Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo plodded through winds and rain during a visit to Mount Ainslie in Canberra, Australia, on Sunday, to study the development of the neighboring country’s capital city amid Indonesia’s own plans to build a new capital.Jokowi said he wanted to understand what it took to develop a capital city such as Canberra as his government went ahead with a plan to relocate the nation’s capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.“I asked the governor a lot of questions, as well as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and National Capital Authority CEO Sally Barnes – we want to have a complete picture of what it takes to develop Canberra, how to [construct a capital] from scratch,” Jokowi said in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace on Sunday. He visited the hill on the sidelines of an official presidential trip following the recent ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) by Indonesia’s House of Representatives.Presiden @jokowi meninjau Mount Ainslie, di Canberra, Australia, Minggu (9/2). Di Mount Ainslie, dapat terlihat Kota Canberra secara keseluruhan. Presiden ingin mendapat bayangan tata kota & manajemen Kota Canberra. Nantinya, yg baik akan diambil untuk pembangunan ibu kota baru. pic.twitter.com/8Xy9FSfnuR— Sekretariat Kabinet (@setkabgoid) February 9, 2020Jokowi said he was impressed by spatial planning in Canberra – a city constructed in 1913 with a population of 400,000.“We saw that the spatial planning was very good. We’ll study the positive aspects to improve the development of our new capital – both in terms of management and planning. We noticed that there were no administrative buildings that were more than seven stories high. But areas that are far away from the seat of the government allow [the construction of skyscrapers]; it’s a very good [policy],” he said.He went on to reiterate the government’s commitment to the relocation of Indonesia’s capital to East Kalimantan. The research phase of the relocation began five years ago and a design competition also commenced a year ago, he said.“We have made a decision; all there’s left to do is wait for a new law courtesy of the House of Representatives. Once the law is established, we will commence land clearing, as well as the construction of basic infrastructure. I think that’s what we’ll be doing,” he said.Jokowi previously announced in August last year that the province’s North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara regencies would host the country’s new capital, replacing the overpopulated and sinking Jakarta. (rfa)
Read also: Indonesia sees gloomy outlook on economy as growth falls below 5%Speaking at a seminar on Indonesia’s export prospects in Jakarta on Tuesday, Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) director Mohammad Faisal estimated that the economic growth rate would fall to 4.9 percent this year from 5.02 percent last year.This, he argued, was primarily because the coronavirus outbreak that emerged in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, was expected to increase pressure on a global economy that had already been burdened by the prolonged United States-China trade war and growing US-Iran tensionsLike most of analysts, Sri Mulyani also expressed fear the coronavirus outbreak would further derail the global economy, although there have been signs the US-China trade war may be coming to an end with the signing of the so called “phase one” trade agreement between the two countries in mid-January.“The deal brought positive momentum for us in the beginning of this year, but it was quickly buried by news of the virus,” she said.Despite the virus outbreak, Bank Mandiri analysts have confidence the government’s plan to front-load social welfare and rural development spending will help keep household spending strong in the first half of this year.The government said it would disburse village funds in three phases, as it did last year. However, 80 percent of the funds will be disbursed in the first half of the year, an increase from 60 percent over the same period in 2019.The change will mean Rp 132.5 trillion (US$9.5 billion) will be disbursed for village funds in the first half of the year, 18 percent higher than over the same period in 2019.The front-loaded spending, coupled with expectations of an improved rice harvest in March and April thanks to better weather, is expected to provide enough support for the household spending growth to remain at 5 percent in 2020.However, as the coronavirus infection count and death toll continues to rise, Bank Danamon economist Dian Ayu Yustina said in a research report published on Feb. 6, that the global economy may take time to recover, as the outbreak would force China to place some of its cities under quarantine and close flight routes.She also warned the outbreak could pose risks to Indonesia’s economy due to a decline in the number of Chinese tourists, who account for 12.8 percent of the country’s foreign tourist arrivals. It could also potentially delay Chinese investment projects in the country, she said.Other than Chinese investment, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir said on Monday that investment from other countries could also be hampered, including the newly signed US$6.8 billion investment deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), should the virus continue to spread over a prolonged period of time.While the forecast for the virus’ impact on the Indonesian economy might be bleak, Dian said Indonesia was less vulnerable than other countries because of its relatively low trade with China, which receives only 16 percent of Indonesia’s exports.She predicted GDP growth in 2020 to remain steady at 5 percent this year with household spending to grow at 4.9 percent.Topics : “We will increase social spending to prevent household spending from falling,” she explained.Front-loading means the government will disburse a larger portion of its yearly allocation for certain programs and projects earlier in the fiscal year.Although Indonesia maintained its economic growth at 5.02 percent year-on-year (yoy) in 2019, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data the country’s quarterly growth reached only 4.97 percent yoy in the fourth quarter of last year.The slowdown in the last three months of 2019 was caused by a decline in household spending, which accounted for more than 50 percent of the country’s GDP growth during the period. The government will front-load its spending on social welfare and rural development to boost household expenditure in an effort to counter the potential economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the front-loaded spending was necessary to minimize the potential impacts of growing global economic uncertainty on the country’s GDP.At a press briefing in Jakarta on Friday, she said that a large portion of the year’s social spending, for programs such as the Family Hope Program (PKH), School Operational Assistance (BOS) for elementary and high schools, the non-cash food program as well as village funds for rural development, would be disbursed in the first quarter of this year.
