Top Story: CVC-owned Matahari launches up to $1.36 bln Indonesia offering-terms
- The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Meeting will host a meeting in Singapore on April 3rd-6th.
- APEC SOM 2 and related meetings will be hosted in Surabaya, Java, from April 6-19th.
Indonesia's Legislature Urged to Pass Bill on Protection of Informants: Jakarta Post, March 18
The national witness protection agency says it is hopeful that new legislation can be passed later this year that would afford greater protection to whistle-blowers and other individuals instrumental in uncovering major corruption cases. Abdul Haris Semendawai, the chairman of the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK), said on Sunday that although his office had long pressed for the need for amendments to the 2006 Witness and Victim Protection Law, and even drawn up draft amendments, it was not included in the House of Representatives' list of priority legislation in 2012.
Rising Intolerance Across Indonesia Leads to Violence Against Christians: Charisma News, March 11
Events over the past few years indicate that not only is religious intolerance growing at an alarming pace across Indonesia, but that the federal government is often neutral toward-or even complicit in-acts of violence perpetrated against religious minorities. For many years, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation has been held up in the international community as a shining example of religious pluralism. As recently as 2010, President Barack Obama lauded Indonesia's religious tolerance and democratic reforms as an "example to the world," pointing out the importance of the country's national motto "unity in diversity."
Jakarta: The Space Race: Exhibition World, March 11
With more than 240 million inhabitants, Indonesia is a very attractive prospect to anybody looking to export products to a new market. The country saw income per capita rise from US$550 in 1990 to US$3,000 in 2010. According to research by financial service providers Nomura, CEIC and the World Bank, the size of Indonesia's middle class - where the average household's annual disposable income exceeds US$3,000 - will reach 150 million people by 2014. It's a big leap from the 50 million people that sat in this group in 2009. For comparison, Thailand is expected to reach almost 50 million and Malaysia half of that. The country's key industries include natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas and rubber, but mining, the maritime industry as well as apparelare also big business in Indonesia.
Women Crucial to Cleaner Politics in Indonesia, Politicians and Experts Say: The Jakarta Globe, March 11
While several female politicians, including former legislator Angelina Sondakh, have been embroiled in graft cases recently, politicians and experts are upbeat that an increased number of women in the House of Representatives will boost the legislature's performance and standing.
Women account for 18 percent of legislators, holding 101 of 560 seats after the 2009 legislative election. That figure is up from 61 out of 550 seats after the 2004 election, but is still well short of the government's target of 30 percent women's representation in the House.
Denmark is set for stronger presence in Indonesia: The Jakarta Post, March 11
Indonesia's rapid economic growth in past years, as opposed to the slow growth in many advanced economies, has made it increasingly attractive both as an investment destination and trade partner for many countries, including Denmark. Recently, Danish Trade and Investment Minister Pia Olsen Dhyr led a mission to Indonesia, to discuss growth strategies to bring bilateral ties to new heights by focusing on six key areas: clean technology; food technology; infrastructure and transportation; design, luxury and consumer goods; education and healthcare.
Saudi snubs deal with Indonesia on maids: Arabian Business, March 10
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have refused to sign a draft deal with Indonesia that would allow domestic helpers in the Far Eastern country to once again seek work in the Gulf kingdom, it was reported. Indonesia banned maids from travelling to the country for work in mid 2011 after requesting raises in minimum salary, weekly time off and reassurances over human rights after a number of cases of abuse by Saudi employers. Saudi responded by applying its own ban.
Indonesia Christians Living in Fear of Growing Intolerance and Violence: CP World, March 10
Growing religious intolerance in Indonesia is being heightened by the passivity and even "complicity" of the federal government in dealing with acts of violence perpetrated against religious minorities, International Christian Concern (ICC) has claimed. Ryan Morgan, International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, says he is concerned by the "the inability or unwillingness of the government to firmly address the issue." The world's largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia was for many years held in high esteem for its religious pluralism, based on its national motto "unity in diversity."
Women Continue Long Battle for Rights in Indonesia: The Jakarta Globe, March 9
As the world celebrated International Women's Day on Friday, activists in Jakarta and Bandung held a rally to raise awareness of the violence, discrimination and marginalization of women. In Jakarta, members of 53 local women's groups marched from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the State Palace. "In this rally we made eight demands, asking the government to fulfil its promises to protect women in the form of policies that to this day remained unrealized," said Luviana, a coordinator of the rally.
