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Updated: 3 years 7 weeks ago

Second ERP Trial to Take Place on Jalan Rasuna Said

Tue, 2014-09-30 12:20
Jakarta. The Jakarta administration is set to kick off a second trial run of the electronic road pricing scheme aimed at helping ease traffic congestion, as it eyes having the system up and running by January 2016. The trial run will kick off this afternoon on Jalan Rasuna Said in South Jakarta, where a gantry with cameras and sensors has been set up outside the Setia Budi building by Norwegian traffic management services provider Q-Free. “We’re carrying out this test to determine the quality of the equipment and the system that they’re offering,” Muhammad Akbar, the Jakarta Transportation Office chief, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday. The system works by detecting cars passing beneath it, and then remotely deducting a toll from a stored-value card in an on-board unit, or OBU, inside the vehicle. For the trial run, Q-Free and the transportation office have installed OBUs in 100 cars. The previous trial, held on Jalan Sudirman, also in South Jakarta, was carried out in July by Vienna-based Kapsch and deemed a success by Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. However, Akbar said a recurring problem during that earlier trial was the inability of the cameras on the gantry to correctly identify the license plates of all the cars passing beneath. The visual identification is needed in the event that a car without an OBU or without sufficient funds in the stored-value card passes through, so that traffic officers can take action. Akbar said the problem was not with the system’s optical character recognition program, but rather with the non-standardized typeface found on Indonesian license plates. “There’s so much variation in the typeface, and most of them aren’t the standard ones issued by the police,” he said. “A lot of them are made by vendors by the side of the road. That’s why we need an ERP system that can read even a modified plate,” he added. He said he hoped the Q-Free system would prove more effective in that regard. The city administration plans to put the ERP project out to tender at the end of this year, with both Kapsch and Q-Free expected to vie for the contract. Akbar said that if the contract was finalized by February 2015, work could begin on building gantries in the streets covered by the scheme, with the ERP program being implemented in January 2016. Akbar said the city administration would also set up an agency to manage the program, including handling the tolls collected and coordinating the traffic enforcement efforts related to ERP violations. “We haven’t decided yet whether that enforcement will be done by the transportation office of the police,” he said. He also said the city would ramp up its public awareness campaign about the program, including notifying motorists about which streets will be affected and where they can obtain an OBU.
Categories: Indonesian News, News

SBY: I've Got a Plan B for Regional Elections Bill

Tue, 2014-09-30 06:43
Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed on Tuesday that a controversial amendment abolishing the direct election of local leaders would not stand, saying he was preparing a “Plan B” to have it struck down. The president, speaking at a press conference at 4:30 a.m. at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base, where he had arrived shortly after midnight from Japan, acknowledged the massive public outcry against the passage by the House of Representatives to the change in the regional elections bill. “There has been a pretty significant rejection of the change to elections by regional legislatures, which is why I want to get the opinion of the Constitutional Court,” he said. He claimed that he was “unable not to sign” the bill into law. “The point is that there is no way for me, as president, not to sign off on what was passed by the House,” Yudhoyono said. “So I’m preparing a Plan B. We’ll work on it today and have it ready by tomorrow. My only interest is to [preserve] the democracy of our people,” he added, but did not elaborate on the plan. Article 20 of the bill passed last week scraps direct elections for governors, mayors and district heads, and hands regional legislative councils the authority to pick local leaders, in a change that critics point out throws Indonesia’s democratic system back into the authoritarian New Order era of the late Suharto. The bill passed after Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party, which feigned support for keeping direct elections, walked out of the House plenary session last Thursday to vote on the bill, allowing its proponents to prevail. The legislators who led the walkout claimed that they had Yudhoyono’s support, although the president has since claimed he was surprised and disappointed by their move. Critics have panned Yudhoyono’s sudden objections to the bill, arguing that the president, whose administration submitted the amendment to the House three years ago, has no legal or moral standing to protest it now that it has passed. “He’s the president, how can he reject it now?” Jusuf Kalla, the vice president-elect, said at the House on Monday as quoted by JPNN.com. “Of course he can’t challenge the bill that he himself approved. That bill was the product of deliberations between the administration and the House. It was submitted by the administration three years ago,” said Kalla, who served as Yudhoyono’s vice president from 2004 to 2009.
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Local Elections Ploy Seen as a Setup for Presidential Vote

