Author: Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

Obama’s Indonesian trip, a quintessential ‘mudik’ holiday

Former US president Barack Obama met with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday at the Bogor Palace in West Java, after arriving in Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma airport with his family earlier in the day.

Continue reading “Obama’s Indonesian trip, a quintessential ‘mudik’ holiday”

Indonesia aims to emulate Norway in managing its mineral wealth

After three years leading Indonesia’s largest state-owned bank by assets, former Bank Mandiri chief executive officer Budi Gunadi Sadikin has a new role as special staff to Rini Soewandi, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (SOE).

In this role, which he started in late June 2016, Budi is charged with establishing a holding company made out of state-owned mining enterprises to re-do the way the government handles its future stakes in the industry.

Continue reading “Indonesia aims to emulate Norway in managing its mineral wealth”

Queen Silvia highlights Indonesia-Sweden sustainable fashion cooperation

Queen Silvia of Sweden drew on a batik pattern during her visit to Jakarta Creative Hub on 23 May, 2017. Photo: The Parrot/Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

Indonesia’s up-and-coming fashion designers have a lot to learn from their Swedish counterparts in practising sustainable fashion if they want to make their marks in the global fashion industry.

Lenny Tedja, the director of annual fashion showcase Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW), said since sustainable fashion was introduced here about three years ago, JFW has been encouraging young designers that JFW grooms to practise it in their production.

“We are still at the beginning of sustainable fashion practices, but we are going there. If these young designers want to go international, they have to pay more attention to sustainable fashion,” she said, adding that they could start by using materials that are eco-friendly, paying their workers in accordance to the minimum wage requirement, providing a humane workplace, to exercising better waste management.

JFW turned to Sweden, through its embassy in Jakarta, to learn more about the practise since the Swedes are very much advanced in producing sustainable fashion, Lenny said.

This cooperation was highlighted during Swedish Queen Silvia’s recent visit to Jakarta Creative Hub in Central Jakarta.

The queen was welcomed by Happy Farida Djarot, the wife of acting Jakarta governor Djarot Syaiful Hidayat and Svida Alisjahbana, the chief executive of Femina Group, who both then accompanied Silvia to browse through the display of products made by small and medium enterpreneurs, including handicrafts and fashion items made from recycled material of used hotel bed sheets produced by housewives who live in North Jakarta’s Marunda housing blocks.

Silvia also took a few minutes to draw on a traditional Jakarta batik pattern.

The queen said it was really inspiring to see the works of Indonesian designers displayed at the co-working space, which included elements of sustainable practices in their production.

“Like Indonesia, Sweden has a rich traditional culture in design,” Silvia said.

“We have a lot to learn from each other,” she added.

Svida said having the queen in the hub marked a symbol to Indonesia-Sweden cooperation in sustainable fashion.

“Being eco-friendly is what we strive to do and we would very much like to learn from Sweden,” Svida said.

The visit to Jakarta Creative Hub was part of the first-ever state visit of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to Indonesia on 22-24 May 2017. The royal couple’s three-city visit to Jakarta, Bogor and Bandung focused on trade, sustainability, research and innovation and it was aimed to strengthen the political, economic and cultural relations between Sweden and Indonesia.

Fighting foreign poachers

It was no April Fool’s Day joke when on April 1 Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries sent in whole and in pieces 81 illegal fishing boats to the bottom of the sea simultaneously at 12 locations across the country.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, in another show of force to reassert her ministry’s tough stance to combat illegal fishing, led the sinking and blowing up of the vessels, 75 of which were foreign, from Ambon province which is close to the Arafura Sea on the eastern part of the country.

“This is to tell the people, that there was a time when thousands of foreign vessels came to steal our fish and now they know that Indonesia can actually combat such a crime,” she said in a statement after leading the operation that stretched to the Natuna Islands on Indonesia’s northernmost maritime frontier and borders the South China Sea, where most of the ships – 29 – were destroyed.

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Photo: Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry/Didik Heriyanto

The Natuna Sea and the Arafura Sea are both fertile fishing grounds and often infested with illegal fishing boats.

Yunus Husein, the deputy head of Task Force 115, which was set up to combat illegal fishing, said the eastern waters of Indonesia is still prone to risks of illegal fishing and by choosing to lead the operation from Ambon, the ministry wanted to reaffirm that illegal fishing should no longer happen in the Arafura Sea. It also aimed to show support to the Indonesian Navy’s Eastern Fleet and other law enforcement agencies in the eastern region to take firm measures in deterring poachers.

