"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 23, 2014

Business Lobby Urges Tax Amnesty for Reinvestment in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Muhamad Al Azhari, Erwida Maulia & Agustiyanti, Dec 22, 2014

By 2016, about $200 billion of assets by high net-worth individuals in Indonesia will
 be held in Singapore in the form of bank deposits, stocks, fixed income and properties,
according to McKinsey & Company. (AFP Photo/Roslan Rahman)

Jakarta. A leading business lobby with strong ties to the administration of President Joko Widodo has called for a tax amnesty, in which the authorities will waive off past taxes and penalties to conglomerates and individuals parking billions of dollars worth of funds overseas, in a bid to reinvest that money in Indonesia.

Hariyadi Sukamdani, the chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association, or Apindo, made the call last week amid recent sharp volatility in the rupiah exchange rate on expectations of a huge outflow of funds from the country once the US Federal Reserve raises its benchmark interest rate.

“It may sound unfair that tax offenders get an amnesty. But the question is, do we want to move forward or keep looking backward?” Hariyadi said.

Among those that would benefit under such an amnesty are conglomerates and banking executives who defaulted on government bailout funds in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis and stashed the money in Singapore.

The government back then spent more than Rp 460 trillion ($37.1 billion) in liquidity to bail out several banks that were devastated by the crisis, which included a sharp fall in the value of the rupiah.

The government still maintains a list of the companies and individuals that fled with the money, and has prosecuted only a handful.

Since the crisis many Indonesian conglomerates continue to park their money in Singapore in a bid to keep it beyond the reach of the Indonesian authorities and to take advantage of the city-state’s position as a global financial services hub.

“Why am I raising this issue?” Hariyadi went on.

“We all know billions of dollars of money parked in Singapore is the money of Indonesian tycoons. This money has been used by financial corporations there to speculate and even buy assets in our country. Isn’t that silly?

“Just look at Italy; it is a country of mafia [sic], yet they managed to bring back more than $100 billion to their country from a tax amnesty program.”

Italy’s tax amnesty program was introduced in 2001, and by 2009 had yielded some 80 billion euros ($97.8 billion) of the 500 billion euros that the country’s central bank estimated was held by its citizens in undeclared funds overseas.

So-called high-net-worth individuals in Indonesia, with assets of at least $1 million, will hold a projected $250 billion overseas by 2016, according to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Four-fifths of that amount, or approximately $200 billion, will be held in Singapore in the form of bank deposits, stocks, fixed income and properties.

The figures, released last week, come from McKinsey’s survey of 60 high-net-worth individuals, 83 percent of whom said they had foreign bank accounts and kept 40 percent to 50 percent of their financial assets overseas.

McKinsey partner Guillame de Gantes said the funds could benefit Indonesia’s financial markets if kept inside the country.

Citing the findings from the survey, de Gantes named business considerations as the main factor for keeping money overseas, followed by the availability of banking products, tax advantages, immigration issues, risks avoidance and, lastly, security and privacy.

Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said his ministry was considering some tax incentives, including a tax amnesty and the omission of double taxation, to lure wealthy Indonesians to withdraw their assets from abroad and deposit them at home.

“If we want the money to quickly come in, tax amnesty is the choice. We’re considering [the option], but will need legislation for that. The tax law must be amended,” Bambang said.

A lighter version of a tax amnesty was implemented by the administration of the former president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in 2008, through the so-called sunset policy.

This policy allows taxpayers to pay unreported or back taxes without the penalty of interest charges. The purpose of the program is to boost the number of registered taxpayers.

Bambang said that eliminating double taxation may also have instant results in terms of repatriating money to Indonesia. “We must implement those policies slowly, though, because we have to examine each option,” he said.

Earlier, a deputy commissioner for banking supervision at Indonesia’s Financial Service Authority (OJK), Mulya Siregar, said as many as 40,450 Indonesians were currently classified as high-net-worth individuals with a combined wealth inside the country totaling $143 billion. The number of these individuals grows by around 7.5 percent annually.

“That exceeds the growth rate in Singapore, at 4.5 percent, and India, which is 2 percent,” Mulya said.

Ragimun, a researcher with the Finance Ministry’s fiscal policy office, said that although a tax amnesty was an option worthy of consideration, it should not be implemented in the near future.