Tue, 2014-09-30 02:16
[caption id="attachment_329536" align="aligncenter" width="780"] The banner of the Red-and-White (Merah Putih) coalition. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro)[/caption] Jakarta. If Indonesians thought the abolishment last week of their right to elect regional heads was the end of the country’s dalliance with democracy, then a far nastier surprise awaits in new developments that potentially threaten to end direct presidential elections. Analysts have expressed concern that the Red-and-White coalition of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill abolishing direct regional elections, is aiming for control of more than just the country’s provinces, districts and cities. “The end goal of the Red-and-White coalition is not only [control over] regional elections but also the presidential election,” said Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, a political expert at the Indonesia Institute of Sciences, or LIPI. The incoming House of Representatives, set to be inaugurated this week, will see the Red-and-White coalition, also known as the KMP, take control of 353 of the 560 House seats, against 207 seats to be held by the parties backing President-elect Joko Widodo. With a majority in the House, the KMP can easily amend the 2008 Presidential Election Law and the Constitution to allow the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR, of which the House forms the bulk, to appoint the president, as it did during the late Suharto’s 32-year dictatorship, Ikrar said. “Prabowo and the KMP leaders realize they can’t win a direct election. But if the president is chosen by the MPR, there’s a chance that Prabowo might win,” he said. Aleksius Jemadu, the dean of the School of Social and Political Studies at Pelita Harapan University, said separately that such a scenario was feasible. “If the Red-and-White coalition can’t contain their ambition and they see the opportunity, it’s not impossible that they will move in that direction,” he said. “The coalition’s confidence is at a high after they managed to pass the local elections bill, so they’re confident that they can make the change.” Others pointed to the KMP’s success in passing the law on legislative bodies, known as the MD3 law, a day before the July 9 election, with key changes that deprive Joko’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, from privileges previously enjoyed by the party that wins the most votes in the legislative election. This includes the right to the House speaker’s post, which will now be decided in a vote that will almost certainly be won by the KMP. A source in the coalition says the KMP leaders have agreed to put forward veteran Golkar Party politician Setya Novanto for the speaker’s post. A bid by the PDI-P to have the changes to the MD3 law struck down was rejected on Monday by the Constitutional Court. [caption id="attachment_329535" align="aligncenter" width="780"] PDI-P politicians, from left, Junimart Girsang, Dwi Ria Latifa and Trimedya Panjaitan. The party lost a bid on Sept. 29, 2014 for the right to the House speaker’s post. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)[/caption] Power up Control of the House translates into control of the MPR, which is made up of the House and the 136-seat Regional Representatives Council, or DPD — whose members ostensibly have no party affiliations but in reality have strong party links. The MPR is the only body in the country with the power to amend the Constitution and to impeach the president. Senior officials from the KMP have made no secret of their dislike for presidential elections, with Prabowo himself saying before last July’s ballot that he did not believe direct elections were compatible with Indonesia’s style of democracy. Herman Kadir, a deputy secretary general of the National Mandate Party, or PAN, whose chairman, Hatta Rajasa, was Prabowo’s running mate, was quoted by Tempo.co on Sunday as saying that direct presidential elections “should be scrapped.” He argued that the concept was “a product of the West” and had given rise to hostilities among Indonesians. “If need be, the president should again be selected through the MPR,” he said. The Democratic Party, which is also a member of the KMP even if its chairman, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, claims otherwise, confirmed that the coalition planned to take over the presidency by scrapping direct presidential elections. “The door for the president to be appointed by the MPR is wide open following the passage of the regional elections law,” said Hayono Isman, a senior Democrat. “The KMP will have power over everything: the House, the regional legislatures, as well as regional leaders.” Serious impact Setara’s Ismail said the idea of returning to the system of presidential appointment by the MPR was not based on the people’s best interest but instead “driven by the KMP’s political lust for power.” He noted that all the laws that the KMP had endorsed were “typical of the New Order regime where political elites control the entire political process.” If the regional elections law stands, the KMP will have control of 31 of 33 provincial legislatures, with the PDI-P enjoying a majority in only the Bali and West Kalimantan legislatures. Analysts believe that regional councilors in these 31 provinces could appoint governors opposed to Joko, rendering the incoming president’s key programs and policies useless. “This will have a serious impact on Joko’s leadership,” said political expert Gun Gun Heryanto. “Joko will face serious opposition as now he’s facing a group of parties that have a long-term agenda. The coalition may tackle Joko’s good programs through policy making.” But whether the KMP, which has struggled to stay united since its inception after the election, can stick out long enough to see this long-term scenario through is debatable, analysts argue. “There is a potential that [KMP] parties will clash when deciding who gets to be regional leaders,” said Ray Rangkuti, the director of the Indonesian Civil Circle, or LIMA, a voter advocacy group. “Second, the regional chapters of each party may have their own agendas to pursue.” That view is shared by Zainuddin Amali, one of 11 Golkar legislators who broke with the party line and voted against the regional elections law last week. Zainuddin predicted the KMP coalition would collapse after Joko was inaugurated. Golkar, the biggest party by far in the coalition, is already riven over chairman Aburizal Bakrie’s failure to ensure that the party, which has never been out of the ruling bloc, backed the winning side in this year’s election. Analysts say that Joko’s choice of former Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla as his running mate will prevent Golkar from ever fully uniting behind KMP policies. The Democrats, under Yudhoyono, have also been blatantly hedging their bets in a ploy for cabinet seats, while the United Development Party, or PPP, appears increasingly likely to break from the KMP in favor of Joko’s coalition. Ray said the KMP leadership had failed to anticipate these problems because it was “too busy taking revenge” over its loss in the presidential election. “It hasn’t occurred to them that they will be fighting among themselves [and] that reaching a consensus to appoint regional leaders will be hard to achieve,” he said. Charta Politika’s Yunarto agreed on the likelihood of some KMP parties switching sides. “The PPP is going to hold a congress, Golkar is preparing to hold a national meeting — even the Democrats may change their position,” he said. “Will the Red-and-White coalition become more powerful? I don’t think so. I think that Joko [is inaugurated], things will change.” Further Coverage Editorial: Merah Putih’s Iron-Fist Master Plan Initiated First Requests for Election Law Review Filed at Constitutional Court Constitutional Court Rejects Judicial Review of MD3 Law Democrats: SBY Not to Blame for Local Election Law Fiasco
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Asean Makes Its Firm Stance Against Extremism Known

