Determined to keep abreast of affairs throughout the country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon has installed a 'situation room' at the Presidential Palace. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

President-Elect Jokowi Calls on Public to Pick Cabinet

People's Power — In an unprecedented move, Joko Widodo has asked Indonesians to help him put together a new government

Joko Widodo, center, and Jusuf Kalla, second from left, with PDI-P head Megawati
 Sukarnoputri, second from right, and Puan Maharani on July 22, 2014.
(Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

Jakarta. President-elect Joko Widodo has again come up with an innovative idea; one that is unheard of in the history of Indonesian politics. Indonesia’s future leader is asking the public to add its two cents in filling out his cabinet, and in the process, revealing the potential nominees.

Jokowi Center, a team of volunteers helping Joko gather suggestions and examine candidates for his cabinet lineup, launched a poll on its website on Thursday, allowing Indonesians nationwide to cast their votes for names provided by the site, or nominate their own favorites.

More than 18,000 online participants raced to the site as of Thursday evening, causing it to crash less than 24 hours after its official launch.

The Center’s Facebook page and Twitter account — @Jokowi_Ina — also provided a link to a Google document inviting citizens to fill out a similar questionnaire.

A total of 102 names have been nominated for 34 ministerial posts, with each position receiving three candidates. If respondents remain unsatisfied with the suggestions, they may nominate their own choice with the “other” option.

“I’m only asking for input [to create] the cabinet,” Joko commented about the online poll on Thursday. “[The suggestions] will be processed by a team, using a set of criteria. Then, [the results] will be sent to coalition members, before being sent back to the [Jokowi Center] team.

“The final decision will be on me.”

The Jakarta governor has repeatedly stated he was against the practice of transactional politics and will not trade political support for a seat in his government.

The unprecedented move could account for the relatively small size of his coalition — compared to opponent Prabowo Subianto’s massive campaign machine — which will control a mere 37 percent of legislative seats when the new set of lawmakers go into session on Oct. 1.

Compare that with the rival bloc of former Army general Prabowo, which will control 73 percent of the House seats if the coalition does not fall apart — as many observers have predicted.

Joko has also vehemently rejected allegations claiming he will merely act as a “puppet president” to Megawati Soekarnoputri, the chairwoman of his political vehicle, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

“I truly respect Megawati as my senior. But surely good governance should come from making the right decisions and what is best for our nation,” Joko said in an interview a day before the General Elections Commission (KPU) declared him and running mate Jusuf Kalla the winners of the July 9 presidential race on Tuesday.

Still, it’s impossible not to notice that at least 30 names on Jokowi Center’s list of cabinet nominees are party members — and most of those are from the PDI-P.

Take for example Puan Maharani, Megawati’s daughter, who is tipped as an heir apparent to the PDI-P throne. The 40-year-old is a candidate for the position of women’s empowerment minister.

Meanwhile, senior PDI-P politicians Maruarar Sirait and Pramono Anung are both nominated for state secretary. Similarly, Hendrawan Supratikno has been suggested for the post of finance minister and Arif Budimanta for energy minister.

Politicians from other parties within the PDI-P-led coalition, including National Awakening Party (PKB) chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, National Democrat Party (Nasdem) deputy chairman Ferry Mursyidan Baldan and Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) chairman Sutiyoso, are also on the list. They are — in respective order — nominated for the chief welfare minister, the communication minister and the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

Interestingly, a number of figures from parties in the rival camp have also been nominated, including popular Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil of Prabowo’s Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and Lukman Hakim Saifudin of the United Development Party (PPP). They are candidates for the public housing minister and religious affairs minister, respectively.

More notable additions to the list include movie directors Garin Nugroho and Mira Lesmana as the tourism and creative industry minister.

The nomination of noted composer Addie M. S. and Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan as the youth and sports minister, meanwhile, have managed to raised eyebrows — with neither known to have any experience in the area. Anies has in fact been widely expected as Indonesia’s next education minister, but he’s strangely not among the Jokowi Center nominees for the job.

Is the right man in the right place?

Bantarto Bandoro, a political, defense and international relations expert from the Indonesia Defense University (Unhan), expressed his opinion on several candidates on Friday.

