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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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yudhoyono Orders AGO Probe Into 1965 ‘Serious Rights Violations’

Jakarta Globe, Rangga Prakosa, July 25, 2012

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, second right, addresses a press
conference  at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Yudhoyono  said he had ordered the AGO to follow up on recent findings by
the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), which said on
Monday  there had been serious human rights violations and crimes against
humanity in the purge targeting the left following the failed 1965 coup attempt.
(Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)
  

Related articles

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the attorney general to follow up on the National Commission on Human Rights’ recent report on human rights violations during the Indonesian government’s 1965-66 anti-communist purge.

The Commission, abbreviated as Komnas HAM, announced the findings of its four-year investigation on Monday, saying it had found evidence of serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The purge is reckoned to have killed more than half a million people.

“What Komnas HAM has reported will be studied by the attorney general, who is expected to report to me and other relevant parties. We want a good, just, factual, smart and constructive settlement,” Yudhoyono told a press conference at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Yudhoyono said he would also consult with the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the House of Representatives (DPR), the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and the Supreme Court, among other institutions.

He said that he had studied the strategies that South Africa, Cambodia, Bosnia and other sites of gross human rights abuses had used to deal with their violent histories.

“We can pick whichever, in order to settle the historical issue justly. We have to think clearly, and be honest and objective about what happened in the past. We cannot distort history and facts,” the president said.

Speaking after the press conference, Attorney General Basrief Arief said he would “probe” the Komnas HAM findings, and promised to share the results of his investigation with the public.

“We call this kind of probe a ‘pre-prosecution.’ The investigation will decide whether or not there will be enough evidence [to bring the case to court],” Basrief explained.

Komnas HAM’s report cited incidents of murder, extermination, slavery, forced eviction, deprivation of freedom, torture, rape and other abuses.

The purge was catalyzed by an attempt to overthrow the country’s founding President Sukarno. In the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup, Maj. Gen. Suharto mobilized his force and effectively took control of the country. He would eventually become president and serve for more than 30 years.

“These acts were part of attacks launched against civilians according to the rulers’ policy,” Komnas HAM commissioner Nurkholis said.

Nurkholis declined to provide names, but did not hesitate to point fingers at the Command for the Restoration of Security and Public Order (Kopkamtib), the pervasive security network set up by Suharto following the 1965 coup attempt.

“The military officials who failed to prevent, stop or take action against human rights violations are responsible for the incident,” he said.

The Komnas HAM investigation team, which was established on June 1, 2008, and worked until April 30, 2012, questioned 349 witnesses who either heard about incidents during the violence or experienced it firsthand.

Komnas HAM attributed the length of the investigation to several factors, including the wide geographic area covered, budget constraints and the fact that many of the witnesses had died since the time of the events.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Freeport to Pay Higher Royalties After Months of Contract Talks

Jakarta Globe, Tito Summa Siahaan,  July 23, 2012

This 2009 file photo shows local parliament members walking inside a tunnel
 of the Freeport mining company. After months of negotiations, Freeport Indonesia
 has agreed to raise its royalty payment to the government, according to a statement
 from Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa. (AFP Photo/
 HUSYEN OPA)
   
       

Related articles

Freeport Indonesia has agreed to raise its royalty payment to the government, according to a statement from a top economic minister on Monday.

The announcement represents progress in the government’s protracted renegotiations with Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US based mining giant Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, who was one of the first foreign companies to invest in Suharto’s New Order Regime in the 1960’s.

Freeport operates the world’s biggest gold and second-biggest copper mine in the restive province of Papua.

“[Freeport] is willing to increase the royalty,” said Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa. He did not, however, specify the percentage increase.

In February, the government created a team to renegotiate older mining contracts that generally asked for smaller royalties. And in March, Indonesian authorities announced a new law cutting maximum foreign ownership in mining companies from 80 percent to less than half.

Both actions were a bid to keep a larger portion of revenues from the country’s vast natural resources, and increase the participation of local entities in the mining sector.

At present, Freeport pays a 1 percent royalty to the government on its total gross sales of gold.

A 2003 government regulation requires mining companies to pay a royalty of 4 percent for copper exports, 3.25 percent for silver, and 3.75 percent for gold. But Freeport’s contract was established before 2003, and the Indonesian legal system does not recognize the principle of retroactivity.

