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

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

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
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Monday, November 30, 2009

President to reinstate Bibit, Chandra

Antara News, Monday, November 30, 2009 21:25 WIB

Bibit Samad Rianto was all smiles arriving at the prosecutor’s office. (JG Photo)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will issue a decision to reinstate Bibit Samat Rianto and Chandra M Hamzah as deputy chiefs of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), a spokesman said.

Denny Indrayana, a member of the president`s special staff for legal affairs, said here on Monday the presidential decision to that effect would be issued as soon as the president received a copy of the Attorney General Office`s decision to drop the two suspended KPK officials` cases.

"To speed up the process, the draft of the presidential decree has already been drawn up," he said.

Junior Atttorney General for Special Crimes Marwan Effendi announced here on Monday that his office would issue a decision on December 1 at the latest to stop the prosecution of Bibit and Chanra.

The office quotes juridical and sociological factors as the reasons for issuing the decision.

Marwan said that actually the results of investigation had already met the requirements for making the case but because the office considered the two suspects unaware of the impact of their actions it had decided to drop their cases.

He said the sociological condition meanwhile were also not conducive to continue the prosecution because "the disadvantage will be bigger than the advantage."

In response to the AGO`s decision, Denny said in line with the the Government Regulation in lieu of Law (Perppu) Number 4 of 2009 as the replacement of Law Number 30 of 2002 on KPK, the current acting KPK deputies namely Mas Ahmad Santosa and Waluyo would be discharged.

According to the Perppu, Bibit and Chandra would be able to be active again as KPK deputy chiefs if the court decides they are not proven guilty or if their case is dropped by the police or the AGO.


Suspended Corruption Eradication Commission deputies Chandra M Hamzah, left, and Bibit Samad Rianto, displaying formal notification that the charges against them had been dropped, at the South Jakarta Prosecutor’s office on Tuesday. (Photo: Afriadi Hikmal, JG)


Related Articles:

Cheers and Jeers as Indonesian Prosecutors Drop Case Against Corruption Fighters

Police won’t challenge suspension of probe into KPK leaders

AGO officially drops Bibit, Chandra cases

The Saga Ends for Indonesia’s Corruption Fighters

Indonesia’s Antigraft Commission Begins Own Inquiry Into Bank Century Bailout


President hopes more women included in future cabinets

Antara News, Monday, November 30, 2009 14:47 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed hope that more women would be included in the cabinets of future governments.

Speaking at a function to observe the 10th anniversary of National Commission of Women (Komnas Perempuan) at the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) auditorium here on Monday, the president said out of 34 cabinet ministers, ten should be women.

In the second phase of United Indonesia Cabinet there are five female ministers namely Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, State Minister for National Development Planning Board Armida Alisjahbana, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, and State Minister for Women Empowerment Linda Gumelar.

"There are actually five female ministers in the present United Indonesia Cabinet but the ratio is still insufficient. In the future there should be at least ten female ministers out of 34 in the cabinet," the president said.

He added that five female ministers in the present cabinet was at least a good beginning to empower the the Indonesian women in the cabinet.

The head of state also gave a high appreciation to more women in the parliament, diplomatic circle, and business circle.

President Yudhoyono said that to the Indonesian women empowerment was not merely the responsibility of the government, also of the people at large and the women themselves.

"Respect whatever role is expected by the women, and view the women as the human resources capital who should be given the same opportunity as male," the president said.

But the president added that although Indonesian had adopted the Human Rights universal values and women rights, the traditional values of Indonesian women should not be ignored.

The head of state the Human Rights universal values should be harmonized with traditional, cultural, and religious values.

"Our task is to harmonize the universal values with our traditional, cultural and religious values in order to avoid conflict and collision among them," the president said.

Related Article:

All woman power

The Jakarta Post, Tue, 11/10/2009 6:57 PM

All woman power - Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan (second right) talks with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (right),Trade Minister Marie Elka Pangestu (second left) and head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Armida Alisjahbana before a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday. (JP/R.Berto Wedhatama)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Greenpeace ends dramatic direct action in Riau

Antara News, Saturday, November 28, 2009 18:18 WIB

Chained protest: Employees from Indah Kiat Pupl and Paper try to force two Greenpeace activists to end their protest against deforestation. The activists chained themselves to cranes at the paper company's port in Siak, Riau, on Wednesday. The police broke up the protest on Thursday. Antara/FB Anggoro

Kampar Peninsula, Riau, (ANTARA News) - Greenpeace Thursday ended a 26-hour dramatic non-violent direct action at the loading facility of Sinar Mas subsidiary of the Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) mill in Riau.

