"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. …

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Corruption fears loom over Indonesian elections

Deutsche Welle, 27 February 2014

As Indonesia prepares to elect a new parliament and president in the coming months, DW examines how political graft is undermining the Southeast Asian country's democratic and economic achievements of the past decade.

Many analysts regard Indonesia's accomplishments after the overthrow of longstanding authoritarian ruler Suharto in 1998 as remarkable. The world's largest Muslim democracy with more than 250 million people has not only managed to expand its economy at an average rate of 5.5 percent over the past decade. It has also undertaken "one of the most ambitious institutional reform programs attempted anywhere," by rapidly decentralizing power, creating a constitutional court and a powerful anti-corruption commission," according to the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI).

By the time the term of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ends this year, the country "will have witnessed its first 10-year stretch of both democracy and stability," says Sandra Hamid, The Asia Foundation's Country Representative in Indonesia.

Money politics

But despite the many achievements, experts say Indonesia is still in a state of transition to a mature democracy which may be threatened by the rampant corruption that has been plaguing the country over the past years. The Southeast Asian nation ranked 114th out of 177 countries in Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Perception Index, with number one being perceived as the least corrupt.

"With very little influence and a thin base of supporters, it is public knowledge that a number of political parties and candidates running for office have resorted to money politics to secure votes," says Hamid.

The analyst explains that rather than running on fresh ideas and campaigning strategically, many competing parties have chosen to entertain voters with live music, free t-shirts, and even offering money.

"More than 35 percent of voters confessed that they, or their families, had experienced vote buying," Hamid said. "And when vote-buying alone isn't enough to secure votes, funds have been directed to the judiciary," she added, referring to the arrest of the former chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

A pervasive practice?

In early February, Akil Mochtar went on trial on charges of corruption and money laundering. Prosecutors accused the former judge of having received 57 billion rupiah (4.8 million USD) in bribe money in exchange for fixing the results of 11 local elections.

Hamid: "A number of parties and
 candidates running for office have
 resorted to money politics to secure
According to Djohermansyah Djohan, director general of regional autonomy at the Home Affairs Ministry, more than half of 524 local leaders in the Southeast Asian nation were currently or had been embroiled in corruption cases.

The official told state news agency Antara that the number of governors, district chiefs and mayors arrested for corruption had increased sharply since the introduction of direct elections for governors, district chiefs and mayors nine years ago.

Crucial elections

In light of this development, there are growing fears that political corruption might soar even further, as the country prepares to elect a new parliament and a successor for President Yudhoyono in the coming months.

NDI Senior Program Officer David Caragliano argues in a recently published article on that with no clear presidential front-runner and a higher parliamentary threshold for parties to enter the national legislature, the elections could be the most closely contested in the nation's history. Therefore, he argues, "the incentives for increased electoral manipulation, vote buying and fraud are clear, at a time when the independence and competence of electoral administrative bodies are increasingly under question."

The successor for President Susilo
 Bambang Yudhoyono is set to be
elected on July 9
Indonesia has raised the bar for participating in the elections which has resulted in the number of political parties eligible to contest dropping from 48 in 1999 to currently 12. On April 9, some 190 million Indonesians will have a chance to elect their legislators to more than 19,000 seats at national, provincial and district level from these dozen political parties.

The results of this vote will be crucial for the presidential election, set to be held exactly three months later on July 9, as only parties that win at least 20 percent of the vote in the legislative polls are allowed to nominate a presidential candidate.

Dodgy dealings

Indonesia expert Hamid explains that the generally weak ties between parties and constituents make it hard for political parties to raise funds from its members. Although regulations on party financing exist, putting them in practice and advocating for transparency have been the biggest challenge to date, the analyst told DW.

Several studies have begun to shed light on the intricate relationship between political fund raising and corrupt practices of parties when they come to power. Ibrahim Fahmy, program director at Transparency International Indonesia, gives an example of how this works.

"Some big corporations lobby members of parliament who then accept bribes in exchange for granting projects." In other cases, he adds, some political parties will backup politically affiliated contractors and then embezzle funds to finance big events such as national political party congresses.

A chance to 'clean up'

Given these dodgy dealings Hamid argues that voters are seeking candidates in the upcoming polls who are serious about fighting graft. "Newly elected officials will have to show that they are committed to supporting the widely supported anti-corruption agency, KPK."