He said the recent boom in the illegal tiger skin and organ trade could be attributed to the growing demand for such items in the black market. According to the police’s investigation, a single tiger hide could sell for between Rp 30 million and Rp 80 million, while tiger bones could sell for Rp 2 million per kilogram and fangs for Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million each, Sunarto said.“The surge in black market prices was likely the main reason why these smugglers dared to commit such crimes. As a member of a larger international community, Indonesia has committed to putting an end to illegal tiger organ trade, given that the animals are facing extinction,” he said, adding that the Riau Police would keep tracing the movements of the larger crime syndicate involved in the illicit business.The government has recently stepped up its efforts to crack down on groups involved in the illegal trade of tiger organs across Riau.A joint team comprising personnel from the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the National Police tracked down and subsequently arrested suspected poachers and traders targeting Sumatran tigers and confiscated four fetuses of the endangered species as well as tiger hides in the province last December.According to an official estimate from the Environment and Forestry Ministry, as of last December, the Sumatran tiger population stands at no more than 600 because of a loss of habitat and poaching.Meanwhile, a report in Nature Communications estimated there were 618 adults in 2012, a 20 percent drop from 742 in 2000. (rfa)Topics : Police have apprehended three members of a crime ring allegedly involved in the illegal trade of Sumatran tiger organs in Pasir Penyu district, Indragiri Hulu regency, Riau.Riau Police chief Insp. Gen. Agung Setya Imam Effendi said the police had named three suspects – a 45-year-old Jambi local, 57-year-old North Sumatra native and and 43-year-old Ingragiri Hulu resident.“The three of them acted as couriers who transported tiger organs from Jambi to Indragiri Hulu,” Agung said in a statement on Sunday. The investigators had tracked down and monitored the suspects’ activities since Friday to follow up on a report regarding tiger organ trafficking from Muara Tebo in Jambi to Riau, he said.“Our investigation found that [the suspects] had been transporting the tiger organs in a minibus. We arrested the three suspects and seized several pieces of evidence including one dried tiger hide, four fangs and one sack of bones on Jl. Arjuna, Candi Rejo subdistrict, on Saturday at around 11 a.m.,” Agung said, adding that the suspects were detained at the Riau Police headquarters along with the evidence.Riau Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Sunarto said that, during the questioning, the suspects said that they had been paid by an individual identified only as AT to transport the animal body parts to another individual identified as HN in Air Molek subdistrict.“[The suspects] were paid Rp 2 million [US$164.14] each. HN and AT have been added to Riau Police’s most-wanted list,” Sunarto said.