"Ten days ahead of the critical climate summit in Copenhagen, President Yudhoyono has a unique chance to make history by declaring an immediate moratorium on all deforestation and exhibiting the kind of leadership that even the Nobel Prize winning Obama has so far failed to show," said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, as reported on the official website of Greenpeace Southeast.

Sinar Mas has been tagged by the group as a leading forest and climate destroyer in Indonesia.

The activity, undertaken by activists from 11 different nationalities, including Indonesia and the USA successfully focused international attention on the critical role that President Yudhoyono and other world Heads of State can play in ending tropical deforestation to avert climate chaos.

Vowing to keep taking their message directly to President Yudhoyono and other world leaders, the group said that thousands of people worldwide have sent petitions and letters to the Indonesian leader urging him to take immediate steps to halt deforestation and peatland destruction in the country, which accounts for the vast majority of Indonesia`s emissions.

"Our non-violent activities in Sumatra over last five weeks have shown world leaders that forest protection is an important piece of the solution if the world is to avert climate chaos. The world cannot afford to lose any more forests and world leaders cannot afford to lose any more time to deliver a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate deal in December," he said.

Such a deal must include a commitment to set up a global fund to end deforestation in countries like Indonesia.

"We will continue to press our demands until our leaders are roused from their denial and inertia on this issue," he added.

On November 12, Greenpeace took action against Sinar Mas owned APP`s rival company APRIL to expose the continued destruction of fragile peatlands of Kampar peninsula on the Island of Sumatra.

Last week, the Indonesia`s Forest Minister Zulkifli Hasan, suspended APRIL from destroying about 56,000 hectares of concession area pending a review of the company`s permits.

Following the non-violent action, eighteen international and Indonesian Greenpeace activists have now been detained by the police. Twelve activists blocked cranes at the company`s port Wednesday (Nov. 25) to stop pulp exports, and displayed banners reading: "Forest Destruction: You can stop this".

Four climbers remained locked onto one of the loading cranes for 26 hours, until removed by the police. Activists were from Indonesia, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the Philippines and the Netherlands.

"Once again, we have to say to President Obama, `Right city, wrong date.`

Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to attend on December 18th, commit the US to climate policy the world needs, and earn the Nobel Peace Prize that he is on his way to accept. So far, President Obama has given the world nothing but rhetoric on this issue. We urge him to seize the opportunity to lead his peers towards an urgently needed breakthrough in Copenhagen beginning with a commitment to provide international financing for adaptation, mitigation and forest protection - all necessary components to get agreement from developing nations," said Stephanie Hillman, an American activist detained in Riau.

Related Articles:

Report: Indonesia loses $2B from forest corruption

Indonesian President ‘Risks Humiliation’ in Copenhagen

Commonwealth leaders back climate change fund

Five S. Kalimantan firms ignore environmentally conscious practice : official

Indonesia loses 1.1 mln hectares of forest each year: minister

Environmental damage in S Kalimantan alarming : minister

Greenpeace hails minister for actions against RAPP

Paper giant to withdraw from Indonesia rainforest destruction

Deforestation is a disaster for the environment





Century Bank funds go to 50 non-prioritized customers

Antara News, Sunday, November 29, 2009 00:05 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Center of Financial Transactions Analysis and Reports (PPATK) has stated that former Bank Century funds have also gone to 50 customers who are not prioritized to receive them.

"There are 50 customers involved in 124 transactions which according to regulations are not prioritized to receive them," PPATK chief Yunus Husein said in a dialogue at a television station broadcast live here on Saturday.

He said the tracing on the 50 customers was done upon the request of the State Audit Board (BPK) conducting investigative auditing recently.

"That is why we have done it. Perhaps BPK thought there were problems with regard to the 50 customers in connection with the 124 transactions," he said.

Yunus said it was not impossible that those who had conducted disbursements or enjoyed the funds were those having connections with the bank.

The connections can be managerial, family, financial and others. Based on regulations they are not under priority to receive bank disbursements.

"Bank Indonesia has also admitted that they are connected with the bank and so they are not prioritized to get the funds," he said.

Yunus said no funds from Bank Century had flown directly to political parties however he said that PPATK would not stop tracing."I can work maximaly if there were initial information from those concerned," he said.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Indonesia Needs $4 Billion for Energy Efficiency: ADB

The Jakarta Globe, Reva Sasistiya

The Asian Development Bank announced on Thursday that Indonesia needs to invest $4 billion improving real-sector energy efficiency over the next five years to make the economy more competitive.

