Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"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, July 31, 2014

Turkish women defy deputy PM with laughter

Bülent Arinç said women should not laugh in public, prompting backlash and highlighting state of women's rights in Turkey

The Guardian, Constanze Letsch in Istanbul, Wednesday 30 July 2014

Bülent Arinç, Turkey's deputy prime minister. Photograph: Adem
Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Twitter in Turkey broke into a collective grin on Wednesday as hundreds of women posted pictures of themselves laughing.

They weren't just happy. They were smiling in defiance of the deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, who in a speech to mark Eid al-Fitr on Monday said women should not laugh in public.

"Chastity is so important. It's not just a word, it's an ornament [for women]," Arinç told a crowd celebrating the end of Ramadan in the city of Bursa in an address that decried "moral corruption" in Turkey. "A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public."

On Wednesday thousands of women posted pictures of themselves laughing out loud, with the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughter) and #direnkadin (resist woman) trending on Twitter.

Turkish men also took to social media to express their solidarity. "The men of a country in which women are not allowed to laugh are cowards", tweeted one user.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the main opposition presidential candidate running against current prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next Sunday's elections, joined a chorus of male voices criticising Bülent Arinç's comment, tweeting: "More than anything else, our country needs women to smile and to hear everybody's laughter."

Other opposition figures pointed out that Arinç's comments highlighted the dismal state of women's rights in Turkey. Calling on people to protest against massive violence towards women at a demonstration next week, Melda Onur, an Istanbul MP for the main opposition Republican People's party, wrote on Twitter: "We would have left Arinç to his fantasies and wouldn't even have laughed about it, but while so many murders are being committed he makes [women] a target by stressing the need for chastity."

A 2009 report commissioned by the Prime Ministry Directorate on the Status of Women found that more than 40% of Turkey's female population have suffered domestic violence. More than 120 have been killed since the beginning of this year alone, mostly by their partners or other family members.

Mehtap Dogan of the Socialist Feminist Collective – who was among the women who posted pictures of herself laughing – said that Arinç's statements were not an isolated incident of misogyny.

"His words perfectly illustrate his and the [ruling] AK party's attitude towards women," she said. "In their eyes, women should not have any rights, they treat us like a separate species."

It was certainly not the first time the government of Erdogan – infamous for his admission that he did not believe in equality between men and women – has provoked outrage with discriminatory remarks.

Dogan added: "Using moralism to hide behind, they defend violence, rape, and sexism."

In 2012, when the government tried to massively curb the right to abortion, Ankara mayor Melih Gökcek said on public television: "Why should the child die if the mother is raped? The mother should die instead."

When women in an Anatolian town approached the visiting forestry minister in 2009, asking for work, he replied: "Isn't your housework enough?"

Asked by journalists to comment on the social media backlash, Arinç said his comment had been taken "out of context".

"From one and a half hours of my speech, some only heard what I said about women laughing in the street. What a disgusting, ugly and unfounded fabrication."

But he also said "I stand by my words", in reference to his wider speech, which he described as an effort to shine a light on the "degeneration in society". In an attempt to distance himself from his earlier statement, he said someone who would want to ban women from laughing in public "would have to be an idiot".

He also accused "certain stars" of "fake laughter": "These are all artificial laughs. In reality laughter brings relief and makes people happy. I think we are in need of that everywhere, but your laughs are fake. You all had your moments of fame, but when that eluded you tried to attract attention with alcohol and such fake laughter."

Arinç went on to slam women who "despite being married with kids go on vacation with their boyfriends" and those who "never miss the chance to wrap themselves around a dancing pole".

Turkish media has speculated that the latter comment was directed at Asena Erkin, wife of the Turkish Fenerbahçe footballer Caner Erkin, who had recently shared an Instagram picture of herself dancing around a pole with the comment: "When I see a dancing pole, I never miss the chance [to use it]."

He did not have to wait long for a renewed wave of mockery on social media. "There are politicians who imagine Turkey to be one big open-air orgy", Turgay Ogur tweeted. "But I swear, my neighbourhood Atasehir is quite an orderly place."

But for Mehtap Dogan, Bülent Arinç's statements this week were not simply a laughing matter: "The AKP government denies women their rights. They are sexist. We were not surprised by what was said this week, but we are really angry."