“We hope Sino serves as a symbol of our victory against fish plunderer, after years of defeat, especially in eastern Indonesia,” Susi said, referring to the name of the two ships, Sino 26 and Sino 35 that were sunk in Tihlepuai waters off Morella village in Ambon.

The ships’ names indicated a relation to China, and Yunus said the Indonesian-flagged ships were owned by an Indonesian company with a Chinese investor.

To date, Indonesia has sunk 317 illegal fishing vessels since October 2014 and most of them were from neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

Since January to March 21, the ministry’s patrol boats have apprehended 40 illegal fishing boats, which included 36 boats from Vietnam while the rest were from The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Poaching fish in Indonesia’s waters is a crime punishable by maximum six years in prison and a maximum fine of 20 billion rupiah.

“Illegal fishing is rampant in Indonesian waters because we have not been able to tap this potential resource,” said Akhmad Solihin, a lecturer at Bogor Agricultural University’s School of Fisheries and Maritime Sciences.

While he agrees that blowing up illegal boats could create a deterrent effect to poachers, he urged the government to improve the investigation procedures for foreign boats to ensure that the legal process is conducted fairly and especially to provide proper translators for foreign seamen.

“I think the best solution to combat illegal fishing is by forging bilateral relations with fishing poachers’ countries of origin, to form agreement that those countries’ government could prosecute the fishing companies or fishing boats’ owners to pay compensation to Indonesia for poaching in our waters,” Akhmad said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Halim, the director for Jakarta-based advocacy group Maritime Studies Center for Humanity, said that while Susi seemed to be gaining grounds in combatting foreign poachers, local fishermen were not able to yield much from the abundant fishing resources.

This is due to due to a ministerial regulation that prohibits the use of trawling nets and dragnet fishing and bombs that damage coral reefs within Indonesian waters.

“There is no solution on what the fishermen can use to catch fish in place of the prohibited nets,” Abdul said.

Viva Yoga Mauladi, a lawmaker from a House of Representatives’ commission that oversees maritime affairs called on the government to review the regulation due to widespread refusal from various fishing community. In place of the prohibited nets, the regulation stipulates that fishermen can only use the ecosystem-friendly gill net.

After visiting a coastal community in Lamongan, East Java on March 31, he said that fishermen in Lamongan refused to use the recommended gill net.

“They have been using trawling nets and dragnet fish for a long time and they don’t want to use the gill net as it only incurs losses for them,” Viva said.


New Pertamina chief faces one-price fuel policy challenge in a vast archipelago

The newly appointed president director of state-owned energy firm Pertamina, Elia Massa Manik, has a huge task ahead to carry out President Joko Widodo’s one-price fuel policy, in the face of inadequate infrastructure to distribute fuel to the country’s remote areas and far-flung islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

Maryati Abdullah, the national coordinator for PWYP Indonesia, a civil society coalition for energy and extractive industry governance reform, considers the policy is viable if Pertamina could import crude oil at a much more affordable price and refine it in its own refineries.

“They could start by revitalizing its existing, old refineries so they could increase its production output, while also remain committed to developing new ones,” she said.

Unit pengolahan cilacap

Pertamina refinery in Cilacap, Central Java. Photo:

Widodo announced the policy in October 2016 during a visit to Yahukimo, a district near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border in the easternmost province of Papua. Due to the location and lack of infrastructure in Papua and the eastern part of Indonesian archipelago, fuel prices can cost up to a dozen time more from the normal price of 6,450 rupiah per liter for petrol and 5,150 rupiah per liter for solar. The policy is expected to cost Pertamina about 800 billion rupiah annually.

Fahmy Radhi, an economic energy analyst from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta agrees that having its own production infrastructure could give Pertamina wider fuel distribution coverage.

“If it has its own refineries, Pertamina won’t have to import up to 650,000 barrel per day. This is a huge amount that the oil and gas rent seekers have been cavorting around,” Fahmy said.

Kurtubi, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission VII which oversees energy and mineral resources said as a company drawn to constitutional obligation about exploitation of the country’s natural resources should benefit the people, there is more that Pertamina has to consider in its operation than merely making a profit.

Article 33 in Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution states that “sectors of production which are important for the country and affect the life of the people shall be controlled by the state and the land, the waters and the natural riches contained therein shall be controlled by the State and exploited to the greatest prosperity of the people.”

