Tuesday, May 12, 2015

10) Flying the flag of reform?

11) Indonesia’s defence build-up must be viewed in the right light
12) Jokowi : No More Problems, Papua Needs No Dialogue
13) AJI Urges Jokowi to Keep His Promise to Allow Foreign Journalists Unfettered Access to Papua
14) Jayawijaya Council Yet to Take Stand on Row over New Brimob Headquarters
15) We Must Have Mutual Trust As Foreign Journalists Enter Papua, President Says
16) Papua Government Hopes President’s Visit to Improve Economic Growth
17) Papua Faces Shortage of Agricultural Instructors in Papua

With Joko Widodo pardoning political prisoners, James Giggacher asks how much will change in Papua.
This weekend has seen some possibly big developments in Papua, where Indonesia President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has released five political prisoners in the disaffected provinces.
He’s also promised long-shut out foreign journalists full access to the region, which has been home to a decades-long separatist movement.
The call for independence has seen an almost 50-year insurgency between poorly-armed locals and government forces in the eastern edge of Indonesia’s sprawling nation-state. Claims that locals are unfairly targeted by Indonesian security forces are not uncommon.
The five prisoners – Kimanus Wenda, Jefrai Murib, Apotnalogolik Lokobal, Numbungga Telenggen and Linus Hiluka – were arrested in 2003 for a raid on a military arsenal. In a ceremony at Abepura prison in the provincial capital Jayapura, Jokowi shook their hands and gave them their tickets home – letters of clemency waiving their remaining jail time.
“Today we are releasing these five detainees to stop the stigma of conflict in Papua,” Jokowi said. “We need to create a sense of peace in Papua. This is just the beginning.”
Building on earlier assurances to improve the livelihood of locals who are heavily reliant on development assistance from Jakarta, these latest moves seem to indicate that Jokowi is loosening Indonesia’s tight grip on the mineral-rich Papua.
But as with most things, the devil is in the detail – or lack of it.
While the release of prisoners in the name of peace might be a welcome move, there is one big unanswered question; what is now the status of the Morning Star flag and other explicit rallying points of pro-independence sentiment?
The Morning Star has become the potent symbol of Papua’s calls for independence – a ‘freedom flag’ that sings to the soul with all the lyrical and symbolic stir of a tartan-clad Mel Gibson facing down an army of English pikemen and Welsh archers in Scotland. It was the flag that flew when the colonial Dutch finally clogged it back to their dikes way back in 1961.
Jakarta takes a dim view of it at the best of times.
In 2013, six men were arrested for raising the flag to mark the 50th anniversary of Indonesian occupation of the territory. They faced a possible 15 years in jail. One of the men was so badly beaten by police his trial was delayed.
So the question remains; with the Morning Star shining a light on Papua demands to break away from the sovereignty-sensitive Jakarta, will prosecutors and judges continue to charge and convict Papuans who peacefully raise flags (whether for treason or some lesser charge)? If yes then nothing has changed and there will continue to be political prisoners.
Even if all current prisoners are released, they are likely to be replaced by new ones in no time, a delegation of pro-independence Papuans was charged with treason as they landed in Jayapura airport after a mysterious meeting with Minister of Defence, Ryamizard Ryacudu.
According to rights monitors, who have slammed the arrests as spurious, the five men have been charged with treason under article 106 of the criminal code for wanting to secede from the Republic of Indonesia and could face anywhere between 20 years and life in prison.
This also raises the question of what happens if the raising of the flag and pro-independence speeches doesn’t see Papuan activists arrested. Will Jokowi and his government have the stomach for louder calls for independence in Papua? There’s also the question of how he will react to foreign leaders calling for change in Papua.
In all of this, Jokowi once again shows that substance cannot be substituted for a smile and a photo-op.
He’s not given any indication on how he would like authorities to react the next time the Morning Star flag is hoisted again – as it will inevitably be.
Unlike in 1998, when the release of the New Order’s political prisoners was accompanied by the abolition of the notorious Anti-Subversion law, there has been no discussion of how judges and prosecutors should interpret the treason articles that Papuan activists are currently jailed for. This is therefore about more than a question of political prisoners; this is about legal processes and how activists end up in jail in the first place. This is about reformasi – or lack thereof.
Releasing current prisoners does not resolve the policy question of how the government responds to non-violent pro-independence speech. And it hardly draws a map to long-term reform.
If the current 90 or so prisoners currently locked up re-engage in peaceful protest will they be thrown back in jail? Or is clemency contingent on becoming a loyal citizen? Authorities appear to assume the existence of an implicit bargain: prisoners are released, but Papuans should in return stop voicing pro-independence sentiments.
It is very possible that Jakarta will try to have it both ways – release some, or even all, current inmates, but continue to declare the Morning Star a “banned” flag, and allow security forces to act against pro-independence activists.
The fact that they gave clemency to this particular group, who were involved in an ammunitions raid in 2003, rather than a flag raising, is telling.
The five had already served 12 years of their 20-year sentence, and it is very possible they were up for release soon in any case.
It would seem that in Papua, there is a long way to go before anyone can pin their flag to the mast of reform.
James Giggacher is editor of New Mandala and associate lecturer in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