Related Articles:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Calls for Justice in Extortion of Migrant Workers

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Amelia, Edi Hardum, Novianti Setuningsih & Vita A.D. Busyra, Jul 30, 2014

A returning migrant worker at Soekarno-Hatta airport, where an extortion
racket has been running for more than a decade. (Antara Photo/Noveradika)

Jakarta. Activists have demanded sterner action from the authorities against the long-running shakedown of migrant workers and foreigners at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, following the release of 18 people arrested last weekend for roles in an alleged extortion racket.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, which led the sting operation last Saturday, has estimated that the network of criminals, officials and military and police personnel at the airport extorts some Rp 325 billion ($28 million) a year from returning migrant workers.

“We demand to know why President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has neglected these cases for so long even though the crimes are so blatant,” Emerson Yuntho, the legal monitoring coordinator at Indonesia Corruption Watch, a nongovernmental organization, said on Wednesday.

He accused the president of constantly calling on migrant workers to increase the amount of remittances they sent back from abroad while doing little himself to end the discrimination and predatory practices they faced back in the country.

Emerson urged Yudhoyono to haul up Manpower Minister Muhaimin Iskandar and Gatot Abdullah Mansyur, the head of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, or BNP2TKI, for questioning about the officials preying on the migrant workers, and to fire them if they were found to be negligent in their oversight of the matter.

Emerson also said that the military and police chiefs should be made to answer for their men’s roles in the racket, which included forcing migrant workers to use specific taxis, which were set up to shake down the vulnerable passengers.

Two police officers and one soldier were among the 18 people arrested during the sting operation at the airport. However, police released all of the suspects on Monday, promising to follow up on the case in the mean time.

“We have to send them home, but we’ve obliged them to report to us regularly and write a statement [that they will not repeat the alleged offense],” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Sunday.

Gen. Sutarman, the National Police chief, said on Monday that there was a possibility that the two police officers arrested in the sting could be dismissed.

“We will process their crimes and ethical violations [and look into] whether or not they are still worthy of serving as police officers,” he said.

But the release of the suspects, including 15 criminals known to have been running the extortion racket for more than 10 years, is a “huge mistake,” according to Anis Hidayah, the executive director of Migrant Care, a migrant worker rights NGO.

“What a blunder! If the Jakarta Police released all of them, then we need to be suspicious that many more police officers might be involved,” Anis told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

She demanded that the investigation continue to break up what she called the long-ingrained culture of corruption and nepotism in the government’s handling of migrant workers.

“The terminal where the migrant workers pass through at the airport is under the oversight of the BNP2TKI,” Anis said.

She added that Migrant Care was working closely with the KPK to gather evidence and propose policies to break up extortion rings run by officials, agencies and civil society groups.

KPK deputy chairman KPK Bambang Widjojanto said that the extortion racket had been squeezing some Rp 325 billion out of unwitting arrivals every year for more than a decade.

“Around 360,000 migrant workers return home each year, and the thugs extort an average of Rp 2.5 million per person,” he said on Saturday. “If we estimate that 50 percent of all migrant workers are being extorted, that’s 130,000 workers times Rp 2.5 million, which is Rp 325 billion per year.”

Wahyu Susilo, a researcher at Migrant Care, said similar shakedowns were also taking place at other airports across the country, and slammed the BNP2TKI chief’s proposal for a return to the previous system whereby all migrant workers were channeled through a dedicated terminal at Soekarno-Hatta.

Wahyu pointed out that this system was abandoned in 2012 precisely because the officials running the terminal were given free rein to extort the migrant workers away from the public gaze, and that if it was revived, it would only exacerbate the problem.

The Manpower Ministry has also refuted the idea of a return to the single-terminal system.

“I think we all agree that allowing the migrant workers the choice to travel freely is a non-discriminative act, but that obliging them to travel through a specific terminal would be discriminative,” Reyna Usman, the ministry’s director general for guidance and placement of migrant workers, said on Tuesday.

He said the solution was to tighten up oversight at Soekarno-Hatta and other airports to crack down on the extortion racketeers.

“It’s embarrassing that we have so many criminals operating at the airport and that we have to consider special measures for migrant workers just because of this. The best thing, of course, is to eradicate the criminals,” Reyna said.

Related Articles:

France ready to facilitate asylum for Iraq’s Christians

The French government has offered to aid Christians in Iraq who are being persecuted by Sunni militant group ISIS. The extremists have issued an ultimatum for them to convert or face harsh consequences, including death.

