1) Indonesia not in MSG to undermine West Papua freedom push
7:48 am today
Indonesia says it is not in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to undermine a push for self-determination in its Papua region.
A war of words between Fiji and Solomon Islands has broken out over Indonesia's admission, as an associate member, to the sub-regional group in 2015.
The Solomon Islands deputy prime minister Manasseh Sogavare accused Fiji of forcing other MSG countries to accept Indonesia.
But Fiji's defence minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has said this is not true.
A Solomon Islands' academic Tarcisius Kabutaulaka said letting Indonesia in was a mistake because it's openly trying to undermine the United Liberation Movement for West Papua which applied to join the MSG as a full member.
But an Indonesia's embassy spokesman in Australia Sade Bimantara said this is not why Indonesia joined the MSG.
"You know since the 1960s in Indonesia, we have been contributing towards peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and so all we have been doing in the Pacific is just expanding that sort of architecture and norm setting into the South Pacific region as well and working with Australia and working with New Zealand and other countries in the South Pacific region."
Sade Bimantara said the Papua region has full political and democratic freedom.
He said the United Liberation Movement for West Papua only represents the aspirations of exiled Papuans.
2) Freeport has cost $13 billion losses in environmental damage, says BPK
Jakarta | Tue, March 20, 2018| 01:17 pm
The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has said that ecological damage resulting from PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) mining operations in Papua had caused Rp 185 trillion (US$12.95 billion) in state losses.
“Based on the calculations of experts at IPB [the Bogor Institute of Agriculture], the environmental damage caused by Freeport’s mining waste reached Rp 185 trillion,” BPK commissioner Rizal Djalil said in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He added that the mining company dumped its waste into forests, rivers and estuaries.
Rizal said the BPK had received data on the scale of the damage from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan). He added that Freeport Indonesia also utilized 4,536 hectares of protected forest for their operations in direct violation of Law No. 19/2004 on Forestry.
“It has been 333 days since we issued the report, but it has not been followed up,” said Rizal, adding that the BPK had recommended sanctions for the company to the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.
Meanwhile, Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said the company had followed up on two BPK reports on violating the license on the use of protected forests and its environmental impact.
Riza said the ministry had imposed administrative sanctions on Freeport in October 2017 for violating the terms of the environment permit. (bbn)
3) MUI regrets churches association`s refusal for mosque construction in Jayapura
Reporter: antara 4 hours ago
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) has expressed regret over the statement by the Association of Churches in Jayapura District (PGGJ) rejecting the construction of mosques which are taller than other buildings.
In its statement, PGGJ has also rejected the use of loudspeakers for adzan (call to prayer) and the construction of mushollas (praying rooms) and mosques at public facilities. It has also banned female students of state schools from wearing religious attire and preachers from conducting Islamic propagation in Jayapura district.
"MUI regrets the statement as it goes beyond the spirit of brotherhood, tolerance, togetherness, and kinship, MUI Deputy Chairman Zainut Tauhid Saadi stated here on Tuesday.
The statement may threaten the unity and cohesion of the Indonesian people who live together in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia based on the state ideology Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, Saadi added.
The Indonesian independence was the fruit of the nation`s joint efforts. Therefore, no group of people could claim to be more entitled or special than the others, because the claim could ruin and hurt the values of national brotherhood, which must be highly respected and upheld, he remarked.
"MUI is of the view that unity in diversity is God`s mercy that we must thank rather than deny. It is our obligation to guard and preserve it by co-existing peacefully, lending mutual help, and working together to develop Indonesia into an independent, united, sovereign, just, and prosperous nation," Saadi explained.
Adhering to a religion is the most intrinsic order from God, and every citizen has the freedom to adhere to a religion and perform religious services according to his religion or faith, he noted.
No individual or group of individuals could ban other people from exercising their religious teachings, because the act is against the constitution and human rights, he pointed out.
Reported by Anom Prihantoro EDITED BY INE (T.S012/A/KR-BSR/B003)