The great event of the democratic party of both legislative and presidential elections in Indonesia is still one year ahead. But the atmosphere of competition has begun. After the announcement of the political parties to participate in the General Election some time ago, the public are enlivened with discussions about the political maneuvers, such as the possibility of any party that will dominate the acquisition of votes and the candidates of vice president and president to challenge the incumbent. In the discussions, there is a classical story about a new political party –Working Party (Partai Berkarya) led by Hutomo Mandala Putra alias Tommy wanting to raise the name of Indonesian second President Soeharto. This new political party’s symbol is almost similar with Golkar Party which was the political vehicle of past ruling government during New Order. In addition, Tommy's presence as the chairperson clearly indicates that Soeharto's name would be his political commodity. Party Secretary General of Partai Berkarya, Baddarudin Andi Picunang admitted that his party will adopt successful programs in the New Order era.
Although some people underestimate the presence of Partai Berkarya, it is interesting to observe to what extent the new political party's action is in the election later. Entering reform era, some old political parties and Suharto’s family have lost their sympathy. However, the recent results of several surveys mention that Suharto was a successful president. So, this can be interpreted that the memory of some people about the Five Star General who had been in power for 32 years is still strongly implanted in their mind in some remote areas across Indonesia. At least, this is visible with the fulfillment of the provisions of the number of Board members and members of the Working Party throughout Indonesia, as a condition to follow the election. Is that a proof? Tommy was imprisoned from 2002 to 2006 for some crimes, such as plotting the murder of Supreme Court Justice, Syafiuddin Kartasasmita on July 26, 2001, possession of firearms and ammunition, and deliberate escaping. Now, he is chairing one of the political parties to participate in the 2019 presidential election.
It is not something new if the former president's son who had been marginalized eventually returns to the center of the political contestation in Indonesia. Likewise, Megawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of the Indonesian first president, could also ultimately lead and raise one political party –PDIP that took her as the fourth president of Indonesia. Something impossible could be achieved in the New Order.
Now, the point is that how every political party either the new or old ones has to take the wisdom of what has happened. The life keeps going on. But positive aspects or goodness must be put forward. When someone is in power, he or she cannot forget the grass-root people. This must be a reference of the voters in determining who will lead this country. The former president's great name may be the political commodity of general elections’ participants. But constructive criticism must always come up. Because, a famed name is never enough to build a challenging future with different characteristics from one each other.
March 2018, will be a historic month for Indonesia in its effort to bring peace to Afghanistan. Ulema or Islamic clerics from Afghanistan will meet those from Pakistan, including from the Taliban, in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting of clerics from the three countries; Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, is a follow-up of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Yusuf Kalla’s visits to Afghanistan some time ago.
The plan to gather the clerics from Afghanistan and Pakistan was discussed during a follow-up meeting between Vice President Yusuf Kala, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Central Executive of the Indonesian Ulema Council, last week. It was decided that not only from the governments but also from Taliban elements are to be invited in the upcoming meeting.As is known, armed conflict in Afghanistan has not subsided, especially with the presence of Taliban militia and the Daulah Islamiyah movement.
The question is, will the meeting in Jakarta immediately resolve the armed conflict and the violence that occurred in Afghanistan? Armed conflict in Afghanistan, does not involve the scholars directly. But this conflict has taken lots of casualties among security forces, Taliban militia and Daulah Islamiyah jihadists as well as civilians. The presence of foreign parties in Afghanistan on the grounds of securing the situation, does not seem to solve the problem.
The conflict in Afghanistan continues to occur not only because of the political reason but also due to the difference in ideology or sects related to Islam which is the religion of that State. From the aspect of ideology or religious approach, it seems that the role of ulama needs to be optimized. In this perspective, although not necessarily solve the problem instantly, this inter-clerical meeting can be one way of realizing peace in Afghanistan. The clerics in Afghanistan and Pakistan can see the condition in Indonesia as well as observing the role and position of ulama in maintaining a conducive situation in this predominantly Muslim country,
The results of the discussions and agreements to be reached at the clerical meetings in Jakarta, could be a new starting point for further dialogue in Afghanistan, which will discuss technical issues and tactical strategies in realizing peace. Indonesia's credibility and experience in pioneering peace has been proven.In Cambodia for example, Indonesia succeeded in initiating peace talks that eventually were realized. In addition, the role of ulama in Indonesia in maintaining a condusive and united situation can also be a concrete example on how the ulama playing their roles.