Deutsche Welle, 28 July 2014

On Monday, the French government weighed in on the crisis gripping Iraq, where Muslim extremists have taken over several cities in the country's north since last month. Citing a recent ultimatum for Mosul's Christians to convert to Islam or face death, France said it would grant asylum to those affected by the new law.

"France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement on Monday.

The al Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), launched a lightning offensive in June, taking control of a number of Iraqi cities.

Earlier this month, it began imposing stricter laws on local populations, targeting Christians in Mosul in particular. Those who did not convert, it said, would have to pay a religious tax, leave the city or face death. Thousands of Christians fled the city as a result.

Aid for now

The French government did not provide a timeline for an asylum program on Monday, nor did it indicate how many asylum seekers it would allow to enter French territory.

"We are providing aid to displaced people fleeing from the threats of Islamic state and who have sought refuge in Kurdistan," they said, adding that they were "in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them."

Christians comprise just under one percent of Iraq's 32.6 million inhabitants.

The UN Security Council has also condemned the persecution of Iraq's minorities. Last week, it adopted a resolution which warned of the possibility of crimes against humanity being carried out by ISIS and said "those responsible must be held accountable."

kms/ipj (AFP, Reuters)
Related Articles:

Millions fled homes in 2013 due to religious beliefs: US

New alliances bring old enemies together as Isis advances in Iraq

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/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)

“… New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones.  …”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jokowi to Get Pay Raise as President, but Salary Lags World Leaders

Jakarta Globe, Josua Gantan, Jul 25, 2014

Joko Widodo’s pay as president of Indonesia would be a fraction of the pay
as other world leaders. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta. As the president-elect of Indonesia, Joko Widodo is bound to receive a pay rise that will amount to an eightfold increase of what he currently earns as the governor of Jakarta.

Official sources revealed that Joko is raking in $8,700 each year as chief of the nation’s capital, while his second in command, Basuki Tjajahaja Purnama — widely known as Ahok — earns $7,260.

Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on the other hand, reportedly makes $64,300 per year.

At face value, one may judge the figure to be on the low side for what the leader of an entire nation should earn. Bank of Indonesia governor Agus Martowardojo, for example, is paid three times more than the president at $207,450 per year.

Similarly, the president directors of several state-owned enterprises, such as Pertamina, Bank Mandiri and Bank Rakyat Indonesia, take home a significant amount more money than the president, earning up to Rp 190 million ($16,500) per month on average.

The leader of one of Indonesia’s closest neighbors, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, rakes in a staggering amount of $1,740,000 per annum, which means he earns 27 times more than President Yudhoyono.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama, makes six times more than Yudhoyono with an annual salary of $400,000.

‘Other benefits’

One may wonder why Indonesia’s president — the state leader of some 250 million people — earns what some may label a “dismal” amount of money compared to the nine-digit figures coined in by senior members of the country’s enterprises.

What then, is so special about being a high-ranking government official in Indonesia?

The answer to this question lies in additional “benefits” beyond what can be seen on paper.

“Don’t just look at the salary, look at the allowances too,” Ade Irawan, coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

“Their salaries are usually quite small, but [government officials] are entitled to various allowances, ranging from small to massive, all of which are paid for by the state,” Ade said. “They are also given an allowance for clothes, electricity, water, and many other [services].”

Siti Zuhro, a political researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) told the Jakarta Globe that there are various “unwritten” benefits that high-ranking officials regularly receive.

“What is written [on paper] is indeed meager, but [politicians] do get a lot of money; don’t be naive,” she said.

On top of the many “facilities” they enjoy, many high-ranking public officials make huge sums of money by providing their services — and essentially their names — to some of the countries larger private-owned companies.

“Special envoys [to the president] for example, earn a lot [of money] by being commissioners [of a business]. This may get them more than Rp 75 million rupiah per month,” she said.

These government employees, she added, are allowed to have their hand in more than one company.

Major businesses are often incentivized to hire politicians as members of the board as their presence and political clout would boost the company’s legal standing.

Simply put, having a high-ranking public official on the firm’s payroll may be costly, but it makes doing business in Indonesia’s multi-tiered, bureaucratic industries a whole lot easier.

As a result, however, many of these so-called “business boosters” become prone to conflicts of interest and often find themselves being accused of favoritism.

The right question

Perhaps asking whether Indonesia’s politicians make enough money would be the wrong question, Siti pointed out. The right question would be whether the current remuneration policy for public officials is one that can minimize corruption and conflicts of interest, she added.