Indonesia plans to establish a women’s network with Afghanistan to encourage Afghan women to contribute to the peace process in the war-torn country, the Indonesian Foreign Minister announced on Monday.”In early March, together with Indonesian women leaders, I plan to visit Kabul to formalize the formation of the Afghanistan-Indonesia Women’s Women’s Network,” Retno L.P. Marsudi said in a press statement issued on Monday in Geneva. The minister is a speaker at an event of the Good Human Rights Stories Initiative being held on the sidelines of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which runs from Feb. 24 to March 20 in the Swiss capital.Indonesia was elected in 2019 as a council member for the 2020-2022 term. “Indonesian women have played a role in promoting peace not only at the national level, but also at regional and global levels,” said Retno, referring to the many Indonesian women working in a variety of UN peacekeeping operations around the world.The UN has encouraged countries to deploy a peacekeeping force composed of at least 15 percent female personnel, and Jakarta has declared a commitment to increase the composition of women in its peacekeeping force to 10 percent.According to the Indonesian Military, however, the current ratio of women in Indonesia’s peacekeeping delegations hovers at just 4 percent. “Women’s empowerment is an important element in the promotion and protection of human rights,” said Retno, who also spoke about women’s empowerment during the UNHRC session.In addition, she mentioned the importance of preventing human rights violations and strengthening the UNHRC’s synergy in promoting and protecting human rights, in particular the issue of human rights for the Palestinian people.”Non-fulfillment of the basic rights of the Palestinian people, exacerbated by the plan to build more illegal settlements on Palestinian land, is an example of human rights violations that must be resolved immediately,” she said. Indonesia was also working on establishing the Southeast Asia Network of Women Peace Negotiators and Mediators in an aim to “strengthen the contribution of women in promoting sustainable peace in the region” the statement said.Toward this end, Indonesia has hosted regional training workshops on women, peace and security to increase the capacity of female peace negotiators and mediators in conflict resolution and mediation, it added.Topics : As Indonesia’s first female foreign minister who has championed women’s empowerment in foreign policy and peacebuilding, Retno has been encouraging the empowerment of Afghan women so they might play a more significant role in peacebuilding. She has consistently called for more inclusive policies and the promotion of affirmative action in the ultra-patriarchal country.Last year, Indonesia hosted a dialogue featuring dozens of Afghan women led by Acting Minister for Information and Culture Hasina Safi, and promised to follow the dialogue with training and skilling projects for Afghan women. Indonesia has offered various forms of assistance over the years in support of the Afghan peace process, from training Afghan diplomats and hosting dialogues, to establishing the Indonesia Islamic Center (IIC) in Kabul.In May 2019, Jakarta hosted a trilateral ulema conference with participants from Indonesia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two months later in July, then-vice president Jusuf Kalla met with the Taliban’s de facto political leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, in an effort to broker peace between the movement and the Afghan government.
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a coronavirus aid package early on Saturday that would provide free testing and paid sick leave, in a bid to limit the economic damage from a pandemic that has shuttered schools, sports arenas and offices.By a bipartisan vote of 363 to 40, the Democratic-controlled House passed a multi-billion dollar effort that would expand safety-net programs to help those who could be thrown out of work in the weeks to come.Economists say the outbreak, which has infected 138,000 people worldwide and killed more than 5,000, could tip the US economy into recession. President Donald Trump said he supported the package, raising the likelihood that it will pass the Republican-controlled Senate next week.The 110-page bill is the product of extensive negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s point person on the issue. Mnuchin has pressed for tax cuts, while Pelosi had pushed to expand safety-net spending. It does not include the $1 trillion payroll tax cut that Trump had called for.Pelosi and Trump have a frosty relationship, and the two did not speak directly. “There was no need for that,” Pelosi said at a news conference on Friday evening.Earlier in the day, Trump had accused Democrats of “not doing what’s right for the country.” The bill would provide two weeks of paid sick and family leave for those affected by the virus. Businesses would get a tax credit to help cover the expense.Democrats had initially sought to create a permanent paid sick-leave benefit for the third of US workers who currently lose wages when they stay home due to illness, but Republicans said that was a dealbreaker.Workers would also be able to take up to three months of unpaid leave if they are quarantined or need to take care of sick family members.It would expand safety-net programs that help people weather economic downturns, including home-bound seniors and low-income schoolchildren who risk losing access to free breakfast and lunch if their schools are shuttered.It would bolster unemployment aid, and the “food stamps” program that helps 34 million low-income people buy groceries.Significantly, it would suspend a new Trump administration restriction, due to kick in on April 1, that would cut off food-stamp benefits for 700,000 childless adults who are not working.Federal support for Medicaid would also be increased, giving states a cushion to fund the low-income health insurance program that Trump has repeatedly tried to scale back.Pelosi said the House would begin work next week on another round of legislation to assist hard-hit industries and the broader economy. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said Trump’s proposed payroll tax cut could factor in those negotiations.The two sides struggled to find common ground after quickly passing an $8.3 billion bill last week to pay for vaccine research and other disease-fighting measures.Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, freeing up $50 billion in federal aid. Topics :
