Thursday, February 16, 2017

1) West Papua media access still fettered - PFF

2) The opportunism of defending the nation
3) Government ignores Freeport’s threat to lay off workers
4) Freeport lays off 25 senior employees
5) Korindo has violated deforestation ban, NGO reveals

1) West Papua media access still fettered - PFF

4:57 pm today 

             RNZI's Johnny Blades and Koroi Hawkins interview Papua Governor Lukas Enembe Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins
The Pacific Freedom Forum says Indonesia is yet to deliver on its promise of full and free access for journalists to West Papua just months out from Jakarta hosting World Press Freedom day.
Indonesia opened access to West Papua for foreign journalists in 2015, more than 50 years after annexing the territory from the Netherlands.
The Forum's co-chair, the Papua New Guinean journalist, Alex Rheeney, said a visit by journalists to West Papua in January encountered violence, sexual harassment and interference from Indonesian minders.
"The findings that have come out recently from Papua by the group of journalists who went in, does not show that the Indonesian government is taking the undertaking that it's given to the international community, to give journalists access to West Papua freely and without any strings attached."
Alex Rheeney said the journalists were most likely obstructed when trying to report on the independence movement of West Papua's indigenous population.


2) The opportunism of defending the nation
Julia Suryakusuma Author of Julia’s Jihad
Jakarta | Thu, February 16, 2017 | 10:36 am

A sense of nationalism -- Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu puts a pin to one of Bela Negara (state defense) program recruits in an inauguration ceremony in Skouw-Wutung, at the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, on Tuesday. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

When you think of art, what comes to mind? It could be anything and everything under the sun — but the military probably would not be the first thing you think of, right?
So I was intrigued when I received an invitation for an art exhibition held last Monday, which was opened by Defense Minister Gen. (ret.) Ryamizard Ryacudu. The exhibition was called “Bela Negara” (Defend the Nation) featuring 36 painters who displayed their works with various themes: human interest, religion, nature and some with nationalistic themes befitting the exhibition’s title. It was attended by other military figures such as Air Force chief of staff Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, the ministry’s secretary-general Vice Admiral Widodo and Defense University rector Lt. Gen. I Wayan Midhio. Luckily it was also attended by collectors and the painters themselves, otherwise it could have been mistaken for a military convention!
So why “Bela Negara” and why Ryacudu? Because that’s the name of his pet project. It’s a program created out of his and the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) concern over what they see as increasing disharmony of the nation, particularly following the rise of increased Islamic fundamentalism and also what they perceive to be the rise of leftist ideas. The Bela Negara program is thus a new initiative to instill and promote patriotism, nationalism and Pancasila (state ideology) values among the public.
Wait. Is this the Ryamizard Ryacudu who said that suspected communists deserved to die? And that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) movement in Indonesia was part of a proxy war to conquer Indonesia?
It would hardly be the first time that the military has stoked up fears to justify their role as guardians of the nation’s security. In fact that was how Soeharto’s military dictatorship justified its rule for 32 years: the fear of communism.
Well, we know that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) has historically been the arch enemy of the military since the early days of independence and even before. But excuse me, the PKI has been defunct for a while now, and even in the world there remain only five countries — China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba — who still claim to be communist. But Karl Marx would not be able to recognize his manifesto as in its original form, it’s dead. And when the Chinese go around the world, they’re not spreading communism, they’re expanding the market economy in one of its wildest forms. Duh.
As for the LGBT movement being part of a proxy war to conquer Indonesia—that’s about the silliest, most risible idea ever. OK, the military may be one of the most macho institutions in the world, but how come even after the United States repealed its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for its LGBT personnel in 2011, it remains the world’s strongest military force? Indonesia would be wise to look to the US in this regard.
The way that Ryacudu and his ilk see it, sexual orientations and gender identities other than heterosexuality is brought in from abroad, and not something inherent in our own cultural tradition. This is actually untrue, alternative sexualities have existed in Indonesian traditional culture for a long time.
What do homophobia and communism have in common? They are seen as an external threat, which is what the military needs to justify its existence and activities.
So okay, given this tendency, is the Bela Negara program justified? As someone who grew up in the New Order, to me it smacks of the old Pancasila indoctrination courses, and seems to be a cheap version of compulsory military service. Cheap because it only involves some militarylike exercises, because if it were really serious, it would involve training in weaponry, including bombs, and also war simulation. And that would make it way too expensive.
The Bela Negara program — funded by the state budget — is said to be mandatory for all men up to the age of 50, which is pretty nuts. The idea of a reserve army is not a bad one, but it’s enough to recruit them from high school or at the most, university graduates. In practice, the program seems to mainly recruit preman (thugs) and members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) who are only too happy to join. In fact, Ryacudu said that even members of the Islamic State (IS) radical movement are allowed to join. Yes readers, you can roll your eyes, as I did!
The idea for the program already emerged during Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s presidential campaign, endorsed by Megawati Soekarnoputri. He wanted it to be part of his revolusi mental (mental revolution) to instill a love of the nation as a bulwark against supposedly negative influences (liberalism, immorality, lack of discipline, corruption, etc.) and to train the younger generation to work, work, work — his campaign slogan.
How naïve Pak Jokowi! You walked right into the hands of military hard-liners like Ryacudu and TNI commander Gatot Nurtantyo, didn’t you?
Imparsial, an Indonesian NGO founded by the murdered activist Munir, which monitors human rights, is critical of the program. Gufron Mabruri, its deputy director, considers the concept behind the program unclear, difficult to understand, narrow and tends to be militaristic. Imparsial thinks it should be run by the ministry overseeing culture, not defense. Not only is it militaristic, if it recruits “Islamic” thugs then the program, which claims to be fighting Islamic radicalism, would be in fact supporting it. Oh dear! So what really is behind the Bela Negara program? It’s just a project, and in the end it’s all about money, money, money. Think of all those uniforms that need to be made, the tents, the catering and so many things needed for the program. History has shown that procurements such as this is prone to corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN), the very thing it claims it wants to eradicate.
So why did the organizers of the Bela Negara painting exhibition ask Ryacudu to open the exhibition? Basically, opportunism. It’s an ongoing government program, it sounds good, and Ryacudu is in power. I wouldn’t take them too much to task for that, but the broader implications are depressing.
There is one consolation though: the program will fail because the necessary budget is just not available. At a time when the government is under severe fiscal constraint, why is this doubtful program being allowed?
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