Clearly, the long-standing practice of handing out “unwritten benefits” to politicians and providing them with the freedom to boost their finances through business means have made little impact on the fight to eradicate corruption within the Indonesian government. In fact, these political habits could very well be seen as adding fuel to the fire.

With such financially driven customs buried deep within the country’s political system, Joko and Vice President-elect Jusuf Kalla face a grueling task of implementing a “mental revolution” that discourages monetary gain.

Related Article:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Indonesia Frees Hundreds of Prisoners on Idul Fitri

Jakarta Globe, SP/Novianti Setuningsih, Jul 28, 2014

Prisoners greet ward officials in celebration of Idul Fitri at the Cipinang
 Detention Center in East Jakarta on July 28, 2014. (Antara Photo/Vitalis
Yogi Trisna)

Jakarta.  Hundreds of prisoners across Indonesia were freed on Monday, the start of the Idul Fitri celebration this year, following a massive sentence reduction granted by the government as it sought to reduce overcrowding at jail facilities.

Justice and Human Rights Ministry spokesman Akbar Hadi said the government had granted an Idul Fitri reduced sentences for 56,704 Muslim prisoners, 820 of which were allowed to walk free on Idul Fitri.

“As many as 55,884 prisoners and juvenile detainees were handed a special remission but remain in jail,” Akbar said.

He said that of those, 15,958 had their sentences reduced by 15 days, 35,534 received a one-month sentence reduction, 3,471 received a one-month and 15-day sentence cut, while another 921 prisoners received a two-month sentence cut, Akbar said. He added that a majority of the prisoners who received the reduced time were located in West Java.

According to Akbar, a total of 165,731 prisoners live in 463 detention centers and prisons across Indonesia, indication that overcapacity was 152 percent. Such facilities were built to house only 109,231 detainees.

Some of the prisons and detention centers suffering from overcapacity are located in Yogyakarta, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua, West Papua, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi.

“The sentence cut, aside from motivating the prisoners to behave well and actively join training programs at the prisons and detention centers, also aims to decrease the impact of overcapactiy,” he said.

Bali to continue anti-rabies dog cull as gory video emerges

Yahoo – AFP, 27 July 2014

File photo taken in October 2010 shows government health workers vaccinating
 a dog in Denpasar during a province-wide anti-rabies campaign (AFP Photo/
Sonny Tumbelaka)

Among the white sandy beaches, luxury villas and temples, authorities on the Indonesian island of Bali are carrying out mass culls of dogs in an anti-rabies campaign, an official confirmed Sunday.

Despite a stomach-churning 16-minute video posted on YouTube of a mass slaughter that has prompted outrage from animal welfare groups, Bali Animal Husbandry Department chief Putu Sumantra said there were no plans to end the practice.

"The dogs culled were smuggled illegally. When that happens, we try to find the owners to return them, and ensure they are vaccinated. But if they have no owners, we have to cull them," Sumantra told AFP, adding the persistent problem "requires firm action".

The footage shows more than 30 dogs squealing before they are given lethal injections to the heart and piled on top of each other as they convulse to their deaths.

A uniformed employee is seen smiling at a small fluffy pomeranian as she takes picture of it on her smartphone seconds before it is injected, along with Siberian huskies, collie dogs and pugs.

Although the footage was first posted in April, a repost this week sent the video viral, with 40,000 views in three days.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) strongly condemned the "inhumane slaughter" in a statement received by AFP.

"Local animal welfare groups have run successful vaccination programmes and the number of humans becoming infected with rabies has fallen dramatically," it said.

The government too has carried out a programme, with more than 300,000 dogs vaccinated.

File photo taken in October 2010 shows government health workers vaccinating
 a dog in Denpasar during a province-wide anti-rabies campaign (AFP Photo/
Sonny Tumbelaka)

Since 2008, 147 people have died after contracting rabies on Bali, but the numbers have declined rapidly over the years, with 10 deaths reported since 2012.

PETA warned that "many compassionate people worldwide will avoid travelling to Bali" after learning of the practice, while a petition on calling for an end to the culling has attracted more than 20,000 signatures.

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika recently encouraged authorities to "eliminate" all stray dogs, according to local media reports, saying the government was tired of carrying out vaccinations and that protecting tourists was priority.

I Gusti Ngurah Bagus from the Bali Animal Welfare Association also condemned the practice, saying that animal trade should be better organised and dog breeders and sellers should be licensed.