11) Indonesia’s defence build-up must be viewed in the right light

 Indonesian Army’s Kopassus special forces. It is most likely that even with a strengthened TNI, Indonesia’s modernised military will be spread rather thinly across the vast expanse of territory it has to defend. Photo: Reuters


In recent years, Indonesia has been working on upgrading its National Armed Forces (TNI) to reach the goal of Minimum Essential Force (MEF) status by 2024. While what exactly constitutes a MEF has not been clearly defined since it was first announced almost a decade ago, the TNI has since been stepping up its acquisition of new capabilities. This includes the purchase of main battle tanks, sonar-equipped anti-submarine helicopters and rocket artillery.
To support further investments in new equipment, Indonesia plans to increase its defence budget.

Though its 2015 defence budget of 95 trillion rupiah (S$9.63 billion) is 14 per cent higher than last year’s, it makes up only 0.8 per cent of the gross domestic product of South-east Asia’s largest economy. Jakarta plans to almost double this to 1.5 per cent, which would see its defence expenditure go up to US$20 billion (S$26.6 billion) by 2019, thereby surpassing Singapore as the top spender on defence in the region in absolute terms.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the prospect of a resurgent, assertive TNI has sparked some concerns of a regional arms race and heightened tensions. Such fears have been compounded by Jakarta’s recent robust power play, where foreign fishing boats caught poaching have been blown up and intruding aircraft have been forced to land by Indonesian warplanes.
However, at the same time, it is easy to overstate Indonesia’s ambitions and paint a somewhat alarmist picture. To put things in perspective, it is useful to remind ourselves of a completely different set of strategic concerns only 17 years ago.

In mid-1998, the prospect of a weak TNI unable to protect South-east Asia’s largest economy stoked fears amongst security analysts in Singapore that Indonesia would be Balkanised.
Balkanisation — the violent fragmentation of a state into smaller regions, similar to what happened to the former Yugoslavia — was a buzz-word then.
The picture in Indonesia in May 1998 was bleak. From Aceh to Papua, unrest broke out because of an incendiary mix of historical, racial or religious flashpoints. In Jakarta, angry mobs torched property in Chinatown and were also said to have raped many Indonesian-Chinese women.
Hotel bookings in Singapore soared as Indonesian Chinese fled here to escape the chaos.
Singapore policymakers quickly mapped out how the region might look if Indonesia fell apart.
Preparations were made should the worst happen.

By February 1999, metal fences topped by razor wire cordoned off a third of St John’s Island. The plan was that if the situation took a turn for the worst and illegal immigrant boats headed this way, the island could securely house about 10,000 people with food, healthcare and sanitation away from mainland Singapore. Thankfully, that standby plan was not needed.
At a tactical level, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) fast-landing craft practised how to intercept small boats. This was a new and improvised role for the RSN’s Fast Craft Squadron, which had been mainly trained, organised and equipped to support beach landing and coastal hook operations by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
If these drawer plans had been put into action, the geostrategic landscape of South-east Asia would have become more unpredictable.
The impact on Singapore would have been significant because an unstable Indonesia would have had negative spillover effects on the tiny city-state.
The Singapore economy would have suffered, as jittery foreign investors take stock of a possible meltdown in regional stability. Prices of basic foodstuff could have spiked, given that Indonesia is the largest supplier of fish and the second-largest pork supplier to the Republic. Air traffic to Changi Airport could also have been adversely affected, as airlines try to avoid overflying an unstable region.
It does not take an active mind to figure out the impact that disorder in Indonesia would have on Singapore’s stability, growth and prosperity.