“One of the flaws of a tax amnesty, if implemented in Indonesia, is that it may lead to a range of violations and moral hazards, because access to information here and other facilities needed as prerequisites for a tax amnesty are not yet adequate,” he said in an analysis published on the Finance Ministry’s website.

“A tax amnesty [plan] must be delayed pending [...] legal tools to support implementation of the policy.”

Ragimun added that public resistance to a tax amnesty remained high, suggesting that alternatives like the sunset policy and tax holidays would make taxpayers more compliant with the law and subsequently boost Indonesia’s tax revenue.

Revrisond Baswir, a political economist at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University, was quick to slam Apindo’s suggestion.

“Apindo was among those that pushed strongly for the [subsidized] fuel price hike, which is certainly burdening the people, from the higher price of fuel to other things,” he said.

“Now they’re asking for a tax amnesty. So there’s an impression here that while people at large are made to bear a greater burdens, the rich will enjoy a lighter burden.”

Revrisond added there was no guarantee that a tax amnesty would lure wealthy Indonesians to keep most of their funds inside the country, saying concerns over domestic political stability were the main factor driving them to look overseas.

“Even Indonesia’s high interest rate is proven to have no effect [to lure them to keep their money here]. There are many other factors to consider, the most important being political stability,” he said.

Revrisond added that with most of Indonesian high-net-worth individuals being of ethnic Chinese descent, the issue of social and income gaps between them and “native” Indonesians might also become an issue once again, citing the May 1998 riots that targeted Chinese-Indonesians and their businesses.

The rioting, reportedly instigated by elements in the military, also included the rape of hundreds of Chinese-Indonesian women, and resulted in countless Chinese-Indonesians fleeing the country and not returning.

“The problem is, we’ve never been open about this wide income and social gap in our society, which has caused the feeling of insecurity to linger [among ‘native’ Indonesians] and the wealthy Chinese-Indonesians to remain on guard,” Revrisond said.

This is what has kept wealthy Chinese-Indonesians putting a considerable amount of their money abroad rather than leaving it in the country, he added.

Further Coverage

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ruling in Favor of Indonesia Against Century Owner

Setting a Decision: ‘Justified’ bailout within the discretion and authority of the government, according to international tribunal

Jakarta Globe, Muhamad Al Azhari, Dec 18, 2014

A closed sign is put in front of the Bank Century office in Jakarta on Nov. 21, 2008.
THe bank now has been renamed Bank Mutiara. (JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

Jakarta. An international tribunal ruled in favor of the government of Indonesia in a case involving the controlled takeover of Bank Century from Saudi businessman Hesham Al Warraq, a law firm representing Indonesia said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Tribunal’s award follows a 2013 decision against Al Warraq’s partner, Rafat Ali Rizvi,” KarimSyah Law Firm said on Thursday.

KarimSyah represented Indonesia in the arbitration in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office. The law firm also provides outside assisting counseling to Indonesia.

KarimSyah has brought victory for Indonesia in other international cases, including Indonesia one against US mining giant Newmont Mining over divestment of the miner’s Indonesian unit.

The Bank Century case began in November 2008 — at the height of the global financial crisis. Indonesian regulators bailed out the ailing lender through a Rp 6.7 trillion ($536 million) injection in an attempt to prevent systemic banking failure, which could pose risks to the economic stability of the nation.

After the bailout, the government, through Indonesia’s deposit insurance agency, known as LPS, took over the control of Bank Century, which has since been renamed Bank Mutiara.

Indonesian prosecutors brought criminal charges under Indonesia’s anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws against previous owners Al Warraq and Rizvi, who accused them of draining more than $300 million out of the bank.

Neither investors appeared for the trial, but both were convicted in Indonesian court in absentia.

Al Warraq brought a claim through the Organization of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement against the government of Indonesia in 2011.

He sought for compensations over what he defined as an expropriation of his shares in Bank Century.

The court favored Indonesia, saying: “It is the view of the Tribunal that the bailout was within the discretion and authority of the government and was completely justified, particularly since Bank Century … could have caused a systemic risk to the entire Indonesian financial system.”

The tribunal also rejected Al Warraq’s claim that he was not afforded fair and equitable treatment in Indonesia.

For the embezzlement charge, the court called for different dispute resolution processes.