"People are throwing away native Balinese dogs in exchange for imported breeds that are often not vaccinated, diseased, unhealthy and at times already incubating rabies," he said.

The Bali provincial government is aiming to rid the island of rabies by 2020, and in 2009 passed a local law obliging dog owners to vaccinate their pets.

Bali, a holiday spot popular for its surf, nightlife and cultural heritage, attracted more than three million foreigners last year, almost a million of them from neighbouring Australia.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Momentous Idul Fitri Celebrating a Spiritual and Democratic Triumph

Jakarta Globe, Yanto Soegiarto, Jul 26, 2014

 (JG Graphic/Josep Tri Ronggo Laksono)

Despite the difficulties for most people to return to their hometowns for the annual “Lebaran” holiday due to traffic and poor infrastructure, Indonesians remain high-spirited; they look forward to being united with their families, friends and relatives to celebrate a joyous Idul Fitri on Monday and Tuesday.

This year, however, the festive mood is quite different. Aside from celebrating a day of triumph after having completed the Ramadan fasting period, they have so many stories to tell about a great feat they have just accomplished: Indonesians have elected a new leader, whom they believe will bring about changes to their welfare and livelihoods.

Mamad, a taxi driver who decided to return early to his hometown in Indramayu, West Java, just after the real count announcement that crowned Joko Widodo as president-elect, was upbeat in telling his family about how he had sacrificed his working hours and a day’s earnings simply to wait for the General Elections Commission’s (KPU) official declaration.

Unlike Mamad, his family members in Indramayu had voted for Prabowo Subianto as the region is known for being a Prabowo coalition stronghold.

The Joko supporter recalled proudly casting his vote at a polling station in a ward where the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a member of Prabowo’s coalition, rules. The ward chief was a staunch PKS follower and had encouraged people not to vote for Joko. But Mamad was not influenced and at the end of that day, Joko garnered the most votes there.

Matrodji, a collector of used wooden materials, returned to his hometown in Sampang, Madura, in East Java, where he was told by his relatives that no votes had been cast in favor for Joko. Matrodji was not surprised as he had suspected the influential Muslim cleric of the region had discouraged people from casting their votes for the Jakarta governor.

Not wanting to make an issue out of Joko’s victory, Matrodji switched the subject of conversation to ways of preventing hard-line elements from infiltrating Indonesia’s moderate ideology and Joko’s wish to set up an Indonesian representative office in Gaza, which he thought would be impossible. He was of the view that Joko should concentrate on domestic affairs.

Gembong, a native of Solo, Central Java, has a message for the president-elect: If he can indeed meet the Indonesian people’s expectations, that would be an amazing feat. But at national scale, the task would not be easy.

Infrastructure is key. Indonesia has long faced infrastructure problems. The closest example is the annual Idul Fitri exodus, during which travelers face the same problems again and again despite years of potential improvement to roads and transportation.

The recent breakdown of bridges in Comal, Central Java, and Ciamis, West Java, are the perfect example of failure on the part of the outgoing administration after 10 years in power. The public works ministry is a mess due to rampant corruption and markups. So, if by Idul Fitri next year the conditions of Indonesia’s infrastructure hasn’t changed, people will slowly lose their trust in Joko, regardless of how popular the president-elect is.

People are pinning their hopes on the new leader, but the country’s problems are complex. If Joko can appoint professionals into his cabinet, reduce fuel subsidies, formulate a proper budget, implement realistic policies, promote religious tolerance, build infrastructure, reduce imports food imports, promote the nation’s business environment and open Indonesia up to new investments in the same spirit and outstanding volunteerism with which people have supported him, he can endure.

The discourse on our president-elect’s ability to lead the country is what will set this year’s Idul Fitri celebration apart from previous years’.

Yanto Soegiarto is the managing editor of Globe Asia, a sister publication of the Jakarta Globe.

President-Elect Jokowi Calls on Public to Pick Cabinet

People's Power — In an unprecedented move, Joko Widodo has asked Indonesians to help him put together a new government

Joko Widodo, center, and Jusuf Kalla, second from left, with PDI-P head Megawati
 Sukarnoputri, second from right, and Puan Maharani on July 22, 2014.
(Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

Jakarta. President-elect Joko Widodo has again come up with an innovative idea; one that is unheard of in the history of Indonesian politics. Indonesia’s future leader is asking the public to add its two cents in filling out his cabinet, and in the process, revealing the potential nominees.