Terms agreed to in contracts signed before the 2003 law, in other words, take precedent.

“Now, [the royalty] is only at 1 percent, it is very small,’’ Hatta said in February.

Royalties have been just one issue on the negotiating table, however. Government revenue, requirements for miners to process raw materials in Indonesia and divest a stake to local owners, the size of mining concession areas and the use of local content in operations have also been up for discussion.

On these matters, Hatta said Freeport was willing to build a smelter to comply with the government requirement to process ore minerals locally. He also said the mining giant was willing to give up some of its land due to a reevaluation of its mining concession area and increase the participation of the local government and regional companies.

Hatta, who is chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), a close ally to President Susilo Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, also said Freeport-McMoran had agreed to sell part of their interest in their Indonesian operation.

“[Freeport Indonesia] agreed to divest a stake, but there’s no agreement on the 51 percent that we requested,” Hatta Rajasa told reporters on Monday.

Details on other terms of the IPO, including the time frame, have not been shared.

Freeport Indonesia’s president director, Rozik B. Soetjipto, had said early this month that the miner was willing to increase its royalty, but asked the government to reduce the amount it must pay in corporate income tax.

Indonesian companies typically pay a 25 percent income tax, while Freeport pays 35 percent.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse



China says Indonesia buys bonds in interbank market

Reuters, BEIJING, July 23, Mon Jul 23, 2012

(Reuters) - Indonesia's central bank has started buying bonds in China's interbank bond market, expanding financial cooperation between the two countries, the Chinese central bank said on Monday.

China has allowed foreign central banks to invest in its domestic interbank bond market since 2010 as part of efforts to widen investment channels for foreign yuan asset holders and promote the international use of the Chinese currency.

China and Indonesia signed a three-year currency swap deal worth 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) in March 2009 and companies in the two countries are encouraged to accept export and import bills in Chinese yuan.

Besides central banks, China allows yuan clearing banks in Hong Kong and Macau and foreign banks that help settle cross border trade in yuan to trade in its interbank bond market.

The People's Bank of China made the disclosure in a statement on its website, www.pbc.gov.cn.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

$21tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy
• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens

guardian.co.uk, Heather Stewart, business editor, Saturday 21 July 2012

The Cayman Islands: a favourite haven from the taxman for the global elite.
Photograph: David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.

"Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren't rich enough to avoid paying their taxes."

Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.

Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: "Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!" Much of Green's retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.

A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: "People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don't want to pay for it."

Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals' financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.

"The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy," said Henry.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Three Indonesians injured during Colorado shooting

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta,  Sat, July 21 2012

Three Indonesians are among the victims of a shooting incident that took place during a premier of the latest Batman movie at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday.

The three victims, who are a family, are Anggiat M Situmeang, 44, Rita Paulina Situmeang, 44, and Prodeo Et Patria Situmeang, 14.

Anggiat suffered bruises after being hit by splinters from a wall, while his wife and child were both hit by bullets.

Rita, the mother, was shot in her left arm and foot, and is currently being treated at the Denver Health Medical Center, while Prodeo, the son, who was shot in the back, is currently undergoing treatment at the University of Colorado Hospital. His condition is stable.

On Friday at 00.30 local time, a man suddenly opened fired at the theater when the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, had just begun running for 15 minutes.

Media reports confirm that the man thought himself to be “the Joker”; the nemesis of the Batman.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Saturday, quoting local police in Colorado, said that 12 were killed and 71 others were injured in the incident.

Ten died at the scene while the other two died at hospitals.

The Indonesian Consulate General in Los Angeles had contacted authorities in Colorado and some Indonesians there, to confirm that the three are safe.

Marty had directly spoken to their relatives in Indonesia. He also instructed consular officials in LA to assist the Indonesians during treatment.(fzm/cor)


A candlelit vigil was held near the cinema, which was
sealed off by police 


Israel urged to treat Palestinian child detainees in accordance with rights law – UN

UN News Centre, 20 July 2012

Special Rapporteur Richard Falk. UN Photo/Jess Hoffman

20 July 2012 – A United Nations independent human rights expert today condemned Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinian children, and urged the Israeli Government to treat such detainees in accordance with international human rights laws.

“Israel’s use of solitary confinement against children flagrantly violates international human rights standards,” the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, said in a news release.

