Government of Indonesia vs. NAMRU-2

Posted in Indonesia on 26 April 2008 by hanafirais28

When it comes to facing the United States (even without pressures), the government of Indonesia (GoI), a.k.a Yudhoyono, will always succumb itself to the States. Freeport & Exxonmobile left untouched. Calling Iran brother but backing up 2007 resolution. Giving leeway for Microsoft to rule in ministry offices.

And now, letting the already long-expired Naval Medical Research Unit – 2 go on and on as if Yudhoyono never reads newspapers or follow news. Mental budak (a Mentality of self-slavery) !

By the way, perhaps he really never reads or follow news (and prefer going for cinemas and shedding his tears to fool voters in the end) because I remember when Lapindo victims crying and complaining about that Yudhoyono’s minister’s mining company’s unjust compensation, Yudhoyono just reacted stupidly saying “…really? Is that what happened?”.

Where the hell have you been, man?

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Purchasing Law

Posted in Indonesia, Uncategorized on 10 April 2008 by hanafirais28

I was really stunned when reading yesterday’s news. An MP from an Islamic party (PPP, United Development Party) namely Al Amin Nasution was caught red-handed by Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) in Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Jakarta at dawn at 3 AM.

He was caught by the apparatus at hands with 71 million rupiah (around S$11,000) of total deal 3 billion rupiah. It was a bribery from Bintan’s (Riau Islands) local official, the provincial secretary. In addition to the bribery was a woman as a ‘bonus’ .

The bribery was meant to tweak a law on forestry being discussed in the national parliament. The law was supposed to protect some forests not to be used for industrial purposes. But with the bribery involved, the other way around took place. The MP and Bintan official tried to strike a deal of changing it into a law for protecting forests for industrial purposes.

In the hindsight, the Bintan local government must have struck another deal to give the forest concession to, perhaps, a mining company in Bintan. And the MP must have generated a lot of money to prepare for another re-election next year.

I learnt that Al Amin’s case is not in a vacuum. I believe that many of Indonesia’s laws being drafted in the Parliament both by MPs and the Government in Jakarta have been a trading arena for MPs, government officials, and (multi-national) companies.

The difference is that some case are ‘unfortunately’ exposed in the media, some are well-kept and hidden in the closet. The business of purchasing law by MPs, government, and companies has been more common now in Indonesia even under the so-called anti-corrupt Yudhoyono government.

With this case of Al Amin, KPK seems to show its muscle that everyone regardless their positions, even MPs with political immunity , could be raided. I support this movement.

KPK may have recently also managed to raid outlaw conglomerate Sjamsul Nursalim’s right-hand Artalyta, Attorney Urip, and others. But KPK should not blind their own eyes that government and companies trading the laws, just like abovementioned MP was doing, cannot be probed with KPK’s sophisticated mechanisms. (KPK can tap on the (mobile) phones, KPK can do what police can do now).

Government could be the biggest corruptor but elusive to track by conventional mechanism. It will always justify itself that what the government is doing is a policy, not a corruption.

What about Yudhoyono’s decree 2/2008 in support for changing preserved forest to be industrial forests not long ago? Using our healthy rationale, it just should not be done by him. But why he did it? Isn’t it basically the same as what the MP was just doing? I smell the government is trading the forest law as well with those foreign mining companies. There are thirteen of them. Australia’s Newscrest is one of them.

What about the fate of central bank’s abused liquidity case? It is a big case but suddenly stopped after attorney Urip and his colleague, Kemas Yahya, were fired? And what about Soeharto’s family case which was just dropped invalid few weeks ago? What happened to all those bigger cases, KPK?

Yudhoyono government and KPK have left too many questions unanswered. In an exam, those should be graded NIL! Failed! Not passed! Dropped out!

By the way, Al Amin’s case is now just a hype by media. What is more disappointing regarding the MP’s case is how media (detikcom, kompas, and perhaps others starting today) has been framing this issue as just a matter of “who is the bonus woman, is it part of gratification, what about Al Amin’s wife who is a celebrity (a dangdut singer), how would Al Amin’s party (PPP) react, and alike”.

“Amazing”. I guess this is why voters are always fooled. They are made by such cheap journalism to think about gossips rather than the crux of the problem: the business of law, the purchase of law, the trading of law.