Jokowi Center, a team of volunteers helping Joko gather suggestions and examine candidates for his cabinet lineup, launched a poll on its website on Thursday, allowing Indonesians nationwide to cast their votes for names provided by the site, or nominate their own favorites.

More than 18,000 online participants raced to the site as of Thursday evening, causing it to crash less than 24 hours after its official launch.

The Center’s Facebook page and Twitter account — @Jokowi_Ina — also provided a link to a Google document inviting citizens to fill out a similar questionnaire.

A total of 102 names have been nominated for 34 ministerial posts, with each position receiving three candidates. If respondents remain unsatisfied with the suggestions, they may nominate their own choice with the “other” option.

“I’m only asking for input [to create] the cabinet,” Joko commented about the online poll on Thursday. “[The suggestions] will be processed by a team, using a set of criteria. Then, [the results] will be sent to coalition members, before being sent back to the [Jokowi Center] team.

“The final decision will be on me.”

The Jakarta governor has repeatedly stated he was against the practice of transactional politics and will not trade political support for a seat in his government.

The unprecedented move could account for the relatively small size of his coalition — compared to opponent Prabowo Subianto’s massive campaign machine — which will control a mere 37 percent of legislative seats when the new set of lawmakers go into session on Oct. 1.

Compare that with the rival bloc of former Army general Prabowo, which will control 73 percent of the House seats if the coalition does not fall apart — as many observers have predicted.

Joko has also vehemently rejected allegations claiming he will merely act as a “puppet president” to Megawati Soekarnoputri, the chairwoman of his political vehicle, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

“I truly respect Megawati as my senior. But surely good governance should come from making the right decisions and what is best for our nation,” Joko said in an interview a day before the General Elections Commission (KPU) declared him and running mate Jusuf Kalla the winners of the July 9 presidential race on Tuesday.

Still, it’s impossible not to notice that at least 30 names on Jokowi Center’s list of cabinet nominees are party members — and most of those are from the PDI-P.

Take for example Puan Maharani, Megawati’s daughter, who is tipped as an heir apparent to the PDI-P throne. The 40-year-old is a candidate for the position of women’s empowerment minister.

Meanwhile, senior PDI-P politicians Maruarar Sirait and Pramono Anung are both nominated for state secretary. Similarly, Hendrawan Supratikno has been suggested for the post of finance minister and Arif Budimanta for energy minister.

Politicians from other parties within the PDI-P-led coalition, including National Awakening Party (PKB) chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, National Democrat Party (Nasdem) deputy chairman Ferry Mursyidan Baldan and Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) chairman Sutiyoso, are also on the list. They are — in respective order — nominated for the chief welfare minister, the communication minister and the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

Interestingly, a number of figures from parties in the rival camp have also been nominated, including popular Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil of Prabowo’s Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party and Lukman Hakim Saifudin of the United Development Party (PPP). They are candidates for the public housing minister and religious affairs minister, respectively.

More notable additions to the list include movie directors Garin Nugroho and Mira Lesmana as the tourism and creative industry minister.

The nomination of noted composer Addie M. S. and Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan as the youth and sports minister, meanwhile, have managed to raised eyebrows — with neither known to have any experience in the area. Anies has in fact been widely expected as Indonesia’s next education minister, but he’s strangely not among the Jokowi Center nominees for the job.

Is the right man in the right place?

Bantarto Bandoro, a political, defense and international relations expert from the Indonesia Defense University (Unhan), expressed his opinion on several candidates on Friday.

According to Bantarto, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Moeldoko and former Army chief of staff Gen. Budiman were both capable of holding the chief political and security minister position, but noted that Budiman’s recent dismissal — the reason of which remains unclear —  would not set a positive precedence for Joko’s future cabinet.

“Would Joko promote Budiman though he was ‘dismissed’ from the Army?” Bantarto questioned.

“The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs is a managerial position; it doesn’t require technical skills. Moeldoko will be the best man for the job. He’s familiar with latest security issues, including those that will remain [Indonesia’s concerns] over the next five years,” Bantarto said.

Former chief of the Jakarta military command Sutiyoso, meanwhile, has been absent from Indonesia’s political arena since the end of his term as Jakarta’s governor in 2007, which means he may face difficulties readjusting to another government post, Bantaro added.

