with ISIS, will spark an act of revenge. This can be committed by new followers or members of the JAD established by Aman. New sympathizers who studied JAD ideology for a few months are assumed to have new fighting spirit, and they may commit revenge attacks. The target is feared to emerge in a number of areas that will hold regional head elections, especially areas where people are made up of various ethnicities or races.
More recently, Indonesian Anti-Terror Special Detachment 88 –Densus 88 arrested Rizki Maulana (MM) in Depok, West Java. He is suspected of having links with JAD Bogor and is suspected of committing terror during the implementation of Regional Head Election in West Java. In addition, still in the same area, Densus 88 also shot dead two suspected terrorists with initials AS (29) and AZW alias MRS (31). They are said to have attended military training with ISIS Commander for Southeast Asia from Indonesia, Bahrumsyah.
The Densus 88 had to shoot them, because in the raid process, the two suspected terrorists tried to rebel. They attacked and threatened the officers' lives by using knife and revolver.
Both cases show that terrorists’ threats during the election may occur. Therefore, the cooperation between the people and the security forces must be improved in a bid to implement the Regional Head Elections smoothly, safely and honestly.
Urbanization or migration from rural to urban is an ongoing phenomenon in big cities, such as Jakarta post-Lebaran or Idul Fitri. It cannot be denied that the big city is still considered by the villagers as very promising place for the improvement of their life. Big cities are considered to have many better job opportunities than in the villages.
Researcher of Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS), Imelda Freddy disclosed that every year, the rate of urbanization will continue to increase. This is natural because every big city has its own charm that encourages the villagers to come.
Meanwhile, Head of Presidential Staff, Moeldoko said that post-Idul Fitri, the urbanization is natural and must be responded wisely so that the urbanized people do not become burdened by the city government, but they cannot be rejected to come. According to Moeldoko, the villagers should be given an understanding if they want to try their fortune in big cities. Before leaving, they should have the assurance of work and residence in the city. Urbanization without a clear purpose will pose problems not only for them, but also the destination city.
Deputy Governor of Jakarta, Sandiaga Uno hopes that the newcomers in Jakarta really have enough skills. So, they can be independent and improving their welfare.
Professor of Economic Sociology at Airlangga University, Surabaya, Bagong Suyanto said that urbanization will not stop until there is even distribution of development. The economic imbalance between rural and urban areas is one of the reasons for the high rate of urbanization. Bagong viewed that the current Village Funds program can be the key to improving village development and economy. The program is expected to open many new jobs.
Minister of Village, Development of Underdeveloped Regions, and Transmigration, Eko Putro Sandjojo remarked that the development undertaken in rural areas so far has been able to reduce the number of urbanization. Through the development, some jobs are created in the villages so that this can spur economic equity. New employment as a result of massive development in the villages is also expected to attract the urbanized people to be willing to work in their respective areas of origin.
Any phenomenon, if examined the true cause of the emergence, and alternative solutions, must have a solution. It is expected that the Village Fund program can be utilized to promote development in the villages. This is aimed at creating employment for the rural communities. If this condition occurs, urbanization figures are expected to continue to decrease from year to year, and economic conditions in the villages will improve.
On June 14, good news for Indonesian nation came from the European Union EU. The EU officially lifted the ban on all Indonesian airlines that have been imposed since 2007. After eleven years of struggling to make improvements, now Indonesia's airlines are trusted by the world as safe and reliable ones. Quoting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi's statement, the lifting of the ban is the result of hard work and collaboration for 11 years.
In fact, before being revoked, several airlines have been allowed to operate first by the European Commission, an executive body with the EU working area. In 2009, Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Air, Airfast, and Primer Air have been allowed to operate. A year later, Indonesia AirAsia and Batavia Air also started their operations. Then, in 2011, the European Commission also abolished the ban on several cargo companies such as PT Cardig, PT Air Maleo, Asia Link and Republic Express. The series of revocations was closed with the permission of 55 Indonesian airlines to operate.
After the flight ban is lifted, what steps should be taken? Of course, Indonesia continues to maintain the world's confidence in its aviation system. The world’s trust is an appreciation to the nation of Indonesia. Director General of Air Transportation at the Ministry of Transportation, Agus Santoso said that Indonesia had fought for the release of flying since 2007. He also said that Indonesia is an independent country that has high assets in the aviation sector, starting from the aircraft industry up to 62 Air Operator Certificates (AOC) that serves flights from Indonesia to overseas.