Authorities have expressed concern about citizens refusing to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from overseas. The majority of cases in the nation are linked to international travel, in particular Europe and the Americas. The government had previously issued a strong warning against overseas travel, which has now been tightened to a ban.Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said he was very worried about the “very, very steep growth” in the rate of infections and urged people to change their behavior.Australia joins countries worldwide imposing ever tougher measures to contain the outbreak that has infected 382,000 people and killed 16,500. Beauty, tanning and nail salons and other personal services will close, as will theme parks and recreation centers. Morrison was forced to clarify his comments during the press conference, saying that shopping malls will remain open, and only the food courts inside would be impacted by the new measures.“Following common sense rules and doing the right thing — that’s how we slow the spread of this virus and that’s how we save lives,” Morrison said. “It also means that when we all do that, that we can potentially limit further economic harm from other measures.”Parliament rushed through more than A$80 billion ($47.4 billion) in fiscal stimulus for the coronavirus-stricken economy at a special sitting in Canberra on Monday, aimed at saving businesses and jobs as the nation lurches toward its first recession since 1991.As non-essential services close, waves of newly unemployed workers rushed for financial aid and formed massive queues outside welfare-support offices, placing enormous pressure on government services. Australia’s jobless rate is set to soar in the next three months to 11.1%, just shy of a recession-era peak, according to Westpac Banking Corp.’s Chief Economist Bill Evans.Topics : Australia is enforcing more stringent controls to slow the spread of the coronavirus, banning non-essential travel overseas, closing food courts in shopping malls and restricting weddings and funerals after the number of cases surged past 2,000.Addressing reporters after a meeting of the National Cabinet late Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was experiencing “heart-breaking events” and that the virus could only be defeated through following social distancing guidelines. Weddings must be limited to the couple, celebrant and two witnesses, while funerals could only be attended by about 10 people.Earlier this week, the government closed pubs, casinos, cafes and restaurants and has already banned indoor gatherings of 100 people or more. Yet still the number of cases keeps growing, reaching 2,136 as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, up 427 from a day earlier. Schools remain open, yet parents have been urged to keep their children home and follow online learnings courses.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) donated Rp 10 billion (US$619,597) to the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) on Friday. The donation, which came from Santini Group and Pakarti Yoga Group, was delivered personally by Santini Group and Pakarti Yoga Group President Director Lukito Wanandi to PMI chairman Jusuf Kalla.Previously, Kadin’s Charity Foundation helped the government in gradual ways by distributing 5,000 rapid test kits through the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry on Wednesday.“The funds are donations collected from the Indonesian Employers Association [APINDO], as well as other associations and corporations under Kadin’s supervision,” Kadin chairman Rosan P. Roeslani said on Friday. Despite the weakening economic situation, Rosan said, entrepreneurs are trying their best to lend their support.“We managed to do this because of support from other corporations and associations. I really appreciate their generosity. This serves as proof that we are united, that this is our nation’s true identity,” Rosan said. Read also: Indonesians show generosity in crowdfunding initiatives to fight COVID-19Kalla expressed his gratitude for the donations.“PMI would like to thank Kadin and APINDO for the generous support. This donation will be able to help PMI in taking action against COVID-19,” Kalla said.He added that PMI is currently focusing on giving health education to the public, as well as spraying disinfectant at public places such as places of worship, schools and business districts. “We have also built an emergency warehouse to store PMI’s supplies that are needed for countermeasures against COVID-19,” Kalla said. Kadin deputy chairperson Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, former House of Representatives Speaker Ginanjar Kartasasmita and Santini Group owner Sofjan Wanandi, who is also APINDO advisory council chairman, also attended the event.People who wish to donate for the cause are able to transfer funds to the Kadin Charity Foundation’s bank accounts: account number 0700009965661 in Bank Mandiri and/or number 2178777209 (for rupiah) and 217 8777 233 (for US dollars) in BCA (Kuningan branch office).Topics :
Topics : “The type of sanction depends on the impact the person’s actions have on their work, their institution and society,” the ministry’s integrity and merit evaluation undersecretary’s assistant, Bambang Sumarsono, told the press on Thursday.Mild sanctions include verbal warnings and/or reprimand letters, while the second most severe sanctions include postponement of salary increases and demotion, Bambang said.Under the most severe sanctions, civil servants face a three year demotion or termination of employment.Read also: Explainer: What’s allowed and what’s not in Indonesia’s ‘mudik’ ban Records of the sanctions will be uploaded to the National Civil Service Agency’s (BKN) online employment system. “All sanctions will be recorded, which later will affect their careers,” he said.Aside from being prohibited from taking part in mudik, civil servants are also prohibited from taking leave during the pandemic, unless it is for urgent matters, including maternity leave, sick leave or family reasons such as the death of a close relative, Bambang added.After President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the mudik ban last week, the Transportation Ministry announced that travel restrictions would be effective from April 24 until May 31 that prevent private vehicles, bus, trains, ships and chartered and commercial flights from entering or leaving COVID-19-impacted areas.As of Wednesday afternoon, 9,771 confirmed cases had been recorded, with 784 fatalities, according to the government’s official tally.The Idul Fitri mudik ban, coupled with the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) currently in place in a number of regions, will likely help to break the chain of transmission and possibly bring the outbreak to an end by June, according to the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI). The central government has warned civil servants that they face sanctions should they participate in this year’s Idul Fitri mudik (exodus), now that the state has officially banned the annual tradition to curb the spread of COVID-19.Prior to the official mudik ban, the Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry already prohibited civil servants and their families from going on mudik until the country “is free of COVID-19”.The ministry issued a circular on April 9 stipulating that civil servants who disobeyed the ban faced mild to heavy disciplinary sanctions.