Analysts say that especially young voters
 want to elect candidates on promises to
clean up the system
Gregory Poling, Southeast Asia expert at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has a similar view. He says that although vote-buying is likely to play a role in the upcoming elections, so will the demand for relatively clean politicians vowing to battle corruption once in office.

"Corruption is a prominent part of politics in Indonesia, but an increasingly young, savvy, and democratic populace is getting fed up, and will elect candidates on promises to clean up the system," Poling said.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Plight of Domestic Workers in Indonesia Is Seen as Mirroring Slavery

Jakarta Globe, Vita A.D. Busyra,February 25, 2014

A domestic worker being identified for work at an employment
center in Cipete, Jakarta. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

Jakarta. The allegation that a retired police general and his wife held 16 domestic workers in captivity and tortured them in their Bogor, West Java, mansion, is a form of modern-day slavery that is only one of countless such incidents occurring behind the high walls of luxury homes in Indonesia.

Anis Hidayah, executive director of Jakarta-based Migrant Care, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that such practices are physically concealed but occur all around us, stripping those silent victims of their most basic of human rights: freedom.

“Many of us are still trapped in the feudalistic mentality, always wanting to be served,” she said, comparing the situation to the early years of the American colonies, when Europeans desperate to cross the ocean ended up signing contracts of debt bondage or indentured servitude.

“Although indentured servants are needed to work only for a limited period, as stated in the signed contract, many were exploited as low-cost laborers and severely maltreated. Ironically, such cases occur in Indonesia today,” she said.

Mutiara Situmorang and her husband, retired police general Mangisi Situmorang, were reported to the police after one of their 16 domestic workers — half of whom were under the legal working age of 17 — fled the mansion last week, claiming she had suffered from physical abuse.

The 17-year-old, Yuliana Lewer, said she was forced to work more than 12 hours a day, and Mutiara would beat her if she made any mistake.

Anis said this case was not unique as many domestic workers in the country have similar experiences.

Similar cases

In June last year, 18-year-old Siti Nur Amalah, a housemaid working in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, went to the police after her employers, husband and wife couple Usman and Dina, had been beating her since 2012, resulting in permanent blindness. Usman had also frequently sexually abused the teenager.

“I was often told to strip naked, and he then touched my private parts,” she told MetroTVnews.com.

Police said they were still investigating the matter.

In October, the Supreme Court handed down a longer jail term to Lidya Natalia and her mother Tan Fang May for torturing their maid, Marlena, 16.

“She was chained like a dog, and beaten and soaked in the bathtub,” a judge told Detik.com.

Also in October that year, the same court punished Sri Sunarti, 29, and Yudaka, 63, for torturing their 17-year-old housemaid, Kaminah, since 2008.

Semarang-based Perisai, a child labor advocacy group, said they received reports from 30 house workers in 2012 alone who were victims of abuse at the hands of their employers.

“They have been raped, beaten and scolded almost every day of their employment,” the group said in a statement.

Anis said based on data from Walk Free Foundation’s inaugural Global Slavery Index 2013, “some 29.8 million [people] are still forced to live in slavery around the world, with some 21 million slaves in Asia, including Indonesia.”

Data from the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (Jala PRT) stated 1,273 abuse cases [of domestic workers] were reported from 2011 to 2012 nationwide. In 2013, they received 650 reports of maid abuse.

Jala PRT estimates more than 10 million people currently work as maids in Indonesia.

Human trafficking

Alvon Kurnia Palma, chairman of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) feared these cases might indicate human trafficking, though further investigation was still needed.

“These cases of abuse not only involve torture, but also forced captivity and perhaps even human trafficking. In the latter, young domestic workers are recruited, transported, delivered and finally cheated out of their wages and freedom,” he said on Monday.

In the Bogor case for instance, Alvon questioned how Mutiara was able to recruit so many girls, and more importantly, who supplied them.

“We need to find out whether these workers were taken from a broker or formal agency. And if a broker was involved, we need to find out whether he or she had the legal authority to do so.”

Alvon doubted the recruiting agency was legal.

“If they have a [proper] license, why did they recruit children of under the age of 18?” he asked.

Alvon demanded the police to investigate every lead, every person who was involved, up to the recruiting agency to prevent similar cases in future.

“No one is exempt from the law, whoever the abuser may be — even the wife of a well-known general, for example, will not be given legal leeway,” he said.