Mon, 2014-09-29 23:15
Jakarta. The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, have expressed concerns over the rise of violence and brutality committed by terrorist organizations and radical groups in Iraq and Syria, noting that they not only pose a threat to the people of these two Middle-Eastern nations, but if left unchecked, to the rest of the world. In a joint press release, the association denounced acts of destruction, violence and terror in all its forms and manifestations. It reiterated its commitments to the implementation of the Asean Convention on Counter Terrorism and the Asean Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter Terrorism, both of which aim to prevent and suppress extremist activities by addressing its root causes, and disrupting terror networks’ financing channels. Asean also announced its support of two resolutions drafted by the United Nations Security Council (Resolutions 2170 and 2178) which call on the international community to prevent their citizens from traveling to Syria, Iraq and other countries known to harbor terrorist insurgents. The Islamic State (IS), for example, has been actively recruiting members from all over the world, including Indonesia, urging supporters to pick up arms under their twisted ideology. Indonesia has estimated that some 200 citizens have joined IS’s jihadist fight in Syria. The government quickly moved to denounce the radical group and ban its existence in the archipelago. In its press statement, Asean also announced it has renewed its commitment to work with the international community to fight against extremism, radicalism and terrorism and address its root causes, including through the promotion of the Global Movement for Moderates (GMM), to prevent further violence and brutality, in accordance with international law and the UN Charter. “The Association of Southeast Asian Nations deems it is imperative for the international community to work together in unity in the fight against terrorism, extremism and radical groups, wherever they occur,” the association said in its press release.
Categories: Indonesian News, News

‘Blue Carbon’ to Support Climate Protection

Mon, 2014-09-29 23:11
Jakarta. Nearing the end of his term in office, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono continues to attempt to portray the country and himself as a global green champion. He reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to efforts to cut carbon emissions and to take over the leadership of an international environmental body. Yudhoyono, during his speech at the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York last week, said Indonesia stayed committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2040, and even by 41 percent with international assistance. Indonesia has taken several “strategic measures” to achieve those targets, the outgoing President said. These measures include the implementation of a moratorium on new licenses prohibiting the clearing of primary forests and peat land, which will be in place until the end of the year. Indonesia also has established the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Management Agency, tasked with improving the country’s forest governance, he added. “I am pleased to mention that with close cooperation with the government of Norway, we can deliver both the emission reduction and increase welfare for the local people in our forest and peat land areas,” Yudhoyono said, referring to Norway’s pledge of US$1 billion worth of aid for Indonesia to help protect the country’s forests. The pledge was announced in 2010, although Indonesian environmental officials have complained about the complexity of the fund disbursements. Most of the funds will only be channeled through reimbursement mechanisms. Yudhoyono said beyond the protection of forests, of which destruction has been a major contributor to Indonesia’s greenhouse gases, the country was “exploring” the potential of its “blue carbon” ecosystems as a carbon sink. Blue carbon is a phrase coined to refer to the important role of certain coastal habitats — such as mangrove forests, saltwater marshes and seagrass meadows — in naturally storing greenhouse gases and helping to mitigate climate change. “This [blue carbon] could support the global effort to maintain the temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius,” Yudhoyono said. He added that Indonesia is ready to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation to support and contribute to global greenhouse gas emission cuts. “I believe that we need to re-double our efforts to conclude a new legally binding agreement for the post 2020 climate change framework. We must exert our utmost efforts to produce a new climate change agreement in Paris next year,” Yudhoyono said. Yudhoyono was inaugurated on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit last week as the new chairman of the council and the president of the assembly of the Global Green Growth Institute, an international nongovernmental environmental advocacy group based in South Korea. “President SBY’s appointment ... shows that he is recognized as a figure who is able to unify different parties that have been deemed as having conflicting interests — including corporates, civil society and NGOs,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in a statement. “Indonesia’s commitment to achieving the emission reduction target is unique. Before Indonesia, only a few developing nations were willing to achieve specific targets. Indonesia’s declaration [of commitment] has pushed Brazil and China to do the same,” Marty added. Jakarta Globe
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Indonesia Vows to Fight UN Veto Powers

