Thursday, May 24, 2018

1) Distraction or disaster? Freeport’s giant Indonesian mine haunted by audit report



2) ‘Democracy isn’t always pretty’: Human rights in post-Suharto Indonesia

3) India’s Engagement with Indonesia: The ‘Breakout’ Nation

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1) Distraction or disaster? Freeport’s giant Indonesian mine haunted by audit report

Bernadette Christina Munthe, Fergus Jensen 7 MIN READ 


JAKARTA (Reuters) - A state audit of operations at Indonesia’s Grasberg mine has cast a cloud over the government’s multi-billion-dollar deal to take a majority stake in the mine from Freeport McMoRan Inc and its partner Rio Tinto, according to government and company officials.

In April, in follow-up action to the audit, the environment minister issued two decrees that gave Freeport six months to overhaul management of its mine waste, or tailings, at Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine. One of the decrees said Freeport would be barred from any activities in areas that lack environmental permits. 
And there may be more troubles to come for the Phoenix, Arizona-based company as the government has so far acted on only a part of the 2017 report by Indonesia’s Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) on Freeport’s decades-long operations at the mine in Indonesia’s remote easternmost province of Papua. 
A letter from Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson to the environment ministry, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, said the decrees imposed “undue and unachievable restrictions” on Freeport’s basic operations. 
In a separate letter to the government, quoted by Tempo magazine, Adkerson said: “I am deeply concerned that these actions have the potential to derail the progress that all of us have worked so hard to achieve.” 
Freeport officials declined to comment on the letters. Officials at the mining and environment ministries confirmed that letters from Adkerson were received, but did not provide detail on their contents. 
In a call to analysts last month, Adkerson had played down the impact of the decrees. “This is a distraction, but you all know over time we have to deal with political issues, and this is one of them,” he said. 
“We don’t see anything to interfere with our operations. The government needs and desires now to make sure that we continue to operate and they collect their taxes and royalties.” 
The biggest problem for both the government and the U.S. company may be the additional findings in the BPK report that are yet to be taken up. It asserted that Freeport caused environmental damage worth $13.25 billion, missed royalty payments, cleared thousands of hectares of protected forest and began mining underground without environmental clearance. 
Pressure is mounting on the government to take more action. 
Kardaya Warnika, an opposition party member who chairs parliament commission VII, which oversees the mining sector, said the government and parliament were both obligated to follow up on the audit findings. 
If Freeport is found to have royalty shortfalls, “then they should pay,” Warnika said. 
Sonny Keraf, a former environment minister who led talks on Indonesia’s 2009 mining law, said the government needs to follow up on the BPK report “comprehensively”.


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2) ‘Democracy isn’t always pretty’: Human rights in post-Suharto Indonesia

“I SHED a tear. I did not know why,” says Ariel Heryanto, the Herb Feith Professor for the Study of Indonesia at Monash University as he reflects upon watching President Suharto’s resignation on television on May 21, 1998.
“Perhaps trauma and vague memories of the victims of the regime.”
Suharto took power in 1966, ushered in by the killings of up to a million alleged communists in a matter of months. A secret CIA cable from 1968 described the event as “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s.”
For more than three decades afterwards, dissidents would be jailed, tortured and violently suppressed by the iron fist of a military dictatorship. The New Order muzzled the press, tried to eradicate the language and culture of ethnic Chinese Indonesians, and strictly dictated the lives of women.
These things would soon change with Suharto’s retirement, ushering in Indonesia’s democratic transition known as Reformasi…………………..

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3) India’s Engagement with Indonesia: The ‘Breakout’ Nation


As India seeks to augment its eastern engagement as part of its ‘Act East’ policy, Indonesia is a natural ally to be sought for the cause by virtue of its geographical location, size and leadership role in ASEAN. It is a prospect that has been flagged by discerning commentators in the past. 
Indonesia has been considered as a ‘Breakout’ nation that will become the seventh largest economy in the world by 2030. It is also a nation that has, in recent years, been more robust in its strategic manoeuvering and engagement with the world. It is not a coincidence that President Xi Jinping announced his vision of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) in October 2013 during his first visit to Indonesia.
In 1991, India was on the verge of bankruptcy and struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War. With economic reforms and an overhaul of its foreign policy, India emerged as a rising power engaging with the world without the hesitations of history.
In 1998, Indonesia was judged as a basket case with its economy derailed by the 1997 Asian crisis and political upheaval leading to the overthrow of Suharto. However, the country underwent a remarkable turnaround. Dictatorship gave way to democracy and the Army was detached from its political role. The economy revived and foreign policy underwent a metamorphosis to reach out to the world.
Historical Ties
India and Indonesia gained Independence around the same time from the colonial rule of the British and Dutch respectively. India supported the cause of the Indonesian freedom struggle. Biju Patnaik was awarded the Bintang Jasa Utama, Indonesia’s highest civilian honour, in recognition of his daredevilry in flying Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir to New Delhi in 1947 despite an air siege by the Dutch…………...

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