As we mark the 17th anniversary of the May 1998 unrest in Indonesia this week, it is timely for those who fret about a resurgent TNI to reflect on the alternative scenario.
The reality today is that TNI will ride on Indonesia’s economic growth to beef up its arsenal in the coming years.
Indonesia has underinvested in defence for many years and it is not surprising that it is playing catch-up now to modernise its hardware. At the same time, President Joko Widodo has sought to boost his credentials by projecting Indonesia as a maritime power in the region and pledging to strengthen the country’s naval capability.
He has also voiced his determination to revolutionise the country’s defence industry to move Indonesia towards self-reliance in military equipment.
In truth, it is most likely that even with a strengthened TNI, Indonesia’s modernised military will be spread rather thinly across the vast expanse of territory it has to defend.

TNI cannot afford to concentrate its firepower primarily on conventional warfare, as this means risking instability fomented by sea piracy and non-state actors that are out to exploit security weaknesses.
This is the strategic conundrum Indonesia’s security planners face, owing to the sheer size of its country and age-old flashpoints.
Ultimately, the debate on the challenges posed by a strong or weak TNI also reinforces a hard truth Singaporeans have been reminded of time and again — that our tiny city-state, which has no strategic hinterland for us to fall back on or natural resources to draw upon, is a price-taker in regional and world affairs.
The Republic’s outsized role in global diplomacy, as evidenced by the recent tributes voiced by world leaders in memory of our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, can only do so much to assert Singapore’s value to and relevance in global affairs.
When it comes to the crunch, it is a strong SAF and a united people that the nation will have to depend on.

David Boey, a member of the Ministry of Defence’s Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence, blogs on defence issues at kementah.blogspot.sg.

12) Jokowi : No More Problems, Papua Needs No Dialogue
Jayapura, Jubi – Jakarta – A dialogue that has been proposed by the Papua Peace Network seems to hit the wall, after Indonesian President Joko Widodo said such a forum is not needed any more.
In the interview with Jubi on Saturday (9/5/2015), Jokowi said: “There are no problems in Papua. So, what is a dialogue for? I’ve often come to Papua and had conversations with the customary chiefs, religious leaders, regents, and mayor as well. We are talking and communicating. What does it mean? It’s a dialogue, isn’t it?” Jokowi said.
When told that what Papuans wanted was a political dialogue, he said politics in terms of Papua is the politic of welfare. “Well, our politics in Papua is the politics of development, the politics of prosperity,” he said.
What about the resolution for the conflicts that occurred in the past? “The case is closed. We must open a new page. We should move forward,” he said.
Separately, the member of Papua Legislative Council’s Commission I for Politic, Government, Legal and Human Right, Ruben Magay said during the time Papuans wanted a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua to resolve many issues occurred in the eastern province of Indonesia. “When celebrating Christmas in Papua in December 2014, Jokowi promised about the dialogue. Now the people of Papua are waiting when it would be done,” said Magay. (Victor Mambor/rom)

13) AJI Urges Jokowi to Keep His Promise to Allow Foreign Journalists Unfettered Access to Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) said it welcomed President Joko Widodo’s decision to allow foreign journalists to conduct journalistic activities in Papua unhindered.
But the president must make good on his promises, AJI Indonesia Chairman Suwarjono and AJI Papua Chairman Victor Mambor told Jubi on Monday (12/5/2015).
The restrictions on reporting especially for the foreign journalists in Papua have occurred since the integration of Papua into Indonesia.
Foreign journalists wishing to come to Papua for reportage must apply through the Clearing House that consists of twelve ministries and government agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Police, the State Intelligent Agency and the Coordination Ministry for Politic, Law and Security.
This mechanism has become the government’s tool to restrict journalists in making free reportages on Papua. Further the mechanism of clearing house is not transparent since it does not have a clear legal basis.
AJI said the first step to opening access to foreign journalists could be done by dissolving the Clearing House. Foreign journalists should have freedom to cover Papua like what they do in other provinces. At the local level, the freedom of press should be indicated with no intimidation against the foreign journalist, such as being spied, followed or terrorized that might constrain their journalistic activities. This freedom must be applied for other regions in Indonesia such as in the Central Sulawesi or Aceh.
AJI considered that the opening access for journalist in Papua would be a beginning of improvement for Papuan community. The issues of corruption and human right violation that slightly protected and perpetuated for certain people could be easily revealed. Whoever the actors, human right criminals or corruptors are, they must be sent to prison. But on the other hand, the progress of development in Papua would also easily seen by world community. Thus, with transparency and disclosure, it could bring improvement for Papua in the future. While the Central Government in Jakarta the central government in Jakarta would get equal and verified information as it perform good journalistic standard.
The wide opening access for journalist is evidence of the freedom of press prevailing in the entire territory of Indonesia. The freedom of press is a proof that there is no more discrimination against the people of Papua. It is also the fulfillment of public right towards information in accordance to the Law No.40/1999 of Press, which said the freedom of press is guaranteed as basic right of citizen and in order to guarantee the freedom of press, the press has a right to search, obtain and distribute any ideas and information without censorship, ban or broadcast prohibition.
In addition to giving appreciation, AJI Indonesia will continue to control and monitor the free access for foreign journalist. AJI pushed the government to issue a guarantee, not only a speech. It could be a progress if the president provides guarantee by issuing regulation to justify what he has said in the public.(*/rom)
14) Jayawijaya Council Yet to Take Stand on Row over New Brimob Headquarters
Wamena, Jubi – The Jayawijaya Legislative Council has not determined its stance on the polemic surrounding plans to build Mobile Brigade police headquarters in the regency.
Council chairman Taufik Petrus Latuihammalo said made the remarks during a Jayawijaya Parliamentary Special Meeting on Monday (11/5/2015).
He said the Council’s Commission A for government, development, security, legal and human right affairs argued that several stages are required and should be completed prior to the final conclusion. Therefore, he expected the parliament’s factions would be able to bring their opinion in the plenary session phase II.
Meanwhile, the Jayawijaya Regent Wempi Wetipo earlier said the government so far had not received any objections from local residents of 40 sub-districts in Jayawijaya Regency related to this issue.
“So, the construction of the Mobile Brigade Headquarters will go ahead while awaiting for the parliament’s decision,” said the regent. (Islami/rom)
15) We Must Have Mutual Trust As Foreign Journalists Enter Papua, President Says