Mon, 2014-09-29 23:05
Jakarta. Indonesia says it will continue to fight for a code of conduct in the use of veto power by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — a proposal that was initiated by France. France, one of the permanent members, called on the other permanent members last year to refrain from exercising their veto rights in activities involving mass crimes — including genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. On the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his Mexican counterpart Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena co-hosted the “Ministerial Meeting on Veto in the Face of Massive Crime” to discuss the matter. The meeting was attended by 32 countries, 26 of which were represented by minister-level officials, including Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. “Indonesia has been consistently rejecting the use of veto rights by permanent members of the UN Security Council, and to date, that stance hasn’t changed,” Marty said in his speech during the meeting, according to a press statement sent to the Jakarta Globe. “Veto rights are anachronistic and must be completely abolished.” Marty admitted it would be difficult to introduce the code of conduct to regulate the use of veto power in the council, but hailed the French initiative as “a good beginning” of measures to improve the council’s credibility . “The majority of countries attending the meeting support the French proposal ... and agree with Indonesia that regulating the use of veto rights is a key element to create a more representative, effective, transparent and accountable UN Security Council,” the statement said. France is committed to continuing to push for the initiative, with abuses of veto powers in the Security Council deemed responsible for its failures to maintain international peace and security mandated by the UN Charter, the statement further added. The four other permanent members of the council are Britain, China, Russia and the United States. Indonesia was among non-permanent members of the council for the 1973-1974, 1995-1996 and 2007-2008 periods, and has applied for another for the period of 2019-2020. University of Indonesia international law professor Hikmahanto Juwana said Indonesia and other countries supporting the French initiative must continue to gather support for it, otherwise their voices would not be heard. “I’m sure the US will thwart this initiative. They will say it will require the UN Charter to be amended, and for that there should be an agreement from the Security Council and the initiative should not be vetoed by any of the permanent members,” Hikmahanto said. “But if [countries supporting the initiative] gather support from more than half of member states of the UN, even 75 percent of them, I’m sure even the US will feel bad [about blocking the move],” he added .
Categories: Indonesian News, News

First Requests for Election Law Review Filed at Constitutional Court

Mon, 2014-09-29 23:05
  [caption id="attachment_325636" align="aligncenter" width="780"] An activist holds
up a poster during a protest against the regional elections bill in Central Jakarta on Sept. 14, 2014. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)[/caption] Jakarta. A selection of individuals and nongovernmental organizations have started filing requests for judicial review of Article 3 of the hotly contested regional elections law at the Constitutional Court. The organizations objecting to the controversial law, which was passed last week after a marathon session at the House of Representatives, include the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) and the Press Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Pers) "Their constititutional rights have been violated, as they [plaintiffs] lost their right to directly elect local leaders," lawyer Wahyudi Djafar said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara on Monday. Article 3 of the law stipulates that elections of mayors, district heads and governors be conducted by local and regional legislative councils — and not in direct elections, as had been the case previously. Djafar said the issue of direct or indirect local elections touched on people's fundamental rights. "It is our nation's foundation," he said. "That is why this is arranged in the first article of the Constitution: the sovereignty is in the hands of the people."
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Anas Urbaningrum to Appeal 8-Year Prison Sentence