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors have demanded seven years’ imprisonment and a Rp 500 million (US$33,564) fine for Tengku Dzulmi Eldin, the inactive mayor of Medan in North Sumatra, for his alleged involvement in a bribery case related to projects and positions in the city administration.Dzulmi allegedly received a total of Rp 2.1 billion in bribes from a number of Medan city officials, including those in high-ranking positions, from 2018 to 2019, said KPK prosecutors Siswhandhono, Arin Karniasari and Yoyok Fiter Haitifewu.The antigraft body has charged Dzulmi under Article 12 of the 2001 Corruption Law, which prohibits civil servants and public administration officials from accepting bribes.The prosecutors also demanded that the judges “revoke the right of the defendant to be elected for public office for five years after he has finished serving his sentence” during a hearing at the Medan Corruption Court on Thursday.During the previous hearing on March 5, the prosecutors alleged that Dzulmi received the bribes on several occasions from a number of city agency heads in Medan, including then-head of the Public Works Agency Isa Ansyari; Housing and Residential Area Agency head Benny Iskandar; Regional Tax and Levies Management Agency head Suherman; and Transportation Agency head Iswar.Read also: Medan mayor, officials in Jakarta and East Kalimantan arrested for alleged graftAdditionally, 20 other city agency heads and officials were involved in the case, according to the prosecutors.The prosecutors said Rp 550 million of the bribe money was used for Dzulmi’s operational expenses, while Rp 900 million was used for travel expenses when he visited Japan for Medan’s sister city program, where he reportedly brought along his family members and several individuals unrelated to the program.The remaining Rp 550 million was used to pay off the travel fee to the travel agents.According to KPK prosecutors, the 24 city agency heads and officials involved in the case decided to give Dzulmi bribes in the hope of retaining their position within the Medan city administration, as he was expected to serve as mayor until 2021.The antigraft body initially arrested Dzulmi and named him a suspect in October last year. His deputy, Akhyar Nasution, subsequently replaced him as acting mayor of Medan following his arrest.In February, the Medan Corruption Court sentenced Isa Aansyari to two years’ imprisonment and a Rp 250 million fine for his involvement in the bribery case.Topics :
“I hope that instead, you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others.”The ceremony, carried by all the major American television networks, flashed between stirring speeches and performances students and celebrities alike, including basketball superstar Lebron James and singers the Jonas Brothers.James echoed Obama’s call for the students to step up, urging them to “Stay close to home” and help rebuild communities devastated by the virus and shutdowns.Uncertain future The US leads the world with coronavirus cases and deaths, at 1.4 million and nearly 90,000, respectively.This year’s graduates face a grim reality: the US unemployment rate has shot up to nearly 15 percent and more than 36 million people have filed for unemployment benefits as America grapples with the fallout from months of lockdown and business closings.The gravity of Obama’s message was underscored by the fact it was the second time in a week he had hit out at the response to the pandemic, having pointedly refused to criticize Trump in public in the three years since leaving office.He kept his profile low despite being frequently attacked by the president.But on May 9, in remarks leaked from a web call with people who worked in his administration, he called Trump’s handling of the pandemic a catastrophe.”It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalized in our government,” he said in that call.In his comments Saturday, Obama also highlighted how the health crisis has underscored racial inequality in America, and expressed outrage at the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, killed on February 23 while out for a jog in Georgia.”A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” he said at the first ceremony.”We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities. Just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question, and shoot him, if he doesn’t submit to their question,” he continued, without naming Arbery.Topics : “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he said as he discussed the implications of the pandemic during the online event, without naming any specific leaders.That celebration was followed by a second, star-studded prime-time ceremony for high school students in which Obama continued along the same lines, telling students to step up where leaders had failed.”If the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” he said.”Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy –- that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way -– which is why things are so screwed up,” he continued. Former US President Barack Obama on Saturday criticized the response to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging America, in what was widely regarded as a rare public rebuke of his successor Donald Trump.His remarks came as he spoke at two virtual commencements for high school and university students locked down instead of celebrating their graduations, a rite of passage every spring in the United States.”More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama told graduates from several dozen historically black colleges and universities at the first ceremony.