Jumat, 29 Maret 2019

FIXING VOTER LIST CRUCIAL FOR LEGITIMACY OF 2019 ELECTIONS

Jakarta, 29/3, 2019 (Antara) - With less than 20 days to go before over 192 million Indonesians are expected to cast their votes in the 2019 legislative and presidential elections, discrepancies have cropped up yet again in the Official Voter List (DPT).

The national campaign team (BPN) of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto had complained to the General Elections Commission (KPU) several times about irregularities noticed in the list since last year.

In July 2018, a coalition of parties supporting Subianto had discovered some 25 million duplicate voters in the Temporary Voter List (DPS).

On September 5, 2018, the coalition received the final DPT, and still found 8,145,713 duplicate names in the list. The KPU at that time promised that they would correct the list by November 2018.

On March 29, 2019, BPN representatives visited the KPU headquarters again to discuss the problem. The delegation was led by BPN Director for Media and Communication Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who was accompanied by BPN spokesman Habiburokhman. The closed-door meeting was held in the office of KPU Chairman Arief Budiman.

Earlier, the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team had demanded that the Commission fix the invalid or incorrect DPT, which included the discovery of 17.5 million names on it.

"The KPU headquarters should not only conduct research, but also an on-field validation and verification of the DPT data as soon as possible. If there is a will, there is a way," Agus Maksum, chairman of the team in charge of information and technology, stated at the Parliament Building in Jakarta, on March 26, 2019.

The team reported its findings to the KPU on March 1, 2019, but flaws were still found in the DPT, which the KPU promised would be fixed, he noted.

Kamis, 28 Maret 2019

ENTERING A NEW ERA OF THE INDONESIA AND SOUTH PACIFIC RELATIONSHIP

Jakarta, 28/3, 2019 (Antara) - Just a day after hosting a High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation themed "Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region", the Indonesia-South Pacific Forum (ISPF) 2019 was organized in Jakarta on March 21, 2019.
The ISPF, themed "Connecting Peoples for Sustainable Growth", was aimed at strengthening economic cooperation in the region and saw the participation of representatives from the private sector from Indonesia and the South Pacific countries.

The meeting was attended by officials from the South Pacific countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu.

South Pacific is not only geographically close to Indonesia, but Indonesia also comprises at least 11 million people of the Melanesian race spread across the provinces of Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), he said.

Indonesians and the people of the South Pacific countries belong to one family. We call the Pacific Ocean our home. And our cooperation in developing the South Pacific will define the future that we want to create together for our next generation, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said in her address entitled New era of Indonesia-South Pacific engagement. 

Indonesia and the South Pacific countries face common challenges that directly impact the communities in the region and range from the rising sea levels to the pursuit of welfare through economic development.

Rabu, 27 Maret 2019

RENEWING CONCRETE INDO-PACIFIC COOPERATION AND TRUST BUILDING

Jakarta, 27/3, 2019 (Antara) - Indonesia is the worlds largest archipelagic nation that strategically straddles the Indian and Pacific oceans in the Indo-Pacific region. Comprising 260 million people or the worlds fourth largest population, it aims to become a peaceful and prosperous region based on mutual trust, respect, and the spirit of cooperation.
The nation initiated a High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation themed "Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region", in Jakarta on March 20, 2019, which was attended by delegates from 18 key countries of the Indo-Pacific regions.

The dialogue, which included debates under three themessustainable development goals, maritime cooperation, and infrastructure and connectivitywas aimed at enhancing cooperation and building trust in the Indo-Pacific region, leading to mutually beneficial cooperation based on the principles of openness, inclusive transparency, and respect for international laws.

The meeting was Indonesia's concrete contribution to strengthening the dialogue within the framework of ASEAN for a deeper and more inclusive cooperation within the bloc.

Among those who attended the dialogue were Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Brunei Foreign Minister Erywan Pehin Yusof, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters, and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi as the host.

China, India, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam were represented by their vice foreign affairs ministers.

In his opening remarks, Indonesian Vice President M Jusuf Kalla said cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region is crucial to maintaining peace, stability, and economic sustainability amid geo-economic and geo-political developments.