The government of Indonesian is enthusiastically encouraging investment that is an important and supporting aspect of a country's economy. No wonder, it is attempting to increase both domestic and international investment. Therefore in addition to providing infrastructure, the government has also issued several economic policies since 2015. Until 2017, there have been sixteen volumes of policy packages; some of which are aimed at supporting and pushing investment.
In addition, the government through the Ministry of Finance is also finalizing four new regulations that will soon be ratified in coming weeks. The objective is to enhance investment as President Joko Widodo expressed in the target of economic growth in 2018. The four regulations are about tax holiday or tax incentives in the form of exemption of income tax, tax allowance or tax deduction; tax of small-medium enterprises -SMEs, and incentives for companies conducting research and development and vocation.
With its vast area, Indonesia does need a lot of capital to ensure all regions to get adequate fund for development. Besides, Indonesia is an archipelagic country, so development could be hampered due to access and mobility reasons. In fact, Indonesia has a wealth of nature and a very large potential. The strategic location between the two continents: Asia and Australia and the two oceans: India and the Pacific is also Indonesia's advantage in the international market. Therefore, the government is increasingly aware of the importance of foreign investment in the development of Indonesia. In addition to exploiting a large area, foreign investment may also bring about positive impacts on Indonesia.
The number of foreign investors coming and investing in Indonesia certainly cannot be separated from the attitude of the government in providing facilities and tax ease. How will foreign investors invest their capital in Indonesia, if the government imposes a burdensome tax system, especially if there is no adequate facility?
Even though foreign investment is needed to encourage and promote the Indonesian economy, it must be done in an orderly manner and in accordance with the investment regulations, instead of harming the country and the nation of Indonesia in the future.
The administration of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla is intensively building facility and infrastructure, such as the construction of toll roads, ports to industrial areas. President Joko Widodo has just inaugurated Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate (JIIPE) and supporting ship of sea toll in Gresik, East Java more recently (9/3/2018).Currently, 10 new industrial areas are already in operation. In fact, there are three additional industrial areas following the completion of construction in 2018. The government targets that in 2018, the value of investment that can be drawn from 13 industrial areas spread across several regions in Indonesia reaches Rp250, 7 trillion.The development of an industrial estate is in line with one of the Nawacita programs, namely the nine prioritized agendas of the administration of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla. The point is that the government builds Indonesia from the periphery by strengthening regions and villages within the framework of the unitary state of republic of Indonesia through increasing people's productivity and competitiveness. The development of an industrial estate is also a step by the government to reduce domestic economic inequality.Many benefits can be obtained through the industrial area in a region. In addition to attracting foreign investors to invest their funds in Indonesia, the development of industrial zone can also invite foreign investors to open branches and establish factories in the region. Thus, the export activity will increase and bring about positive impact on foreign exchange earnings and employment.Industrial zones are usually built outside the city center and on vast lands. This can reduce the dependency of the population to live and work in the city center. The flow of urbanization will be controlled and the equity of the population will also proceed well. The workforce is not focused in the city center, because the people will live around the industrial area. Of course, this will reduce the density of the population in the city and make the distribution of the population spread in several areas.Industrial areas are also usually equipped with various facilities. The Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate -JIIPE industrial area, for example, is the first integrated area in Indonesia and the largest in East Java with a total land reaching about 3,000 hectares. Using the concept of merging industrial estates, ports and settlements is expected to absorb a lot of manpower and can lead to multiple impacts, such as the establishment of various supporting facilities.Industrial zones will not only affect the economy of business actors, but also will be able to move the economy of the community around the industrial area.Aside from a lot of benefits that can be enjoyed from the development of industrial zones, one thing that must be kept in mind is to pay attention to the principles of environmental sustainability that are oriented towards the welfare of the community. Do not let industrial zones cause environmental problems, such as increased air pollution from industrial smokes or water pollution from factory wastes. Industrial zones are built for the sake of equitable development and bring about more benefits not only to the government, but also to the people in general.
