Thursday, January 31, 2019


Jakarta, Jan 31, 2019 (Antara) - As a controversy drags on about a plan of the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) governor to close Komodo Island for a year, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has finally voiced his objection and considered it irrelevant.
         Komodo Island is one of the major islands inside the Komodo National Park, located in proximity to Labuan Bajo, one of the 10 priority tourist destinations designated by the Government as "New Bali."
    The nine other destinations are Borobudur in Central Java; Mandalika on Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara; Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java; Pulau Seribu in North Jakarta; Lake Toba in North Sumatra; Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi; Tanjung Lesung in Banten; Morotai in the northern region of Halmahera in the Maluku Islands; and Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung, Bangka Belitung.
         Both Komodo Island and Labuan Bajo are located in West Manggarai District on Flores Island, and they are the backbone of the tourism industry of NTT, in particular, and Indonesia, in general.
         Hence, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya opined that a plan to close Komodo Island would be irrelevant to the tourism industry.
         "It is not relevant, as Vice President JK (Jusuf Kalla) has said," Yahya stated in response to the press' questions on January 30, 2019.
        Kalla, in Jakarta recently, expressed his objection to the planned closure of Komodo Island and called for a detailed and comprehensive study of the plan. 
   The tourism industry is in urgent need of certainty to run the business, so any issue on the closure of a tourism destination will directly affect the performance of the tourism sector.
        Travel agents and operators are looking for certainty without which they would not dare to advertise or offer their services, Yahya noted.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


Jakarta, Jan 26, 2019 (Antara)- The Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned of possible flooding as the country is currently in the peak rainy season, but the devastation caused by widespread flooding and landslides hitting South Sulawesi has shocked the nation.
             Flash floods believed to be the worst in the last decade affected 106 villages in 61 sub-districts in 13 districts and cities in South Sulawesi Province. The 13 districts and cities were Jeneponto, Maros, Gowa, Makassar, Soppeng, Wajo, Barru, Pangkep, Sidrap, Bantaeng, Takalar, Selayar and Sinjai.
            So far, 59 were dead, 25 missing, 47 injured and 6.596 displaced due to flooding and landslides in the province. Besides, the natural disasters damaged 10 bridges, 79 homes, two traditional markets, 12 places of worship, 22 school buildings, and submerged 4,857 homes, as well as 11,876 hectares of rice fields.
            Jihadul Arifin, one of the Makassar flood victims, recalled how the flash flood took him and the other residents of Antang residential area in Manggala Sub-district by surprise as flood waters reaching a height of 1.5 meters suddenly hit the housing complex.
             "This flood is different from floods in the previous years. The flood waters were suddenly very high," Jihadul Arifin, an inhabitant of Antang housing complex, said on January 23, 2019.
            The water current was very strong and it reached the height of an adult's chest, he added.  
  The flash flood came from Gowa District, which shares a border with Manggala Sub-district, after the Bili-Bili dam was opened, he noted.
             He said him and other flood victims did not have time to save their belongings because the flash flood came without any warning on January 22 at around 4 p.m. local time.
            "Other residents and I are now taking refuge at a mosque. We need food, clothes and blankets," he said.


  Jakarta, Jan 26, 2019 (Antara)- Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, who has held the position as the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor since September 2018, seems to have several plans regarding the Komodo National Park, in general, and Komodo Island, in particular.
        Around one month after the governor was installed, Laiskodat announced that his administration would take over the management of the Komodo National Park from the Environmental Affairs and Forestry (LHK) Ministry.
         "I will never hesitate to confront anyone. I will see the president. We do not want to accept someone from the central (government) here, because we are from the central (government) here. We are the one who take control," Laiskodat, politician of the National Democrat (Nasdem) Party, was quoted as saying by Pos-Kupang.Com on Oct 12, 2018.
         His second plan is to raise the entry ticket fare to the Park to US$500 per foreign tourist, for conservation purposes and revenue increase for the local government.
         "$500 is a donation for the development of the world ecosystem," the NTT governor stated recently.  
   The entry ticket fare to the Komodo National Park is now Rp150 thousand (less than $10) for a foreign tourist and Rp5 thousand for a domestic tourist.
         His third plan is to close Komodo Island for a year for conservation of its flora and fauna.
        Laiskodat revealed that LHK Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar had agreed to his plan to close Komodo Island for a year.
        "Minister of LHK agrees. She noted that as long as it is good, there is no problem. We are now processing the technical matters," the governor stated in Kupang, NTT, on Jan 22.
        Laiskodat remarked that the closure of Komodo Island, located in West Manggarai District, Flores Island, NTT, will be materialized when Bakar agrees with his request for cooperation to manage the Komodo National Park, which has, so far, been directly under the management and supervision of the LHK Ministry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