Sri Nurherwati, a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), condemned Mutiara for mistreating her domestic workers and holding them hostage. Sri also urged the police to punish the guilty accordingly, so they may never commit the same atrocities again.

Weak protection

Sri said no form of legal protection exists for household workers in Indonesia.

Any law that applies to them are weak at best, making them dependent on the “kindness” of their employers — a situation similar to slavery.

“Many of these housemaids live with their employers. They are placed in a ‘lower’ position and feel they cannot speak up for their rights,” she explained. “They are dependent on their employer. So, we must establish a legal means to protect them.”

She lamented the continued 10-year delay in the deliberations of the domestic worker protection bill in the House of Representatives. The bill, she said, would cater to the main interests of Indonesia’s domestic workers by touching on issues including minimum wage and working hours, with clear punishments outlined for employers who violate the regulations.

“We [Komnas Perempuan] have urged the House many times to discuss and then pass the bill. But the lawmakers somehow believe cases tortured maids can be resolved through existing laws,” Sri said.

However, the increasing number of abuse cases against domestic workers proves current laws fail to protect them.

“Maids, who fall into informal sectors, will still be vulnerable to mistreatment. If we do not have a form of legal protection emphasizing domestic workers as being part of the wheel of economic development, how can we consider a housewife’s job as honorable?” she said.

Anis Hidayah added that household maids work within the obstructing walls of a home; no one would bear witness to any form of abuse, and the government would not be able to intervene unless the victim voluntarily approached the police.

“There is no reason for holding back the draft bill as this [abuse] truly degrades human kind,” she said.

Related Article:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saudi Arabia Migrant Moratorium Still Stands

Jakarta Globe, February 23, 2014

Indonesian Migrant Workers on August 18, 2013 wait to
 disembark from the Labobar, the ship that brought them from
 Saudi Arabia to Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta after they overstayed
their authorization to work in Jeddah. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Jakarta. The Manpower and Transmigration Ministry said on Friday that the moratorium on Indonesian migrant workers seeking employment in Saudi Arabia had not been lifted, despite the signing of a memorandum of understanding touted as a step toward reconciliation on the issue.

“We want to confirm that up until now the status of the moratorium on migrant worker placement in the domestic sector in Saudi Arabia is still on, so sending migrant workers [there] is not allowed,” Secretary General of Manpower and Transmigration Abdul Wahab Bangkona said.

He said the moratorium remained in place because the details of a potential agreement had not yet been hashed out fully.

“The moratorium… is still on until there’s agreement on better systems, mechanisms, conditions and working contract standards which provide protection and welfare to Indonesian migrant workers,” he said.

The points that remain to be agreed upon include: authorized types of work, working hours, work placement procedures, salary and payment methods, time off, leave, contract requirements, contract extension and termination procedures, and other rights and obligations of employers and employees.

The Indonesian government has also asked for guarantees that workers would have communications access, the right to keep their own passports, insurance and medical treatment, control over their placement fees, the availability online recruitment and placement, placement and protection guidelines, a 24-hour call center to deal with problems and an established process for repatriation.

“Revocation of the moratorium… will be decided later after the Indonesian and Saudi Arabian governments and all stakeholders can implement all points in the agreement and agree on all conditions,” Wahab said.

A joint working committee consisting of representatives of both countries will be responsible for working out the remaining specifics, according to the ministry.

Related Article:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

UN urges nations to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees

Google – AFP, 21 February 2014

Syrian refugees pictured in a refugee camp near the city of Marea, on the 
outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 19, 2014 
(Mohammed Al-Khatieb/AFP/File, Mohammed Al-Khatieb)

Genève — The UN refugee agency on Friday urged countries outside the Middle East to open their doors to 100,000 Syrians who need to find a haven outside their conflict-hit region.

The call from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees follows an earlier appeal to developed countries to grant a new home to 30,000 of the most vulnerable Syrians driven from their country.

With no sign of an end to the brutal three-year conflict between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces, tens of thousands more will need help in the near future, it said.

"UNHCR anticipates that in the coming years, there will be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees who will be in need of resettlement, relocation, or other forms of humanitarian admission," said spokesman Dan McNorton.

"We appeal to the international community to continue providing longer-term solutions for Syrian refugees who are most urgently in need," he told reporters.

The agency said it aimed to find a haven for the 100,000 new refugees during 2015 and 2016.
But it is still working to place the initial 30,000 before the end of this year.