Indonesia Too Important to Avoid Trips Abroad: SBY: The Jakarta Globe, March 9
Budapest/Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has defended himself against accusations that he went overseas too frequently, saying that if anything he was very selective about choosing his international engagements. In a statement in Budapest on Thursday, where he is on a state visit, Yudhoyono said that given Indonesia's rising international profile and growing multilateral ties, he received invitations to more engagements overseas than his predecessors.
Defense and Security
Rules and exceptions in Indonesia's counterterrorism: Jakarta Post, March 18
Indonesia's counterterrorism debate has taken an interesting turn lately as it examines the compliance (or noncompliance) of the police counterterrorist unit Densus 88 in the "fight against terrorism". The media reported that Densus 88 killed five suspected terrorists in the scarcely developed island of Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara as they were said to be resisting arrest with bombs strapped on their bodies. The following day, the head of the National Counterterrorism Body (BNPT) Ansyaad Mbai definitively stated that a network called Mujahidin Indonesia Timur was operating in Poso, Makassar and Bima, and that they trained in Poso and Bima.
Six Soldiers Named as Suspects Over Attack on Police in South Sumatra: Jakarta Globe, March 14
Six soldiers have been declared suspects over the clash between the police and the military in South Sumatra last week, that left at least six people injured. "So far six people are suspected to be actively involved in the clash, that's why they are being investigated, while the rest were only following their friends' actions," Adm. Agus Suhartono, chief of the Indonesian Military (TNI), said on Wednesday.
Indonesia in Asia's Changing Balance of Power: World Politics Review, March 11
Southeast Asia's largest state and the de facto leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia has long served as a linchpin of regional order. More recently, Jakarta's status has risen even higher as concern over China leads countries such as the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia to strengthen ties with Indonesia. Yet China's attempts to stake its own claims to regional leadership pose a direct challenge to Indonesia, while China's development of a blue-water navy and its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea directly threaten Indonesian interests. As a result, Indonesia has found it increasingly difficult to play its traditional mediating role within ASEAN.
US Requests WTO Panel On Indonesian Import Restrictions: Tax-News.com, March 18
United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk has announced that the United States has requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to examine Indonesia's trade-restrictive measures applied to horticultural products, animals and animal products. The USTR stated that Indonesia has created a complex web of import licensing requirements that, along with quotas, have the effect of unfairly restricting US exports. These measures, it added, appear to be designed to protect Indonesia's domestic agriculture industry.
Indonesia sees more exports in second half: The Star, March 9
JAKARTA: Indonesian exports will likely improve in the second half of this year due to stronger economic growth in China and Singapore, according to a deputy governor of the central bank.
Bank Indonesia left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 5.75% on Thursday, saying it expected price pressures to ease after inflation hit a 20-month high in February.
"We expect exports will improve in the second half ... there are several indicators that we are watching, like China, our main trading partner that are improving. The economic indicators in Singapore have also improved," Halim Alamsyah told reporters.
Transfer of knowledge questionable unions claim: Jakarta Post, March 18
The tourism workers union in Bali has demanded stricter implementation of the manpower regulation, especially in monitoring the quality of incoming foreign workers, so as their presence on the Island of Paradise could better contribute to the improvement of local workers. "The presence of foreign workers here has not contributed many positive benefits for the development of local talent. Often foreign workers come and go every two years, without adequately transferring their skills, thus, leaving the local associates to remain in the associate position until retirement, without the opportunity to advance," chairman of the Tourism Workers Union (SP-Par) in Bali, Putu Satyawira Mahendra, said recently.
European, US carmakers race Japanese in Indonesia: Channel News Asia, March 17
Bentleys and McLarens could become a more common sight alongside three-wheeled pedicabs and Japanese cars on Jakarta's roads, with European auto giants making a push into the Indonesian market. Western companies experiencing a slowdown in sales close to home are turning to Southeast Asia's biggest economy, looking to take advantage of both a burgeoning middle class willing to spend and an elite looking for high-end toys. In 2012, Indonesia's car market grew 25 percent to a record 1.1 million units, closing in on Thailand, the biggest car market in Southeast Asia with 1.4 million vehicles, IHS automotive analyst Jessada Thongpak said.
'People, Resources, Information Technology' Key to Progress in Indonesia: The Jakarta Globe, March 11
Indonesia needs to make the most use of its people, its natural resources and the latest information technology if it is to become a leading global power, says B.J. Habibie, a former president. Speaking at the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) office recently, Habibie said these were the three pillars on which the country should base its future development, He cited other countries that had successfully built on this foundation, and also those that had excelled in human resources development and IT, despite having a paucity of natural resources.