The positive impact of lifting the flight ban for Indonesian airlines is the tourism sector. This can be imagined how many increases in the number of European tourists who will come to Indonesia, if more Indonesian aircraft can fly in the air of Europe. Indonesian government targets an increase in the number of European tourist arrivals around 200 thousand visits every year.
The chain effect from tourism sector is to bring about economic growth. All of these can be achieved, if Indonesia's aviation advance is balanced with other domestically-related improvements.
After disappointing many countries, by moving its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem some time ago, the United States of America once again shocked the international community last Tuesday (19/6). US Ambassador to the United Nations -UN, Nikki Haley announced that her country withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council. She accused the UN Human Rights Council of having been biased against the issue of US traditional ally, Israel. The US criticized the actions of members of the UN Human Rights Council who are considered to be hypocritical. The Geneva-based body was founded in 2006 to call for and protect human rights worldwide. But its statements and reports are often contradictory with US priorities. Along with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Ambassador Haley defended the setback from the UN Human Rights Council on the grounds that the US appeal for reform is ignored. But both insist the United States to keep leading the implementation of human rights for many people. According to the US, reform is needed to form a serious advocacy council dealing with human rights. Washington's announcement to step down came after UN Human Rights Council officials criticized the US for separating migrant children from their parents after crossing from Mexico. Interestingly, after protests from many sides, US President, Donald Trump issued an executive order to stop the policy. However, Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, while the US appeal for reform has been ignored. She also called the Human Rights Council biased, unfriendly, and an anti-Israeli organization that betrays its mission as a protector of human rights. Being defended, Israel is naturally very grateful to the US. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called this a "bold decision". The acknowledgment was conveyed via his Twitter account on Wednesday (20/06). The Indonesian government that upholds human rights deeply regrets the US move. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN Human Rights Council is a forum of multilateral cooperation and international community commitment to uphold human rights protection worldwide. Ironically, the United States, which has always declared itself a democracy and a protector of human rights, has left the UN Human Rights Council established to protect the basic rights of every human being, simply because it wants to defend its ally, Israel. It should be questioned whether the US still deserves being called ‘a state that upholds human rights’.
Throughout 2018, Kim Jong-un has visited Beijing three times. Last Tuesday (June 19th), the North Korean Supreme Leader met Chinese President Xi Jin Ping. Although the details of the talk were not revealed, it was expected that the discussions were related to Kim Jong-Un's meeting with US President Donald Trump, held a week earlier in Singapore. North Korea's relationship with China, as a fellow country with Communist ideology, has been going on since the era of Kim Jong-Un's predecessors, his grandfather Kim Il-Sung and father Kim Jong-Il. Kim also wants to seek support from China for reducing US economic sanctions in exchange for North Korea's commitment to denuclearization. China in a meeting at the UN, proposed that the UN Security Council consider reducing the economic sanctions. Although not directly involved in the Singapore meeting, Xi Jin Ping is suspected of having entrusted a certain message to Kim Jong-Un beforehand. China wants its behind-the-scenes position to remain important to North Korea. One of the things North Korea wants before the meeting with Trump is the cessation of US military exercises with South Korea. Reportedly, Trump has taken a policy to stop the activity without much consultation with the Pentagon. China hopes the outcome of Trump's meeting with Jong-Un will make the US withdraw its troops from the Korean peninsula. Since the meeting with Trump, Kim Jong-Un's star has been shining. There were at least two important invitations waiting for him. One from Russian President Vladimir Putin who wants to meet the North Korea's leader, a country that has been an ally since the cold war era. Another one is from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also hopes to meet Kim Jong-Un to discuss among other things, the issue of Japanese citizens abduction by North Korea. The contents of Kim Jong Un-Xi Jin Ping meeting is unknown, but at least the positive expectations that have been built do not get torn down. Indeed the peace process on the Korean peninsula will not immediately materialize. But what has been going well, should continue and grow as expected by many parties.