 Jakarta, Jan 23 , 2019 (Antara) - The Indonesian millennial generation is a determining factor in the simultaneous presidential and legislative elections to be organized on April 17, 2019, as they account for some 35 percent to 40 percent of the total illegible voters.
        Of its total population of 260 million people, over 185 million are registered as illegible voters throughout Indonesia and more than two million Indonesians live overseas.
        Of the total 187 million voters, some 70 million are millennials, who are known as Generation Y. Their ages are between 17 years old and 35 years old as they were born between 1980s and 2000s. Seventeen-year-old boys and girls are first time voters in Indonesia.
        The participation of millennials in elections is crucial for the promotion of democracy in the country, given their large number.
        Therefore, the National General Election Committee (KPU) has designed various activities to attract them to take part in elections. The activities include programs dubbed "KPU Goes To Campus" and "KPU Goes to School."
   The 2019 presidential election is considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein incumbent President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.
         Seeking a second term, 57-year-old Jokowi has picked Ma'ruf Amin (75), chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, while retired general Subianto (67) has chosen Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno (49), a successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.
        Both candidate pairs are optimistic of winning the support of the millennial generation. They have strategies to win the heart and mind of the millennials.
         Jokowi often appears in jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers. He also likes riding big motorbike, particularly to impress the Generation Y.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


Jakarta, Jan 19, 2019 (Antara) - To always remain vigilant is a must if you live in Indonesia, which is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as it is located on the "Pacific Ring of Fire," where a large number of volcanoes and earthquakes occur.
        Last year, during the January-mid December period, a total of 2,427 natural disasters hit the country, leaving at least 4,821 people dead or missing, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
         Of the total, 2,350, or 96.9 percent of the natural disasters, were hydrometeorological disasters such as floods, landslides, and whirlwind, while 76, or 3.1 percent, were geological disasters.
        In West Java alone, a total of 1,561 natural disasters hit the province, killing 50 people and affecting 75,706 residents.
        Currently, Indonesia is experiencing peak rainy season across the nation, and therefore, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned of possible hydrometeorological disasters.
          The agency called on the people to remain vigilant, as Indonesia was currently experiencing the peak of the rainy season, Mulyono Rahadi Prabowo, the BMKG's deputy in charge of meteorology, noted in a statement, on Jan 17, 2019.
   The condition in the Indian Ocean and the direction of wind indicated possible heavy rains, lightening, thunder, and strong wind, he remarked.
        The agency has also forecast sea waves, reaching heights of between 2.5 meters and 4 meters, among others things, in the waters of Mentawai, Bengkulu, Enggano, Lampung, Indian Ocean, Sunda Strait, southern Java, Sumbawa, Bali Strait, Lombok, southern Alas, North Natuna, Kepupy Anambas, Makassar Strait, Flores Sea, Banda Sea, Sangihe, Halmahera, Biak, and northern Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Jakarta (Antara)- Nearly two years have passed since Novel Baswedan, senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was attacked with acid that caused him to lose vision in his left eye, but the perpetrators are still at large and unidentified until now.
         Baswedan was fatally attacked while heading home after performing Fajr, or the Dawn prayer, at a mosque nearby when two motorcyclists hurled acid on his face that injured his eyes, particularly the left eye, on April 11, 2017.
        Baswedan, a 42-year-old retired police officer, had joined the anti-graft agency in 2007 and was entrusted with investigating major corruption cases, including those allegedly involving several high-ranking officials. Since then, he has been frequently terrorized and attacked.
       Both the Jakarta Metro Jaya Police and the National Police's Crime Investigation Department have claimed that they are incessantly investigating the case, but the investigation has failed to trace the attackers so far.
        Finally, the Indonesian Police has announced that Chief of the Indonesian Police (Polri) General Tito Karnavian on Jan 8, 2019, signed an assignment letter on establishment of a joint team to investigate the case of Baswedan.
        The joint team, comprising 65 members representing officers of the Polri, the KPK, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and NGOs, will work from Jan 8 to July 7, 2019.
        The joint team was formed at the recommendation of the Komnas HAM, Inspector General M Iqbal, spokesman of the National Police, stated on Jan 11, 2019.
       Iqbal later explained that the joint team is a technical team to investigate the case and not a joint fact finding team (TGPF) that has been suggested by several KPK commissioners and NGOs.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Jakarta, Jan 12, 2019 (Antara) - Leuser National Park is the last natural place on Earth, home to four mega fauna species of Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris), and Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus).   
     Leuser is also a habitat for most fauna, ranging from mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians to fish and invertebrates. It is a region having the longest list of birds in the world, up to 380 species, with 350 of them found in this park, which is also home to owa (Hylobates lar) and kedih (Presbytis thomasi).
        Moreover, the Leuser Ecosystem (KEL) is also a national strategic area owing to its environmental functions, notably as sources of clean water and air. It mitigates disaster impacts, such as erosion, pest, and climate change. 
   The KEL covers over 2.6 million hectares of intact forest area located in 13 districts in Aceh Province and three districts in North Sumatra.    
   Of the 2.6 million hectares, some 2.25 million hectares are in Aceh Province, while the remaining 384 thousand hectares are in North Sumatra Province. 
  Inside the KEL are the Mount Leuser National Park, nature reserve area, protected forest, production forest, limited production forest, permanent production forest, and convertible production forest.
       The natural scenery in KEL is charming and diverse, ranging from natural green scenery, crystal clear river water, beautiful waterfalls, diverse life, and fresh air, to a variety of rare animals.
         Aceh's KEL is home to 8,500 plant species, 105 mammal species, and 382 bird species.
        However, the Leuser environment is being threatened by development activities, as over four million people of Aceh live in KEL. The area has also been encroached by land clearance to make way for plantation, industry, and roads.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