“One-price fuel policy is a constitutional mandate. Pertamina could do it as long as the cost is efficient,” Kurtubi, who goes by one name, said.

“The new president director has to be able to operate the company without contradicting the constitution,” he added.

Kurtubi also said that cutting fuel import should be high in Pertamina’s agenda under Manik’s leadership.

“It should develop its own refineries so that Pertamina could produce its own fuel to meet the domestic demands,” Kurtubi said, adding that the existence of a refinery in a certain area could also create multiplier effects that would boost the local economy and open new jobs.

Manik was appointed to head the company during Pertamina’s general shareholders meeting at the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry in Jakarta on March 16, more than a month after then-chief executive Dwi Soetjipto and deputy director Ahmad Bambang were ousted on Feb 3 because of what the government – its majority shareholder – was a leadership problem and a lack of teamwork.

Manik, who was the president director of PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) III, the holding company of 14 state plantations firms since April 2016, is an alumnus of Bandung Institute of Technology and Asean Institute Of Management.

In his first address to Pertamina’s employees, Manik said he would focus on strengthening the company’s human resources and maintaining Pertamina’s improved performance for the past years.

Sudirman Said, the then-energy and mineral resources minister, said in 2015 that Pertamina was able to save 250 billion rupiah per day after ousted CEO Dwi in 2015 disbanded Pertamina Energy Trading Limited (Petral), a Singapore-based Pertamina subsidiary handled crude and fuel oil imports for the state energy company and was notorious for being the oil and gas rent seekers’ den.

“There are many important projects we need to execute to achieve the national energy security goal, therefore it is important to gain trust so that we can adeptly carry out the projects,” Manik said.

PWYP Indonesia had urged the government to select the new president director in a transparent, credible and independent manner, following the Feb 3 ouster of Dwi.

Maryati said the government didn’t say much about the reason they appointed Manik, but given his public track record on improving corporate efficiency, she holds a favorable view that Manik would be efficient in his human resources planning and be able to restructure various executive positions to a more effective appointments.

“We also hope he would not be swayed by certain political interests,” Maryati said.


Jokowi janji percepat pembahasan RUU masyarakat adat

Jokowi AMAN
Presiden Joko Widodo, didampingi Menteri Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan, Siti Nurbaya dan Kepala Staf Kepresidenan, Teten Masduki berbincang dengan perwakilan Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN) di Istana Negara, Rabu, 22 Maret 2017. Foto: Biro Pers Setpres

Kekecewaan Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN) karena Presiden Joko Widodo batal membuka kongres nasional mereka di Tanjung Gusta, Medan, 15 Maret lalu sedikit terobati setelah akhirnya bertemu dengan Jokowi di Istana Negara, Rabu, 22 Maret 2017.

Dalam pertemuan tersebut, Jokowi mengatakan dukungannya untuk mempercepat pembahasan Rancangan Undang Undang Pengakuan dan Perlindungan Hak-hak Masyarakat Adat (RUU PPHMA), yang saat ini draftnya masih dalam proses pemutakhiran di Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR).

RUU inisiatif DPR yang proses legislasinya sudah tertunda lama ini masuk dalam daftar Program Legislasi Nasional atau Prolegnas 2017 dan merupakan satu dari 49 RUU yang diprioritaskan dalam Prolegnas.

“Pemerintah akan terus mendorong agar [RUU] itu segera diselesaikan. Karena ini juga menyangkut kebutuhan pemerintah dalam menyelesaikan persoalan-persoalan terutama yang berkaitan dengan lahan. Payung hukumnya kalau sudah selesai, ini akan lebih cepat,” ujar Jokowi dalam pertemuannya dengan AMAN.

Anggota DPR Komisi II, Arif Wibowo, juga menyatakan dukungannya agar RUU ini bisa segera disahkan agar dapat mengafirmasikan perlindungan terhadap sebagian masyarakat Indonesia yang hidupnya berdasarkan hukum adat.

“RUU ini akan memperjelas definisi masyarakat adat secara terbatas namun utuh dan jelas,” ujar Arif kepada The Parrot.

Bila disahkan, UU itu akan menjadikan 2.332 komunitas masyarakat adat yang tergabung dalam AMAN, yang jumlahnya mencakup sekitar 17 juta hingga 20 juta individu sebagai subyek hukum dan mengafirmasikan hak-hak masyarakat adat. Menurut perkiraan AMAN, masih ada 50 juta jiwa masyarakat adat lain yang belum teridentifikasi.