Food & Agriculture
Indonesia to probe WWF claims on deforestation: BT Premium, March 18
Indonesia's Forest Ministry will investigate claims of continued deforestation in Riau's protected Tesso Nilo National Park after lawmakers lashed out at the World Wildlife Fund's comments on its work in the park. "We will evaluate (the WWF's work)," Darori, the ministry's director general for forest protection and nature conservation, told news portal antaranews.com. "If it proves to have no benefit, we will terminate the partnership."
US Asks WTO to Strike Indonesian Agricultural Import Curbs: Jakarta Globe, March 15
Washington. The United States said on Thursday it has asked the World Trade Organization to strike down import restrictions imposed by Indonesia on horticultural and animal products. "Indonesia's import licensing requirements and quotas adversely affect a wide range of American agricultural exports and severely reduce Indonesian consumers' access to high-quality American products," US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement announcing the action.
Forestry Management Reform Pact Signed by Ministers, Institution Heads: The Jakarta Globe, March 11
Eight cabinet ministers and the heads of four state institutions on Monday signed a joint action agreement concerning the management of Indonesia's forests. The signing of the accord took place in the presence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono at the State Palace. The heads of the Home Affairs Ministry, the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Forestry Ministry, the Public Works Ministry, the Environment Ministry and the National Development Planning Commission were all in attendance.
BlackBerry Z10 launched in Indonesia: The Daily Star, March 15
BlackBerry on Friday launched its new Z10 smartphone in Indonesia, the company's third-largest market, as it rapidly loses ground elsewhere to rivals such as Apple and Samsung. Some 300 buyers gathered at the upmarket Central Park mall in the capital Jakarta by midday -- many queued outside from 07:00 am -- to snap up the Z10, already launched in Britain and Canada, and set to hit US stores next week.
Indonesia: China, US, Russia, S. Korea sources of govt hacks: ZD Net, March 11
Summary: Communications and information technology minister pinpointed the four nations as destinations from which hacking attacks were carried out against Indonesia's government Web sites. An Indonesian minister has identified four countries as main culprits for attacking the government's Web sites.According to online news portal Tempo.co's report Monday, Tifatu Sembiring, communications and information technology minister, said hackers who attacked the government's Web sites are from China, Russia, the United States and South Korea.
Unlocking Indonesia Through An Exploration of Its Literature: The Jakarta Globe, March 10
Reading novels is an excellent way of getting to know something about a country when one is newly arrived, doesn't know much about it, and is going to be spending some time there. Certainly this was my experience coming to Indonesia for the first time some decades ago. Only at that time I was hampered by the fact that there were few novels - only ones by Mochtar Lubis as far as I'm aware - that had been translated into English or any other foreign language which I could read.
350,000 Residents to Be Relocated in Rp 250b Project to Widen Ciliwung: Jakarta Globe, March 18
The Jakarta administration plans to spend Rp 250 billion ($25.7 million) this year to acquire land for widening the Ciliwung River, as part of wider ongoing efforts at flood mitigation. Rudy Siahaan, the head of the Jakarta Public Works Office, said on Saturday that in addition to widening the waterway, the administration also planned to dredge it to increase the flow of water. "We want to widen the Ciliwung to an ideal width, which will increase the flow rate and allow the river to handle higher volumes of water without the danger of spilling over," he said.
Lion Air's Record Airbus Order Costs $24 Billion: Jakarta Globe, March 18
Paris. Lion Air President Rusdi Kirana confirmed on Monday that the airline was ordering 234 Airbus jets to be delivered from 2014 to 2026 worth $24 billion. "We are going to buy different kinds, but mostly the Airbus A320neo, [we ordered] 174 units of that," he told reporters in Paris ahead of the expected signing of the record deal. The more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly Airbus A320neo has a price tag of more than $100 million. The Airbus website says it has "a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption, two tonnes of additional payload, up to 500 nautical miles of more range, lower operating costs, along with reductions in engine noise and emissions."
Bumpy road lies ahead for Jakarta MRT system: Channel News Asia, March 14
Construction of the much-awaited Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit is expected to begin this month but even before the project breaks ground, there are concerns about the high subsidies needed to make rides affordable. Experts warned commuters will not likely take the MRT unless the ticket prices are kept low. Travelling by public bus in Jakarta is cheap, or made cheap, by huge government subsidies. For instance, commuters taking the Trans Jakarta - the service that operates on special bus lanes in the capital - pay only US$0.35 regardless of distance. That is because the Jakarta Municipal authority foots 40 per cent of the fare.