Bank Mutiara is now controlled by J Trust, a Tokyo-listed financial institution, which acquired a 99 percent stake in the Indonesian lender from LPS for Rp 4.41 trillion.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Son Jailed Over Video Graft at Father’s Former Ministry

Jakarta Globe, SP/Erwin Sihombing, Dec 17, 2014

Riefan Avrian was sentenced to six years in prison for embezzlement at the
Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Yudhi Mahatma)

Jakarta. Jakarta’s Anti-Corruption Court sentenced the son of a former minister to six years in prison on Wednesday, after he was found guilty of embezzling money in the procurement of outdoor video monitors for his father’s ministry.

Riefan Avrian was found guilty of incurring state losses amounting to more than Rp 4 billion ($334,000) by rigging a bid for the procurement of video monitors.

His father Syarief Hasan, the former Minister of Small and Medium-Seized Enterprises — and current acting chairman of the Democratic Party — was not charged in the case.

“The court sentenced the defendant to six years in prison and orders him to pay a Rp 200 million fine,” presiding judge Nani Indrawati told the court on Wednesday.

The court also ordered Rievan to pay the state Rp 5.39 billion within one month or face an additional two years in prison. The amount is understood to include legal costs.

The conviction is a victory for anti-graft prosecutors, who had demanded eight years in prison.

Nani said Riefan had manipulated Hendra Saputra, an office assistant at Imaji Media, whose job was to run errands but was listed as the company’s director.

Riefan paid Hendra Rp 19 million to use his name on the tender documentation. Riefan later offered Rp 100 million after Hendra was arrested in a bid to keep his name out of the case.

“The defendant knew that Hendra worked in his office as an errand boy and that he did not even graduate from elementary school,” judge Sofialdi told the court.

Hendra was convicted earlier in the year for his part in the case. He was sentenced to a year in prison.

The case came to light after the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) found that payments did not match the market value of the equipment.

Riefan’s company, Imaji Media, was set up for the sole purpose of the tender in 2012. The project was worth Rp 23.4 billion.

Riefan said he needed some time to consider if he would file an appeal.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

KPK to Step Up Regional Monitoring With New Branch Offices

Jakarta Globe, Dec 15, 2014

A visitor looks at an exhibition as part of an anti-corruption festival at Gadjah
 Mada University (UGM) earlier this month. (Antara Photo/Noveradika)

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) plans to start opening branches across the archipelago next year in order to improve its supervision of regional governments, one of its leaders has announced.

Bambang Widjojanto, a deputy chairman at the KPK, said on Sunday evening that the anti-graft body was considering opening one branch office in Sumatra next year, as part of its plan to open at least five branch offices throughout Indonesia in the next ten years.

“We’ve decided to open a representative office in one of the provinces in Sumatra in 2015,” said Bambang, as cited by Tempo. “We’re still studying in which province we should build our office.”

Bambang said that the branch office would focus on preventing corruption in the local government. He also said that the KPK would recruit local people to help them fight against corruption at the regional level.

“We’re sure that there will be many agents of change. We need a renewed spirit in eradicating corruption,” he said.

The chairman of Commission III of the House of Representatives, Benny K. Harman, said he fully supported the KPK’s proposal.

“We’ll definitely support the KPK. It’s a good plan, and it needs to be implemented right away,” Benny said on Monday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Indonesia, Singapore Agree to Step Up Sharing of Tax Information

Jakarta Globe, Reuters, Dec 15, 2014

Indonesia and Singapore have
agreed to step up efforts to counter
cross-border tax evasion. (Reuters
Photo/Edgar Su)
Jakarta. Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to step up efforts to share tax-related information to tighten loopholes on tax evasion in each other’s countries, Indonesia’s finance ministry said.

The commitment came after Indonesia’ Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro met his counterpart Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Singapore on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

Indonesia and Singapore have an agreement to exchange tax-related information upon request, including data from financial institution and individuals, since 1992.

“Exchanging information by request is not enough to reveal all assets hidden by citizens of both countries. Therefore, to accelerate information flows, Indonesia and Singapore have committed to exchange information automatically to complement the mechanism for information exchange by request,” it said.

The mechanism should start as early as 2017, or at the latest, by end of 2018, the statement said. Both countries have also agreed to amend local legislation to support the exchange of information.

Singapore’s finance ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a bid to tackle cross-border tax evasion, countries across the world are signing up to new standards drawn up in 2013 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for “automatic exchange of information”. Under these standards, countries can sign reciprocal agreements that they will automatically share certain pieces of financial information about each others’ taxpayers.

Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo has made improving tax collection as one of his priorities. During his campaign, he pledged to increase Indonesia’s tax ratio to 16 percent of gross domestic product from around 12 percent now.

Many wealthy Indonesians are known to have assets in Singapore.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Govt to ‘Help’ Lapindo With Mudflow Compensation, Offers to Buy Assets

Jakarta Globe, Ezra Sihite, Dec 08, 2014

Children play on swings on the embankment of the Lapindo mudflow. Victims
 are still waiting for full compensation from the company accused of triggering
the disaster. (JG Photo/Arief Priyono)

Jakarta. Victims of the Lapindo mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java, are one step closer to being compensated for losses — eight years after dozens of villages and hundreds of hectares of farmland were swamped.

The government announced on Monday that it would buy assets from the company accused of triggering the disaster, Lapindo Brantas, which could then use the proceeds to pay out Rp 781 billion ($62 million) due to victims this year.

Minister of Public Works Basuki Hadimuljono said the government would buy about 20 percent of the company’s assets, which was mostly land, in affected areas.

The announcement comes just days after President Joko Widodo — through cabinet secretary Andi Widjajanto — ordered Lapindo Brantas to wrap up payments to victims of the mud volcano. On top of the Rp 781 billion owed to residents, the company, which is affiliated with the family of Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, must pay Rp 500 billion to affected businesses in 2015.

“They still have around Rp 1.4 trillion to pay,” Andi said. “We’re waiting for it.”

The government’s decision to buy assets from Lapindo Brantas is bound to raise questions about why money from the state budget was essentially being used to compensate a mistake made by the company.

The government is already required to pay Rp 300 billion compensation to victims whose land is located outside the map of affected areas. A 2012 judicial review which sought to have the company cover all compensation costs in areas affected by the mudflow was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

Andi said buying the company’s assets was part of the government’s effort to “help” Lapindo Brantas fulfill its responsibilities.

Lapindo Brantas was conducting gas exploration in the Sidoarjo area in 2006 when one of its natural gas wells blew out, causing a mud flow which destroyed hundreds of homes, swamped 720 hectares of land and displaced thousands of people.

Scientists blame drilling activities by the company for triggering the eruption, but the government at the time decreed it a natural disaster.

Related Articles:

Lapindo Told to Shell Out For Mudflow Before Drilling Again

Lapindo Disaster Caused By Human Error: Study

Indonesia's mud volcano flows on

Satellite picture received from Ikonos Satellite Image on May 29, 2008 shows
the mud volcano and its surrounding area in Sidoarjo, East Java. (AFP/Ikonos
Satellite Image)

More pictures ....

PLN Next in Line for Management Shake-Up After Pertamina, Minister Says

Jakarta Globe, Dec 08, 2014

Two workers fix an electricity network operated by state-owned electricity firm
Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) in Semarang. (JG Photo/Dhana Kencana)

Jakarta. State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno confirmed on Monday that the government was planning a management shake-up at the state power utility.

The move is part of a series of reforms initiated by the administration of President Joko Widodo aimed at boosting confidence in Indonesia’s economy.

The minister said the management of Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) would be restructured similar to that of state energy firm Pertamina, which last month saw its entire board of directors dismissed and a new chief appointed. Six new directors were added this week.

“We first performed an analysis in terms of restructuring Pertamina’s management and we’ll try to do the same for other SOEs in the future,” Rini told reporters, declining to elaborate on the time frame of the planned changes.

“The extent of the changes will depend on the activities of the SOEs themselves,” she said, adding that PLN, which has a monopoly on electricity distribution across the archipelago, would be next.

The management changes could come this month and would include a partial or total replacement of PLN’s board, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoted by Reuters.

Joko’s administration seeks to accelerate electricity connectivity in the country to support his 7 percent annual growth target.

The government plans to build new power plants to add an additional 35,000 megawatts to the national grid between 2015-2019, boosting Indonesia’s electricity generating capacity to 85,7000 MW.

The plan will reportedly cost around Rp 980 trillion ($80 billion), with Rp 545 trillion expected from PLN. The remainder is expected to come from the private sector.

PLN plays a key role in Indonesia’s economy as it is not only a power producer, but also the biggest electricity distributor.

Rini, former head of Indonesia’s biggest auto distributor Astra International, also called for an end to SOE dividend payments to the government, saying profits will be used for capital expenditure.

