"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … 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.)
.

The headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 
Jakarta. (BeritaSatu Photo)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / 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)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We Built a Strong Case Against Setya Novanto: KPK

Jakarta Globe, Alin Almanar, December 11, 2017

Setya Novanto has been charged with embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million).
(Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

Jakarta. Antigraft officials said investigators had built a strong case against Setya Novanto, as they countered arguments by expert witnesses during a hearing on Monday (11/12).

Setya has filed again a pretrial motion with the South Jakarta District Court to clear him as a graft suspect. The same court ruled in late September that naming Setya as a suspect in July was "procedurally flawed" and the charges were invalid.

Three witnesses brought by Setya's lawyers to the court on Monday questioned the validity of evidence against him.

One of the witnesses, Mudzakir, a criminal law expert at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in Yogyakarta, said the evidence against the former House of Representatives speaker was invalidated by the ruling.

According to him, the move to charge Setya again in late October was therefore based on "outdated evidence."

"It's similar to opening again an investigation that has been halted. If there's no new evidence, it can't be reopened," he said.

But a Constitutional Court ruling issued this year, cited by antigraft officials during the hearing, allows investigators to rely on evidence that was used against a suspect who has won a pretrial motion.

"A pretrial verdict shouldn't hamper investigators' efforts to handle a case," said Evi Laila Kholis, a member of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) legal bureau.

The evidence against Setya had also been "complemented," KPK officials said.

In the next days, the KPK is going to bring five witnesses to the South Jakarta District Court, whose ruling is expected on Thursday.

Setya has been charged with embezzling Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion procurement of national electronic identity cards (e-KTP) project. He can face 20 years in jail, if found guilty.

The graft case resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion state losses.

Related Article:


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Local King Koil Assembler Upbeat About Consumer Purchasing Power, Eyes Expansion to E. Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Muhamad Al Azhari, November 25, 2017

Duta Abadi Primantara, a local company that holds licenses for some international
mattress brands, is upbeat about its future business due to expected growth of
consumer buying power in years to come. The company is also eyeing a major
expansion to the eastern part of Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Duta Abadi Primantara)

Jakarta. Duta Abadi Primantara, a local company that holds licenses for some international mattress brands, is upbeat about its future business due to the expected growth of consumer buying power in years to come. The company is also eyeing a major expansion to the eastern part of Indonesia.

The company, first established in the 1990s, currently has four factories and 13 assemble point facilities in Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali and Kalimantan.

DAP holds licenses to locally assemble high-end mattresses for brands based in the United States, including Aireloom, King Koil, Serta and Tempur. The company has its own locally-manufactured mattress brand, called Florence, that targets medium- to low- income customers.

King Koil and Serta are the leaders in the premium segment of the mattress industry in Indonesia.

Anthony Setiawan, the vice president director of Duta Abadi, said the company has seen a healthy single digit revenue growth over the past few years and is bullish about future businesses.

"There has been a slowdown [in economic growth], we felt it too, but buying power is predicted to increase in the future, a lot research has shown. Also, we noted an interesting fact that people in Indonesia are now more aware that quality sleep is important. If you look at the statistics, people spend a third of their time sleeping. It is very important that they sleep well," said Anthony, who is the second generation of the family who founded and owns DAP.

Indonesia’s economy expanded at a slower pace in the third quarter this year compared to market expectations, a disappointing outcome for the country as a slowdown in private consumption dragged overall growth.

The economy expanded 5.06 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, just slightly higher than a 5.01 percent year-on-year growth in the previous quarter. The third quarter figure is lower than the median estimate from polling by Reuters and Bloomberg, which showed figures of 5.13 percent and 5.2 percent growth respectively.

Despite the fact that Indonesia’s economy expanded at around 5 percent on average over the last five years, government officials and economists generally remain upbeat over growth outlook in the near term, thanks to new infrastructure development, an expected rebound in commodity prices and more investment in the country.

Anthony said about 80 percent of his company's products are sold to end-customers, while the remainder are bought by hospitality industries like hotels and healthcare operators like hospitals.