Mon, 2014-09-29 22:23
[caption id="attachment_329418" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Anas Urbaningrum at the Anti-Corruption Court last week. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)[/caption] Jakarta. Graft convict Anas Urbaningrum will appeal the eight-year prison sentence handed down to him by the Anti-Corruption Court, the former Democratic Party chairman's lawyer said on Monday. “After reviewing the ruling and considering advice from family, friends and supporters, today, with all due respect to the panel of judges and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK], Anas has decided to use his right to appeal,” lawyer Handika Honggo Wongso said. Anas last week was found guilty of taking bribes as part of his involvement in several government projects, and money laundering. Besides sentencing him to serve eight years in jail, the court also ordered him to pay a Rp 300 million ($25,000) fine, or spend an extra three months in jail, and ordered him to repay Rp 57 billion and $5.2 million in state losses as a consequence of his actions. Handika claimed that there was no evidence of Anas having been involved in corruption. “The eight-year sentence is too heavy and baseless,” Handika said. “And the repayment order is legally unsound because there were no state losses in the case of Anas. He did not receive Rp 55 billion and $5 million.” Handika said that the appeal would be filed on Tuesday. Prosecutors for the KPK, which had sought a 15-year jail sentence, have already filed an appeal against the court ruling.
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Constitutional Court Rejects Judicial Review of MD3 Law

Mon, 2014-09-29 21:26
[caption id="attachment_329322" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Constitutional Court chief justice Hamdan Zoelva, left, and justice Patrialis Akbar. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)[/caption] [This story was updated on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.] Jakarta. The Constitutional Court on Monday rejected a request for a judicial review of the controversial Law on Legislative Bodies, also known as the MD3 law, clearing the way for the parties opposing President-elect Joko Widodo to take control of key positions in the new House of Representatives. The MD3 law had garnered widespread criticism since its passage by the House on July 8 — when Indonesia was focusing on the next day’s landmark presidential election. But chief justice Hamdan Zoelva said on Monday that the Constitutional Court rejected the objections raised by Joko's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). One of the reasons for the decision, the court said, was that the applicant — the PDI-P — did not have the required legal standing. The court explained that the political party suffered no infringement of its constitutional rights as a consequence of the implementation of the law, and it therefore had no valid reason to file the request. The PDI-P won the most votes in the April 9 legislative election, but based on the new MD3 Law, the party will not be automatically handed the post of House speaker, as had been the case before. Under the new law, the speaker’s post will be put to a vote if there is no consensus on whom to appoint. Given the PDI-P’s lack of a majority in the new House, the post is unlikely to go to the PDI-P. The same mechanism also applies to other key positions at the house: heads of commissions, the Budget Committee (Banggar), the Legislative Body, the Households Affairs Committee (BURT), the inter-parliamentary body BKSAP and the Ethics Council will have to gather a majority of votes. 'Baseless' claims As a consequence, even though the PDI-P won both the legislative and presidential elections this year, its power at the House will be limited. The opposition parties on the other hand, united under the Merah Putih banner and led by the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party of Joko's rival Prabowo Subianto, will be able to rake in all important House jobs. Realizing this prospect of tough times ahead, the PDI-P filed for a review claiming that some articles of the MD3 Law — 84, 97, 104, 109, 115, 121, 152 — were unconstitutional. The party also argued that there were flaws during the deliberation and the passage of the law, a process it described as insufficiently transparent and not based on academic insights. Patrialis Akbar, a Constitutional Court justice who previously served as a politician for the National Mandate Party (PAN), which joined Prabowo's coalition, refused to accept the PDI-P claims. He said that no procedures were violated when the law — originally issued in 2009 — was amended. He also called "baseless" the claim of the PDI-P that the new leadership selection method contradicted the principle of legal certainty and fairness. “The method of [selecting] leaders of the House of Representatives is stipulated in the House's regulations, and it does not contradict legal principles,” Patrialis said, as quoted by detik.com. “The [selection] of House of Representatives leaders is the right and authority of elected lawmakers.” Patrialis added that the court found that it was not discriminatory to no longer automatically grant the seat of House speaker to the party with the largest number of seats. Divided government likely Ari Dwipayana, a political expert from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, told the Jakarta Globe that he was not surprised at Monday's ruling, even if the Constitutional Court failed to consider the fact that the law was passed because of political interests just a day before the presidential election. “The court only looked at whether [the law] was constitutional or not, but failed to assess whether the law had gone through the proper procedures before it was passed. They did not care about the political interests. They also did not care about whether the process was transparent,” Ari said. He added that the ruling would have two consequences. The first, the academic said, would be that Merah Putih is going to divvy up the various posts at the House. “And secondly, this can lead to a divided government,” Ari said. "The executive would be controlled by the coalition of Jokowi-JK [Joko Widodo and his incoming vice president, Jusuf Kalla], and the legislature would be controlled by the Merah Putih coalition." "This will make it very difficult for the government to carry out its vision and mission, in terms of legislation, budgeting and the recruitment of people for strategic positions."
Categories: Indonesian News, News