VP Kalla Tells Business Owners to Behave

Jakarta Globe, Novianti Setuningsih, Dec 08, 2014

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, left, talking with Trade Minister Rachmet Gobel at
 the leadership meeting of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(Kadin) on Monday. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla in a speech for the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) on Monday urged the nation’s entrepreneurs to stop ruining the environment and pay their taxes.

“In the wood-trading era, in the 1960s and 70s, a lot of trees were cut down, causing floods that we still have to deal with until now,” said Kalla, himself a successful businessman.

The vice president also told the hundreds of entrepreneurs attending Kadin’s national leadership meeting that the government was going to improve its natural resources management.

“The mining sector was profiting while our environment was wasted. The [new] regulation is made to protect our natural resources,” Kalla said.

He added that business should also pay all taxes and royalties they owe, and that owners could be banned from traveling abroad if they fail to do so.

Kalla explained that the government needed the income from taxes and royalties to help fund its program to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Related Article:

Globe Asia’s Power 50 List: Most Influential Indonesians in 2014

A changing political constellation

Jakarta Globe, Shoeb K Zainuddin and Alberto Weldison, Dec 08, 2014

Every country, just like a corporation, needs constant renewal. New leadership brings
 new ideas, new energy and a new focus on driving progress. Indonesia has a new
 president and a new cabinet with high hopes placed in them by the public. The 2014
 GlobeAsia Power 50 list reflects this changing political landscape and identifies those
 individuals who will have a say in the country’s direction over the next 12 months.
(Investor Daily Photo/David Gitarosa)

It took President Joko Widodo less than a month in office to make his first major decision.

By cutting fuel subsidies by more than 30%, the president not only freed billions of dollars for infrastructure development and other essential government spending, he sent out a strong message that he has the courage to take unpopular but vital decisions that are in the best interest of the nation.

Fresh from his return from China where he met with Asia-Pacific leaders such as US President Barrack Obama and Chinese premier Xi Jinpeng and the G-20 summit in Australia, the president moved swiftly on the domestic front. The fuel price hike was widely expected but not guaranteed and the president himself made the announcement, rather than delegating it to one of his ministers.

A few days later, he inaugurated Basuki Tjahaja Purnama as the governor of Jakarta despite heavy opposition from the Jakarta City Council and politicians from the Greater Indonesia Movement (Gerindra). Not an easy start for the new president.

President Joko Widodo’s rise to the apex of Indonesia’s political structure has been nothing short of spectacular. Born in a river shantytown in Solo, Central Java, Jokowi, as he is widely known, is the first businessman to become president of Indonesia.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla also comes from an entrepreneurial background, which explains the fact that there are nine former chief executives in the new cabinet.

Jokowi’s rise will, over a period of time, alter the face of Indonesian politics and in the process also change the faces that appear on the GlobeAsia Power 50 list. Over the past five years, the list has been dominated by politicians close to former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

While the 2014 Power 50 list still features some old-timers such as Megawati Sukarnoputri, Aburizal Bakrie and Amien Rais, a host of new names now appears on the list. Apart from Jokowi, the list includes Sofyan Djalil, the new chief economics minister; Bambang Brodjonegoro, the Minister of Finance; Rini Soemarno, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises; Tjahjo Kumolo, Minister of Home Affairs; Anies Baswedan at Basic Education and Culture and Susi Pudjiastuti as Minister for Maritime and Fisheries.

Other newcomers to the list include Pratikno, the former rector of Gajah Mada University (UGM) and a supporter of Joko Widodo throughout his presidential bid. He will now play a substantial role in formulating the new administration’s policies, setting targets and re-organizing government structures as the State Secretary.

It remains to be seen if these new faces will be on the 2015 Power 50 List as they face significant challenges in the coming months.  There is no doubt however that a shift in the country’s political constellation is underway and will likely accelerate in the coming years as the old actors fade into the background.

The new government has its work cut out. The president has outlined his economic agenda, which is premised on improving maritime infrastructure and providing better public services. This was clearly laid out by during his recent foreign trips.

“The first and foremost would be how to reduce inequality and at the same time reduce poverty,” Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told Bloomberg in Brisbane recently. “We believe by doing infrastructure development we not only create growth but also create better equality,” he added.

Boosting growth

Such balancing acts will become commonplace for the new government and administration. According to former tourism minister Mari Elka Pangestu, raising fuel prices is only a small part of what the new government needs to do to achieve optimal balance between spending and revenue generation; and between empowering local businesses and remaining open to foreign investments.