“However, using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners,” he added. “I again condemn Israel’s harsh arrest operations and procedures.”

Mr. Falk’s comments came in the wake of earlier concerns on the issue, raised today by the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories, at the end of a fact-finding mission to Jordan, Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

“According to testimony received, Israel uses solitary confinement against 12 per cent of Palestinian child detainees,” the Special Committee’s Chairperson, Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona of Sri Lanka, said in a news release. “This is especially troubling when one considers that Israel arrests about 500 to 700 Palestinian children every year.”

The Special Committee also warned that a pattern of detaining and mistreating children “links to broader, longstanding concerns regarding Israel detention of Palestinians generally.”

“Witnesses informed the Committee that mistreatment of Palestinian children starts from the moment of detention,” Mr. Kohona said. “Large numbers are routinely detained. Children’s homes are surrounded by Israeli soldiers late at night, sound grenades are fired into the houses, doors are broken down, live shots are often fired; no warrant is presented. Children are tightly bound, blindfolded and forced into the backs of military vehicles.”

The Special Committee head said that parents are not allowed to accompany the detainees, and that family members are insulted, intimidated and at times physically assaulted. According to witnesses, the detention and transfer of children can last for hours, and can often include stops in Israeli settlements, Israeli checkpoints and police or military bases.

“This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave,” said Special Rapporteur Falk. “It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees.”

The Special Rapporteur appealed to the Government of Israel to take urgent steps to bring their treatment of Palestinian children detainees into line with international human rights laws, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have.

In its preliminary observations in the wake of its fact-finding mission, the Special Committee drew attention to two further areas of immediate concern in the West bank, including East Jerusalem: the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes, and violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

The Special Committee also assessed the economic impact of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“These Israeli practices lead the Special Committee to one over-arching and deeply troubling conclusion,” Mr. Kohona said. “The mass imprisonment of Palestinians; the routine demolition of homes and the displacement of Palestinians; the widespread violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians; and the blockade and resultant reliance on illegal smuggling to survive; these practices amount to a strategy to either force the Palestinian people off their land or so severely marginalize them as to establish and maintain a system of permanent oppression.”

The Special Committee will present a mission report to the UN General Assembly in November, with its observations and recommendations to improve the human rights situation.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not United Nations staff, nor are they paid for their work.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

‘HSBC report pushes West to rethink alliance with Saudi Arabia’

RT.com, 18 July, 2012

The national flag of Saudi Arabia (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

A US Senate subcommittee has discovered that British banking giant HSBC gave money to a Saudi bank with suspected links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia has not responded to the findings.

Middle East expert Ali Rizk told RT that the findings put pressure on the West to reconsider its friendly relations with Saudi Arabia.

A report published by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations states that HSBC provided funds to the Saudi Al-Rajhi Bank, which a number of media and government reports have tied to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. The company’s top executive appeared before the subcommittee’s hearing Tuesday, and apologized for failing to prevent such oversights. HSBC’s Head of Compliance, David Bagley, said he would resign.

Neither Saudi Arabia, nor Al-Rajhi responded to the subcommittee’s findings, however.

RT: The report names Al-Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s and the Muslim world largest bank, as a sponsor of terrorism. What does that mean?

Ali Rizk: I think it really stems down to the fact that Saudi Arabia is the main exporter of what could be called radical Islam, the kind of Islam that has tarnished the essence of the real Islam of moderation.

RT: What sort of terrorist groups are we talking about here?

AR: We’re talking about Wahhabi extremists, those people who are now causing violence in Syria, those people who were sent to Chechnya, groups in Uzbekistan. Some elements of the royal family also have also contributed to al-Qaeda. Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to Washington, for example, met with Osama bin Laden time and again. So we’re talking about all the Sunni extremists groups. The Saudi role in financing al-Qaeda and extremist activity in Iraq is very well known. More importantly, I think that this report further sheds light on the alliance between the Saudi royal family and some Western countries. This will put more pressure on the Western governments to try and change their policy. Now, of course, Saudi Arabia is considered to be an ally. Many people are speculating that maybe the Western governments might reconsider.

RT: Why would they be doing that?