Rukka Sombolinggi, sekretaris jendral AMAN periode 2017–2022 yang baru terpilih di kongres Tanjung Gusta, membenarkan dukungan Jokowi terhadap RUU masyarakat adat dan pembentukan Satuan Tugas Masyarakat Adat.

Desakan kepada Jokowi untuk membentuk Satuan Tugas (Satgas) Masyarakat Adat merupakan salah satu dari 14 resolusi yang dihasilkan dalam kongres Tanjung Gusta.

“Setelah pertemuan tadi, AMAN dan Kepala Staf Presiden langsung bertemu dan bekerja untuk memastikan satgas dibentuk, karena Presiden sudah menyatakan di hadapan perwakilan masyarakat adat agar satgas dibentuk,” ujar Rukka dalam pernyataannya kepada The Parrot, 22 Maret.

Satgas ini akan membangun model penyelesaian konflik, merumuskan dan melaksanakan pemulihan kepada masyarakat adat yang telah menjadi korban pelanggaan hak asasi manusia dan menyusun kajian tentang harmonisasi berbagai peraturan dan undang-undang yang terkait masyarakat adat.

Rukka mengatakan ketiadaan undang-undang yang khusus mengatur tentang masyarakat adat mengakibatkan banyaknya perampasan tanah dan wilayah adat dari masyarakat adat.

“Kriminalisasi pemuka dan pejuang adat biasanya terjadi saat ada perebutan lahan untuk pembangunan atau pembukaan lahan kelapa sawit,” ujar Rukka.

Menurutnya, sejauh ini tercatat ada 233 individu dari berbagai masyarakat adat di Indonesa yang sedang berhadapan dengan hukum karena mempertahankan wilayahnya dan diperkirakan masih ada banyak kasus lain yang tidak tercatat.

Jokowi juga mengatakan bahwa pemerintah masih dalam proses untuk mengesahkan pengakuan terhadap 590.000 hektar hutan adat.

“Kalau itu kita berikan ke masyarakat adat, saya yakin hutan itu akan lebih lestari, lebih terjaga, lebih terpelihara,” ujar Jokowi.

Pemerintah telah menyerahkan 13.122 hektar lahan hutan kepada sembilan kelompok masyarakat adat atau sebanyak 5.700 kepala keluarga di pulau Sumatra, Jawa dan Sulawesi pada bulan Desember 2016, namun AMAN menganggap luas hutan yang diserahkan itu masih jauh dari 8,4 juta hektar wilayah adat yang dipetakan AMAN, yang sebagian besarnya sudah berubah fungsi dan dikuasai negara dan investor untuk pembangunan dan industri.

Pemenuhan dan pemulihan hak-hak masyarakat adat merupakan bagian janji kampanye pasangan Jokowi dan Jusuf Kalla pada pemilihan presiden 2104. Dalam Nawacita atau sembilan program pemerintahan mereka, ada enam komitmen yang dijanjikan kepada masyarakat adat.

Beberapa hal dalam enam komitmen itu antara lain peninjauan ulang dan penyesuaian peraturan dan undang-undang terkait pengakuan, penghormatan, perlindungan dan pemajuan hak-hak masyarakat adat, melanjutkan proses legislasi RUU PPHMA, memastikan akan menjalankan proses legislasi mengenai pengelolaan tanah dan sumber daya alam sesuai norma-norma pengakuan hak-hak masyarakat adat dan mendorong adanya inisiatif penyusunan RUU yang berkaitan dengan penyelesaian konflik-konflik agraria yang timbul akibat pengabaian hak-hak masyarakat adat.

Sebagai dukungan untuk pencapaian komitmen itu, Rukka mengatakan pada masa kampanye lalu AMAN secara organisasi sepakat untuk mendukung Jokowi sebagai calon presiden dan memobilisasi anggotanya di seluruh Indonesia untuk memilih Jokowi.

Indonesian pilots see the sky is limited

Students train to fly an aircraft at the state-owned Indonesian Aviation Institute (STPI) in Curug, Banten. Photo courtesy of STPI

The Indonesian transportation ministry plans to kick off development of new airports in 13 locations from 2017 to 2019 to meet Indonesia’s growing appetite for infrastructure and to increase the number of people using air transport for domestic and international travel. Continue reading “Indonesian pilots see the sky is limited”