“The demographic bonus and urbanization will drive growth over the next few years with 90 million more people living in cities,” she noted. “Destructive technologies will provide new sectors of growth worth around $625 billion in value.”

The key to sustainable growth will be improving connectivity and increasing power supply. This is where new Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said and Indroyono Soesilo, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs will play key roles. The government has plans to allow 100% foreign ownership of power plants over 100 MW and removing PLN’s monopoly over power transmission.

The ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is also said to be ready to set up a one-stop shop for the power sector so private investors can get all their paper work done quickly.

An efficient and effective government, starting from the very top, is crucial to the country’s economic progress. President Jokowi will have to lead by example, rolling up his sleeves and going down to the ground. His ministers are already following in his footsteps, conducting “blusukan” or announced visits to their staff.

“Jokowi’s strength is that he can act as a manager and share power with his subordinates,” said Indria Samego a professor from the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

The rise of the middle class

While the Power 50 list is dominated by politicians and government leaders, it also has a healthy sprinkling of business leaders. This is primarily because private business owners and entrepreneurs are going to play an increasing role in determining the economic direction of the nation.

With growing consumption, big business owners such as Anthoni Salim from the Salim Group, Chairul Tanjung from Trans Corp and Budi Hartono from Djarum Group will define consumption trends. How they direct investments and create new products will ensure that Indonesia’s industrial base remains competitive and that the country can compete on the global stage.

The Power 50 List 2014

1 Joko Widodo – President of Indonesia.
2 Megawati Soekarnoputri – Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) chairwoman.
3 Jusuf Kalla – Vice President of Indonesia and former Golkar party chairman.
4 Aburizal Bakrie – Golkar party chairman.
5 Zulkifli Hasan – The speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly.
6 Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – Head of Democratic Party and former president.
7 Hatta Rajasa – Head of the National Awakening Party (PAN).
8 Amien Rais – Former speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR.
9 Prabowo Subianto – Head of Gerindra party.
10 Setya Novanto – The speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR).
11 Surya Paloh – Nasdem Party leader.
12 Pratikno – State Secretary.
13 Hamdan Zoelva – Head of Constitutional Court, or MK.
14 BJ Habibie – Former President.
15 Sofjan Djalil – Coordinating Minister for the economy.
16 Puan Maharani – Coordinating Minister for Welfare, Megawati’s daughter.
17 Irman Gusman – The Regional Representative Council (DPD) speaker.
18 Harry Azhar Aziz – Head of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK).
19 Luhut Panjaitan – Jokowi’s senior adviser.
20 Bambang Brodjonegoro – Finance Minister.
21 Yasona Hamongan Laoly. Minister of law and Human Rights.
22 Rini M Sumarno – State Owned Enterprise Minister.
23 Sofjan Wanandi – Former Apindo Chairman.
24 Tjahjo Kumolo – Home Affairs Minister.
25 Chairul Tanjung – Founder CT Corp, former Coordinating Minister for the economy.
26 Retno Marsudi – Foreign Minister.
27 Andi Wijajyanto – Cabinet Secretary.
28 Sudirman Said – Energy and Mineral Resources Minister.
29 KH Mustofa Bisri – NU leader
30 Dien Syamsuddin – Muhammadiyah leader
31 Tedjo Edy Purdjianto – Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs
32 Andrinof Chaniago – National Development Planning Chief.
33 Indroyono Soesilo – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs.
34 Sutarman – National Police Chief.
35 Abraham Samad – Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman.
36 Wiranto – Hanura party leader.
37 Ryamizard Ryacudu – Defense Minister.
38 Rachmat Gobel – Trade Minister.
39 Saleh Husin – Industry Minister.
40 Suryo Bambang Sulisto – The Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Chairman
41 Hamengkubuwono – Sultan and governor of Yogjakarta
42 M Reza – Oil trader
43 Anies Baswedan – Education and Culture Minister
44 Nila F Moeloek – Health Minister
45 Susi Pudjiastuti – Maritime and Fisheries Minister
46 Budi Hartono – Djarum Group
47 Anthoni Salim – Salim Group
48 Franky Wijaya – Sinar Mas
49 Tommy Winata – Artha Graha Group
50 Basuki Tjahaya Purnama – Jakarta Governor

The story was first published on Globe Asia’s December 2014 edition.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Two Tax Men Arrested for Alleged Rp 41b Embezzlement

Jakarta Globe, Farouk Arnaz, Dec 07, 2014

Two bureaucrats from the West Java Tax Service Office were arrested
 in relation to the issuance of a fake invoice, which police say cost the
state Rp 41 billion.(Reuters Photo/Edgar Su)

Jakarta. Two West Java tax inspectors have been arrested for allegedly embezzling Rp 41 billion ($3.3 million), police announced on Sunday.