Road Building to Drive Sales of Heavy Trucks in Indonesia: The Jakarta Globe, March 11
Increasing demand due to infrastructure improvement, fleet rejuvenation and lively domestic trade will drive up sales for medium and heavy-duty trucks in Indonesia, said Munich-based consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. Market value for the trucks - defined as vehicles at more than six tons gross weight - will reach $3 billion over the next two years, from $2.5 billion last year, the firm said. "Improvements in infrastructure would be driving that demand," Roland Berger's managing partner for Southeast Asia, Joost Geginat, told the Jakarta Globe last week.
Lack of infrastructure holds back airline performance: The Jakarta Post, March 11
Operators say that a lack of infrastructure remains a major obstacle to development in Indonesia's aviation sector as airports across the country, even the capital city's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, are too small to accommodate demand. Major airports in the country such as Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport, Surabaya's Juanda International Airport and Makassar's Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport are operating at around 200 to 300 percent beyond capacity.
Can Jakarta Build Answers to Its Transportation Problems?: The Jakarta Globe, March 10
Jakarta gets a bad rap for having some of the worst traffic in the world. But there might be relief for the capital's residents in the form of some new construction projects that have just been completed or are slated to finish this year. Hanna Prabandari, a daily commuter, says that the new five-kilometer elevated roadway that stretches from Antasari-Blok M to Kampung Melayu-Tanah Abang has reduced the amount of time she spends in the car traveling from her home to work - which previously had taken about an hour - to a matter of a few minutes.
Indonesia Stocks Decline Most in Six Months on Inflation Concern: Bloomberg, March 14
Indonesian stocks fell, dragging the benchmark index (JCI) down by the most in six months, on concern the government's efforts to rein in fuel subsidies will boost living costs and spur inflation. The Jakarta Composite Index dropped 1.4 percent to 4,766.67 at 11:12 a.m. in Jakarta, heading for sharpest fall since Aug. 30. PT Unilever Indonesia, the largest consumer company in the index by market capitalization, was the biggest drag on the gauge today, falling 4 percent.
"There's an expectation that there will be a fuel price hike," Ferry Wong, head of Indonesia equity research at Citigroup Inc.'s Indonesia unit, said by phone today. "It would be negative for the short term. People are also locking in profits."
Bakrieland pays mature bonds, fined for delay: The Jakarta Post, March 13
PT Bakrieland Development, the property flagship of the politically wired Bakrie family, has managed to pay the principal and interest of its mature bonds. Yet, the authorities have imposed penalties for the delay.Bakrieland, whose shares are traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the code ELTY, said it had transferred Rp 280 billion (US$28.84 million) of principal bonds and Rp 8.99 billion in interest, to the Central Securities Depository (KSEI) account on Monday - the due date.KSEI said after the payment it would disburse the principal, interest and fine payment to bond holders on Wednesday, March 13.
Indonesia's Bakrieland Pays $29 Million Debt, Avoids Default: Jakarta Globe, March 12
Indonesian property firm Bakrieland Development has obtained last-minute funding to redeem a Rp 280 billion ($29 million) bond, avoiding default in the latest of a series of financial troubles to befall the Bakrie Group conglomerate. Shares in Bakrieland were suspended on Monday by the stock exchange authority after it failed to redeem the bond on March 8 with Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI), a custodian agency for capital market transactions.
The House and the Government Discuss Draft Bill on Trade: Hukum Online, March 11
The House of Representatives ("House") and the Government are in the process of drafting a Draft Bill on Trade ("Draft Bill"), which aims to create a comprehensive legal framework to address recent developments, as well as future challenges in the trade sector. The Draft Bill concerns corporations and individuals engaged in trade activities. The Draft Bill emphasizes the role of the Government (President, regional governments, and Minister of Trade) that will be responsible for the policy-making process and oversight for the trade sector.
Prabowo Meets With Yudhoyono, Praises Him for Economic Management: Jakarta Globe, March 11
Former military general and founder of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto on Monday commended President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his management of Indonesia's economy. "I am grateful that Mr. President was willing to give us a briefing. I think we have to admit that under his tenure, the management of our economy has been relatively good," Prabowo said Monday following a two-hour meeting with Yudhoyono.