"We started the business in the 1990s with Florence mattress. This is our first brand,  which we manufactured and distributed. Then, in 1996, we acquired the exclusive license for King Koil in the United States," Anthony told the Jakarta Globe on the sidelines of Hotel Week, a three-day exhibition and conference that gathers players in hospitality industry.

He said DAP then expanded to acquire exclusive licenses to assemble mattresses for Serta, Tempur and Aireloom.

Anthony said the company imports raw materials for its premium mattress brands but assembles them in Indonesia. DAP currently has a comprehensive distribution network in Indonesia that covers Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and Kalimantan.

He said the next stage of expansion will be targeted to the eastern part of the country to capture the higher purchasing power of people and benefits from expansions of hotel operators in the region.

"The hospitality industry is very important for us. When we started marketing King Koil, our first customer was the Mulia hotel in Senayan. From this, we started being acknowledged among five-star hotels. This continues until now as hotel owners and operators are getting more aware that mattress are one of the most important factors in their hospitality services," Anthony said.

"For customers, when they stay at a particular hotel, when they feel they have a good sleep and rest, they will look at the brand of the mattress, usually they may be encouraged to buy the same at home."

DAP has also started to tap into the hospital market due to more attention in the sector from the government.

"There is a specific requirement if we want to tap into the hospital bed mattress, for electronic-adjustable bed, there is a certain certification that a manufacturer and supplier must secure, currently we cooperate with a certain supplier [of hospital beds], but we are working on the way of making our own [electronic-adjustable mattress]," Anthony added.

DAP currently holds the exclusive license to assemble and distribute King Koil products in Indonesia and China and distribute Serta products in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Setya Novanto Hospitalized After Car Crash Amid Arrest Warrant in e-KTP Case

JakartaGlobe, Telly Nathalia, November 16, 2017

House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has been hospitalized following
 a solo car crash on Thursday night (16/11), mere hours after making his first public
statement regarding a warrant for his arrest in the e-KTP corruption case. (Antara Photo/
Sigid Kurniawan)

Jakarta. House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has been hospitalized following a solo car crash on Thursday night (16/11), mere hours after making his first public statement regarding a warrant for his arrest in the so-called e-KTP corruption case.

Novanto has repeatedly failed to show up for questioning by antigraft investigators as a suspect in the case involving massive graft in the procurement of electronic national identity cards, or e-KTP. The project was mothballed in October 2015 following a series of problems, including a late start, technical glitches and officials demanding payments from residents to provide the ostensibly free service.

Novanto's lawyer Fredrich Yunadi confirmed that his client was admitted to Permata Hijau Hospital in South Jakarta. He said Novanto was unconscious and that he suffered from high blood pressure, in addition to a pre-existing heart condition.

"I received a call to meet him at the Metro TV studios. On my way [to Metro TV], his aide informed me that they had just been involved in an accident ... he [Novanto] was injured and immediately lost consciousness," Fredrich said.

The lawyer explained that Novanto intended to comply with a summons by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prior to the accident, but that this unfortunately prevented his client from doing so.

Fredrich said four internists are observing Novanto due to his "serious" medical condition, which will require his client undergoing a computed tomography, or MRI, test.

A few hours before the accident, Metro TV conducted a telephonic interview with the Golkar Party chairman, who denied allegations that he was trying to avoid questioning in the case.

"I have to respect the legal process I am facing now, and I always respect the process. I never fail [to comply with KPK summonses], because each of the three times I was summoned as a witness in the case against Anang, I submitted written statements. Today is my fourth summons," Novanto said, referring to Anang Sudihardjo, president director of Quadra Solution, one of the companies in a consortium that won a contract to procure the national identity cards for the government.

"This is my first summons as a suspect. I am surprised, because just after the first summons, while I was studying the legal matters for today, there was a plan to arrest me," he continued.

In early November, the KPK named Novanto a suspect in the case for a second time, based on allegations that he siphoned off Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion e-KTP project, which resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.