The two bureaucrats, named as Totok Mulyanto and Andi Ismanto, from the West Java Tax Service Office were arrested in relation to the issuance of a “fake tax invoice” which cost the state Rp 41 billion, police said.

Police would not elaborate further on the circumstances of the case and told reporters to direct their questioning to the tax directorate general.

“We helped investigators from the tax directorate general,” Brig. Gen. Agus Kusnadi said on Sunday.

The pair were arrested on Wednesday after they were questioned by tax investigators, police said.

Police said they had arrested eight other suspects involved in the alleged crime, but did not elaborate on who they were or how they were connected to Totok and Andi.

Issuing a fake tax invoice can carry a sentence of up to six years imprisonment under the 2009 Law No. 16 on Taxation. Those convicted are also required to pay back twice the amount of the invoice.

The way of doing business is changing in China

Want China Times, Chien Li-hsin & Staff Reporter 2014-12-06

An anti-corruption agency in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Nov. 3. (File photo/CNS)

Beijing's introduction of rules of conduct for government officials two years ago has had positive impacts, according to Taiwan's former vice president Vincent Siew and several Taiwanese businessmen working in China.

The rules of conduct, which require government conferences and receptions to be streamlined, formalities to be simplified, and spending on officials' travel to be reduced, were passed by Chinese president Xi Jinping on Dec. 4, 2012.

During a recent meeting with media outlets in Taiwan, Siew said that these rules changed China dramatically, citing what he saw while attending the Boao Forum for Asia in April 2013.

Major conferences like the Boao Forum, Siew said, always had corporate sponsors in attendance in the past, but they were nowhere to be seen last year. This indicates the determination of Chinese authorities to implement the rules.

Chai Suo-ling, head of the Taiwan Businessmen Association in Dongguan, stated that the number of meetings with government officials has been greatly reduced in the last two years, along with flower arrangements and banners seen at public events.

"In the past, meetings were followed by meals, which could take several hours. Now, the meals are either served in the canteens of government offices and completed in an hour, or there are no meals at all," Chai said.

Among other improvements, is that government officials now travel only in economy class, stay in three-star or lower rated hotels, have fewer business meals, and are banned from receiving holiday gifts, according to the Dongguan association head.

"All government officials at every level support the policy. I didn't hear any opposition, which, I think, this is a sign of improvement," he added.

Huang Chun-cheng, a Taiwanese restaurant owner in Beijing, said that business had dropped by a third because of the policy, as government officials, and even policemen, no longer dine at restaurants in fear of disciplinary actions.

Policemen have to report to their superiors before dining at his restaurant, which serves a buffet for 289 Chinese yuan (US$47) per person, and also have to provide details about whom they dine with, what they eat, and whether alcohol was consumed, according to Huang.

There are also Taiwanese businessmen who, wishing to remain anonymous, complained about government officials not doing their work because they can no longer receive bribes. This has caused trouble for businesses that are used to paying bribes to officials can speed up their paperwork.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Indonesia’s Corruption Ranking Improves but ‘Radical’ Steps Needed

Jakarta Globe, Dec 03, 2014

Akil Mochtar, the former chief justice of the Constitutional Court, has had
his appeal against a life sentence for graft turned down. (AFP Photo)

Jakarta. Countries like Indonesia “need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favor of their people,” Transparency International warned in the latest edition of its Corruption Perceptions Index, which was released on Wednesday.

On a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), Indonesia scores 34, which is slightly better than last year’s 32. The country is ranked 107th out of 175. In the 2013 version of the index, Indonesia ranked 114th.

However, the poor scores of countries like Indonesia “indicate a general weak or ineffective leadership to counter corruption, posing threats for both sustainability of their economies and somewhat fragile democracies [in the Asia-Pacific region],” Transparency International said in a statement on its website.

This year’s list is topped by Denmark, which scores 92, while North Korea and Somalia share last place, with a score of 8.