Twenty countries have so offered more than 18,800 slots for resettlement or a long-term temporary permit.

Germany has done the most to shoulder the load, agreeing to take in 10,000 on a federal programme and 1,500 under schemes in individual states.

Canada has pledged 1,300, Sweden 1,200, Norway 1,000, and countries including Australia, Austria, Finland and France have agreed to take in 500 each.

UNHCR said it was likely to reach the total of 30,000 thanks to an open-ended number of slots proposed by the United States, already the world's top destination for refugee resettlement.

The figures are a shadow of the number of Syrian refugees in the Middle East.

All told, there are some 2.4 million Syrians spread across the region.

According to UNCHR figures, there are some 932,000 in Lebanon, 613,000 in Turkey, 574,000 in Jordan, 223,000 in Iraq, and 134,000 in Egypt.

Related Articles:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Indonesia to set up special economic zone in Morotai: official

Want China Times, CNA 2014-02-20

A street in Morotai, Indonesia. (Photo/CNA)

The Indonesian government has decided to establish a special economic zone in Morotai, one of Indonesia's northernmost islands and the location of a Taiwan-Indonesia joint development project, Taiwan's representative to Indonesia said Wednesday.

"The decision to set up the zone is conducive to carrying out the joint development project," said Chang Liang-jen, representative of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia.

The special economic zone will come with various beneficial measures to attract investment in Morotai in such areas as fisheries and tourism, Chang told reporters in Taipei.

Taiwan and Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 covering the joint development of Morotai, the largest island of the resource-rich Maluku archipelago in eastern Indonesia.

The island, located 2,600 kilometers from Taiwan, has a population of some 50,000 and an area of about 2,400 square kilometers.

Chang is among a group of Taiwanese overseas envoys who returned to Taiwan to attend a four-day seminar organized by the ministries of foreign and economic affairs, as part of the country's preparations for entering negotiations on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), two proposed trade blocs in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said the seminar, which began Feb.17, is an opportunity to share experiences with representatives posted in other countries and to brainstorm strategies to seek support aboard for Taiwan's bids.

Indonesia has a positive attitude on Taiwan's efforts to join regional economic integration, Chang said, adding that both sides have been discussing the possibility of signing a bilateral investment agreement to advance trade relations.

Also at the press event was Taiwan's representative to Australia, Katherine Chang.

"We will continue to seek Australia's support for our TPP and RCEP bids," she said.

The TPP negotiating countries are set to finish the first round of negotiations later this year, and Chang said that Taiwan is aiming to enter the second rounds of talks.

Meanwhile, the group of overseas representatives were scheduled to visit central and southern Taiwan later Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about the country's competitive industries and the development of free economic pilot zones. This will give them a better understanding of the country's trade liberalization efforts.

The government has repeatedly reiterated its desire to join the two trade blocs to avoid economic marginalization. It has set a goal to complete the preparations by July.

Taiwan's representatives to Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, India, Peru, Chile, Canada and Mexico are attending the seminar.

Other participants include Taiwan's newly appointed representative to the United States, Shen Lyushun, and deputy representative to the US, Leo Lee.

The TPP currently is being negotiated by the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations — Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.

The RCEP is being negotiated by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Jakarta Governor in Mission to Rid City’s Procurement Process of Graft

Jakarta Globe, Lenny Tristia Tambun & Markus Junianto Sihaloho, February 19, 2014

The Jakarta administration so far this year has received a total of 656 buses.
(SP Photo)

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is using the investigation of fraud into the Rp 113 billion ($9.6 million) purchase of new buses as shock therapy and leverage to rid the city’s notoriously rigged procurement processes of corruption.

Joko and his deputy, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, vowed to bring those officials involved in the markups in the purchase to justice, an unprecedented move that could set an example of how the country could get rid of corruption in procurement processes, where the state has allocated more than Rp 400 trillion this year alone, making it the biggest potential source of corruption.

Joko vowed on Wednesday to bring all corrupt officials to book, emphasizing the need for stricter monitoring, management control and field inspections as his administration starts to implement a number of high-value projects.

“We need is better management of control. The city’s inspectorate office may be able to handle the smaller ones, but some projects are very big and we don’t have the necessary monitoring measures. That is what we want to do with the project management office,” Joko said on Tuesday.