The ADB’s estimate covers electrical retrofits and other energy-saving projects, including improving the efficiency of air conditioning, lighting and waste heat recovery in commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

Alexander Ablaza, ADB’s regional coordinator for clean energy, said industrial energy efficiency investment could reach $3 billion, with $1.1 billion for overhauling electrical systems and the remainder for fossil fuel-system efficiency improvements, poly generation and waste heat recovery. The potential savings are estimated at $641 million annually, he said.

“For the industrial sector, energy savings may reach 25 to 40 percent, with expectations of returns on investment in four to six years.”

Commercial building efficiency would require $1 billion for similar upgrades, with expected annual savings of $254 million.

“For the commercial sector, including hospitals, hotels, office buildings and malls, efficient lighting and air conditioner systems may save 35 to 40 percent on energy costs,” Alexander said.

The estimates were based an ADB study conducted this year.

Madeleine Varkay, ADB’s senior private sector development expert, said the institution would offer $300 million to $400 million of financing annually to support the energy plan.

“Indonesia’s energy sector is a vast green field of investment opportunities that awaits the participation of the domestic and international banking as well as industrial sectors,” said Anthony Jude, ADB’s director of energy and water for Southeast Asia.

Agus Purnomo, head of Indonesia’s national council on climate change, applauded the ADB review. “We strongly welcome national and international commercial banks, as well as equipment suppliers and energy service companies as our partners.”

According to state-owned PT Energy Management Indonesia, daily industrial energy consumption 194,350 barrels of oil equivalent, with the commercial sector using 134,630 boe.

ADB also announced on Thursday that would finance a $100 million Java-Bali electricity transmission project next year.

Rehan Kausar, an ADB infrastructure specialist in Indonesia, said the bank would also be involved in the second phase of the “fast-track” power generation program, with plans to invest $500 million for the construction of geothermal plants.

Last year, ADB approved nearly $1.7 billion of clean energy projects in the region, far exceeding its $1 billion target. ADB plans to raise energy efficiency financing to $2 billion starting in 2013.

Related Article:

Telkom Looks to Raise $600m to Fund Planned Acquisition Spree Next Year


Haj managers must reveal accounts, says watchdog

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/28/2009 1:07 PM

The Religious Affairs Ministry should improve transparency in its handling of funds paid for pilgrimages to Mecca, a watchdog said Friday.

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said the ministry had never provided the public with access to information on the disbursement of these funds.

"The House of Representative is the only institution that has dialogues with the ministry," ICW public service monitoring division coordinator Ade Irawan told The Jakarta Post.

The ministry also had overlapping roles, which had led the public to doubt its integrity, he said.

"The ministry is the regulator and administrator of pilgrimages, and is also the haj-performance evaluator," he said.

He recommended the government appoint an independent body as an administrator of the haj management, to prevent potential corruption.

"This independent body, through a website, should publicize data on the disbursement of these funds," he said.

"That's the cheapest way to make the information public."

The government could act as a regulator for the pilgrimage and an evaluator of the independent body.

"Haj management has fallen into the same pits, year after year," he said, pointing out that pilgrims suffered unnecessary hardships in terms of dormitories, transportation and food supplies.

Earlier, the House of Representatives' haj-monitoring team in Saudi Arabia reported that Indonesian pilgrims were subject to hardships they should not have had to endure.

The team noted problems with unsuitable accommodation. For instance, in some cases there was only one bathroom for 25 pilgrims.

"Not only that, we also found a number of shelters did not have sufficient water supplies," Muhammad Oheo Sinapoy from the Golkar Party said.

Indonesian pilgrims had departed late from Madinah to Mecca because transport had not run on time, the team reported, adding that most of the dormitories in Mecca were on the outer ring of the Masjid al-Haram grand mosque.

Just over one-third of the dormitories were within the inner ring of the grand mosque, they said.

The findings contradict a plan and regulations that stipulate that three-quarters of pilgrim dormitories must be near the grand mosque, the team said.

Contrary to statements made by lawmakers, the Religious Affairs Ministry director general for the Haj, Slamet Riyanto, said recently (via the ministry's website) he had established the Haj Media Center to inform the public of situations during the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The measure was an initiative undertaken by the ministry to improve transparency, he said. However, the website does not provide details on the disbursement of funds.

Ade said the only improvement the government had made was that was no increase this year to fees pilgrims paid for the pilgrimage. Pilgrims paid between US$3,240 and $3,575 this year, depending on which region they were from.