According to Bantarto, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Moeldoko and former Army chief of staff Gen. Budiman were both capable of holding the chief political and security minister position, but noted that Budiman’s recent dismissal — the reason of which remains unclear —  would not set a positive precedence for Joko’s future cabinet.

“Would Joko promote Budiman though he was ‘dismissed’ from the Army?” Bantarto questioned.

“The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs is a managerial position; it doesn’t require technical skills. Moeldoko will be the best man for the job. He’s familiar with latest security issues, including those that will remain [Indonesia’s concerns] over the next five years,” Bantarto said.

Former chief of the Jakarta military command Sutiyoso, meanwhile, has been absent from Indonesia’s political arena since the end of his term as Jakarta’s governor in 2007, which means he may face difficulties readjusting to another government post, Bantaro added.

For defense minister, he pointed to one of his former students at the University of Indonesia (UI), Andi Widjajanto — who is now a lecturer at the university— as the best man for the job. Andi, along with senior PDI-P lawmaker T. B. Hasanuddin and former Army chief of staff Ryamizard Ryacudu, are three nominees for the job.

It helps that Andi is a core member of Joko’s campaign team and has been directly involved in outlining the ticket’s defense and foreign policy platform.

“Andi has an advantage over the other two [candidates]. His academic, scientific-based approaches will introduce logics in Indonesia’s defense policies and help them develop,” Bantarto said. “He’s young, but has good expertise.”

Meanwhile, Hasanuddin, a member the House’s defense commission, has admittedly been following every development of Indonesia’s defense sector and has provided the government with ample criticism on the matter.

“But his arguments often lack theoretical, scientific and practical grounds and therefore offer no real solutions to the matter at hand,” Bantarto commented.

Finally, he pointed out that the appointment of Ryamizard — a known close aide to Megawati — would contradict Indonesia’s stance on appointing a civilian for the defense minister position. The policy was introduced at the start of the post-Suharto reformation era and was meant to curb military involvement and dominance in the government.

As for the role of foreign minister, Bantarto champions Indonesia’s current international public relations man Marty Natalegawa, as he is expected to continue the country’s ongoing diplomatic missions — which most of Indonesia’s foreign observers say are cruising in the right direction.

“Additionally, there would be almost zero resistance against him within the diplomatic ranks. The same may not be said for public figures who have currently no connections to the foreign ministry, such as UI lecturer Makmur Keliat or Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS] executive director Rizal Sukma,” Bantarto said. “Rizal has some great, sharp foreign policy concepts, but he would meet resistance in the diplomatic ranks as he’s never been part of them.”

The economic team

Eric Alexander Sugandi, an economist at Standard Chartered, gave his comments on the appointment of Indonesia’s future economic ministers.

However, Eric refused to take sides and name his favorite choice for chief of Indonesia’s economy, the nominees for which include incumbent minister Chairul Tanjung, who has only held the title for several months, gaining the position after stepping in for current Prabowo running mate Hatta Rajasa; State Enterprise Minister Dahlan Iskan; and former trade minister Gita Wirjawan.

“Ideally, the coordinating minister for the economy position should go to a senior minister, experienced enough to be able to smoothly coordinate with other economic ministers. And ideally, the person must also be able to work with regional administrations,” Eric said.

For the post of finance minister, Eric favors former minister Agus Martowardojo — who held the role from 2010 to 2013 — but highly doubts that Agus would want to leave his current position as Bank Indonesia governor.

“Raden Pardede gained ample experience with the KSSK, the [now-defunct] Financial System Stability Committee,” Eric said. “But other names from the finance ministry’s inner circle should be considered as well.”

These would include deputy finance minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, former deputy finance minister Mahendra Siregar — who is now chief of the Investment Coordinating Board, or BKPM — and tax director general Fuad Rahmany.

Eric added that Mari Elka Pangestu, trade minister from 2004 to 2011 and current nominee, would still be fit for the job, citing her vast experience in the sector.

“Basically, aside from having specific skills in their specific areas, ministers for the economy should also possess macroeconomic knowledge, experience in policy making and the ability to build relations with other state institutions, including the House of Representatives, Bank Indonesia and the OJK [Financial Services Authority].

“Candidates should also be in favor of administrative reform,” Eric added.

Corruption free?

Meanwhile, the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) offered its input by highlighting the track records of names added to Jokowi Center’s online list, some of which have already raised a red flag within the antigraft organization.