Among the bigger projects undertaken by the government this year are the mass rapid rransit project, the monorail project, the TransJakarta project and the construction of low-cost apartments, all of which involve trillions of rupiah from the city coffers.

“This is to assist, monitor, control and audit the bigger projects. But we’re still discussing it,” Joko said.

“The city administration lacks control management, but it is impossible for me to check [on the projects] directly. Even the inspectorate cannot do so. We are assisted by the BPK [Supreme Audit Agency] and the BKPP [Financial Development Comptroller]. The inspectorate currently monitors 57 budgets.”

Indications of fraud have emerged from an investigation by the Jakarta Provincial Inspectorate office into the purchase of new buses, after the units were discovered to be unfit for use shortly after arriving in the capital from China, where they were manufactured.

“I have received the report from the inspectorate about fraud involved in the procurement of the feeder buses and buses for the Integrated City Busway facility. Apparently the irregularity was found in the tender procedure,” Basuki said.

The inspectorate had initially found no issues in the administrative process of the procurement, but eventually discovered several irregularities in tender documents, including a significant increase in prices up to the process of determining the winning tender.

“In China [the buses] are supposed to be priced at Rp 1 billion, but instead it is sold here for Rp 3 billion. So if you look at the documents, of course it is China who benefits most, it is very clear,” Basuki said, adding that he would leave the matter to law enforcement to probe.

Further review

Basuki also called on the BPKP to subject the documents to further review by financial experts and those with knowledge of project implementation issues.

He also indicated that those involved in manipulating the documents tozz conceal the foul play, were Transportation Office officials responsible for the budget and members of the committee involved in the tender process.

“They’re all very smart. The tender committee is also full of problems,” he said.

Chairman of the Jakarta Inspectorate office Franky Mangatas Panjaitan said they would be summoning the goods receipt committee as well as the TransJakarta Management Unit to clarify its findings.

“They will be asked to provide information on the goods receipting procedure and documents pertaining to the inspection of goods that were received,” Franky said.

He called on the public to remain patient while waiting for results from the probe, emphasizing that it was necessary for the institution not rush to any conclusions when making its recommendations.

Franky confirmed that there had been indications of fraud in the tender process.

“However the city administration has not yet received all of the units so we can’t come up with a general conclusion just yet,” he said. “We will have to run tests [on the buses] and test their performance. Only then will we be able to make a finding.”

The city administration so far this year received a total of 656 buses, comprising 346 for the BKTB and 346 for TransJakarta. However, less than a month into their use, 10 BKTB buses and five TransJakarta buses were found to be unfit for use, with some of their components not working properly and being rusted.

Some people have also called on the city administration to involve the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in its investigation.

“The TransJakarta case is best handled by the KPK. We are calling on Basuki to be proactive and report it to the KPK,” said Habiburokhman, central executive board chairman for the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), of which Basuki is a member.

The KPK has expressed its willingness to support city officials.

“If they want to report it to the KPK then go ahead. However, as of today, we have yet to receive any reports,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Monday, as quoted by Inilah.com.

The procurement of goods purchased by government institutions have become very prone to acts of corruption.

In the most recent case, the Jakarta High Court sentenced former traffic police chief Djoko Susilo to an 18-year prison term for his involvement in the graft-ridden procurement of driving simulators.

Meanwhile, in Banten, the KPK has also uncovered allegations of embezzlement in the procurement of medical equipment for state hospitals in South Tangerang.

The central government has allocated a total of Rp 201.88 trillion for the purchase of goods and another Rp 205.84 trillion for capital expenditure in its budget for 2014.

Additionally, the state has also allocated Rp 341 trillion to provinces and districts across the country.

A recent Indonesia Corruption Watch report showed that up to 98.12 percent of the 267 corruption cases reported in the second quarter of 2013 were in regional government institutions, most in North Sumatra and East Java.

Last year 35 regional chiefs were mired in graft scandals, prompting ICW to warn of a “corruption emergency” in the country.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Australian Spying Fails to Dent Relations Between Indonesia, United States

Jakarta Globe, Vanesha Manuturi & Kennial Caroline Laia, February 17, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks during a news conference with
 Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the Pancasila building in Jakarta
on Monday. (Reuters Photo/Evan Vucci/Pool)

Jakarta. Observers have lauded Indonesian government officials’ restraint in not confronting visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry with allegations that Washington may have benefited in a trade spat with Indonesia from espionage carried out by Canberra, saying Australia was solely to blame in the affair.