Merauke, Jubi- President Joko Widodo reiterated his policy of allowing foreign journalists unfettered access to carry out their journalistic duties in Papua.
He repeated the statement during an exclusive interview with Victor Mambor, a journalist with the Papua-based newspaper Jubi.
“Starting today, Sunday May 10, 2015, the Central Government has opened the widest access to foreign journalists to enter the territory of Papua to conduct their journalistic duties,” President Jokowi said when giving a press conference to a number of print and electronic media journalists in Kampung Wapeko, Kurik District, Merauke after harvesting rice on last Sunday (10/5).
He added that everyone should help ensure that foreign journalists coming to Papua are conducting journalism.
“So, we have to trust each other and do not trigger twisted questions here and there,” he hoped.
When asked by Jubi’s journalist whether all areas in Papua will be accessible to foreign journalists, he then said, there are no restrictions on any particular area or region, all places are accessible foreign journalists same as in other provinces. “That’s all I can tell you. But again, we have to trust each other,” he said. (Frans L Kobun/ Tina)
16) Papua Government Hopes President’s Visit to Improve Economic Growth

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Provincial Government said it hoped the visit by President Joko Widodo on 9-11 May could spur economic growth in Papua.
“This is the second visit, so we hope there will give an impact for the community especially for economic development in Papua and it becomes real in the form of activities or the effects of certain activities either directly or indirectly,” Assistant II Regional Secretary of Papua on Economy and Public Welfare sector Loupatty Ely, in Jayapura last week.
The presence of the President will be remembered as bringing a positive impact on the lives of Papuans, he said.
He said Jokowi’s first visit as president in December gave an emotional impact for the people of Papua, and hopefully on the second visit, it will be strengthened.
Most importantly he hoped president could see and understand the problems in Papua, so that all parties can find a way out. “Of course, the people expect the problems that exist can be solved,” he said.
Loupatty also expect the President to fulfill his promise to visit Papua at least three times in one year.”Hopefully he is consistent with existing third visit this year,” he added.
17) Papua Faces Shortage of Agricultural Instructors in Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – The number of \agricultural instructors in Papua Province is very small compared to the number of villages.
Head of Food Security and Coordination Extension Altikal L. Patulak in Jayapura last week, said there were only 910 instructors, 560 of them civil servants while the number of villages is 4,000.
“The remaining is 350 serve as freelance instructors appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
Patulak explained many civil servants switched jobss. “It is more promising to be structural officials than instructors,” he added.
He said he hoped more agricultural instructors can be recruited at the regency or city level.
Currently, agricultural instructors have not been evenly distributed in the villages but they are maximized to assist farmers at the location area of rice, corn and soybeans. (*/ Tina)
From the development side, Loupatty hoped president should be able to increase the amount of budget.(*/ Tina)

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