Friday June 15, 2018, most Muslims around the world celebrated Eid Mubarak so-called ‘Idul Fitri’ in Indonesia. This great holiday is the peak of the fasting month carried out during the month of Ramadan. So, it is no wonder if this Idul Fitri is said to be a victory day for all Muslims after a full month throughout the world, including in Indonesia, fasting and refraining from hunger, thirst and lust in the month of Ramadan. The day of triumph was greeted with joy. In the mosques, both in the cities and in the villages, there was an incessant sounding of takbir, praising God's greatness. For Muslims, Idul Fitri can mean returning to a holy state, or free from all sins and taints so that it is in a holy state or fitrah. On the day of Idul Fitri particularly in Indonesia, Muslims are encouraged to forgive each other for any wrong-doings whether intentional or not. After Idul Fitri, Muslims are expected to keep doing all good things like what they have practiced during the holy month of Ramadan. This means that they must refrain from carnal desire and keep doing something good. Indeed, the essence of fasting in the month of Ramadan is the improvement of one’s quality to become a better human being.
Idul Fitri holiday is only a few days ahead. The government has spent 35.76 trillion rupiah for holiday allowances and 13th salary for state officials, state apparatuses and pensioners. The allocation is up 68.9 percent compared to last year. Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani said that the addition of holiday allowance component and the 13th salary is expected to encourage the growth of public consumption so that it can stimulate the economy.
According to the plan, the central government started disbursing the holiday allowance the end of May 2018. Meanwhile, the 13th salary is expected to be disbursed by the end of June or early July 2018. It seems that the government's efforts to boost the economy are successful. The situation of retail sales in late May and early June was considered quite exciting. Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita announced the retail report in May 2018 which generally grew 10 to 15 percent. He remarked that the report shows no weakening of purchasing power, even predicted to continue to grow until July 2018.
Association of Indonesian Shopping Center Tenants -Hippindo noted that the average sales of its members in May 2018 grew 15 percent compared with the same month last year. Chairman of Hippindo, Budihardjo Iduansjah mentioned that clothing products contribute the highest in the growth. Sales transactions reached 50 trillion rupiah. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Retail Entrepreneurs (Aprindo), Roy Mandey reported that the increase in retail sales reached 4.7 percent. This increase makes the retailers optimistic; sales will continue to rise until Lebaran day. The public optimism of the country's economic growth is also supported by the results of a government survey. Bank Indonesia retail sales survey shows a growth trend with the Real Sales Index in April 2018 of 4.1 percent. The data does not refer to major retailers, but traders in traditional markets throughout Indonesia.
On one hand, high demand of certain products such as chicken and meat ahead of the holiday will certainly lead to price hike. But the phenomenon that occurs each year, do not discourage public spending if viewed from the data mentioned earlier. On the other hand, the government is expected to maintain the price hike under control. As a result, this may create a business climate that encourages the increase of people's income. Thus, people's purchasing power can continue to grow.
Terrorism and violence often occur anywhere, including in Indonesia in the reasons of poverty, social matter, ethnicity, and religion. Indonesia is now building a civilization through a religious side based on Islamic education to counter radicalism and violence. Referring to building a tolerant and moderate Islam that is counter-violent, the government of Indonesia is establishing the International Islamic University of Indonesia (UIII). The construction of the UIII was inaugurated through the launching of Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 57/2016 on Establishment of International Islamic University of Indonesia.
In laying the first stone of UIII Campus construction at RRI Cimanggis Complex, Depok, West Java on Tuesday, June 5, President Joko Widodo said that the UIII campus construction has a goal to really become the center of study and research of Islamic civilization, considering Indonesia is the world’s largest number of Muslims. This Islamic campus has been planned since 2 years ago with the construction cost reaching Rp 3.5 trillion and this construction is one of the government’s national strategic projects.
Meanwhile, Minister of Religious Affairs, Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin hopes that the establishment of the campus will reduce the intolerance that occurs everywhere, including amid Indonesian people. He said that students studying at this campus will explore Islamic values, specifically by studying and developing Islamic studies. Through their study, he hopes that Islam can be better understood in accordance with the essence and substance that can improve humans’ civilization. He also hopes that the establishment of the International Islamic University of Indonesia can contribute positively to Indonesia in a bid to participate in monitoring the civilization of the world.
Professor of State Islamic University, Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, Asep Usman Ismail said that Indonesia is the productive object of spreading the seeds of radicalism exhaled from abroad. So, strengthening educational institutions to counter radicalism includes three points. They are in the family, school and community. He perceived that the educational institutions are not only formal education, but also non-formal one.