After a 10-year dispute, Timor Leste and Australia signed a maritime border agreement at UN Headquarters in New York, USA last Wednesday (March 7). This is a permanent agreement between the two countries, after a non-permanent one that Timor-Leste deems very damaging. In the deal signed by Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop and Timor Leste Deputy Prime Minister for Border Delimitation Affairs, Augusto Cabral, the two countries agreed to use the UNCLOS Convention on the Law of the Sea. Since separating from Indonesia in 2002, East Timor has attempted to negotiate its maritime borders with Australia. Although assisted by Australia during the referendum, Timor Leste does not want to be dictated in maritime border affairs. For over 10 years since 2006, Timor Leste has fought and even brought this issue to the International Arbitration Tribunal for a fair decision. The injustice to Timor-Leste is due to the non-permanent border setting. The maritime borders of the two states were determined on the basis of the Australian continental shelf closer to Timor-Leste. With the implementation of UNCLOS, the maritime borders of the two states are the medians of their respective coastlines. The signing of this agreement became a victory for East Timorese diplomacy, and gave hope for the control of oil-and-gas rich sources in the Greater Sunrise region. Timor Leste will receive a larger share of revenue than Australia, depending on the concept of development. If oil and gas mining from Greater Sunrise is channeled to Timor Leste, its share is 70%. Conversely, if channeled to Australia for processing, East Timor gets 80%. Australia itself was willing to sign this agreement, underlining that East Timor is also entitled to its economic potential. Indonesia through the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Armanatha Nasir welcomed the results of the bilateral talks and will study the details of the agreement once it is open. The efforts of the two states to conclude this treaty peacefully are worthy of respect, even though it had previously been strained by bringing the matter to the International Arbitration Tribunal. It is hoped that East Timor can develop its economy from natural resources. While Australia, which is willing to release the part, which was claimed based on the continental shelf of the country, also deserves appreciation. It is hoped that Indonesia and other countries with similar problems can solve their border disputes peacefully as Timor Leste and Australia did.
March 8 is celebrated worldwide as International Women's Day. This celebration is a form of appreciation of women’s achievement in various fields, ranging from politics to social spheres. At the same time, the celebration also shows that a lot of homework has to be done. One of them is the level of violence against women.
International Women's Day has a long history of protests or demonstrations by women in America and Europe to demand their rights in the early 20th century. March 8 was chosen to commemorate the massive demonstrations and strikes by women that took place in Russia on 8th of March, 2017.
In 1977, International Women's Day was inaugurated as an annual celebration by the United Nations –UN to fight for women's rights and to realize world peace.
According to UN Women Watch, this year's theme is "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives". This theme is inspired from the campaign #Metoo in the United States and other countries around the world such as France, Mexico, Italy, and even Arab countries. The campaign was conducted to show how widespread the incidence of violence and sexual harassment against women is, especially in the workplace which has happened so far. International Women's Day wants a movement to provide support to those who are victims of sexual harassment. In addition, this year's theme also wants the advocacy or legal assistance given to the survivors and punishment to the perpetrators.
One of the steps that can be taken to reduce violence against women is through empowerment. At the UN forum in New York in last September 2015, all member countries of the UN, including Indonesia along with UN Women launched ‘Planet 2030’. The target to be achieved in 2030 is gender equality 50:50 or conditions in which one country has created justice and equality between men and women in all aspects. This can be achieved by increasing the empowerment of women in various fields.
Empowerment is the key to eliminating violence and improving women's dignity. This empowerment can start from instilling values that respect the existence of women in the family. In addition, women need to be empowered economically, because the family economy becomes one of the causes of violence and women have a major role in the family economy.
Empowerment must be done since early, including in Indonesia. That is by instilling an even education and various skills for girls. This task is the responsibility of all parties to eliminate violence against women as a final result can be achieved.
In recent months, arrests of drug abusers and drug dealers in Indonesia have been reported more intensively. The circulation of narcotics in this country is increasingly troublesome. Indonesia is in a drug emergency.
Currently, there is law No. 35/2009 which regulates the narcotics and psychotropic. But the law is considered irrelevant to the current situation of emergency drug in Indonesia. Criminalizing drug users, as stipulated in the law, is less appropriate, as it reduces the success of healing users, and it also leading to overcrowding the penitentiaries.
Director of the Legal Aid Society, Ricky Gunawan argues that one solution is to de-criminalize drug users, as already practiced by Portugal and Slovakia. In both countries, the problem of drug crime can be drastically reduced based on the policy. The use of narcotics should be treated as a health issue, not a legal issue.