ICW coordinator Ade Irawan refused to go into detail, but conceded that Rokhmin Dahuri, the maritime and fisheries minister under Megawati’s 2001-04 presidency, had once been convicted of corruption and abusing his power.

Rokhmin was sentenced to a seven-year prison term in 2007 for illegally collecting up to Rp 11.5 billion ($1 million) from various government programs. His sentence was cut short due to good behavior.

Raden may also prove to be a problematic candidate due to KSSK’s involvement in the Bank Century bailout scandal, which is currently being tried at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court. However, the former KSSK secretary has only testified as a witness in the case.

“The candidates’ list should be free from people implicated or suspected in corruption cases and potential conflicts of interest,” Ade said. “Jokowi-JK should clearly outline the criteria required for each candidate… so the public would not make their choice simply based on popularity.”

Ade conceded Joko’s attempts to draw public participation in selecting cabinet members “deserves appreciation.”

“It is important that people are involved in choosing the officials who will ultimately serve them,” Ade said. “This strategy would also hopefully prevent any transactional, horse-trading politics from happening.”

The ICW is currently drawing up its own list of pros and cons on Jokowi Center’s existing list of candidates.

That report, added Ade, will be released in August.

The ICW coordinator added that the organization supported the idea of cutting down on bureaucracy by closing several ministries that are deemed ineffective, though he declined to name them.

Additional reporting by SP/Deti Mega P.

Related Articles:

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“…  Government

Let us speak of government. We're not speaking of your government, but of any government - the way it works, how it survives, how it has survived, the way it campaigns, and how it elects leaders. It's going to change.

Years ago, I told you, "When everybody can talk to everybody, there can be no secrets." Up to this point on this planet, government has counted on one thing - that the people can't easily talk to each other on a global scale. They have to get their information through government or official channels. Even mass media isn't always free enough, for it reports that which the government reports. Even a free society tends to bias itself according to the bias of the times. However, when you can have Human Beings talking to each other all at once, all over the planet without government control, it all changes, for there is open revelation of truth.

Democracy itself will change and you're going to see it soon. The hold-outs, the few countries I have mentioned in the past, are doomed unless they recalibrate. They're doomed to be the same as they have been and won't be able to exist as they are now with everyone changing around them.

I mentioned North Korea in the past. Give it time. Right now, the young man is under the control of his father's advisors. But when they're gone, you will see something different, should he survive. Don't judge him yet, for he is being controlled.

In government, if you're entire voting base has the ability to talk to itself without restriction and comes up with opinions by itself without restriction, it behooves a politician to be aware and listen to them. This will change what politicians will do. It will change the way things work in government. Don't be surprised when some day a whole nation can vote all at once in a very unusual way. Gone will be the old systems where you used to count on horseback riders to report in from faraway places. Some of you know what I am talking about. Government will change. The systems around you, both dark and light, will change. You're going to start seeing something else, too, so let's change the subject and turn the page. …

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Widodo wins Indonesian presidency as rival withdraws

Indonesia's election commission has announced Joko Widodo as winner of this month's presidential polls. Hours before the finalized results, rival runner Prabowo Subianto withdrew from the race, claiming electoral fraud.

Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2014

Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, popularly nicknamed "Widodo," claimed just over 53 percent of the votes, according to the final count on Tuesday. Voter turnout was over 70 percent, with almost 133 million valid ballots cast in total across the giant archipelago.

Police were out in force in
Jakarta after a heated election
The results largely corroborated the unofficial "quick counts" released after the July 9 election, most of which gave Jokowi a slim lead of up to 5 percent.

After a tense election campaign, Jokowi had called on his supporters to stay home in the case of a victory on Tuesday - to avoid potential clashes with supporters of his main rival, former general Prabowo Subianto. Jakarta police mobilized in force on Tuesday anticipating possible clashes.

Rival quits at last second

Subianto withdrew from Indonesia's presidential election process hours before the final results, citing widespread fraud.

Prabowo Subianto said he did not accept,
 but would not appeal, the results
"We reject the 2014 presidential election that was legally flawed, and therefore we withdraw from the ongoing process," he said in the capital Jakarta. Prabowo said complaints from his camp about "massive, structural and systematic cheating" were ignored by officials.