Indeed, with the ability of human common sense, we can distinguish the good and the true by relying on cultural values, ethics and custom that come from the family milieu. Then if someone undergoes a low education, he or she will have difficulty in understanding or interpreting a teaching. Therefore, the establishment of the International Islamic University of Indonesia by the government is aimed at creating moderate graduates who can think in the way of Islam and this should be appreciated. In addition, the government of Indonesia plans to send the priests and scholars of UIII graduates to Western countries to provide a moderate and tolerant Islam that refers to the universal Islam. The academics and priests graduated from UIII are expected to promote tolerant, friendly and moderate Islam to the international world. Thus, this will make Indonesia as a major center of Islamic civilization.
Indonesia was elected as Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council - UNSC for the period 2019-2020. This is the fourth time for Indonesia to be elected to that position. The result of the election makes Indonesia directly becomes viral in Indonesia. Shortly after the result election in the General Assembly of the UN read out, President Joko Widodo in his twitter account expressed his gratitude. With some promises, Indonesia will carry out the world’s order based on independence, eternal peace and social justice. Indonesia becomes a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, replacing Kazakhstan whose membership period will expire in December 2018. Since the beginning of the nomination, Indonesia has already been in great confidence to be re-elected as a member of the UNSC. Through the voting process, Indonesian defeats Maldives that might want to expand its influence in the UNSC against sea level rise. So far, Indonesia has been known as one of the top 10 countries sending peacekeepers to various conflicting regions through the United Nations –UN. Indonesia’s contribution to frequently participate in fighting against terrorism and radicalism becomes an advantage to have reached 144 votes of 190 UN member countries. A lot of friendly countries delivered ‘Congratulations’ to Indonesia. One of them is the United Kingdom Ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik. In his twitter account, Ambassador Moazzam Malik said that the UK is ready to cooperate with Indonesia to maintain the world peace. By being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Indonesia is entrusted with the international community. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi views that the support of member countries of the UN must not be separated from the track record of Indonesian diplomacy. They also see democracy and tolerance in Indonesia as an asset to be able to play an active role in the UNSC. The world is waiting for the concrete work of Indonesia as a member of the UN Security Council from January 1, 2019. The hard work to maintain and build world peace, prevent conflict in some regions across the world should be implemented in a bid to create a global peace and stability ecosystem. The voice of Indonesia which also represents the Asia Pacific countries is expected to be stronger in every formulation of the UNSC policy. Hopefully, the trust of UN member states can be carried out as expected. Indonesia should become a permanent member of the UN Security Council with strong influence in maintaining world peace, countering terrorism problems and realizing independence for the Palestinians. Thanks to the people of the world who support Indonesia as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council –UNSC.
The United Nations Security Council -UNSC failed to produce a Resolution that opposes the use of force by Israel against Palestinian civilians. The draft resolution did not materialize due to a veto used by the United States. The draft resolution proposed by Kuwait, a non permanent member of UNSC representing Asia-Pacific, was countered by the United States, a permanent member. As the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said, the draft resolution is unbalanced for not mentioning the Palestinian Hammas group. According to the United States, Hamas can not simply be ruled out for violence in the Gaza Strip. The United States accuses Hamas of being a terrorist group that must be held accountable for the appalling conditions that have occurred in Gaza. The draft resolution to oppose Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians initiated by Kuwait over the weekend has received the support of other permanent Security Council members namely, France, Russia and China. The US became the only one who refused, while Britain abstained. Meanwhile, non permanent members encouraging the adoption of the draft Resolution are Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Peru, Sweden and the Equatorial Guinea. While the Netherlands, Poland and Ethiopia abstained. As it is known, a UN Security Council Resolution can only be ratified when it gets at least nine votes out of the ten non permanent members, and none of the five permanent members of the Security Council is using a negative vote or veto. Following the failure to pass a resolution condemning Israel, the United States, Israel's main ally, proposed a counter draft. The main Israeli supporter stated that Hamas is guilty of violence in the Gaza Strip. In fact, only the United States supports the draft that it made itself, while 3 UNSC members refused and 10 other abstained. The United States, a key ally and supporter of Israel, will always be an obstacle to pressure Israel. The power of its veto in the UN Security Council will always be exploited to pursue any resolution that harms Israel. Since Donald Trump came to power, support for Israel has become more visible and stronger. For example, the current conflict at the Palestinian Israeli border, was a result of the US embassy relocation to Jerusalem. The failure of UN Security Council resolutions may further make Israel feel more free to commit acts of violence to Palestinian civilians.