Hikmahanto Juwana, a law professor at the University of Indonesia, said on Monday that by focusing his outrage on the alleged spying by Australian intelligence, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had wisely chosen to localize the problem.

“The fact remains that the party doing the spying on Indonesia was Australia, not United States,” he said. “Whether the US was involved before or after the spying, whether they shared information for their interests, is not the main concern for Indonesia. The main concern is why Australia [spied]. “This is a matter between Indonesia and Australia,” he added.

A report from The New York Times, published as Kerry arrived in Jakarta over the weekend as part of his Asian tour, cited documents released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden as showing that the Australian Signals Directorate monitored communications between Indonesian officials and a US-based law firm representing Jakarta in a trade dispute with the United States.

Australia offered to share its findings with the NSA, including possibly “information covered by attorney-client privilege.” It was not immediately clear whether the NSA accepted the Australian offer or what the dispute in question was about, but at the time of the 2013 NSA bulletin Indonesia was embroiled in a dispute over a US ban on sales of clove cigarettes, and US claims that shrimp from Indonesia were being sold below market prices. The US later dropped its claim in the shrimp case, while the World Trade Organization has referred the clove cigarette case to arbitration.

Hikmahanto said Jakarta’s refusal to lay the blame for the spying with Washington was not because “Indonesia is taking sides with America or is trying to being nice, but simply because the alleged perpetrator of the spying is Australia.”

Aleksius Jemadu, the dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, agreed that Indonesia was approaching the issue on the right tack as well as showing deference to a visiting foreign official.

“Kerry’s visit here is essentially to discuss the bilateral relationship. He is a guest in the country. It won’t do any good if Indonesia welcomes him by confronting him with these spying allegations,” he said. “After Kerry’s visit, Indonesia might air its concerns with the United States. This is about the issue of trust.”

In a joint press conference with Kerry in Jakarta on Monday, Marty said Indonesia-US relations remained strong. He also cited a speech by US President Barack Obama last month in which the latter addressed his efforts to reform US intelligence activities, and said he hoped the president’s promises would mean a change to how Indonesia was treated in terms of intelligence gathering. “Our understanding is that the kind of review or amendments signaled by the United States will also be relevant in the conduct of its relations with Indonesia,” Marty said.

Kerry said he shared Indonesia’s concern but stressed that Washington would exercise its intelligence-gathering activities as it deemed necessary for its own national security interests. “We take the issue very seriously, which is why President Obama laid down a series of concrete and substantial reforms that we believe should give greater confidence to people everywhere about their liberty and that they’re being protected, and at the same time, preserving very important tools with respect to keeping us safe in an age of major threats and terrorism,” Kerry said.

Australia has declined to comment specifically on the latest allegation, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has justified his government’s intelligence gathering “for the benefit of our friends” — a point that Marty took issue with. “I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how talks between the US and Indonesia on shrimps has any direct or indirect implication on Australia’s security,” he said. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Marty said that as neighbors, Indonesia and Australia must be transparent with one another. “Neighbors should be looking out for each other, not turning against each other,” he said. “We should be listening to one another, not listening in.”

Related Article:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Indonesia Says Reports of Australian Spying ‘Mind-Boggling’

Jakarta Globe – AFP, February 17, 2014

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (R) walks with US Secretary of
State John Kerry before the US-Indonesia fourth Joint Commision Meeting at
the Foreign Ministry office in Jakarta on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Jakarta. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Monday that reports of Australian spies targeting Indonesian officials during a trade dispute with the United States were “mind-boggling.”

Indonesia has been embroiled in trade disputes with the US over its exports of clove cigarettes and shrimp in recent years, and has lashed out at Canberra over previous allegations that it spied on the Indonesian president and other top officials.

“I find that a bit mind-boggling and a bit difficult how I can connect or reconcile discussion about shrimps and how it impacts on Australia’s security,” Marty told reporters, referring to claims made in a weekend report by the New York Times.

The report said Australia offered intelligence to the US National Security Agency (NSA) to give Washington leverage during a trade dispute with Jakarta.

Marty’s comments came during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who responded to questions about the report, saying: “We take this issue very seriously, which is why President Obama laid down a series of concrete and substantial reforms.”

The report, based on leaked documents by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, said that the Australian Signals Directorate offered the NSA information “including communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm” that was representing Jakarta in the trade dispute.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended Sunday his government’s use of intelligence material, but refused to confirm the allegations made in the New York Times.