"We have found instances of electoral fraud involving organizers that make this election unfair," he said, before urging his supporters to remain calm. "We will base our struggle on the constitution and laws."

Prabowo had previously called on the election commission to stop the counting process until all allegations of electoral fraud were investigated.

Prabowo's withdrawal could open him up to prosecution: candidates agree not to withdraw once they have signed up to run for the presidency. Under Indonesian election laws, pulling out of the race can theoretically be punished by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 50 billion rupiah (3.18 million euros, $4.31 million).

msh/dr (AFP, AP, dpa)

Related Articles:

Election Brings Indonesia’s Politics to a New Phase, Jokowi Says in Speech
Yudhoyono First to Congratulate Joko-Kalla for Election Victory
Commentary: A new era for Indonesia
Jokowi-Kalla Win Presidential Election as KPU Completes Tally
The China issue in Indonesia's presidential election

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono watches the vote recapitulation
 process along with some of his cabinet members at his private residence in
Cikeas, West Java, on Tuesday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jokowi-Kalla Win Presidential Election as KPU Completes Tally

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has just more than 53 percent of the vote nationally, over rival Prabowo Subianto who garnered just less than 47 percent — according to the official results from 34 provinces

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Robertus Wardhi & Yeremia Sukoyo, Jul 20, 2014

A KPU official, right, shows the official report documents with the election
 results to witnesses of both presidential candidates in Jakarta on July 20,
2014. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has won  the presidential election with just more than 53 percent of the vote, over rival Prabowo Subianto who garnered just less than 47 percent — according to the official results from 34 provinces compiled on Sunday.

A total of 33 provincial offices of the General Elections Commission (KPU) have completed their individual tallies by early Sunday morning, with Jakarta finishing last — declaring Joko the winner with 53.08 percent of the vote over Prabowo’s 46.92 percent.

Indonesia’s newest and 34th province, North Kalimantan, had its votes counted by the KPU’s East Kalimantan branch.

The final individual tallies of the provinces have been made public in various media reports, and the Jakarta Globe has compiled the data to produce its own recap of the national tally — with the KPU only scheduled to finish and announce its final national tally by Tuesday night.

On Sunday, the KPU headquarters in Jakarta only began recapitulating data from 12 provinces.

The Jakarta Globe’s national recap of the 33 provincial tallies lands Joko — who is also known as Jokowi — and his running mate Jusuf Kalla the winners of the July 9 presidential election, collecting a total of 70.67 million votes (53.17 percent) compared with Prabowo’s 62.25 million votes (46.83 percent). There are a total of 132.92 million valid votes — representing 70.6 percent of Indonesia’s total eligible voters.

Consistent with quick counts

The result recap is consistent with the  quick counts by eight pollsters announced immediately after Indonesians cast their votes on July 9 — which had put Joko in the lead with between 51 percent and 53 percent vote over the 47 percent to 49 percent in favor of Prabowo.

Four other pollsters, citing their own quick counts, had declared Prabowo the winner with lower margins.

The recap also shows that Joko and his running mate, former vice president Jusuf Kalla, win in 23 provinces, while Prabowo-Hatta Rajasa lead in 10 provinces. Joko-Kalla thus lead by 8.4 million votes, or around 6.3 percent.

“Three biggest contributors to Jokowi-JK’s votes are Central Java, East Java and West Java,” Tjahjo Kumolo, the secretary general of Joko’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the head of his campaign team, said in Jakarta on Sunday, citing the party’s own recap of the KPU provincial data — similar to that of the Jakarta Globe.

Joko-Kalla did record an overwhelming 66.65 percent vote in Central Java, which is a traditional PDI-P stronghold, securing nearly 13 million votes, double that of Prabowo.

Although West Java was the third-largest contributor to Joko’s votes, he actually suffered a big loss in Indonesia’s most populous province, securing 9.5 million votes (40.22 percent) over Prabowo’s 14 million (59.78 percent).

Bali (another PDI-P stronghold), Bangka-Belitung, South Sulawesi (Kalla’s hometown), West Sulawesi, Papua and West Papua are among other provinces where Joko-Kalla won by an overwhelming majority.

Prabowo-Hatta, meanwhile, enjoyed an overwhelming majority in West Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara and Gorontalo.