Senin, 25 Maret 2019

Easing congestion to reduce air pollution in Jakarta by Fardah

Jakarta, March 25, 2019 (ANTARA) - Jakartans have been very enthusiastic in welcoming the country’s first subway called Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Jakarta, which was inaugurated by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in the capital city on March 24, 2019.

The long-delayed MRT Jakarta is expected to ease the notorious traffic congestion in the capital city and suburban areas that has caused annual losses amounting to some Rp65 trillion to Rp100 trillion.

The first stage of the construction work of the MRT project, which was initially mooted in the 1980s, began on October 10, 2013, with a total investment worth Rp16 trillion. It serves a 15.7 km-long route connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta and the Hotel Indonesia (HI) Circle in Central Jakarta in 30 minutes.

The second phase of the MRT construction, connecting the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to Ancol in North Jakarta, is expected to begin early next year, parallel to the East-West MRT line, connecting Bekasi in West Java and Tangerang in Banten.

Bad traffic jams in the capital city are a major cause of air pollution. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan had decided to apply the odd-even policy as a way to limit the number of cars entering Jakarta.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) last year, Jakarta’s air pollution was worse than that of Bangkok, but better than Manila.

News Focus -- Protecting Orangutans in natural habitat deemed crucial by Fardah

Jakarta, March 25, 2019 (ANTARA) - It is incredibly heartbreaking to see a picture of a tourist in Bali attempting to smuggle a drugged orangutan kept in a rattan basket into Russia.
During X-ray screening, Bali's conservation agency staff spotted the two-year-old male ape in the 27-year-old Russian's suitcase on March 22, 2019. The Bali police arrested the tourist, who had planned to bring home the "sleeping" orangutan and keep him as a pet.

Orangutans (orang means human and utan means forest) are among the rarest animals, as only 100 thousand of the protected species remain worldwide.

Preserving wildlife in its natural forest habitat is a vital step in ensuring that conservation efforts were successful in the long term.

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), in cooperation with the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Office (BKSDA) and Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) authority on March 12, 2019, released six orangutans into the park, the first of 2019's planned releases.

The six orangutans comprise three males -- Rosidin (aged 20), Tristan (16), and Borneo (1) -- as well as three females -- Borneos mother Buntok (12), Paijah (15), and Danida (13).

All six of the orangutan release candidates have come from Badak Besar Island, a forested island in the Salat Island Cluster in Pulang Pisau District, which is currently being used by the BOSF as a pre-release island.

The orangutans were released after having completed years of rehabilitation. They had to endure an approximately 10- to 12-hour-long journey across both land and river to predetermined release points in the TNBBBR forest.

The six orangutans being returned back into the wild marks the 15th release for TNBBBR since the first one conducted in the park in August 2016 and the 28th release by the BOSF Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Central Kalimantan since 2012.

Sabtu, 23 Maret 2019

NEWS FOCUS -- ACCELERATING RESCUE OPERATIONS IN FLOOD-HIT SENTANI

Jakarta, 23/3, 2019  (Antara) - Indonesia has been hit by at least two major floods during this current transitional period from the rainy to the dry season, as high precipitation still occurs in several regions.

Floods have been reported in the provinces of West Java, East Java, Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sumatra, and Papua, among others. But East Java and Papua have been the worst hit by major flooding over the last several weeks.

In East Java, on March 5, 2019, floods triggered by heavy rains and the overflowing of several rivers, had inundated 15 districts and displaced nearly 12.5 thousand people, mostly in Madiun. Despite the widespread inundation, there were no reports of casualties.

In Papua, however, deadly flooding devastated Sentani and several other sub-districts in Jayapura District, and killed at least 112 people and rendered 94 others missing on March 16, 2019.

The natural disasters caused serious injuries to 107 people and minor injuries to 808 others.

A total of 374 homes, four bridges, five places of worship, eight school buildings, 104 home-cum-shops, and a traditional market were damaged. Furthermore, the natural disasters led to the displacement of 11,556 people.

The Papua provincial government has declared an emergency response period from March 16 to 29, 2019.

The Government has deployed a joint team comprising military and police personnel, among others, to continue search and rescue operations for the victims of the floods in Jayapura. Tens of NGOs have also volunteered in helping the rescue operations.