I guess SLANK, an Indonesian rock band, is more highly-educated than those journalists. They put it very nicely in their song that

“in Senayan (the place where MPs and government are drafting the law in Jakarta)

there are lawmakers drafting law (UUD)

but money is what they actually want (Ujung-Ujungnya Duit)…”

My recommendation to SLANK: they should also add government’s role in the “UUD”. It takes two to tango.

Blocking Fitna, Banning Youtube?

Posted in Indonesia on 6 April 2008 by hanafirais28

Certainly not. The government of Indonesia (GOI) via the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, should not block Youtube and other similar net services just because to prevent Muslims in Indonesia being fooled by Wilders’ Fitna movie. The movie should be condemned since it was just based on Wilders’ ‘freedom of anarchy’ (not speech) to merely gain his party’s popularity in the Netherlands at the expense of Islam.

GOI i.e. Yudhoyono should exert its diplomacy actively against such defamation conduct to show that Muslims in Indonesia objected Wilders’ extremism. Wilders has done the damage. But it turns out that he chose the vague way. Unclearly objecting it, he instead urged Muslims in Indonesia to calm down and, this is the latest from, via the Ministry to blocking any sites with Fitna content. Youtube is then banned in Indonesia. The President should act more smartly.

A “perfect” communication breakdown

Posted in Indonesia on 22 March 2008 by hanafirais28

Adnan Buyung Nasution came to Singapore two days ago together with former attorney Abdur Rahman. Both were “detained” by Changi immigration officials for “random investigation” for two hours. They were released after Adnan Buyung called Indonesia’s embassy in Singapore for intervention.

Indonesia’s mass media (detikcom, kompas, and the jakarta post to mention some) has been stirring up the event as “incident”. But apart from the upcoming controversy over those two presidential advisors coming to Singapore, I could not stand laughing at how messy Indonesia’s political communication is as soon as that news broke up. Take a look at this.

Firstly, Adnan Buyung said that he came to Singapore for a medical check-up after being released.

[Before going further with the story, it just simply raised a question. Why then the former attorney Abdur Rahman Saleh joining him? Is he an escort of Adnan Buyung now? That just did not make sense].

Secondly, and if that above is true, it is becoming sillier because Yudhoyono two weeks ago just said that people should not go abroad for medical treatments since Indonesia could tackle them.

[Despite the President’s own such narrow statement (since state now cannot restrict human movements as well as capital flows), his own advisors’ going to Singapore for medical check-up means that they just stabbed Yudhoyono from behind very embarrassingly!]

Thirdly, when Hatta Rajasa, the minister of state’s secretariat, was asked by the media about the incident, he said Adnan Buyung was going to Singapore for his daughter’s medical treatment, not his own treatment – as opposed to Adnan’s self-claim. He said Adnan really needed to see his daughter.

[So, who is actually having a medical treatment? Adnan or the daughter?]

Forthly, when further asked if Adnan went to Singapore to see his former client Sjamsul Nursalim who is now living in Singapore, the minister said that it would be impossible.

(Nursalim is one of the hunted corrupt conglomerates by Indonesia’s government because of running away with Indonesia’s central bank’s liquidity aid in 1998).

The minister said that advisors were required to give daily reports to the President via the minister.

[So, Adnan must have forgotten to tell the minister that he went to Singapore for his own medical treatment. Not the daughter.]

Fifthly, this is getting funnier, Adnan’s private secretary was asked by the media if her boss’ going to Singapore was for a treatment. She said – surprise, surprise – “no, my boss went to Singapore for a vacation”!.

[I guess Adnan once he is back to his office will fire the secretary].

Sixthly, again, if all is about those medical stuff, why Abdur Rahman Saleh was there too?

Adnan, a lawyer. Rahman, an attorney. What should link them both by coming to Singapore if not for legal purpose i.e. Nursalim purpose? One said “private medical check-up”, another said “daughter’s treatment”, some other said “vacation”. All were just becoming absurd.

I then remembered one of Pramoedya’s sayings about reading political news in Indonesia: read it the other way around. Meaning, what is denied and claimed by the officials is actually the truth. So, both approaching the corrupt Nursalim is the truth.