Former Director of BNN Enforcement, Benny Jozua Mamoto views that based on the survey of BNN, the success of law enforcers to reveal the smuggling of drugs is only about 10%. He also assessed that the handling of drug crimes should involve all related stakeholders, including those who carry out ongoing and massive prevention and rehabilitation efforts.
On November 2nd, 2017 in Jakarta, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) and several civil institutions organized a media briefing on the launch of a legal review on 'Strengthening the Revision of Indonesian Narcotics Act'. This review is an input to the revision of the law narcotics and regulations of civil society organizations, such as ICJR, Rumah Cemara, Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association, and the network of civilian institution, Coalition 35/2009.
There are three main recommendations of the review of the revision of the narcotics law. The first point is the user's decriminalization; clear restrictions on identifying users and drug addicts; second one is strengthening rehabilitation centers to be opened for users and the addicted and the third point is resolving fair trial issues in criminal justice.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Daily Judicial Monitoring Society of Indonesia, Choky Riska Ramadhan said that his side and a number of non-governmental organizations, such as the Community Legal Aid Institute and the Indonesian Association of Victims of Violence, are making a draft academic revision of the narcotics law. One important point is that drug users need to be rehabilitated medically, not imprisoned. This proposal is supported by Head of Public Relations of the Directorate General of Corrections, Ade Kusnanto. It’s necessary to note that rehabilitation should be accompanied with medical, psychological, and social examination by the assessment team.
All parties really want drug cases in Indonesia to be overcome with coordination of various related agencies. The House of Representatives -DPR urged the government to finalize the academic script and draft revision of the narcotics law. Deputy Speaker of the DPR, Taufik Kurniawan even said that if the government does not immediately complete and submit it, the DPR is ready to take over the discussion of the revision of the narcotics law to suggest the initiative of the DPR.
The viewpoint of the Indonesian nation that declares that war on narcotics abuse is obvious. But there must be a stricter law. If the law No. 35/2009 is not relevant anymore, The DPR has to immediately revise it to accommodate various problems of narcotics faced by Indonesia.
Diplomatic relations between South Korea and its neighbor North Korea is entering a new phase. Last Monday, South Korean government special envoy, visited Pyong Yang and was received directly by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two Koreas' encounter, which has never happened for more than a decade, is said to bring fresh air to the growing relationship of both neighbors. The official North Korean news agency, KCNA, reported that President Kim Jong-Un received the South Korean delegation warmly at a special banquet. According to South Korean top officials there were at least three important things expressed in the meeting. The first is good news, North Korea is keen to resume bilateral talks with South Korea over the suspension of nuclear testing. Second, North Korea agreed to hold a meeting between the two Korean leaders in Pamunjom next month. Pamunjom is a city on the border of the two Koreas. The third, according to a South Korean government delegate, North Korean President is also open to talks with the United States. The results of initial meetings between the North and South Korean governments, at least give hope to the peace efforts of the two neighbors, who have been at war since the end of the second world war. The people who more or less come from the same origins, but are separated and live in two hostile states, certainly hope that the agreement can materialize. And the relations between the two neighboring countries continue to improve. Previously, there was already a sign of softening the relationship between the two governments. That is, when North Korea sent its athletes to join the recent winter Olympics in South Korea. However, the occurrence of a historic moment is yet to be awaited. Experience shows that North Korea has previously broken its promise. For example, it broke a collective agreement on the suspension of a nuclear test in 2005. The reason for the breach of the agreement at that time was, North Korea felt insecure after stopping nuclear tests which were intended to protect the country. Indonesia, as friend of the two Koreas certainly hopes that peace can soon be materialized in the Peninsula.