Joko-Kalla dominate votes in central and eastern Indonesia, and share wins with Prabowo-Hatta on Sumatra island.

Overseas, Joko-Kalla also lead with a total of 364,283 votes (53.74 percent) over Prabowo-Hatta with 313,600 votes, or 46.26 percent.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

With NDB established, Beijing turns to new bank for Asia

Want China Times, Kao Hsing and Staff Reporter 2014-07-18

A sign for the APEC 2014 second senior officials' meeting in Qingdao,
Shandong province, May 14. (File photo/CNS)

After the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB) operated by the BRICS states on July 16, China is proposing to set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as another part of Beijing's bid to break the dominance of the United States and Japan-led international financial institutions.

The NDB, an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, is run by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

China's next move is to launch the AIIB, which is considered a rival to the World Bank and the Japan-led Asian Development Bank.

The AIIB concept was proposed by President Xi Jinping at last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and its goal is to raise funds for infrastructure construction in Asia. In addition, the AIIB will invest in railways, road and airport construction that connects Central Asia, Middle East and Europe.

China has invited participation from 22 countries in the Middle East and Central and South Asia, as well as member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Premier Li Keqiang championed the AIIB idea when meeting the prime minister of Kuwait in June. Xi also brought up the AIIB issue several times during his recent meeting with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, and they are understood to have reached a certain consensus.

At the annual BRICS summit this year, to attract India's participation in the AIIB, Xi invited India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, to attend the APEC summit set to be held in Beijing in November, the first time for India to attend the annual event having declined participation over the last decade.

China also hopes the invitation will prompt India to back the establishment of the AIIB as well as quell discontent in India at the NDB being headquartered in Shanghai.

Beijing plans to complete the memorandum of understanding for the structure and establishment of the AIIB by the end of this year and officially launch it during the first half of next year. It also plans to join the Eurasian Development Bank soon after.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the
 CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17,
 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Related Articles:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Budi Mulya Sentenced to 10 Years Over Bank Century Bailout

Jakarta Globe, Jul 16, 2014

The former deputy governor of the central bank was sentenced to 10 years
on July 16 over his role in the bailout of Bank Century. (Antara Photo)

Jakarta. Budi Mulya, the former deputy governor of Bank Indonesia, was sentenced to 10 years by the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Wednesday over his role in the bailout of the now-defunct Bank Century.

Budi was detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Nov. 13, 2013 for his part in the Rp 6.7 trillion ($570 million) bailout of the bank in 2008.

He was found to have received a loan of Rp 1 billion from Century owner Robert Tantular just months before the government approved a short-term loan facility to the ailing lender.

“The approval and disbursement of the Rp 689 million FPJP [short-term funding] was an act that was against the law,” presiding judge Afiantara said.

After issuing stop-gap credit to the struggling bank, the bailout later ballooned to more than half a billion dollars. Officials involved in the bailout have maintained consistently that the environment in 2008 was such that allowing an Indonesian lender to go to the wall could have had a systemic impact on the country’s banking sector.

Budi was also told to pay a Rp 500 million fine. Prosecutors had sought 17 years in prison for Budi. They argued the defendant had committed the act while the government had embarked on an anti-corruption campaign, and that he he had tainted the reputation of the country’s central bank.

Budi said he would file an appeal.

BRICS create development bank, based in Shanghai

Yahoo – AFP, 15 July 2014

The BRICS group of emerging powers launched a $50 billion development bank Tuesday to be based in Shanghai and a $100 billion crisis contingency fund, according to a joint declaration.

The New Development Bank's first president will be from India while the board's chairman will be Brazilian, according to the declaration released at a summit in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The bank will have an initial subscribed capital of $50 billion followed by an authorized capital of $100 billion, equally shared among Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.

The Contingency Reserve Arrangement will have an initial size of $100 billion and will help countries avoid "short-term liquidity pressures, promote further BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Marty, Joko United in Condemnation of Gaza Attacks

Jakarta Globe, Vita A.D. Busyra & Ezra Sihite,  Jul 11, 2014

A Palestinian woman carrying a child makes her way through debris as people
 inspect the remains of a house belonging to a member of the Islamist Hamas
 movement following an Israeli air strike on July 8, 2014 in the Gaza strip town
of Khan Yunis. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

Jakarta. Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa condemned on Thursday the ongoing Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip that has killed scores of Palestinian civilians. He denounced what he called heinous acts against humanity and said the rocket fire on ostensible Hamas targets was an obstacle to the path to peace in the Middle East.