As of Thursday, 105 Indonesian pilgrims had died during the trip, mostly as a result of cardiac arrest or respiratory or circulation failures, metrotvnews.com reported.

Meanwhile, detiknews.com reported from Saudi Arabia that this year transportation arrangements were much improved, allowing better movement to perform the jumrah.

Related Article:

`Give haj management to private sector'


Dubai’s Debt Crisis Could Hit Investment in Indonesia


A unit of Dubai World helped finance Bakrie Tower in Jakarta. The Middle-Eastern conglomerate now has billions of dollars worth of liabilities. (Reuters Photo)

Dubai. Investors recoiled from risky assets on Friday and dumped shares in Asian banks and builders, fearing a Dubai debt default could reignite the financial turmoil of the credit crisis. Meanwhile, an analyst said the problems in the emirate could jeopardize Middle Eastern projects in Indonesia.

Stocks from Tokyo to Mumbai were haunted by suspicion of lenders’ exposure to Dubai companies that built islands in the Gulf, planned cities from Pakistan to Africa and fashioned the financial hub of the world’s biggest oil exporting region. The Indonesia Stock Market was closed on Friday for the Idul Adha holiday.

“This an important reminder that the credit crisis is forgotten but not gone,” said Robert Rennie, a strategist at Westpac Global Markets Group.

Asian banks, like their European peers, scrambled to distance themselves from Dubai, a desert emirate that emerged from dusty obscurity to invest in global lenders such as Standard Chartered and lure fund managers with the promise of a tax-free lifestyle.

Dubai, part of the oil-exporting United Arab Emirates, said on Wednesday that it would ask creditors of state-owned Dubai World and Nakheel to agree to a standstill on billions of dollars of debt as a first step towards restructuring.

Dubai World, the conglomerate that led the emirate’s expansion, had $59 billion of liabilities as of August, most of Dubai’s total debt of $80 billion. Nakheel was the builder of three palm-shaped islands off Dubai.

The news shook markets recovering from the collapse of the US housing bubble and contagion that threatened to rupture the global financial system last year.

“The panic button’s been hit again,” said Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities in Hong Kong.

In Indonesia, Eric Sugandhi, an economist from Standard Chartered Bank, said Dubai World’s debt problem could jeopardize other Middle East investment plans in Indonesia despite their presence “not being too significant” currently.

“This is a bad news for our investment plans as Indonesia has been targeting Middle Eastern companies for investment,” he said on Friday. “We may have to look again to every new investment plan from the Middle East as we should question their ability to finance them now.”

Analysts expect Dubai World to get financial support from Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest emirate and producer of most of its oil. But Dubai may have to abandon an economic model that focused on developing swathes of desert with foreign money and labor.

The prospect of a bailout did little to allay concerns among those already worried the global economy may not be recovering quickly enough to justify a near doubling of prices for emerging market stocks and many commodities since March.

Dubai’s debt problems are a hangover from a property bubble that imploded after the financial crisis derailed its plans to become a tourist magnet and a regional hub for everything from shipping to entertainment.

Banks’ exposure to a Dubai default pales in comparison with the $2.8 trillion in write-downs the International Monetary Fund estimates Western lenders will have to make between 2007 and 2010 as a result of the credit crisis.

International banks’ exposure to Dubai World could be as high as $12 billion, sources said.

“Similar stories to the one in Dubai are likely to come out, leading risk money to pull out from assets such as commodities and stocks,” said Takahiko Murai of equities at Nozomi Securities in Japan.

Bakrieland Unfazed by Links to Emirate

Janeman Latul

PT Bakrieland Development, a property company controlled by the politically connected Bakrie family, was not concerned about its partnership with Dubai World subsidiary Limitless Holding, despite Dubai World delaying billions of dollars in debt repayments for six months.

“I honestly haven’t contacted them but I’m not that surprised about the matter because the rumors about this have already been circling for months,” Hiramsyah Sambudhy Thaib, Bakrieland’s president director, said on Friday. “It may impact the partnership a bit but I don’t think it will cause major trouble for us.”

In 2008, Limitless agreed to buy a 30 percent stake for $110 million in Bakrieland’s city property unit, which is developing the Epicentrum project in Kuningan, South Jakarta. However, as of May Limitless had only paid $37 million and has reportedly been struggling to pay the rest, causing Bakrieland to postpone construction of the 50-story Bakrie Tower. Phase one of the project, including the tower, is scheduled to open in March.

“The [Dubai World] debt problem could even advantage us, as they might abandon their other projects in the region and put more focus on our partnership,” Hirmanysah said.