"Since yesterday evening, our volunteers have helped carry out evacuation, assessment and mud clearance in Sentani," ACT coordinator Kusmayadi said in a statement, one day after the disaster occurred.

They also distributed some 1,000 packets of cooked food for the flood victims, and set up an ACT humanitarian command post and a public kitchen in Sentani.

As 94 people were still missing one week after the flooding, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) held a coordination meeting to discuss efforts to expedite the handling of the impact of the flooding in the countrys eastern most province.

Kamis, 21 Maret 2019

INDONESIA FORGES REGIONAL COOPERATION TO STABILIZE RUBBER PRICES by Fardah

Jakarta, 21/3, 2019 (Antara) - Indonesian rubber farmers have been hit by falling prices since Q4 of 2018, prompting the government to find ways to stabilize rubber prices, among other things, by forging cooperation with neighboring countries.

The price of rubber decreased 3.80 JPY/kg or 2.10 percent to 177.40 on March 20 from 181.20 in the previous trading session, and reached an all time high of 526.40 in February of 2011 and a record low of 132.10 in November of 2018, according to information on tradingeconomics.com.

The biggest producers of rubber are China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Others include Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and India.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has been concerned over the falling rubber prices, as they would affect the welfare of small farmers.

The government had approached Malaysia and Thailand to reduce the rubber supplies to the world's market, Jokowi told local rubber farmers in Lalang Sembawa Village, Sembawa Subdistrict, Banyuasin District, South Sumatra Province, recently.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand held a Special Ministerial Committee Meeting (MCM) of the International Tripartite Rubber Council in Bangkok, on February 22, 2019.

The meeting was chaired by Grisada Boonrach, Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, as the host, and attended by Darmin Nasution, Indonesias Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and Teresa Kok, Malaysias Minister of Primary Industries.

Kamis, 14 Maret 2019

News Focus - PRIORITIZING PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST FOREST FIRES by Fardah

Jakarta, 14/3, 2019 (Antara) - The Indonesian authorities have claimed that the number of forest fires had reduced some 85 percent over the past several years.
Thanks to the significant reduction, no neighboring countries had lodged complaint over the past few years as their countries were not free from haze usually exported by wildfires in Indonesia.
Despite that achievement, however, some Rp1 trillion had to be spent for fighting wildfires on peatlands in South Sumatra province last year, Chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Board (BNPB) Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo said on March 12, 2019.

In view of the high cost, he felt it was necessary to familiarize the public with the effort to preempt wildfires

It is better to prevent wildfires by familiarizing people nearby on how to tackle fires before they inflict losses worth hundreds of billions of rupiahs, he added.

The Rp1 trillion was spent on preventing smoke from reaching South Sumatra, which hosted the Asian Games in 2018. Monardo believed that It would be better to distribute the funds to local people rather than spent it on fighting wildfires.
Hence, the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry's Forest and Land Fire Control Brigade, Manggala Agni, and stakeholders joining a forest fire task force, is currently focusing on preventive measures against the occurrence of forest fires in Riau Province, which was hit by forest years annually.
After extinguishing wildfires in the province, the ministry and the task force focused on preventive efforts, Raffles B. Panjaitan, the ministry's Director of Forest and Land Fire Control (PKHL), said.
During the January 1 to March 4, 2019 period, NOAA satellites detected a total of 160 hotspots, down 110 hotspots or 42.02 percent from 276 hotspots during the same period of the previous year.
NASA's Terra and Aqua Satellites detected 432 hotspots, with a trust rate above 80 percent, during the January 1 to March4, 2019 period, up 77 hotspots or 21.69 percent from 355 hotspots in the same period of 2018.