For defense minister, he pointed to one of his former students at the University of Indonesia (UI), Andi Widjajanto — who is now a lecturer at the university— as the best man for the job. Andi, along with senior PDI-P lawmaker T. B. Hasanuddin and former Army chief of staff Ryamizard Ryacudu, are three nominees for the job.

It helps that Andi is a core member of Joko’s campaign team and has been directly involved in outlining the ticket’s defense and foreign policy platform.

“Andi has an advantage over the other two [candidates]. His academic, scientific-based approaches will introduce logics in Indonesia’s defense policies and help them develop,” Bantarto said. “He’s young, but has good expertise.”

Meanwhile, Hasanuddin, a member the House’s defense commission, has admittedly been following every development of Indonesia’s defense sector and has provided the government with ample criticism on the matter.

“But his arguments often lack theoretical, scientific and practical grounds and therefore offer no real solutions to the matter at hand,” Bantarto commented.

Finally, he pointed out that the appointment of Ryamizard — a known close aide to Megawati — would contradict Indonesia’s stance on appointing a civilian for the defense minister position. The policy was introduced at the start of the post-Suharto reformation era and was meant to curb military involvement and dominance in the government.

As for the role of foreign minister, Bantarto champions Indonesia’s current international public relations man Marty Natalegawa, as he is expected to continue the country’s ongoing diplomatic missions — which most of Indonesia’s foreign observers say are cruising in the right direction.

“Additionally, there would be almost zero resistance against him within the diplomatic ranks. The same may not be said for public figures who have currently no connections to the foreign ministry, such as UI lecturer Makmur Keliat or Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS] executive director Rizal Sukma,” Bantarto said. “Rizal has some great, sharp foreign policy concepts, but he would meet resistance in the diplomatic ranks as he’s never been part of them.”

The economic team

Eric Alexander Sugandi, an economist at Standard Chartered, gave his comments on the appointment of Indonesia’s future economic ministers.

However, Eric refused to take sides and name his favorite choice for chief of Indonesia’s economy, the nominees for which include incumbent minister Chairul Tanjung, who has only held the title for several months, gaining the position after stepping in for current Prabowo running mate Hatta Rajasa; State Enterprise Minister Dahlan Iskan; and former trade minister Gita Wirjawan.

“Ideally, the coordinating minister for the economy position should go to a senior minister, experienced enough to be able to smoothly coordinate with other economic ministers. And ideally, the person must also be able to work with regional administrations,” Eric said.

For the post of finance minister, Eric favors former minister Agus Martowardojo — who held the role from 2010 to 2013 — but highly doubts that Agus would want to leave his current position as Bank Indonesia governor.

“Raden Pardede gained ample experience with the KSSK, the [now-defunct] Financial System Stability Committee,” Eric said. “But other names from the finance ministry’s inner circle should be considered as well.”

These would include deputy finance minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, former deputy finance minister Mahendra Siregar — who is now chief of the Investment Coordinating Board, or BKPM — and tax director general Fuad Rahmany.

Eric added that Mari Elka Pangestu, trade minister from 2004 to 2011 and current nominee, would still be fit for the job, citing her vast experience in the sector.

“Basically, aside from having specific skills in their specific areas, ministers for the economy should also possess macroeconomic knowledge, experience in policy making and the ability to build relations with other state institutions, including the House of Representatives, Bank Indonesia and the OJK [Financial Services Authority].

“Candidates should also be in favor of administrative reform,” Eric added.

Corruption free?

Meanwhile, the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) offered its input by highlighting the track records of names added to Jokowi Center’s online list, some of which have already raised a red flag within the antigraft organization.

ICW coordinator Ade Irawan refused to go into detail, but conceded that Rokhmin Dahuri, the maritime and fisheries minister under Megawati’s 2001-04 presidency, had once been convicted of corruption and abusing his power.

Rokhmin was sentenced to a seven-year prison term in 2007 for illegally collecting up to Rp 11.5 billion ($1 million) from various government programs. His sentence was cut short due to good behavior.

Raden may also prove to be a problematic candidate due to KSSK’s involvement in the Bank Century bailout scandal, which is currently being tried at the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court. However, the former KSSK secretary has only testified as a witness in the case.

“The candidates’ list should be free from people implicated or suspected in corruption cases and potential conflicts of interest,” Ade said. “Jokowi-JK should clearly outline the criteria required for each candidate… so the public would not make their choice simply based on popularity.”

Ade conceded Joko’s attempts to draw public participation in selecting cabinet members “deserves appreciation.”

