Business Side of Hendropriyono


Abdulla Macmud Hendropriyono is a controversial figure in Indonesia. He’s known primarily for his military prowess, and his work as the chief of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency (BIN) under Megawati Soekarnoputri’s administration. But as with most retired Army generals, Hendropriyono became director/chairman in a number of private companies in Indonesia, including PT Mahagaya Perdana, PT. Carrefour Indonesia of Chairul Tanjung’s Trans Corp, and Blitzmegaplex of PT. Graha Layar Prima. In addition to that, the retired four-star general also has his own business empire called Hendropriyono Corporation. [continue reading]

Jokowi’s Commitment for Papua


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo tried hard to show his commitment to the social welfare of Papuans. As a presidential candidate Jokowi kicked off his election campaign in Papua on Jun. 5, 2014. And later, on the day of his inauguration, the President gave the ceremonial cutting of tumpeng (tumeric infused rice cone), which symbolizes blessing for the future, to three Papuan women. And then, the President also appointed Yohana Susana Yembise as the first female Papuan Minister in Indonesian history. But now that societal conflict has once again appeared in the frontier province, what will Jokowi do beyond the symbolism?[continue reading]

Jokowi’s Human Rights Commitment Questioned


The December 10 international human rights day is just around the corner. But last week, Indonesian human right activists were surprised by the granting of parole for Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, the convicted murderer of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. This raised many to doubt President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo commitment to bringing closure on human rights violations in the past. [continue reading]

New Indonesian Slang: Jonru


A member of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) filed a police report against activists of the Liberal Islam Network, Ahmad Sahal, and a university student based in Malang, Rifan Herriyadi, to the Jakarta Metro Police earlier this week. The complaint? His name has been made into a new slang, with negative connotation. [continue reading]

Jokowi Film Withdrawn from Screening


Indonesian media outlets have been abuzzed with the film about President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. The biopic “Jokowi Adalah Kita” (Jokowi Is Us) is 80 minutes long. It was produced by PT K2K Production of KK Dheeraj, and was scheduled to hit the cinema screen by Nov. 20. But the film was withdrawn just one day after it was released. [continue reading]

Jokoways & the Challenge of Tackling Illegal Fishing in Indonesia


President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued his strongest warning yet to those illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. The President told journalists that he would have the authorities sink foreign vessels fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. The government recorded approximately 5,400 vessels of such vessels stealing in Indonesian waters and over 300 trillion rupiah in losses as a consequence . And apparently enough is enough. [continue reading]

The Mystery of the Unknown Grave Slowly Unravelling


On July, we published several articles regarding an unmarked grave in the “Pahlawan 77” section of the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery. The Pahlawan 77 section is the final resting place for those who died in the 1977 Seroja Operation in Dili, Timor Leste. Based on our conversation with a number of sources, we were told that the unmarked grave is the final resting place of Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, the founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN). [continue reading]

Disenchanted with politics-as-usual, Indonesians pine for change

Khabar Southeast Asia

Disenchanted with politics-as-usual, Indonesians pine for change

The face of politics is changing, thanks to a stronger role for the media – and a new crop of candidates who know how to harness it.

With one year to go before the 2014 presidential election, Indonesians appear to be in the mood for change. Polls show a relative newcomer – Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (nicknamed Jokowi) – ahead of other potential candidates, including several well-established figures.

The results reflect an ongoing trend in Indonesian politics, analysts say. The traditional party machinery is losing its potency as a new generation of media-savvy politicians is better able to harness public opinion.

Citizens, meanwhile, are increasingly distrustful of political elites and determined to elect politicians who will remain close to their interests.

In its latest opinion survey, Pusat Data Bersatu (PDB) polled 1,200 respondents from 30 provinces. Jokowi garnered 21.2% support, the largest percentage for all the potential candidates. Behind him were several political veterans — former vice president Jusuf Kalla, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, Great Indonesian Movement (Gerindra) Party figure Prabowo Subianto, and Golkar Party Chairman Abu Rizal Bakrie, among others.

Didik J. Rachbini, a political expert at PDB, said the results showed a clear trend.

“Citizens want a new figure for the 2014 presidential election, and it appears that Jokowi is that figure,” Didik told Khabar Southeast Asia.

However, he added, the rising political star will first need to demonstrate a strong performance in his current job, including by taking charge of the flooding situation in Jakarta.

Media appeal becoming crucial

Burhanuddin Muhtadi, a political analyst with the Indonesian Survey Institute (Lembaga Survey Indonesia/LSI), agreed that the electorate wants someone new.

“Citizens are looking for a figure who is firm, has no distance from the citizens, [and is] unpretentious,” he told reporters.

Jokowi’s popularity has swelled since he took over the city governorship, a role which brings frequent media appearances, Burhanuddin said.

Moreover, he added, the governor has received positive coverage of his education and health care initiatives, the Kartu Jakarta Pintar (Jakarta Education Card/KJP) and Kartu Jakarta Sehat (Jakarta Health Card/KJS).

The KJP provides students with as much as Rp 240,000 ($25) per month for education-related expenses such as books, uniforms, and transportation. Bank DKI refills the card every month with provincial government funds. Similarly, the KJS provides free health care access, especially for those in need.

Although previous governors ran similar initiatives, Jokowi has proven particularly effective at making citizens aware of them, Burhanuddin said.

“He knows how to maintain public optimism,” he said.

Jokowi is not the first politician in this mold, the analyst said. Indonesia’s current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, demonstrated a similar appeal during his campaign eight years ago, relying more on a strong media presence than on the traditional workings of party machinery.

“Back in 2004, President Susilo became a media darling with his personality and intellect. He is also very friendly with the media,” he added. In general, he added, “political parties are no longer able to claim that they are the only funnels to represent the public’s preference”.

Disenchantment grows with politics-as-usual

Muhammad Yusuf, an 18-year-old Pemalang resident, told Khabar he wants a new president who remains close to the people. “I think we need a smart figure and humble, just like Governor Jokowi,” Muhammad said.

Hilary Desuari, a 25 year-old Yogyakarta resident, told Khabar, “I find it difficult to trust the political elite.” Jokowi, she said, may be a viable candidate “because he does real work and solves many problems.”

Willy Bordus Tatag Hastungkoro, a 24 year-old Jakarta resident who originally hails from Central Java, said Indonesia needs a president who has a vision for the country, and not just for a political party.

“I think that we need a figure with a good mindset to protect and develop the public’s interests mandated by Pancasila, our guiding principles,” he said.