CVC-owned Matahari launches up to $1.36 bln Indonesia offering-terms: Reuters, March 11
CVC Capital Partners and Multipolar Tbk launched on Monday an up to $1.36 billion share offering in PT Matahari Department Store, Indonesia's largest department store operator, looking to benefit from growing investor appetite for consumer stocks in Indonesia. CVC, through one of its subsidiaries, and PT Multipolar Tbk are offering 1.167 billion shares in Matahari in a range of 10,000 to 11,250 rupiah, putting the total deal at 13.13 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($1.36 billion).
Protecting Consumers, OJK Will Establish a Market Intelligence Team: Hukum Online, March 08
In an effort to protect consumers from Ponzi scheme investments, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) plans to establish a market intelligence team (team) for each sector of the financial industry, including banking institutions, capital market, and non-banking financial institutions. Kusumaningtuti, a member of OJK's Board of Commissioners, explained that in addition to the team, OJK has established an investment alert task force (task force) along with other governmental institutions to handle reports and complaints related to Ponzi scheme investments. "If the team discovers a crime or fraud, the company will be reported to the task force," she said on Friday (7/2).
Pertamina EP allocates $300m for exploration:The Jakarta Post, March 14
Pertamina EP, the upstream subsidiary of state-run energy firm PT Pertamina, has allocated US$300 million for its exploration activities in 2013 to unearth new oil and gas reserves to boost future production, an official said. Pertamina EP's exploration and development director, Doddy Priambodo, told reporters over the weekend that the company was aiming to drill 28 exploration wells in addition to conducting more seismic surveys in several areas this year.
Indonesia keeps politically sensitive fuel subsidies, may limit use: Reuters, March 14
Indonesia may restrict subsidised fuel use by private vehicles in major cities but will only raise fuel prices as a last resort, the government said on Thursday, as Southeast Asia's largest economy struggles to contain ballooning fuel spending.Indonesia has long been under pressure to reduce its fuel subsidies, which cut deeply into public finances. But raising fuel prices is considered politically toxic ahead of elections due next year, especially after price increases in 2005 and 2008 sparked protests.
SBY Says Indonesia's Fuel Subsidy Policy Not Right: Jakarta Globe, March 13
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday admitted that Indonesia's fuel subsidy policy was not correct, confirming that a new policy would be announced in the next few weeks.
While the president said that the fuel subsidy must not exceed the appropriate amount due to the fact that it would impact the country's fiscal and economic policy, Yudhoyono said that the subsidy in the state budget was up to Rp 300 trillion ($31 billion) and was mostly for fuel and electricity.
Indonesia's Palm Oil Exports Drop in January as China Buys Less: Bloomberg, March 11
Palm oil exports from Indonesia, the largest producer, fell for a second straight month in January as sales to China declined, an industry group said. Shipments, which include palm and kernel oils, dropped 1.4 percent to 1.87 million metric tons from 1.896 million tons in December, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said in an e- mailed statement today. The median estimate for exports was 1.6 million tons in a Bloomberg survey last month, and is 14 percent more than a year earlier.
Healthcare & Life Sciences
City improving Jakarta healthcare system: Jakarta Post, March 14
The city administration is ramping up the Jakarta Health Card (KJS) scheme, which was launched in November last year by Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, to improve free health services for Jakartans. All Jakarta residents are entitled to free third-class health services in 92 public and private hospitals across the capital under the KJS scheme. The improvements include the recent launch of a 119 call center number as an integrated information system and the expansion of third-class health service capacity.
Indonesian government set to begin regulating startup incubator programs this month: TNW, March 11
The Indonesian government, through its Ministry of Cooperations and SME, has signaled its intention to begin regulating entrepreneurship and incubator programs for SMEs, including those in the tech industry. Regulation has been on the cards for some time and, according to officials, it will be introduced at some point this month. Speaking to local media site Kontan, ministry representative I Wayan Dipta said details of the regulation will emerge this month.
"We're still waiting the green light from the President," he said, before stating that the regulation is crucial in order to legitimize all entities involved in business and technology incubators for Indonesian SMEs. "Currently we don't have anything to further regulate this practice," Wayan explained.
Indonesia, CVC's Bright Spot: The Wall Street Journal, March 11
After last year's mishaps in Australia, things are looking up for private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners in Asia as it prepares to exit a major investment in Indonesia.
CVC kicked off the roadshow for the roughly $1.4 billion share-sale in Indonesia's Matahari Department Store Monday in Jakarta, according to people with knowledge of the matter, and signed up some 14 investors as cornerstone investors worth around $450 million.