"I never received money; it can be checked with the BPK [State Audit Agency] or the BPKP [State Finance and Development Surveillance Committee]," Novanto stressed.

He explained that he filed for a judicial review by the Constitutional Court of the 2002 Law on the KPK, including an article that allows the antigraft agency to question a suspect by disregarding procedures stipulated in other laws. Another article allows the KPK to request the immigration office to impose a travel ban on a graft suspect.

"I also took up legal protection measures with the president and other state agencies," he said, admitting that he reported KPK commissioners Agus Rahardjo and Saut Situmorang to the police for abuse of authority and using false documents to bar him from leaving the country.

Novanto's whereabouts were unknown when antigraft investigators showed up at his house in South Jakarta on Wednesday night. This prompted the KPK to warn the politician that he would be declared a fugitive from justice if he did not surrender himself to investigators.

Police said on Wednesday that they would assist the KPK in apprehending Novanto if requested to do so.

Related Articles:

Top Indonesian politician embroiled in huge corruption case goes missing


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Finances of Opposition Leader Prabowo and Other Public Figures Exposed in Paradise Papers

Jakarta Globe, Tabita Diela,November 06, 2017

Tommy Suharto, right, hands over his tax report to Ken Dwijugiasteadi, director
general for taxation at the Ministry of Finance, in September 2016. (SP Photo/
Joanito De Saojoao)

Jakarta. Three well-known public figures, including children of the late President Suharto and opposition party leader Prabowo Subianto appear in the Paradise Papers, a global investigation released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, on Sunday (05/11).

The Paradise Papers put a spotlight on the trillions of dollars moved through offshore tax havens by politicians, business owners, millionaires and powerful people across the globe.

The report exposed 13.4 million leaked documents — obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the ICIJ — including loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from over nearly 50 years from offshore law firm Appleby, Singaporean company Asiaciti Trust and official business registries in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Lebanon, Malta, Trinidad and Tobago.

ICIJ highlighted the name of retired general and leader of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto, as well as two children of the late President Suharto, Hutomo Mandala Putra — also known as Tommy Suharto, head of Humpuss Group — and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih for having registered companies in tax havens overseas.

The ICIJ, however, posted a disclaimer on its site, saying that the organization did not intend to suggest or imply that any people or companies included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or acted improperly.

The Jakarta Globe has not independently examined the documents.

"We started [combing through the data] from the beginning of this year. [There are only] 200 Indonesian names and 15 companies," Wahyu Dhyatmika, an editor for Tempo Media Group and an investigative reporter, told the Globe.

Indonesia's Tempo is one of 95 media partners that explored 13.4 million leaked files. According to Wahyu, Tempo paper and magazine will release other names one by one this week.

Wahyu said the Paradise Papers and their predecessor, the Panama Papers, come from different databases, though multiple names appear on both lists.

Naming Names

Wahyu said journalists involved in the report support a fairer tax policy for all.

"Instruments that allow countries to track the wealth of their residents must be prepared," Wahyu said.

Hestu Yoga Saksama, the tax office's spokesperson, said the government will "follow-up with the latest data and information from various sources" including the Paradise Papers, but has refused to comment on Tommy's or Prabowo's companies.

"We can't name a taxpayer specifically to the public," Hestu said, referring to secrecy rules in a 2009 law about general provisions and tax procedures and a 2016 law about tax amnesty.

Hestu, however, noted that the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) — which will begin operations in September 2018 for Indonesia — will provide more detailed, wider and verified data compared to the independent report obtained by journalists.


Tommy joined Indonesia's tax amnesty program last year. During a press photo opportunity in Jakarta in September 2016, he said his family should "make the best use of the initiative" by joining the program.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Ahok's Birthday Celebrated Widely on Social Media


One of numerous e-cards seen on Indonesia's social media celebrating former
Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama's 51st birthday on Thursday
(29/06). (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Jakarta. Former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama’s 51st birthday was celebrated raucously on social media on Thursday (29/06).