“It is important that people are involved in choosing the officials who will ultimately serve them,” Ade said. “This strategy would also hopefully prevent any transactional, horse-trading politics from happening.”

The ICW is currently drawing up its own list of pros and cons on Jokowi Center’s existing list of candidates.

That report, added Ade, will be released in August.

The ICW coordinator added that the organization supported the idea of cutting down on bureaucracy by closing several ministries that are deemed ineffective, though he declined to name them.

Additional reporting by SP/Deti Mega P.

Related Articles:

“ … 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 ..."

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / 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)

“…  Government

Let us speak of government. We're not speaking of your government, but of any government - the way it works, how it survives, how it has survived, the way it campaigns, and how it elects leaders. It's going to change.

Years ago, I told you, "When everybody can talk to everybody, there can be no secrets." Up to this point on this planet, government has counted on one thing - that the people can't easily talk to each other on a global scale. They have to get their information through government or official channels. Even mass media isn't always free enough, for it reports that which the government reports. Even a free society tends to bias itself according to the bias of the times. However, when you can have Human Beings talking to each other all at once, all over the planet without government control, it all changes, for there is open revelation of truth.

Democracy itself will change and you're going to see it soon. The hold-outs, the few countries I have mentioned in the past, are doomed unless they recalibrate. They're doomed to be the same as they have been and won't be able to exist as they are now with everyone changing around them.

I mentioned North Korea in the past. Give it time. Right now, the young man is under the control of his father's advisors. But when they're gone, you will see something different, should he survive. Don't judge him yet, for he is being controlled.

In government, if you're entire voting base has the ability to talk to itself without restriction and comes up with opinions by itself without restriction, it behooves a politician to be aware and listen to them. This will change what politicians will do. It will change the way things work in government. Don't be surprised when some day a whole nation can vote all at once in a very unusual way. Gone will be the old systems where you used to count on horseback riders to report in from faraway places. Some of you know what I am talking about. Government will change. The systems around you, both dark and light, will change. You're going to start seeing something else, too, so let's change the subject and turn the page. …

KPK Swoops on Soldier, Police Officers and Gangsters Over 10-Year Extortion of Migrant Workers at Soekarno-Hatta

Jakarta Globe, SP/Novianti Setuningsih & Rizky Amelia,  Jul 26, 2014

A passenger leaves Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, in Jakarta,
in this file photo. (JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

Tangerang. Indonesia’s anti-corruption authority arrested figures from the country’s military and police in addition to several gangsters on Friday night and Saturday morning over a decade-long scheme extorting migrant workers.

Chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Abraham Samad said the 18 people detained included a soldier, two police officers and career criminals. The 18 people had extorted migrant workers over a decade, the KPK said.

Abraham said the KPK had not arrested anyone from the manpower ministry’s migrant worker agency— but that his investigators were looking into potential involvement.

“We will investigate further the involvement of other parties,” Abraham said in a press conference. “The involvement of the agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers [BNP2TKI] should not be ruled out. In time, we will find the involvement of BNP2TKI.”

The KPK led the raid with support from the National Police, the Presidential Unit for Supervision, Control and Development (UKP4), and the airport operator, Angkasa Pura II. The operation was based on existing intelligence, but the authorities acted on Friday because of the high number of travelers arriving for the Idul Fitri holiday.

“I heard from [KPK] investigators that there was a Pakistan national who was asked to pay a taxi fare of US$ 200,” said Bambang Widjojanto, KPK’s deputy chairman. “A Slovakian was asked to pay even more — $250.”

The National Police’s investigations chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius said the soldier and the police officers forced the migrant workers to use specific taxis, which were set up to shake down the vulnerable passengers. Suhardi said the suspects had been stationed at Soekarno-Hatta by their police and army commands, which was how they knew the inner-workings of the airport and were, allegedly, able to run the racket over such a long period.

“This is only the beginning, we will investigate further and will reveal the network,” Suhardi said.

The suspects also ran a foreign exchange scam.

Abraham also questioned an officer at immigration, saying he had seen foreigners having to place money in their passports in order to pass through immigration.

“Why do foreign nationals passing here have to put money in their passport?” Abraham asked the officer.

The officer denied the accusation, but Abraham said he had seen money changing hands.

A KPK deputy chairman, Adnan Pandu Praja, searched the offices at the immigration checkpoint but did not find any evidence.

An investigation continues.