“Israel’s action should be strongly condemned as its military action has worsened the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank through the years,” Marty said in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. He called the collective punishment against the Palestinians by Israeli authorities inappropriate.

“It should be understood that the core of the problem, the occupation of [Palestine] by Israel, must be terminated by a peaceful negotiation in order to achieve the vision of two states living side by side,” Marty said

He demanded the United Nations Security Council and the international community pressure Israel to stop the rocket attacks on Gaza, saying the cycle of violence in the region need to end.

Marty also said that Indonesia would continue to work closely with the Palestinians, as peers in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), to raise international awareness about the violence being waged in Gaza.

Indonesia’s Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) has also demanded an immediate end to the strikes that it says threatens to spread into a wider conflict in a region that is already bristling with tension.

“The brutal actions conducted by Israel against Palestine are very regrettable,” HRWG executive director Rafendi Djamin said on Thursday in Jakarta. “This overtly violates human rights covenants that have been agreed on by the international community. I call on all civilian organizations that are concerned with human rights issues, not only in this country but also in other countries, to urge the Indonesian government to take further action and see the issue as a threat to human rights.”

Presidential candidate Joko Widodo, the apparent winner of Wednesday’s election according to most quick counts, on Thursday called on the Indonesian people to pray for Palestine.

“I ask all Indonesian people to pray for the Palestinian people so they are given strength, physically and mentally, to maintain their sovereignty from Israeli colonialism,” he said at a press conference, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara. “Hopefully God almighty will always be with the Palestine people.”

He said he would meet with Palestine’s ambassador to Indonesia. “I’m close with Palestine’s ambassador and I will meet him to express direct support for Palestine and condemn Israel’s attack on Gaza,” Joko said. He also called on Indonesians to donate funds to Palestine through the embassy in Jakarta.

Reuters reported that Israeli air strikes against militants in Palestine have killed 74 people since Tuesday, including women and children.

The strikes were part of Israel’s response to an uptick in rocket attacks over the past several says. Joko said he saw Indonesia as an advocate for Palestine on the international stage.

“Palestine is really meaningful for the Indonesian people, because Palestine is an Arab country, which belongs to the Arab League, which supported and acknowledged Indonesian independence,” Joko said as quoted by news portal

He said that Israel was guilty of human rights violations. “The situation in the Gaza Strip is really concerning, because there’s a mass killing,” he said. He also called on the United Nations to condemn the airstrikes.

In his foreign policy debate with rival Prabowo Subianto last month, Joko stated that one of his aims if elected would be to push for Palestinian statehood. His running mate, Jusuf Kalla, said separately that they planned to also open an Indonesian Embassy in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Ikrar Nusa Bakti, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said Indonesia’s condemnation of the air strikes carried little weight because of Jakarta’s steadfast refusal to recognize the Israeli state.

“Despite the effusive support that Joko has expressed for Palestine, it will not be an easy task to deliver that support, because we’re not a nation with plans and great power,” Ikrar said on Thursday. “But the thing we can do is to campaign for solidarity from other Muslim[-majority] countries.”

Ikrar said the plan to set up an embassy in Ramallah was the right move. “That will put both states, Indonesia and Palestine, on an equal footing, as Palestine already has an embassy in Jakarta,” he said. He recommended that the Indonesian government use diplomacy to push for full international recognition of a Palestinian state, arguing that objections by Israel and the United States to such a move were baseless.

“If Palestine becomes a sovereign country, how could it possibly pose a threat to the US or Israel?” Ikrar asked.

Makmur Keliat, an international relations expert at the University of Indonesia, suggested three points to the government of Indonesia to take peace initiatives, either through a bilateral or regional approach, such as through the United Nations or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“First, urge both parties in the conflict to stop their fighting. Second, ask all international institutions to immediately deliver support and aid as well as provide humanitarian protection for women and children. And third, conduct a mediation and further negotiations between the two disputing parties,” Makmur told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was set to brief the Security Council on the crisis on Thursday, condemned the rocket attacks and urged Israel to show restraint. “Gaza is on a knife edge,” he told reporters.