Ahok's fans used the hashtag #HBDAhok51 to send the former governor — now serving his two-year sentence for blasphemy at the Police Mobile Brigade detention centerin Depok, just outside Jakarta — numerous birthday wishes on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Path.


The hashtag #TetapAhok (Forever Ahok) soon joined #HBDAhok51 on the Twitter Trends list in Indonesia.

Many of Ahok's supporters believe his two-year sentence for blasphemy was unfair and that the first Chinese-Christian governor of Jakarta in modern era was only a victim of politicians exploiting religious sentiment to promote their own interests.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jakarta's Christian governor jailed for two years for blasphemy

Yahoo – AFP, May 9, 2017

Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (bottom L), is convicted of
blasphemy and sentneced to two eyars in prison, May 9, 2017 (AFP Photo/
Bay ISMOYO)

Jakarta (AFP) - Jakarta's Christian governor was jailed for two years Tuesday after being found guilty of committing blasphemy, capping a saga seen as a test of religious tolerance in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Presiding judge Dwiarso Budi Santiarto told the Jakarta court that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was "convincingly guilty of committing blasphemy and is sentenced to two years in prison".

He ordered Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, to be detained. Purnama said: "We will file an appeal." Islamic hardliners outside the court cheered as news of verdict emerged and shouted "God is greatest".

Purnama was hauled into court last year to face trial for allegedly insulting Islam while campaigning for re-election in a case critics said was politically motivated.

The trial came after a series of major protests against the capital's leader that drew hundreds of thousands onto the streets.

His once unassailable opinion poll lead shrank amid the controversy and he lost the race to lead Jakarta last month to a Muslim challenger, a result that fuelled fears of Indonesia's moderate brand of Islam coming under threat from increasingly influential radicals.



Friday, April 21, 2017

After poll defeat, Jakarta's Christian governor may escape jail

Yahoo – AFP, Sam Reeves, April 20, 2017

Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, arrives for
 his court hearing in Jakarta

Jakarta's Christian governor may escape jail for alleged blasphemy after prosecutors Thursday recommended only probation, a day after he lost in a religiously charged run-off that damaged Indonesia's image as a bastion of tolerant Islam.

The recommendation of two years probation in the trial of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, with a possible one-year jail term if he commits a crime during that period, was lighter than expected as he could have been sent to prison for several years.

The sentence demand for allegedly insulting Islam came after he was defeated Wednesday by Muslim challenger Anies Baswedan who was accused of pandering to hardliners to win votes in the race for the Jakarta governorship.

After his victory, former government minister Baswedan celebrated with Islamic hardliners who helped organise mass protests in the capital against the governor by praying at a major mosque.

The blasphemy allegations and Purnama's subsequent poll loss have sparked fears that pluralistic traditions in the world's most populous Muslim country are under threat from the influence of hardliners, who pushed for the governor's prosecution.

Chief prosecutor Ali Mukartono recommended that Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, be found guilty of blasphemy and be given two years probation, with a possible one-year jail sentence.

He said a light sentence was being recommended as Purnama had contributed to "advancing the city of Jakarta" and had acted politely during his trial.

Hardline anger

"If within the two years, Ahok doesn't commit any new criminal act, like corruption, stealing... he will be free," his lawyer I Wayan Sudirta told AFP.

"If within that two years he does commit a criminal act, he has to serve the one-year jail sentence."

A sentence recommendation is a normal step in an Indonesian court case, and is usually followed within weeks by a verdict.

The controversy began in September when Purnama, known for his outspoken style, outraged Muslims when he controversially quoted a passage from the Islamic holy text ahead of elections for the Jakarta governorship.

He insinuated that his opponents had used a Koranic verse to trick people into voting against him.

An edited version of his speech went viral online, sparking outrage far beyond Jakarta, where Purnama has ruled since his predecessor Joko Widodo became president in late 2014.

The governor apologised but Indonesia's highest clerical body declared the remarks blasphemous and urged authorities to bring charges

Before the blasphemy controversy erupted, Purnama enjoyed a large opinion poll lead due to his determination to clean up traffic-clogged, polluted Jakarta.