    Jakarta, Jan 10, 2019 (Antara) - A deadly tsunami, triggered by Mount Anak Krakatau eruption in the Sunda Strait on Dec 22, 2018, has hit the tourism industry hard in Banten and Lampung Provinces, which are known for scenic beaches.
        Beaches in the two provinces facing the Sunda Strait, which is located between Java and Sumatra Islands, were deserted following the volcanic tsunami that killed at least 437 people in five districts.
        In Banten, over 90 percent of the hotel bookings were canceled prior to New Year's Eve due to the deadly tsunami that occurred three days prior to Christmas.
         Less than 10 percent, who retained their hotel bookings, were mainly journalists covering the post-tsunami event.
         To discuss recovery program for tourism industry in those provinces, the Tourism Ministry is to organize a coordinating meeting on Strategy of Tourism Recovery in Post-Sunda Strait Tsunami to be held in Anyer, Pandeglang, Banten Province, on Jan 11, 2019.
        Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is expected to officially open the meeting to be attended by governors of Banten and Lampung.
         The ministry has revealed that recovery program is expected to last from January 11 to April 12, 2019, to be followed by a normalization program from April 12 to December 31, 2019.
         The recovery program will involve the Banten and Lampung authorities and stakeholders in the tourism industry.
        The Tourism Ministry and stakeholders have prepared several plans of action to speed up the recovery of tourism.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Jakarta, Jan 9, 2019 (Antara)- Rini Hartati and Yeni, inhabitants of South Lampung, used to enjoy the beauty of Mount Anak Krakatau, especially its red magma, which looked like firecrackers in the evening, from their homes located in the coastal area facing Sunda Strait, where the 'child' of the legendary Mount Krakatoa stands.
         Anak Krakatau has been undergoing a stuttering eruption since June 18, 2018, and an alert level 2 had been declared for it.
        As its volcanic activities increased, the volcano often showed spectacular views, particularly at night. Villagers living along beaches in Sunda Strait located between Sumatra and Java Island said they were very amazed of the view and they enjoyed watching it as it had never happened before. 
   But the volcanic activities of Anak Krakatau did not get special attention from the authorities until Dec 22, 2018, when a volcanic tsunami hit the provinces of Lampung (Sumatra) and Banten (Java) without early warning.   
     Mount Anak Krakatau¿s southern flank, measuring 64 hectares, slid into the ocean that evening, according to images from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite, reported by
         Some 20 minutes after the flank collapsed, a wall of water roared ashore, sweeping up everything in its path, including boats, tables, and people along the coastal regions of Sunda Strait.
         Mount Anak Krakatau's height has decreased from 338 meters above sea level (mdpl) to 110 mdpl following the flank collapse. Full recovery will take longer. It may take 50 years before Anak Krakatau can reach its pre-collapse height.
        The tsunami affected five districts, namely Pandeglang and Serang in Banten Province; and South Lampung, Tanggamus, and Pesawaran in Lampung Province. 
   The death toll reached 437 people, and 23 others remained missing due to the tsunami. As many as 14,059 people were injured, and 33,721 others were displaced.