Medical officials in Hamas-dominated Gaza said at least 60 civilians, including a 4-year-old girl and boy, aged 5, who were killed on Thursday, were among the 74 Palestinians who have died in Israeli attacks since Tuesday.

Israel says it has struck more than 750 targets in an offensive intended to halt persistent rocket fire at its own civilian population, which escalated after Israeli forces arrested hundreds of Hamas activists in the occupied West Bank following the abduction of the Jewish teenagers.

White House Congratulates Indonesia After Election

Jakarta Globe, Jul 11, 2014

US President Barack Obama. (Reuters Photo/Kevin Lamarque)

Jakarta. The White House has congratulated the people of Indonesia on a successful presidential election that saw strong public participation and high voter turnout on Wednesday.

“The high voter turnout, spirited campaign and strong participation by Indonesia’s public, civil society and media underscore the strength and dynamism of Indonesia’s maturing democracy,” the office of the White House press secretary said on its website on Wednesday.

The office said that as the world’s second- and third-largest democracies, the United States and Indonesia had many shared interests and values, “including a strong belief in the importance of respect for human rights, inclusive governance, and equal opportunities for all people.”

Indonesia held a largely peaceful presidential election on Wednesday, with the majority of quick counts calling the election for Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo. His rival, Prabowo Subianto, has refused to conceded defeat, though, citing other quick counts that show he won the election.

The official results will only be announced on July 22 by the General Elections Commission (KPU).

The White House also said that the US president looked forward to continuing the bilateral partnership with Indonesia’s new president, who takes office in October.

“The Comprehensive Partnership that our two countries launched in 2010 is a long-term commitment to build on our common interests to broaden, deepen and elevate bilateral relations between the United States and Indonesia, as well as to promote mutual understanding and work together on issues of regional and global concern,” the statement said. “The president looks forward to continuing that important partnership with the new Indonesian president, as well as with the recently elected parliament.”

US President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have developed a strong relationship and strengthened bilateral ties between the two countries in recent years.

“President Obama and his administration have valued the partnership with President Yudhoyono, who has worked closely with the United States to strengthen our bilateral relationship and our engagement with Asean [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations],” the White House statement said. “As President Yudhoyono nears the end of his term, he can look back on an important legacy of helping Indonesia achieve strong economic growth, strengthened democratic institutions, and a role as a regional and global leader. This administration recognizes with deep appreciation his efforts to build greater understanding between Indonesia and the United States, and we look forward to continuing close ties going forward.”

Related Article:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Singapore to Stop Issuing Sg$10,000 Note to Deter Money Laundering

Jakarta Globe – AFP,  Jul 10, 2014

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, pictured
,has announced it will stop issuing Sg$10,000
($8,000) notes. (Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg)
Singapore’s central bank said Thursday it would stop issuing Sg$10,000 ($8,000) notes to help deter money laundering, with critics complaining the note is the bill of choice for bribe-payers in neighboring Indonesia.

A spokeswoman for the Monetary Authority of Singapore said the decision was “a preemptive move to mitigate the higher money laundering risks associated with large value cash transactions”.

The note is one of the world’s most valuable banknotes in circulation, along with the 1,000 Swiss franc ($1,120) note, the Sg$1,000 note and the 500 euro ($680) note, according to the Standard Catalogue of World Paper Money.

The highest banknote for the US currency is $100 while China makes do with the 100 renminbi ($16) note.

Notes currently in circulation will remain legal tender but stocks are expected to decline over time as worn notes are returned and not replaced, the monetary authority spokeswoman said.

The central bank’s comments come days after an Indonesian financial watchdog urged Singapore to immediately withdraw all Sg$10,000 notes instead of just discontinuing them.

Singapore, a global financial center and major player in the wealth management industry, has rejected accusations that it is a haven for money laundering and foreign tax cheats.

In March, it began regulating intermediaries of Bitcoin such as exchanges and vending machines dispensing the virtual currency, citing the increasing risk that they could be used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

The government has also said it is scrutinizing new forms of illicit financing such as through the trade of precious stones and metals.

Singapore houses the regional offices of some of the world’s top financial institutions with total assets under management in the city-state now around Sg$1.4 trillion ($1.1 trillion), according to the city’s monetary authority.