SOEs owe Rp 30t to Pertamina

Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/28/2009 1:07 PM

State companies are sticking to a tradition of abusing their special ties with state oil and gas producer PT Pertamina by delaying payments for purchases of fuel.

Four state companies and one private firm account for combined overdue payments of Rp 30.2 trillion (US$3.2 billion), Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan said in a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday.

"Until November these companies owed us about Rp 30.2 trillion. Mostly for fuel payments," Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan said in a hearing between the House of Representatives and several state owned enterprises in Jakarta.

State utility company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) is the biggest debtor owing a total of Rp 18 trillion for purchases of fuel to generate electricity for the public. The figure excludes PT PLN's Rp 4.5 trillion long-term debt to Pertamina.

Indonesia's armed forces are the second biggest debtor, owing Rp 7.1 trillion. Pertamina has long historical ties with the armed forces. Since its inception in August 1968, Pertamina was under the strong influence of military officers with lieutenant general Ibnu Sutowo serving as the first and the longest presiding president director of the company under the direct approval of President Suharto.

Historians described Pertamina being used as a *cash cow' by both Suharto and the military during the New Order era.

The third biggest debtor is state airline company PT Garuda Indonesia, owing Rp 720 billion. Another state airline company, PT Merpati Nusantara, also owes Pertamina Rp 313 billion.

"Merpati and Garuda have bought aviation fuel (kerosene) from us," Karen said.

Besides state companies and institutions, another private company in which Pertamina has a minority shareholding, PT Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama, owes substantial unpaid debts to Pertamina.

"The company still owes us Rp 3.9 trillion," she said.

Throughout the hearing, Karen declined to clarify how Pertamina would take action against these firms to resolve their unpaid debts.

Pertamina is the most profitable state company, contributing about half of the total annual dividend paid by all the state firms combined to state coffers each year.

Related Articles:

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Indonesia May Drop Plans to Take State Firms Public

Pertamina to prepare for IPO


Manohara's Views on Indonesian Corruption: How Do We Change?

"We bribe as easily as we breathe; we are so used to paying our way out of any little inconvenience in life that we almost make it seem OK to be corrupt."

The Jakarta Globe, Manohara Odelia Pinot

Actress and model Manohara lifts a crocodile at an anti-corruption protest in Jakarta on Monday. (Photo: Jurnasyanto Sukarno, JG)

Corruption. I first became familiar with the concept when I was in the third grade at an international school in France. One of my classmates talked about his mom getting pulled over for speeding while driving him to school. He was worried because they took her license away because of previous traffic violations. Our teacher tried to comfort the poor kid, who looked like he thought his mom was going to be sentenced to life in prison.

As the teacher explained that his mother probably just had to fill out a few forms, I interrupted her and announced proudly to the class that in my beautiful homeland of Indonesia you can just give a policeman the equivalent of a euro or so and get away with speeding!

All the other kids thought this was cool and asked me what else people in Indonesia pay for that they couldn’t in France. I didn’t need much time to think and very casually said, “Well you can pay for your identity card, getting a drivers license, passing airport security, getting into the police force — almost everything really.” The teacher chuckled and then looked me in the eye and said, “That is called bribing, and that’s what makes your country a corrupt one.”

She explained to the class the horrible effect that corruption has on a country. One thing that was extremely close to my heart was poverty, another byproduct of corruption according to the teacher. At that moment my feelings changed. From being overly confident and bragging about my country, I developed an embarrassing, sick, disappointed feeling in my gut. I felt somewhat betrayed by my motherland.

By the time the lunch bell rang, all the kids had probably forgotten about the incident but I didn’t. It was all I could think about through my math, geography and science classes. Instead of rushing to the cafeteria, I rushed to the school’s deserted library and with the help of a computer I learned as much as I possibly could in 45 minutes about corruption. From that day forward my views on the “convenience” of corruption changed.

Is corruption convenient? Yes. Most people I ask say that corruption is a despicable act mostly performed by the government and the “elite.” I then ask them if they’ve ever bribed a cop when being stopped for a traffic violation. No one has said no.

I have come to realize that bribery has become such an ordinary part of our daily lives here that millions of people contribute to it on a daily basis without even realizing it. We bribe as easily as we breathe; we are so used to paying our way out of any little inconvenience in life that we almost make it seem OK to be corrupt.

Is this why corruption is such a big, seemingly unsolvable problem here in Indonesia? Is this why we can’t seem to find a solution to this matter? Is it because corruption is the one problem we can’t pay our way out of?