AR: First of all, because we have the uprisings currently happening, which put more pressure on the US and British governments. Until now, Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken any steps towards political reform. The other reason is that Saudi Arabia is the main source of this extremism that would lead to popular vigilance in countries such as the US and Britain. In all these countries, I think people will become more and more aware of what Saudi Arabia really represents, and hence the US might be pushed into a corner. By the way, Hillary Clinton recently said that they are fighting Wahhabism, so I think we are seeing a slow divergence between the West on the one hand and Saudi Arabia on the other. It hasn’t reached a very critical point as of yet, but I believe this report and more similar developments would put more pressure on the US and other Western governments. 

RT: Do you expect any reaction from Riyadh on the report’s findings?

AR: I don’t think that we will see any apology. Saudi Arabia, I think, is behaving in an irrational way now. Saudi Arabia is terrified of what happened in Iraq; the Shia there with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In Lebanon, you have Hezbollah and increasing Iranian influence. And for that reason, Saudi Arabia is so enthusiastic to topple Bashar al-Assad because they consider him an asset for the Shia axis. I think what we are seeing in Damascus today is a Saudi Arabian response to an increasing Iranian role.




Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Indonesia Announces New Bank Ownership Rules

Jakarta Globe, July 18, 2012

This file photo taken in Jakarta on April 27, 2012 shows a Bank Danamon
 employee (L) serving a client in Jakarta. Indonesia's central bank announced
 new regulations limiting bank ownership to 40 percent on July 18. (AFP
 Photo/ Adek Berry)
               
Related articles

Indonesia’s central bank Wednesday announced new regulations limiting bank ownership to 40 percent.

The new rules limit ownership of new acquisitions by financial institutions to 40 percent, non-financial institutions to 30 percent and families or individuals to 20 percent, said Mulya Effendi Siregar, an executive director at Bank Indonesia (BI), the country’s central bank.

“The ownership of commercial bank shares will apply to foreign and domestic banks to improve the health of banks,” he said.

The bank said on its website that under new rules, financial institutions can own more than 40 percent of a domestic commercial bank only under specific criteria and approval from BI.

BI said the rules went into effect on July 13, and that state-owned banks and banks undergoing recovery are exempt.

The bank said in April it would issue new ownership regulations after DBS Group of Singapore made a $7.3 billion bid to acquire Bank Danamon Indonesia, the nation’s fifth-largest bank.

BI declined to approve that deal, saying it would have to wait until new rules on foreign ownership are in place.

It was unclear immediately following the announcement whether the new rules would permit the takeover or not.

The new rules replace regulations that allowed local and foreign investors to own up to 99 percent of Indonesian banks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bogor Tax Chief Named Suspect After He's Caught Red-Handed

Jakarta GlobeRangga Prakoso | July 14, 2012

Related articles

The West Java Prosecutors’ Office named the chief of the Bogor tax office a suspect in a bribery case on Saturday. The tax man was caught red-handed receiving alleged bribes as payment for waving a company’s taxes.

Anggrah Suryo was caught receiving
Rp 300 million ($31,800) from
Endang Dyah
 
Anggrah Suryo was caught receiving Rp 300 million ($31,800) from Endang Dyah, an executive from the private firm Gunung Emas Abadi at a house in Cibubur, south of Jakarta, on Friday. The arrest was made by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Jaya Kesuma said Anggrah allegedly allowed Gunung Emas to pay only Rp 1.2 billion in taxes out of the total Rp 22 billion it was obligated to pay.

“Based on this morning’s investigation, we’ve found a sufficient indication of corruption. Thus we will further investigate this case; we have named [Anggrah and Endang] suspects,” Jaya said on Saturday.

“We’re continuing the investigation because I don’t think it is possible that the [bribe] was only Rp 300 million when the amount of the tax that should be paid was reduced from Rp 22 billion to Rp 1.2 billion. We’re tracking where else the money has gone,” he added.

Jaya said both Anggrah and Endang allegedly abused Articles 5 and 12 in the corruption law on bribery.

He further explained that the KPK had handed over the case to the Attorney General’s Office, which then gave it to the West Java prosecutors’ office.

“We heard about the information on the bribery two months ago. We’ve studied this information with the KPK. This is a collaboration between law enforcement institutions,” Jaya said.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sri Mulyani Lauds Contribution to IMF

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita &Markus Junianto Sihaloho,  July 14, 2012

World Bank executive director Sri Mulyani Indrawati greeted President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, her former boss, during their meeting at the
State Palace in Jakarta on Friday. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

Related articles

Visiting World Bank executive director Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Friday backed Indonesia’s $1 billion financial contribution to the International Monetary Fund through the purchase of IMF bonds.