The trial started in December and dragged on for months, with both the prosecution and defence calling more than 40 witnesses. Purnama's team have accused the prosecution of calling biased witnesses, saying that many were not even present when the alleged blasphemy took place.

Critics want the country’s blasphemy laws overhauled. The legislation was rarely used during the 32-year rule of strongman Suharto, but in recent years it has been exploited to persecute minorities, rights groups say.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jokowi Calls for Introspection After Saudis Invest More in China Than Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, April 15, 2017

President Joko Widodo and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
wave to onlookers during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor,
West Java, on March 1. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Jakarta. Last month's state visit to Indonesia by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia had a major impact on the tourism industry, but it did not result in much in the way of investment.

King Salman, who was accompanied by a huge entourage and dozens of princes, only invested $6 billion in the world's biggest Muslim democracy, while he made commitments worth $65 billion during his subsequent visit to China.

Against this background, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Indonesia needs to perform introspection and create a better climate to attract investment from abroad.

"[Saudi Arabia] invested more in China than with us. This calls for introspection; correction to see why we can't attract more investment than China," Jokowi said after inaugurating the Hasyim Ashari Mosque in Jakarta on Saturday (15/04).

The Jokowi administration was hoping the visit would result in around $25 billion in investment, but this was not realized.

"If we are ready, big investment will come by itself and we will get more than other countries," he said, as reported by state-run Antara news agency.

Before the royal visit, Saudi Arabia has shown scant interest in investing in Indonesia, having only committed $900,000 last year.

Saudi investment between 2010 and 2015 amounted to only $34 million, or 0.02 percent of the total foreign direct investment in that period.

But despite investing far less than expected, the octogenarian king did restore Indonesia's hajj quota to 221,000 after it was cut during the renovation of the Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Makkah.

The king's eight-day vacation in Bali also resulted in an estimated $22.4 million windfall for hotels, restaurants, car rental services and shopping centers on the island.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sri Mulyani Named Finance Minister of the Year

Jakarta Globe, Tabita Diela, March 23, 2017

Finance Asia, a Hong Kong-based publication, on Wednesday (22/03) named Sri
Mulyani Indrawati the Finance Minister of the Year 2017. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)
  
Jakarta. Finance Asia, a Hong Kong-based publication, on Wednesday (22/03) named Sri Mulyani Indrawati the Finance Minister of the Year 2017.

Sri was followed by South Korea's Yoo Il-ho and Carlos "Sonny" Garcia Dominguez of the Philippines.

The publication lauded Sri's improvements in the country's tax collection system, saying the minister has a "stellar reputation" and an "indomitable work ethic."

Sri previously served as Indonesia's finance minister from 2005-2010 under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, before leaving government to take on a role as the managing director and chief operating officer of the World Bank.

In July last year, Sri accepted the position to head the Finance Ministry under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, succeeding Bambang Brodjonegoro after he left to head the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).

Bambang jump-started the national tax amnesty program, but Finance Asia said that Sri's "fearsome reputation" was "undoubtedly crucial" to its continued success. Indonesia's tax amnesty has been lauded as one of the most successful programs of its kind, with participants declaring Rp 4,590 trillion ($344 billion) worth of assets previously hidden from government oversight.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top brands including H&M, Zara to boycott Bangladesh garment summit

Yahoo - AFP, February 22, 2017

H&M, C&A, Tchibo and Inditex which owns Zara -- all top clients of Bangladesh's
$30-billion garment industry -- have pulled out of the Dhaka Apparel Summit

Leading fashion brands including H&M and Zara will boycott a key industry conference in Bangladesh in support of garment workers who have been sacked, hunted or jailed for participating in wage strikes, the companies said Wednesday.

H&M, C&A, Tchibo and Inditex which owns Zara -- all top clients of Bangladesh's $30-billion garment industry -- have pulled out of the Dhaka Apparel Summit, the signature annual event in the global textile hub, scheduled for Saturday.