Despite moving up several notches, Indonesia still fares poorly compared to its neighbors. In the Asia-Pacific region, the country perceived to be least corrupt is New Zealand, with a score of 91 — good for second place worldwide. Singapore (7 worldwide), Australia (11), Japan (15) and Hong Kong (17) make up the rest of the Asia-Pacific top 5.

“Grand corruption in big economies not only blocks basic human rights for the poorest but also creates governance problems and instability. Fast-growing economies whose governments refuse to be transparent and tolerate corruption, create a culture of impunity in which corruption thrives,” Jose Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International, was quoted as saying in a statement on the organization’s website.

Apart from Singapore, the only Association of Southeast Asian Nations member state to score more than 50 points is Malaysia, which ranks 50th on the global index with a score of 52. The Philippines shares the 85th global spot with Thailand, with both scoring 38. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar all perform worse than Indonesia.

Transparency International says its yearly index is “based on expert opinions of public sector corruption.”

“Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs,” the organization says.

Related Article:

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Jokowi to Scrap ID Card for Indonesian Migrant Workers

Jakarta Globe, Dec 01, 2014

President Joko Widodo has announced he will cancel the identification card,
 known as KTKLN, for Indonesian migrant workers due to allegations of
extortion. (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has announced Indonesia’s migrant workers identification card program will be scrapped due to numerous cases of alleged extortion.

Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, made the decision after speaking with Indonesian migrant workers in eight countries during a teleconference on Sunday.

An Indonesian migrant worker in Brunei Darussalam told Joko that the identification card, known as KTKLN, was a “burden” mentally and materially.

“We want the KTKLN program to be erased, not just revised or replaced with other similar cards,” the worker told the president, as quoted by news portal Tribunnews.com. “We want it to be scrapped.”

Upon hearing the request, Joko reportedly told Nusron Wahid, the newly appointed chief of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI), to cancel the program.

“I have decided to scrap the KTKLN program. We’ll revoke it.” Joko was quoted as saying by Tribunnews.com.

Launched in 2007, the card aims to identify that the worker to whom it belonged had completed the proper procedure to work abroad. The full implementation of the card, however, began in 2011.

The card, which was introduced free-of-charge, also works as a security instrument before and after the holder is given an assignment.

However, there have been numerous reports by Indonesian migrant workers who claim they have had to pay huge amounts of cash in order to obtain the card — pointing to exploitation by officials.

President Joko Widodo leads the “E-Blusukan” with Indonesian Migrant
Workers (TKI) that are stationed in 8 differents parts of the world.

Related Article:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jakarta Civil Servants Set to Lose Official Cars

This handout photo taken and released by
the Presidential Palace on Nov. 19, 2014
 shows President Joko widodo, right, leading the
 swearing-in ceremony for Basuki Tjahaja
Purnama, left, as Jakarta’s governor at the
 Palace in Jakarta. (AFP Photo/Presidential
Palace/Cahyo Sasmito)
Jakarta. The Jakarta City Council is forging ahead with an edict by former governor Joko Widodo to auction off 300 cars used by city officials and provide them with transportation stipends instead.

Civil servants in echelon II, III and IV will soon have to return their keys and take up transportation allowances as part of cost-cutting measures passed by the administration of Joko, who left office to become Indonesia’s president in October.

Reza Pahlevi, from the assets division of the Jakarta Financial Management Body (BPKD), said that the State Assets and Auction Service Office (KPKNL) was currently calculating the cars’ prices.

“We involved the KPKNL so that the car pricing will be fair,” Reza said on Wednesday in Jakarta. “We could ask the Transportation Agency to do it, but we think the result wouldn’t be fair and right. Therefore, we decided to ask the KPKNL.”

Reza said the BPKD would request Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — who took office last week — to issue a removal of asset letter once pricing had been recommended.

“We will commence the auction once we have obtained approval from the governor which is why we haven’t asked the officials to turn in their cars yet,” Reza said.

The KPKNL, which will auction the cars, has promised the process would be transparent as the public was allowed to bid, but civil servants were not.

In July, City Hall announced that officials would be provided with transportation fees taken from the city’s regional budget because it was considered more efficient that buying new cars, which devalued.

“The decree was signed by Joko Widodo back in July and we have started implementing it since October,” Reza said.

The transportation fees vary: echelon II officials get Rp 9 million ($592) per month, echelon III officials receive Rp 6 million ($395) and echelon IV officials get Rp 4 million ($263). The transportation fees will be subjected to 15 percent tax.