Sri Mulyani, the former Indonesian finance minister, said that as an international financial institution, the IMF’s job was to safeguard economies from crisis and help countries overcome financial difficulties.

“To be able to do this, the IMF needs funds,” she said in Jakarta. “Therefore, Indonesia, which is part of the global community, has shown a willingness to play a role not only by participating in policy but also by providing resources.”

Indonesia’s $1 billion bond purchase will help the IMF deal with countries suffering from economic crises.

Sri Mulyani said the move demonstrated solidarity with the global community and showed Indonesia’s commitment to the stability of the world economy.

“I think this is a form of responsibility that has also been showed by other countries, not only those within the G-20. They also contributed to help maintain and create an effective insurance scheme so that the crisis does not worsen,” she said.

Sri Mulyani also said Indonesia’s role on the world stage had changed in line with the shifting roles of developing countries in helping safeguard the stability of the global economy.

Although middle-income countries only account for 30 percent of the world’s GDP, their contribution to economic growth is more than 60 percent, showing how key a role they play in ensuring the health of the global economy.

“And because of this, the role of middle-income countries in solving global problems becomes very important,” Sri Mulyani said after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace.

The World Bank, she said, sees Indonesia as a developing country with good economic growth and one that plays an important role in the region and the world. Indonesia, she added, could even become a model in development studies.

“When it comes to development, Indonesia is really rich in knowledge and experience. Whether something has been successful or not, it is always valuable to study,” she said.

Indonesia’s financial support to the IMF was criticized by scores of local politicians, who argued that the money should instead go toward alleviating domestic woes such as poverty and poor education.

Democratic Party lawmaker Achsanul Qosasih said on Friday that several members of the House of Representatives Commission XI, which oversees finance and banking, were seeking an explanation from Indonesian central bank executives.

“Bank Indonesia will be asked to provide an explanation to Commission XI because this is a strategic decision,” he said.

“The public needs to be enlightened as to what the benefits and advantages are, because Bank Indonesia is the one purchasing these bonds.”

Sri Mulyani said that the World Bank would continue to support Indonesia’s efforts to further develop its infrastructure, by providing monetary assistance and technical expertise.

“More important is to support the huge amount of funds needed to build good-quality infrastructure with good governance so they can last and become an investment that supports the equal distribution of development,” she said.

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said the government could only come up with 30 percent of the funds needed under Indonesia’s Master Plan for Expansion and Acceleration of Economic Development (MP3EI), and had to rely on other sources for financing.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Merkel steps up cooperation with Indonesia

Deutsche Welle, 10 July 2012



On her first trip to Southeast Asia as German chancellor, Angela Merkel and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono decided to cooperate more closely in areas such as defense, the economy and the environment.

Merkel and the Indonesian president signed the Jakarta Declaration during the German chancellor's first visit to Indonesia since 1995. The agreement aims to take bilateral ties "to a higher comprehensive level," enabling the two countries "especially to develop our strategic cooperation together," Merkel said at a news conference.

Closer defense, economic ties

Germany and Indonesia will also strengthen defense cooperation, although no concrete deals were included in the declaration. President Yudhoyono expressed an interest, however, in German Leopard 2 tanks, made by German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
"We'll be very open and transparent about this," Yudhoyono told reporters, adding that Indonesia's military equipment needed updating and that Germany was one of the partners Indonesia could turn to for supplies. 

The Jakarta Declaration also aims to strengthen trade ties. Recently, bilateral trade grew by 7 percent to more than seven billion dollars (5.7 billion euros). German delegates estimate that figure could go up to $15 million by 2015.

Fiscal praise

Being in Indonesia did not keep Merkel away from her most pressing issue - the eurozone crisis. She told reporters that German growth would slow down this year because of weaker exports to budget-battling neighboring countries.
She then praised Indonesia, which managed to slash its debt from 80 percent of GDP to 24 percent in a matter of years, for its fiscal achievements. 

Merkel visited a church and a mosque
"I think that's an example of what can be achieved and what Europe has to achieve, especially given the fact that Indonesia was able to achieve this over a short time, in fact in a few years."