The move follows strikes in December when tens of thousands of garment workers in the industrial town of Ashualia staged mass protests demanding a three-fold hike in pay, which can run as low as $68 a month.

Dutch clothing brand C&A said, "C&A together with other apparel brands, including H&M and Inditex decided not to participate in the BGMEA Dhaka Apparel Summit."

"We strongly encourage the Government of Bangladesh to take immediate steps to ensure the protection of the workers' rights, with special attention to the legitimate representatives of the workers who have been arrested," C&A spokesman Thorsten Rolfes told AFP.

A spokesman for Swedish apparel giant H&M confirmed the boycott.

"H&M believes that attending the Dhaka Apparel Summit would create confusion and send the wrong signals regarding our commitment to freedom of association and that the ongoing situation must be peacefully resolved," spokesman Iñigo Sáenz Maestre said.

The strike, which lasted for a little over two weeks, was squashed, with some 1,600 employees sacked and 34 arrested, while cases alleging burglary, arson, vandalism and extortion, among other charges, were filed against more than 1,500 workers.

Last week union leaders said the workers were "living in constant fear of being arrested as the police hunt those who were involved in the strikes".

The summit is hosted by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), an industry body that represents the country's 4,500 clothing factories, and features Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as its keynote speaker.

BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman told AFP that they "did not get any communication from any brand not attending the summit".

International rights group Clean Clothes Campaign welcomed the brands' decision to withdraw participation and said it would be "a major embarrassment" for the government and the organisers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Muslim Indonesia's capital to vote in tolerance test

Yahoo – AFP, Sam Reeves, February 13, 2017

Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama could win another term in
office despite standing trial for blasphemy

Jakarta's Christian governor will fight to cling on to his job at polls this week despite standing trial for blasphemy, in a saga that has fuelled concerns about religious intolerance in the Muslim-majority nation.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama will Wednesday face two prominent Muslim candidates in the race to lead the Indonesian capital, a megacity of 10 million, as local elections take place across the country.

But the Jakarta ballot has become about much more than whether the city's first non-Muslim governor for half a century, and its first ever ethnic Chinese leader, will continue in his job.

The run-up has been overshadowed by anger at claims Purnama insulted the Koran, that sparked huge protests by Islamic hardliners and led to the governor being put on trial in a case criticised as unfair and politically motivated.

Purnama has not been barred from running but his lead in opinion polls has shrunk, and the vote is now seen as a test of whether much vaunted pluralism and a tolerant brand of Islam in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country are being eroded.

"This is going to be a litmus test of Indonesian Islam -- are we tolerant or intolerant?" said Tobias Basuki, a political analyst from Jakarta think-tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Although Muslims dominate Indonesian politics, Christian and ethnic Chinese politicians have risen to become government ministers, but very few have been both Chinese and Christian, like Purnama.

Religious and ethnic tensions have made for a dirty race with "fake news" flooding social media, and 27,000 security forces will be deployed in Jakarta on election day.

The "fake news" has mainly targeted Purnama, and included claims that a free vaccination programme he backed was a bid to make girls infertile and reduce the population. His supporters have hit back online, defending his record in office.

Tensions were still running high days before the vote, with tens of thousands descending on Jakarta's national mosque on Saturday to urge voters to back a Muslim.

"I am here driven by my faith, because I also felt insulted when Ahok insulted my religion," 25-year-old Mochamad Ramzie told AFP, referring to Purnama by his nickname.

Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has won fans with his 
regeneration of parts of the city but he has met opposition to slum clearance
programmes

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The governor's opponents are Agus Yudhoyono, the son of a former president, and ex-education minister Anies Baswedan, backed by former general Prabowo Subianto who heads a powerful political party and ran against President Joko Widodo in 2014.

About 100 other local elections will take place on Wednesday but the stakes are highest in the capital, with the top job in Jakarta seen as a stepping stone to victory in the 2019 presidential polls.