In my mind, the solution has to start with changing our mind-set toward the convenient aspects of being corrupt. We have to make changes in our mental attitudes toward corruption before just blaming the government. I see this as almost like going green; people can’t keep blaming the large polluting factories while driving a fuel-guzzling SUV.

Sadly, money is power. The one thing that disturbs me the most about corruption is the effect it has on the poor and powerless. The powerless are almost half of Indonesia’s population, and they live on less than Rp 20,000 ($2.10) a day.

So then let’s look at government officials in Indonesia. For example, ministers. Today they earn about Rp 19 million per month. When I see someone earning that amount spend far more than that in just one day, for example, without having another job on the side, I can’t help but be puzzled. I can’t help but ask whether the money they are spending on their fourth car (which most probably won’t even use) is money that is supposed be used to help the less fortunate, build new schools or help victims of natural disasters.

I was speaking with a very respectable man the other day. He works in a very high position in one of the biggest banks in Indonesia. I brought up the subject of the Padang earthquake and was telling him how I was happy that TV stations were raising a substantial amount of money for the victims. As I said that, he smiled at my naivete and he then told me that one local station raised Rp 17 billion. How much went to Padang? Rp 3 billion. What happened to the Rp 14 billion? Who knows.

The latest corruption case to blow up is, of course, the whole issue with Bank Century, top government officials, the police force and the KPK etc. etc. etc. Do you honestly think anyone involved in this mess is innocent of corruption? I don’t.

The more I dig into this issue, the more I realize that the whole system is corrupt. We can’t fix anything by just firing a bunch of people because, literally, everything is corrupt. Corruption is and will be a part of our culture unless we make real changes in ourselves.

In my opinion the only way to make any progress is by tackling the problem at the roots, starting from zero. How do we do that? We have to change our way of thinking. There should be serious lectures in schools, kids should be encouraged to have a real voice and an opinion about their nation’s future — make them develop their minds rather than just sticking to textbooks and assuming everything they read is the truth. In the public schools, we should educate children more about current affairs and corruption, make them debate the issue and broaden their minds. They basically need a view of their own rather than following the way things have always been done. Come on, right now the “grown-ups” aren’t setting what I would call a good example. They need to be challenged by young people.

I know this kind of change will take a long time and I’ll probably be an old granny before it’ll start to have any real effect but we just HAVE to change someday. I’m really tired of watching people complain but then do nothing about the problem of corruption; it makes everyone look like a hypocrite. If no one is willing to stop this culture of sleaze with genuinely good intentions and no dirty money involved, it can’t get better. I guess I would be a hypocrite too if I didn’t try to do something. It might sound a little too ambitious for a 17-year-old girl like me, but I am determined to do something about it. I am positive that we can change.

I’m going to end this with one of my favorite quotes by Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Manohara Odelia Pinot is a fashion model and television actress.

Related Article:

Manohara Requests Judicial Review Into Controversial Bank Century Bailout


Friday, November 27, 2009

Alleged cartel involving 21 cooking oil firms under investigation

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 11/26/2009 9:55 PM

The Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) is investigating an alleged cartel practice involving 21 cooking oil companies nationwide.

KPPU spokesman Ahmad Junaidi said Thursday that the commission would summon Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu to clarify the ministry's policies in connection with the cooking oil business.

"We have yet to set the date for the questioning. But we will surely summon her, at least the ministry official in charge of cooking oil business. They must explain how come such an alleged cartel practice could happen," Junaidi told The Jakarta Post.

He said the Trade Ministry was supposed to intervene with the cooking oil market to stabilize the prices, he said.

Cooking oil's normal price ranges around Rp 7,000 (US$0.7) per kilogram, he said, but once it soared to Rp 15,000 per kilogram.

The investigation was followed the public outcry that the cooking oil prices had significantly boosted since the early 2009.

KPPU's preliminary investigation found that 21 major cooking oil companies, as well as some CPO producers, were showing indications of cartel prices.

"The indications showed that the companies might have made mutual agreements to set high cooking oil prices," he said.

Cooking oil prices were supposed to be linear with CPO prices. However, the commission found that cooking oil prices remained high despite the declining CPO prices, Junaidi said.

"KPPU is now undergoing a further investigation into the case and expect to finish it in February," he added.

The commission has summoned all the companies to undergo a questioning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

RI to expand research for sustainable development

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 11/26/2009 1:30 PM

Indonesia aims to increase its scientific research capacity through the establishment an international research center that fosters cooperation between local and foreign universities.

The Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) launched Wednesday the International Center for Interdisciplinary and Advanced Research (ICIAR), as part of an initiative to promote preservation of the environment and to advance food security.