However, Abbott said that Australia did not “use anything that we gather as part of our ordinary security and intelligence operations to the detriment of other countries.”

“We use it for the benefit of our friends. We use it to uphold our values,” he said. ”We use it to protect our citizens and the citizens of other countries, and we certainly don’t use it for commercial purposes.”

Jakarta has responded furiously to previous reports of Canberra’s spying that led to a major breakdown in bilateral ties, and tensions are simmering between the countries over a hardline Australian military operation to turn people-smuggling boats back to Indonesia.

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

KPK Slaps Travel Ban on Ex-Forestry Minister Over Alleged Bribery

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Amelia,  February 11, 2014

Former forestry minister M. S. Kaban has been issued a travel ban by the
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). (SP Photo)

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has slapped a travel ban on former Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban in connection to a bribery case involving the ministry following the recent arrest of high-profile graft fugitive Anggoro Widjojo in China.

“Today, the KPK sent a letter to the immigration office requesting a [travel] ban for M.S. Kaban,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said in Jakarta on Tuesday. “He’s a former forestry minister.”

Johan said the travel ban would be in place for the next six months. Kaban was questioned as a witness in a bribery case surrounding a graft-ridden procurement of an Integrated Radio Communication System (SKRT) for the Ministry of Forestry in 2007.

Anggoro, a director and owner of Masaro Radiokom, was named a suspect in the case in 2009 as he allegedly bribed lawmakers to allow the radio communication firm to renew its contract for the SKRT procurement for the ministry in 2007, although a similar project — also involving Masaro — had been earlier halted in 2004.

This occurred during Kaban’s term in office, which was between 2004 and 2009. Kaban, now chairman of the Crescent Star Party (PBB), reportedly endorsed the direct appointment of Masaro for the project.

Johan said the KPK also slapped a travel ban on M. Yusuf, Kaban’s one-time driver.

The Masaro case reemerged after Anggoro, who was at the center of the 2009 rivalry between KPK and the National Police, was arrested last month at an immigration checkpoint in the Chinese city of Shenzen. He fled Indonesia in 2008, before he was named a suspect.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

SBY Named ‘Best Friend of the Press’

Jakarta Globe, February 9, 2014

A handout photo released on Dec. 2, 2013 shows Indonesia’s President Susilo
 Bambang Yudhoyono delivering a speech during the opening of the 9th WTO
Ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on Nov. 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Abroro
Rizki/Office of the Indonesian President)

Bengkulu. The Indonesian Journalists Union (PWI) named President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the “Best Friend of the Press” during an event observing National Press Day in Bengkulu on Sunday.

The award was handed over by PWI chairman Margiono and Press Council chairman Bagir Manan.

Margiono said the PWI had decided to grant the honor to the president because of his stellar communication with the country’s press during his two terms in office.

Margiono jokingly suggested that Yudhoyono actively run a news publication after leaving the presidential office in October, although the president is known to already have a stake in the local daily Jurnal Nasional.

“Led by common people like us, [the Indonesian press] has developed,” Margiono said in his speech during the National Press Day commemoration in Bengkulu. “Imagine if the president takes charge.”

Yudhoyono, though, insinuated in his speech that the press had been rather unfriendly to him during his tenure in office. He said, though, that scrutiny helped him make more careful decisions during his nearly 10 years in office.

“Thank God I’ve survived,” the president said.

He reminded the press, though, to be responsible in their reporting.

“A free and responsible press is the guardian of democracy, as well as a watchdog for good governance,” Yudhoyono said. “To me, press freedom is a fertilizer of democracy. Libel, insults and defamation, meanwhile, are the pests of democracy.”

Friday, February 07, 2014

‘Father of Indonesian Tourism’ Joop Ave Dead at 79

Jakarta Globe, Hendro Situmorang, February 6, 2014

Former Tourism Minister Joop Ave died on Wednesday at the age of 79.
(Photo Supplied)

Jakarta. Joop Ave, Indonesia’s former Minister of Tourism and Telecommunications, passed away at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Singapore from complications due to various illnesses. He was 79.

His body will be flown to Indonesia on Thursday and will be cremated in Bali.

Tourism ministry spokesman Noviendi Makalam said Joop passed away at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

“According to the plan, he will be taken to Denpasar, Bali, on Thursday morning to be cremated on Saturday, Feb. 8,” Noviendi said.