Purnama's troubles began in September when he said in a speech that his rivals were tricking people into voting against him using a Koranic verse, which some interpret as meaning Muslims should only choose Muslim leaders.

An edited video of his comments went viral online, sparking widespread public anger.

The controversy is a high-profile example of the religious intolerance that has become more common in Indonesia in recent years, with a surge of attacks on minorities as hardliners battle for influence.

About 90 percent of Indonesia's 255 million inhabitants are Muslim but most practise a moderate form of Islam and have lived largely harmoniously alongside Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities.

Purnama won popularity in Jakarta for making serious efforts to improve the overcrowded and chaotic city.

The leader has cleaned up the once-filthy rivers, demolished red-light districts, and created more green spaces, although he has sparked some opposition with controversial slum clearances.

His support slipped after the blasphemy controversy erupted but has bounced back and most recent polls show him in the lead, although if the vote goes to a run-off in April he is seen as likely to lose.

The election for the governorship of Jakarta has been overshadowed by
anger at claims the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama insulted the Koran

If he does win the vote and is convicted of blasphemy, which could see him sentenced to up to five years in prison, he would not automatically be barred from holding office and could avoid jail for a long time by filing successive appeals, analysts say.

His trial is not expected to finish until at least April.

Despite the challenges facing him, many of Jakarta's 7.1 million voters -- most of them Muslims -- see Purnama as the only hope for the city.

"There's a very simple reason why I'm voting Ahok," Eleonora Natasya, a 21-year-old engineering student, told AFP.

"I actually see something changing when he is in charge."

Friday, December 30, 2016

No Mercy for Shady Tax Consultants: Finance Minister

Jakarta Globe, December 29, 2016

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and the director general of taxation, Ken
 Dwijugiasteadi, in conversation during the minister's impromptu visit to the
tax office in Jakarta on Wednesday (28/12). (JG Photo/Tabita)

Jakarta. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said she will clamp down on tax consultants involved in tax evasion, as they are currently inundated by clients seeking their assistance to join the government's tax amnesty program.

"I've asked Mr. Ken [Dwijugiasteadi, the director general of taxes] to check out the tax identification numbers a many consultants," she told reporters on Wednesday (28/12).

"The consultants are cashing in big from the tax amnesty program. I've seen one who reported up to 30 asset declaration letters," she said.

Sri Mulyani made the comment during an impromptu visit to the headquarters of the Directorate General of Taxation in Jakarta, where she found employees from several tax consultancies submitting their clients' wealth reports.

"It's common practice in industrial countries; even individual taxpayers there use the services of tax consultants," she said. "But please don't try to lower [the value of taxpayers' assets] so they can receive the 0.5 percent tariff."

The government offers a 3 percent tariff for taxpayers who come clean on previously unreported assets abroad and agree to repatriate them. The government also offers a 0.5 percent tariff for small and medium enterprises with less that Rp 10 billion ($742,000) in total assets.

More than 170,000 taxpayers have joined the second part of the tax amnesty program and around 70 percent of them are small and medium enterprises, according to Hestu Yoga Saksama, director of counseling, service and public relations at the tax office.

The number of participants in the tax amnesty program, which started in July this year, has reached 563,000 by Thursday.

Tax director general Ken Dwijugiasteadi reported to the minister during her visit that the amnesty process is "under control" and that no emergency measures will be taken to address the lower-than-expected number of participants.

"Most of the high-wealth [individuals] have joined the first part of the tax amnesty, so the additional state revenue from the program will not be as high," Sri Mulyani said.

Despite the slower progress, the minister said she still "hopes for the best" and that each regional tax office has already prepared a plan to start the third part of the tax amnesty program in a bid to achieve a steady result.

So far, the government has collected Rp 106 trillion in total tax amnesty-related penalties – which include the 2 percent and 3 percent tariffs, payments of preliminary evidence from tax investigations and tax due payments – according to tax office data.

Taxpayers have also declared Rp 4,193.1 trillion in previously unreported assets and repatriated Rp 141.3 trillion so far.