President Joko Widodo inaugurated Inspector General of Police, Heru Winarko as Chief of the National Narcotics Agency -BNN at the State Palace in Jakarta on Thursday (1/3/2018). Heru replaces Police Commissioner General Budi Waseso who is going to get retired. Seeing his track record, Heru Winarko, who was born in Jakarta on December 1st 1962, is a prudent figure in his institution. He was graduated from Police Academy (Akpol) in 1985. His career man is quite brilliant in the police. Several positions which were held by Gen. Heru Winarko include Deputy of Corruption Eradication Commission -KPK and Expert Staff for Ideology and Constitution at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs -Menko Polhukam. But, there is also some doubt in some individuals about Gen. Heru Winarko's ability as the new chief of BNN. This may be because the previous positions are not directly related to drug problems. Is he able to combat against drug trafficking in Indonesia and obtain achievement like Budi Waseso did or even, the achievement is better? President Joko Widodo once said that Gen. Heru was chosen for this position because of his background in KPK. He is believed to have high integrity for the post considering that the money circulating in this illegal business is very huge and tempting. The President also expects to have good standards brought from KPK to BNN so that BNN becomes a more professional institution than before. The research outcome conducted by BNN along with Depok Health Research Center at the University of Indonesia -UI shows that almost 6 million Indonesian citizens are trapped in various types of narcotics. The users can be found not only from the adult but also the school children from elementary level. If this is not dealt with immediately, Indonesia could lose a generation because of the influence of drugs. A lot of drug users, especially the addicted ones make drug dealers and drug agents increasingly supply the illegal drugs into Indonesia. The last case was that BNN successfully foiled the distribution of 1.6-ton methamphetamine –Shabu-shabu from a Taiwanese-flagged fishing boat in the waters of the Riau Islands. Last July 2017in a discussion, BNN's Deputy of Prevention, Inspector General Djohardi Wirogioto said that the use of narcotics in Indonesia is the largest in Asia. As long as Chief of BNN, Budi Waseso successfully revealed a lot of drug syndicates. During 2016 and 2017, BNN seized more than 100 tons of drugs with various types and handled 807 cases and arrested more than 1.200 suspects. BNN also managed to uncover 46 types of new narcotics. Even in 2016, BNN shot dead 79 drug dealers who resisted when arrested. In addition, cases of money laundering that came from drugs were also uncovered. The money amounted to almost Rp10 trillion. BNN has established a Task Force of anti-narcotics in all regions in Indonesia, consisting of students, students, private and government agencies, and the public. This achievement not only shows Budi Waseso’s achievement, but also shows that drugs have become the main enemy of the state, especially for younger generations. The data shows how terrible the onslaught of drug networks in Indonesia. Heavy duty awaits Inspector General of Police, Heru Winarko as new Chief of National Narcotics Agency -BNN. Hopefully, he is able to continue the task to better fight against drugs. Indonesia must be free from drug trafficking. Mr. Heru Winarko, happy working!
The conflict in Afghanistan, which has been going on for about four decades, has to come an end. Recently, there has been a good intention from the government of Afghanistan to end the conflict. The Afghan government is to open opportunity for Taliban, that has always opposed Kabul government, to participate in the administration. The conflict in Afghanistan began in 1979 when the Soviet Union established a puppet government in Kabul. When the Soviet invaded Afghanistan, there was no resistance from the Afghan government forces. Rejection came from the people, mainly Mujahidin. At that time, the United States that did not want to see any communist forces in Afghanistan, immediately helped the resistance against the Soviet Union. Besides the Mujahidin, another group that also fought the Soviet Union was Taliban. The fight against the Soviet Union finally ended 10 years later. Unfortunately, after the departure of Soviet Union, these two resistance groups began fighting for power. In 1996, the Pakistani-backed Taliban took office in Kabul. Later, under the pretext of chasing Osama bin Laden, who was accused of being the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 WTC twin-tower attack, the United States and its allies joined the conflict. A new government under US control was formed. Outside Kabul, emerging resistance groups rejected the presence of the United States and Western allies. All of them use Taliban flags and they keep resisting until now. Efforts have been made to end the civil war in Afghanistan. Until todays, there is no solution. A breakthrough is made by Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani by opening opportunity, but the Taliban side is ambivalent. The elite are only willing to negotiate with the USA, while other groups want to negotiate with Kabul government. The Taliban needs to solve this internal problem first, before entering the peace process. Indonesia is seriously offering a peace solution to Afghanistan. This was conveyed when President Joko Widodo visited Kabul last January. Almost one month later, Vice President Jusuf Kalla was present at the Peace Process in Afghanistan. Indonesia is ready to mediate the conflicting parties to meet in Indonesia. Indeed, Afghanistan's long-standing problem will not be solved within few days of talks. All conflicting parties must be patient, if Afghanistan wants peace again.