Rabu, 13 Maret 2019

NEWS FOCUS- DEVELOPING ONLINE PLATFORM FOR TRADITIONAL MARKETS by Fardah

Jakarta, 13/3, 2019 (Antara) - The government of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has set itself the target of building and revitalizing at least five thousand traditional markets across Indonesia during its tenure (2014-2019).
The Trade Ministry has planned to revitalize a total of 1,037 traditional markets during 2019. Last year, the government revitalized 4,211 traditional markets across Indonesia by using specially allocated funds. The program has helped increase the traditional markets' turnover by 20 percent in average.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated that his ministry had built and revitalized 4,211 traditional markets during the 2015-2018 period. This year, 1,037 markets will be revitalized.
The ministry has allocated Rp12.47 trillion in funds to renovate 5,248 traditional markets throughout Indonesia. This year, Rp1.1 trillion will be spent up to revitalize 1,037 markets.
Jokowi has lauded the Trade Ministry for revitalizing some 4,200 traditional markets and 8,900 rural markets so far. "We have set a target to build some 5,200 by late 2019," Jokowi added.
Revitalizing more than five thousand traditional markets is among the Nawacita (Nine Priorities) program of Jokowi administration during his five-year term.
He had also called for transparent and professional management of traditional markets, in order to boost their competitiveness and make them at par with modern markets, such as malls and shopping centers.
But, the strategy of improving traditional markets does not stop by only revitalizing the physical buildings of those markets.

Jokowi has asked the Trade Ministry, local administrations, traditional market managers, and relevant stakeholders to develop an online platform that could connect vendors in traditional markets with consumers.

NEWS FOCUS -- EAST JAVA ACCELERATES FLOOD MITIGATION EFFORTS by Fardah

Jakarta, 13/3, 2019 (Antara) - Indonesia is currently transitioning from rainy to the dry season that usually begins in April or May.

However, high precipitation still occurred in several regions and triggered flooding in the provinces of West Java, East Java, Lampung, East Nusa Tenggara, and South Sumatra, among others.

In East Java Province, floods, triggered by heavy rains and the overflowing of several rivers, had inundated 15 districts, since March 5, 2019.

The 15 flood-affected districts included Madiun, Nganjuk, Ngawi, Magetan, Sidoarjo, Kediri, Bojonegoro, Tuban, Gresik, Pacitan, Trenggalek, Ponorogo, and Lamongan.

In Madiun, the worst affected by flooding were 39 villages in eight sub-districts that were inundated, as the Jeroan River spilled over its bank.

Flooding affected 4,317 households, comprising over 17 thousand people; seriously damaged two homes, three dykes, and two bridges; submerged 253 hectares of rice fields; and swept away tens of cattle, goats, and poultry.

The Caruban-Madiun toll road section, spanning from KM 603+600 to KM 604+000, was also disrupted by the floodwaters for 24 hours this week.

Madiun District Head Ahmad Dawami has declared an emergency status for the period from March 6 to March 19, 2019, following the flooding. The letter, declaring the emergency status, was signed by the Madiun district head on March 6.

"Everyone concentrates on flood victims. The district administration has established disaster command posts in every flood-affected sub-district. Community health centers are also on standby," Dawami stated.

Senin, 11 Maret 2019

News Focus - CEPA MARKS NEW MILESTONE IN INDONESIAN-AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIC TIES


Jakarta, March 11, 2019  (Antara) - The signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) has marked a new chapter in the economic relations between the two countries.
     The IA-CEPA creates a framework for Australia and Indonesia to unlock the vast potential of bilateral economic partnership, fostering economic cooperation between businesses, communities, and individuals.
     On March 4, 2019, the IAPA was officially signed by Indonesian Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita, and Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Investment, Simon Birmingham, in Jakarta.
     The agreement had been negotiated since 2010 but was halted until November 2013. Later, in March 2016, the agreement had been reactivated.
      "The signing of this agreement is very valuable. After six years of consideration, it has been signed," Lukita stated, adding that it also reflects the strong economic bond between the two countries.
     The IA-CEPA will erase 100 percent goods tariff rate from Indonesia to Australia, and 94 percent goods tariff rate from Australia to Indonesia.
      By signing the agreement, both Indonesia and Australia will gain benefits, such as The Indonesian Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) market, which is expected to benefit from Australia's cheaper sugar, and Indonesian pesticides, which will be more competitive in Australian market.
     Indonesian Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto considered the signing of the agreement as a new milestone in the Indonesian and Australian bilateral relations.
      "The IA-CEPA will have a positive impact on the Indonesian and Australian economies in the long term," Hartarto noted.