The government has set a target of Rp 4,000 trillion in declared assets, Rp 1,000 trillion in repatriated assets and Rp 165 trillion in additional tax revenue.

"If the results at the end of the second part have not met our expectations, then I will step up the campaign in the last part," the minister said.

The tax office will not only focus on tax consultants in the last part of the tax amnesty program, which starts in January, Sri Mulyani said. Notaries, doctors, tax consultants, lawyers, architects, accountants, governors and executives of state-owned companies will be targeted next.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jakarta's Christian governor stands trial for blasphemy

Yahoo – AFP, Kiki Siregar,  December 13, 2016

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (C), is accused of insulting
the Koran (AFP Photo/Tatan SYUFLANA)

Jakarta's Christian governor choked back tears as he gave an impassioned defence against blasphemy charges on Tuesday, in a court case that has stoked fears of growing intolerance in the Muslim-majority nation.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama -- the first Christian to govern the capital in more than 50 years -- is standing trial accused of insulting the Koran, an offence that carries a five-year jail term.

The governor has apologised for his controversial remarks, which angered Muslims across Indonesia and drew hundreds of thousands to the streets of Jakarta in protests larger than any seen in nearly two decades.

Facing court for the first time, the governor gave an emotionally charged defence against the charges, pausing several times to compose himself as he maintained his innocence.

"I know I have to respect the holy verses of the Koran. I do not understand how I can be said to have offended Islam," Purnama said, occasionally dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief.

Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, ignited a firestorm of criticism in September when he quoted the Islamic holy text while campaigning ahead of elections for the Jakarta governorship.

The governor accused his opponents of using a Koranic verse, which suggests Muslims should not choose non-Muslims as leaders, in order to trick people into voting against him.

Profile of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Jakarta's first non-Muslim 
leader in over 50 years, on trial for blasphemy (AFP Photo)

Politics at play

Prosecutor Ali Mukartono said the governor had "spoken a lie" and insulted Muslims, adding Indonesia's top clerical council had declared his remarks blasphemous.

But lawyers for the governor said their client never intended to commit blasphemy, and expressed concern that Purnama's case was being rushed.

President Joko Widodo and police, under pressure as protesters massed in November, promised to resolve the case quickly.

Critics say the controversy is as much about politics as religion, as the governor's foes whip up anger to reduce his support ahead of a hotly contested poll in February.

Purnama is running against two Muslim candidates in elections for city hall.

He had long been the favourite to win the election owing to the popularity of his no-nonsense style and determination to clean up Jakarta, a crowded, polluted metropolis of 10 million.

But the scandal has eroded his chances of victory, with his opponents gaining ground since Purnama was named a suspect for blasphemy in November.

Purnama said he was raised a Christian but surrounded by Muslims, including family friends, who had played an enormous mentorship role in his life from when he was a child to adulthood.

The allegations that he had offended their religion hurt him very deeply.

Jakarta's governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, nicknamed 'Ahok' faces jail 
if convicted of blasphemy in a trail demanded by hardline Muslim demonstrators
(AFP Photo/Adek BERRY)

"I am very sad," he said, his voice cracking.

"This accusation is the same as saying I have offended my god parents and siblings, whom I love and they love me back."

He also listed the many services he had provided for his Islamic constituents, including the construction of mosques, support for religious schools and donation of sacrificial cows on sacred days.

A small band of his supporters kept vigil outside the court as a larger congregation of hardline Islamists chanted "Jail Ahok" and held signs depicting Purnama in prison garb behind bars.

"We will continue to fight this, and won't be provoked or influenced," one of Purnama's supporters said.

The high-profile case has gripped the country. The courtroom was surrounded by police on Tuesday, with the proceedings being broadcast live on national television.

The case has emboldened hardliners, analysts say, who have long opposed a Christian as governor and have used the blasphemy scandal to push their conservative agenda.

Rights groups want Indonesia's archaic blasphemy laws overhauled, arguing they are exploited to persecute minorities.

The case has adjourned until December 20.