Agence France-Presse
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Prabowo Tops Candidate Rich List

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Ameliaç  Jul 02, 2014

Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, second from right, and his running
 mate Hatta Radjasa, right, sing a national song accompanied by rival presidential
 candidate Joko Widodo, second from left, and his running mate Jusuf Kalla, left, as
 they announced their wealth at the Indonesian General Elections Commition office
in Jakarta on July 1, 2014. Prabowo is the richest among the four, with wealth listed
at $148 million. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

Jakarta. Former Army general Prabowo Subianto is by far the richest among the four presidential and vice presidential candidates, with a total of $148 million in wealth, according to data verified by the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK.

Prabowo’s wealth largely consists of share ownership in 26 companies totaling Rp 1.52 trillion ($128.4 million) and includes four homes worth Rp 106 billion, eight vehicles worth Rp 1.4 billion, and artworks and antique items totaling Rp 3 billion.

Prabowo has amassed a total of Rp 1.67 trillion in local currency and $7.5 million. Prabowo announced the figures himself at the office of the General Elections Commission (KPU) in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday.

Coming in second is vice presidential candidate Jusuf Kalla, the running mate of Prabowo’s rival, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo. Kalla, a renowned businessman from Makassar and the vice president of Indonesia from 2004 to 2009, is worth a total of $40.2 million — less than a third of Prabowo’s wealth.

Kalla’s wealth is also mostly based in share ownership — in 13 companies, worth nearly Rp 335 billion in total. He has 51 property units totaling Rp 121.8 billion, four vehicles worth Rp 525 million, as well as nearly Rp 7 billion in cash.

Prabowo’s running mate Hatta Rajasa and Joko come in at almost the same figure, but far below Kalla’s and much less than Prabowo’s.

Hatta has a total of $2.6 million in wealth, mostly composed of 14 homes totaling Rp 21.7 billion, as well as Rp 4 billion of securities, Rp 2 billion of antique goods and artworks, and Rp 1.65 billion in jewelry.

Joko, who ran a furniture business before becoming mayor of the Central Java town of Solo and, later, governor of Jakarta, is the least wealthy of the candidates. The majority of his $2.5 million is based in 24 homes totaling Rp 29 billion. Joko also has 12 vehicles worth Rp 954 million and Rp 488 million in bank accounts.

The two presidential candidates and their running mates appeared at the KPU office on Tuesday to publicly announce the KPK-verified figures.

News portal reported that Prabowo amassed approximately Rp 10.7 billion in wealth by 2003, and Hatta around Rp 17 billion in 2012.

State-run news agency Antara, meanwhile, reported Joko’s wealth totaling Rp 18.5 billion by 2010 and Kalla around Rp 315 billion by 2009.

Producing wealth reports on candidates prior to an election provides a measure by which to increase transparency and reduce corruption.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

KPK Prosecutors Seek 10 Years for Andi Mallarangeng

Jakarta Globe, SP/Novianti Setuningsih, Jul 01, 2014

Former Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng arrives at the Jakarta
 Anti-Corruption Court as his trial over the graft-ridden construction of the Hambalang
sports center began on March 10, 2014. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Jakarta. Prosecutors with the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, have demanded the court sentence former Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng to 10 years in jail for graft over the botched construction of the Hambalang sports center.

“The defendant as youth and sports minister never cross-checked the reports he received, which is necessary for budget supervision. He used the excuse that the reports were adequate,” prosecutor Kiki Ahmad Yani said at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday.

The prosecutors also want the court to order Andi to pay Rp 300 million ($25,000) in fines or spend an additional six months in jail. Prosecutors asked that he be compelled to repay Rp 2.5 billion to compensate a small part of the the state’s loss from the West Java sports training center. The court should confiscate his assets or impose an additional two years on his sentence if he failed to comply, they added.

The court was told that Andi’s lack of commitment in fighting graft, failing to acknowledge his actions and his incompetence in managing the ministry budget constituted aggravating factors that meant a heavy custodial sentence was the most appropriate sanction.

Andi is accused of having received Rp 4 billion and $550,000 from a company called Global Daya Manunggal through his brother Andi Zulkarnaen Mallarangeng, who also goes by Choel. The amount of Rp 2 billion was allegedly used to fund his campaign in the Democratic Party chair election.