The Yogyakarta-born former minister helped promote Indonesian tourism at the international level in the 1990s, Noviendi said.

Joop served as the minister from 1993 to 1998 under former president Suharto.

“We all feel saddened by the loss of Joop Ave, the father who made Indonesian tourism as big as it is today,” Noviendi said.

“Ibu Mari Pangestu [the current tourism minister] will fly to Bali and attend the cremation ceremony on Friday,” he added.

He served as Head of the Household of the Presidential Palace from 1972 to 1978.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Govt Allocates Rp 67 Billion for Sinabung Victims’ Relocation

Jakarta Globe, February 5, 2014

People living within three kilometers from the crater of Mount Sinabung will be
relocated, the government’s disaster-management agency has said. (IRIN Photo)

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Wednesday that Rp 67 billion ($5.5 million) had been allocated to a build a new settlement for more than 1,000 families displaced by volcanic activity around Mount Sinabung in Karo district, North Sumatra.

Repeated eruptions since September last year have driven nearly 32,000 away from their homes and killed 16 people. The government has, however, decided that the replacement land will be provided only for people living within three kilometers of the crater.

BNPB secretary Fatchul Hadi said the new houses would be built in the subdistrict of Kabanjahe, approximately seven kilometers away from the old neighborhood inside the danger zone.

“The main issue with this relocation plan was [the acquisition of] land, but it has been settled now,” Fatchul told a press conference at the BNPB headquarters in Jakarta. “We’ve secured 15 out of the targeted 25 hectares. In the next few days, we hope to secure all of it.”

A total of 1,109 families will be included in the relocation plan. Each of them will be allocated between 100 and 150 square meters of land, and Rp 30 million with which to build a new house.

“The fund [Rp 67 billion] also includes costs for the construction of necessary facilities, such as roads and clean water,” Fatchul said.

The BNPB would coordinate with the Ministry of Public Works to enact the measures, he said, which are not expected to begin until the volcanic activity returns to normal levels.

Related Article:

Sunday, February 02, 2014

New asset declaration rules linked to China's anti-graft efforts

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-02-02

Zhang Shuguang, China's former Ministry of Railways deputy chief engineer,
during a corruption trial, Sept. 10, 2013. (Photo/CNS)

China's new rules requiring nationals to declare their foreign assets and debt, which came into effect Jan. 1, are being seen as the country's latest efforts aimed at tackling corruption, the Time Weekly newspaper reported.

Under the State Administration of Foreign Exchange's (SAFE's) new rules regarding international receipts and payments, Chinese citizens and organizations, as well as foreign individuals and organizations that conduct businesses in China, need to file reports on overseas financial assets and liabilities.

The overseas assets also include investments made for immigration purposes, as well as those made to acquire residency in Hong Kong, the newspaper noted.

Zhang Bin, an official with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stated that the new rules are part of global efforts to improve management of international receipts and payments, led by the International Monetary Fund.

The new rules are introduced as China records growing international trade and transactions and becomes more connected to the global economy, making it crucial for the country to keep a close eye on cross-border activities, said Nankai University professor Ge Shuqi.

There is also a view among industry insiders and foreign media that the rules are part of the Chinese government's efforts to crack down on tax evasion and graft, the newspaper said.

In a report published by the People's Bank of China in 2008, the Chinese central bank listed several ways corrupt officials used to move their assets abroad, and the newspaper said transferring assets through relatives living overseas has become the latest approach.

The Communist Party of China sent out a notice on Dec. 29, requiring officials across the country to declare information regarding their overseas investments and their children travelling or working abroad, the newspaper revealed.

The South China Morning Post speculated that the rules are aimed at preventing officials from moving their assets abroad.

Yet, SAFE said it would not offer the financial information to anti-graft or taxation agencies, unless laws required it to do so and that this information will not be used as evidence in crime-fighting efforts.

In addition, Ren Jianming, a researcher at China's Tsinghua University, said the SAFE rules alone are not enough to tackle graft, and laws requiring officials to declare their and their family members' overseas activities are needed for that purpose.

Meanwhile, the Time Weekly pointed out that financial institutions and professionals handling overseas transactions have the obligation to file information regarding these business activities with SAFE, but several banks said they have not established internal rules, since the regulators have not announced regulations about the filing process.

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