Indonesia’s parliament has been chasing the central bank’s liquidity aid abuse recently and it might affect Yudhoyono’s bid for 2009 negatively. These two advisors perhaps are sent by the President himself to strike a deal with the corrupt Nursalim of how to have a “win-win solution”. [If this really happened, Yudhoyono is playing with fire indeed].

Unfortunate for them, Singapore’s immigration officials “uncovered” the plot. Good for the public to know then.

[Yudhoyono or the minister should have told the immigration to do it clandestine way].

Overall, it was a “perfect” communication breakdown. If this were a military combat, it means one another in the same batallion would all die because of their own shooting each other due to the given wrong communication details.

Sad indeed for Yudhoyono, the minister, and the advisors.

Badawi Countdown

Posted in Southeast Asia on 21 March 2008 by hanafirais28

The National Front’s (Barisan Nasional) biggest political setback few weeks ago is leading to pick its own victim to compensate. It is Badawi who might be sacrificed due to his failure in maintaining the coalition power’s establishment in this recent election.

From outside, Anwar Ibrahim-led opposition of Alternative Front (Barisan Alternatif – by the way, why do they like using this military term “barisan”?) consisting of PAS, DAP, and PKR has been starting to show its leverage. Winning five states including the richest state, Selangor, the opposition has managed to share power accordingly and executed new policies by scrapping the National Economic Policy (NEP). Mahathir implicitly even demanded Badawi to step down to take the responsibility of failing to maintain stability.

From inside, Mahathir’s son being part of UMNO’s Youth wing has also resonated Badawi’s resignation. Though Badawi’s son-in-law being the Youth’s chairman would “take care” of the insider’s demand of resignation, UMNO’s internal politics is just getting more tense. Former finance minister and royal prince Razaleigh Hamzah together with Najib Razak, the deputy PM, are likely to contest Badawi for this August’s UMNO congress for chairmanship.

Even Badawi has come up with his new cabinet this week, he does not show conviction that he would offer something new to overcome issues that voters have been telling him: rising crimes, rising prices, rising ethnic tensions. Badawi is just counting down his power to diminish since nothing is changing.

Regulating media moguls

Posted in Media on 21 March 2008 by hanafirais28

This week there was a fierce debate in Indonesia’s national parliament between Commission I and the Ministry of Department of Communication and Information Technology (DOCI) on regulating media ownership especially on television stations.

Harry Tanoesoedibjo’s MNC and Chairul Tanjung’s PARA groups were accused of having disobeyed the laws (Broadcast Law 32/2002 and Governmental decree 50/2005) by owning television stations which lead to media concentration.

MNC owns RCTI, TPI, and Global TV. PARA owns TRANS7 and TRANSTV. By the way, they should also have mentioned Bakrie group of owning ANTV and TVONE (formerly Lativi) – perhaps because the latter group is linked to Golkar therefore the parliament members did not want to offend their own mates by mentioning Bakrie.

Regarding this broadcast industry, I would think that DOCI could learn from end of last year’s decision by Bank Indonesia of “single presence policy” in banking business. It rules that one owner can only own one bank. It is to avoid monopoly hence lowering barrier to entry to new players.

It worked. Regarding this policy, Temasek Holding for example released its ownership of BII and indeed a new player, Maybank (Malaysia Bank) came in to buy the shares and ownership of BII. It just ran smooth.

Now DOCI’s turn to take its role. MNC, PARA, and Bakrie have been reaping big revenues from television commercials by broadcasting mostly cheap programmes (VHS programmes of “Violence, Horror, and Sex”). DOCI could endorse divestiture of the television station ownership e.g. TPI ownership should be divested so that MNC is not the sole owner.

Would DOCI do it? Would Yudhoyono take the risk of limiting media moguls power?

In fact, DOCI and Yudhoyono government still owe to their constitutional mandates that they have to actually implement “network television system” as requested by the Law. The system rules that each station firm has to divest their ownership with local business partners. It has been pended due to  political calculation of the incumbent not to risk media support for 2009.

DOCI should just revoke the law regulating the system and then change it to another system which the US has been applying: owned-and-operated stations and affiliate stations as a network television system scheme of ownership.

How fast are you?

Posted in Media on 2 March 2008 by hanafirais28

Let’s Speedtest this!

I have got only 54 per minute 🙂