Religion and science

Earlier on Tuesday, Merkel visited the Protestant Immanuel Church as well as Istiqlal Mosque, the region's biggest. Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population worldwide, with 200 million Indonesians following Islam.

Before returning to Germany on Wednesday, Merkel will visit the site of the country's tsunami early-warning system, which was built with German assistance.

"I believe that we can cooperate more closely in science and research, and the tsunami warning center is but one example of that," she told reporters.

ng/sej (dpa, AFP, Reuters)


Monday, July 09, 2012

Corruption: Koran Scandal Shows It’s Time to Clean House

Jakarta Globe, Yohanes Sulaiman | July 09, 2012

Related articles

Is nothing sacred anymore? That’s a predictable reaction upon hearing that the Corruption Eradication Commission has named Golkar Party legislator Zulkarnaen Djabar a suspect in a graft case related to the procurement of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Zulkarnaen Djabar: (Antara/Yudhi
Mahatma)
This entire scandal again feeds the perception of our politicians being so out of touch with ordinary people and having such self-importance that they think themselves to be above the law — not only the law of the state but also the law of the divine.

As usual, everyone expressed their shock, surprise, anger and contrition over the whole sordid affair.

Kemas Roni, the lead prosecutor of the antigraft body, known as the KPK, declared his shock that someone was audacious enough to steal money from a Koran procurement project.

Nasaruddin Umar, the deputy minister of religious affairs, said he was surprised that the scandal had happened in his ministry, adding that he had made it clear to ministry officials that corruption would not be tolerated.

Golkar, seeing that this scandal has the potential to wreck its plans for the general elections in 2014, has already moved into damage-control mode with Nurul Arifin, the party’s deputy secretary general, asking Zulkarnaen to at least temporarily step down from the House of Representatives.

Irianto Syafiudin, the head of Golkar’s West Java branch, was more blunt, calling for Zulkarnaen to be fired.

Zulkarnaen cried mea culpa . The entire case, he said, was a warning from God that he needed to increase his “vertical communication.”

By the close of play, however, life will likely go on as it has these past few years. Already Abdul Karim, an official in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, has accused the media of blowing up the case and insinuated that certain interested parties were trying to discredit the ministry. He warned that should the ministry be closed down, Muslims would suffer.

That reaction suggests the ministry is more interested in saving itself than cleaning up its act. This despite the fact that the Koran procurement scandal is no doubt only the tip of the corruption iceberg in the ministry.

Take the example of the corruption allegations surrounding the hajj pilgrimage organized by the ministry. As early as 2009, Indonesia Corruption Watch uncovered evidence suggesting money set aside for the pilgrimage had been misappropriated.

On Jan. 6, 2009, the anticorruption watchdog reported that Muhammad Maftuh Basyuni, at the time the religious affairs minister, improperly received hundreds of millions of rupiah from the hajj pilgrimage fund.

Considering how much money is involved in the hajj management program — about Rp 39 trillion ($4.1 billion) — the Rp 35 billion Koran procurement scandal is peanuts by any reasonable comparison. But despite the accumulating evidence, the investigation in the management of the pilgrimage has gone nowhere, even though the KPK itself on Nov. 29, 2011, declared the Ministry of Religious Affairs to be the most corrupt institution in Indonesia.

In addition, there have been revelations that lawmakers from House Commission VIII, which oversees religious affairs, received thousands of Korans from the ministry. While Ida Fauziah, the head of Commission VIII, argued that distributing Korans was a good deed, the problem is that receiving them for free from the ministry smacks of conflict of interest and is certainly morally questionable.

In most democratic nations, rules are made to address these kinds of issues, imposing limits and bans on gifts that a lawmaker can receive from any government or non-government institution.

One cannot help but notice that efforts to clean up the hajj fund management have stalled in the House.

The legislature has not approved the creation of a commission to supervise the hajj pilgrimage and there is no law in place to regulate the management of the pilgrimage fund.

With so much money flying around and the credibility of both the House and the Ministry of Religious Affairs at stake, both institutions would be well advised to start cleaning up their houses and behaving more transparently. And at the same time, they should avoid anything that could be construed as a conflict of interest.

Yohanes Sulaiman is a lecturer at the Indonesian Defense University (Unhan).


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