The center was established through cooperation between the institute and the the State Research and Technology Ministry, as well as the National Education Ministry.

The center is going to work with the United Nations Universities in Japan and New York, the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the Kyoto University in Japan and the Swiss German University in Serpong, Banten.

Swiss German University is the first international university offering a double degree from both Indonesia and Europe for local students.

State Minister for Research and Technology Suharna Surapranata said in his speech that the center would propel scientific research in the country.

The center's chairman, Jan Sopaheluwakan, said he expected the center to become a melting pot of advanced studies from various scientific fields and to influence decision makers in the country through its research results.

Jan, who is also LIPI's deputy chairman for scientific studies, said the center would focus on developing research on biogeodynamics, sustainable environmental practices, climate change and disaster mitigation, coastal community resilience and conflict and crisis management, as well as food, health, biomedical and intercultural studies.

He said this would be made possible through networking with foreign partner universities.

"United Nations University, for example, has extensive networks in UN member countries," he said during the center's launching ceremony.

"This will help Indonesia catch up with other nations' achievements, which address environmental and human security problems."

Associate Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University, Fabrice Renaud, said the new center would extend the role of his institute in promoting solutions related to the environmental dimension of human security.

"We are putting the individual, social groups and their livelihoods at the center of debate, analysis and policy," he said.

"Our university has acted as a bridge between the UN and the academic world since 1973."

Senior Researcher at Wageningen University, A. Schrevel, said his university would work together with the center on low-land management projects in Sumatra and Kalimantan for two to three years.

"Significant peatland losses on the islands have increasingly contributed to the release of emissions," he said.

Jan said this center would change the old paradigm of local universities.

"Most local universities have not yet prioritized research programs. Lecturers help their students research certain topics only to help them fulfill their academic requirements," he said.

He called such universities as "teaching universities", which had yet to improve their research functions due to limited facilities. (nia)

Industrial growth may slow down

Mustaqim Adamrah , The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 11/26/2009 10:06 AM

The combined growth of the food, beverage and tobacco industries is expected to slow next year as a result of sluggish investment this year, the industry ministry said.

In a report presented to the House of Representatives Commission VI overseeing trade and investment on Wednesday, the ministry said the combined sales of the food, beverage and tobacco industries grew by 13.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter on the back of strong domestic consumption.

Growth is expected to decelerate, however, to 6.6 percent next year due to lower level of investment this year.

The Indonesian Food and Beverage Association (Gappmi) confirmed the ministry’s estimates of limited investment this year.

“Nestle and Garudafood realized their investment, but that was only for expansion (and was not much),” head of regulation division Franky Sibarani said on two of Indonesia’s biggest food and beverage firms.

The Investment Coordinating Board said the food industry alone saw Rp 8.2 trillion (US$870 million) of realized investment last year and Rp 4.85 trillion in the first nine months of 2009.

Franky said industry growth would also be affected by the increased number of electricity blackouts, which further underlined Indonesia’s infrastructure problems.

“Moreover, supply of natural gas [to fuel industry] will likely decline next year. This can be a discouraging factor,” he said, highlighting another bottleneck to business expansion.

Problems hampering industrial growth are being highlighted just when the food and beverage industry is supposed to benefit from the emergence of new positive market trends.

Gappmi chairman Thomas Dharmawan argued that the global economic downturn had forced Indonesian consumers to divert their spending on electronic goods and automotive expenditure, both grossly affected by currency fluctuations, into food and beverage products.

“Consumption of cell phones and motorcycles was high in 2007. But since the crisis [hit the country late last year], food and beverage consumption has rebounded again,” said Thomas.

Consumption also benefits from the new regulation issued by the trade ministry to protect the domestic market from smuggled goods. The regulation stipulates that imports of food and beverages, garments, footwear, children’s toys and electronics can only enter the country after a pre-shipment inspection to be verified via five designated seaports and all international airports.

Gappmi estimates that the food and beverage industry will likely see a 7.95 percent growth rate by the end of the year with total sales of Rp 420 trillion. In terms of exports, the industry is expected to see a 5 percent contraction from $2.7 billion booked last year.

The food and beverage industry contributed about 7.2 percent of the GDP last year, and the tobacco industry about 1.8 percent.

RI needs Rp147 trillion to develop infrastructure per year

Antara News, Thursday, November 26, 2009 11:14 WIB

Industry Minister, MS Hidayat. (ANTARA)Jakarta,(ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s infrastructure sector needs an annual investment of Rp1,417.191 trillion to achieve an industrial growth target of 8.95 percent by 2014, a minister said.

"During the 2010-2014 period we hope there will be a shift in the distribution of industries to outside Java," Industry Minister MS Hidayat said at a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission VI for trade, industry, investment, cooperatives, small and medium businesses and state firms here on Wednesday.

The share of Java`s industrial growth which is projected at 75 percent in 2009 will fall to 62.79 percent in the next five years, he said.

"Hopefully, the share of industries outside Java will increase to 27.19 percent in 2014 from 25 percent in 2009," he said.

The Industry Ministry has projected investment needs in the food, beverage and tobacco sectors at Rp34.178 trillion in 2010 and Rp220.722 trillion until 2014.

The government has set the industrial growth target at 6.64 percent for 2010 and 10.4 percent for 2014, he said.

Investment needs in the textile, leather product and footwear industries are expected to reach Rp9.765 trillion in 2010 and Rp63.397 trillion until 2014, he said.

The investment will contribute 2.15 percent to the growth of textile, leather product and footwear industries in 2010 and 5.6 percent in 2014, he said.

Wood and forestry product industries are projected to grow by 1.75 percent in 2010 and 3.7 percent in 2014. Therefore, the industries will need an investment of Rp4.139 trillion in 2010 and Rp27.209 trillion until 2014, he said.

Paper and print product industries are expected to grow by 4.2 percent in 2010 with investment need estimated at Rp4.776 trillion. In 2014 the industries are projected to grow by 5.5 percent with investment need expected to reach Rp33.286 trillion during the 2010-2014 period, he said.


New BKPM head to focus on expediting licensing system

Vincent Lingga, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta | Wed, 11/25/2009 9:34 AM

“I will give you my name card with an email address so that you can email me your problem, and I will see to it that the matter you raised is rectified.”

That was how Gita Wirjawan, the new chief of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), addressed businessmen at the Indonesia-Australia Business Council conference Tuesday who complained about arduous investment licensing procedures and red tape at the ministry of justice and basic human rights.

Gita, formerly an investment banker and private-equity fund manager, said he was determined to develop a truly one-stop licensing center at BKPM, something even Soeharto failed to accomplish under his 32 years of authoritarian administration.

He realized his uphill task as the salesman of the Indonesian investment climate because most of the factors which determine the quality of the country as the place of investment lie beyond his jurisdiction.

“Expediting the licensing system should be the start because I was shocked to find that in the Easing-of-Doing Business Ranking of 178 countries surveyed annually by the IFC, Indonesia this year ranked 122nd, even behind Rwanda.”

Therefore, Gita added, he had embarked on cooperation and coordination with more than 15 other ministries in launching concerted efforts to woo investment.

“I also have started communications and cooperation with regional investment coordinating boards and have identified what I call potential regional champions as the target for investment promotion.”

He is optimistic about improving Indonesia’s rating in the IFC Ease of Doing Business ranking to 60-70th within two years.

“And we need at least about US$200 billion in foreign and domestic investment each year to generate an economic growth rate of 6 to 6.5 percent.”

According to Gita, Indonesia is now riding on the back of a fantastic (period) of economic and political stability as a result of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s re-election last July.

“As Indonesia is richly blessed with a wide variety of natural resources and the majority of its population is young, our country should be among the most favorite places for investment.”

Next on the government’s priority program is the adaptation of the labor regulations which have long been complained about by investors as too rigid and counterproductive to labor-intensive businesses, Gita said.

“The government also will straighten out the procedures for land acquisition for infrastructure such as roads. Investors simply require clarity and legal certainty that there is a cap on the price of the land they will acquire,” he pointed out.

Vice Minister of Trade Mahendra Siregar, who also addressed the two-day conference which ended Tuesday, said the national single window (NSW) system for clearance of shipments and goods would be fully operational at major ports next year.

The NSW is a clearance system enabling a single submission of information and data, single and simultaneous processing of data, and a single point of decision-making via close collaboration among line ministries and other parties involved in the customs clearance process.

Sound too big a promise?

“Given the way this Cabinet works, we are optimistic about achieving our targets. All ministries are directly monitored by the Presidential Unit for the Supervision and Control of Development [UKP3],” Siregar said.

UKP3, headed by Kuntoro Magkusubroto, a well experienced and highly capable technocrat, is the ears, eyes and hands of the President, working as a trouble-shooter, and Mr. Fixer.

Gita is similarly bullish about achieving the target for his investment promotion, pointing out that “with an annual economic growth of 6-6.5 percent a year, we will be able to increase the size of our economy from $550 billion now to $900-950 billion within five years.”

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