3) Government ignores Freeport’s threat to lay off workers
Jakarta | Thu, February 16, 2017 | 11:02 am

The government has ignored a threat from gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia, the country’s biggest taxpayer and major employer, to lay off its workers if an agreement with the government failed to be reached.
“If it is part of pressure, just ignore it,” said Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution, as reported by on Wednesday.
Darmin said Freeport had demanded legal guarantees from the government that the current policy would not change if there were a change in the government.
Such certainty was demanded with regard to the amount of taxes the company paid and the continuity of its operations in Indonesia, Darmin said.
The taxes the company paid were, in fact, on a declining trend, but the company had doubts about whether such a policy would be maintained if there were a change in government, Darmin said.
Previously, Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said the company needed a stable investment agreement with the Indonesian government on the conversion of its contract of work (CoW) to a special mining license (IUPK).
Riza stressed that such an agreement was important for Freeport, because it was related to its long-term investment plan in Indonesia.
The government has barred the company from exporting its concentrate, saying the export licenses would be issued soon after the company signed an agreement that included a commitment to build a smelter and sell stakes to Indonesian entities. (bbn)  


4) Freeport lays off 25 senior employees
Jakarta | Thu, February 16, 2017 | 04:11 pm
Gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia has laid off 25 senior employees as the company negotiates with the government regarding the conversion of its contract of work (CoW) to a special mining license (IUPK).
Freeport Indonesia spokesperson Riza Pratama said in principle, the company had agreed to convert its CoW to adjust to the new regulation.
“There are 25 [who were laid off] at the senior official level,” Riza confirmed, adding that the company had also informed its contractors to change their operation plans and reduce its number of employees.
Freeport Indonesia employs some 32,000 people totally, including the staff of its contractors. “If we cannot export, it is possible that reductions of our workforce may continue,” Riza added.
“We are ready to convert to the IUPK if there is an agreement on investment legal and fiscal stability assurances like in the CoW,” said Riza as reported by
Freeport also wants the contract to be extended to 2041, as well as ensuring its unchanged tax status. The government has yet to respond to Freeport’s proposal.
Freeport has temporarily stopped operations despite still having large stocks of mineral concentrates. (bbn)


5) Korindo has violated deforestation ban, NGO reveals
By Vaidehi Shah Thursday 16 February 2017
Controversial Korean conglomerate Korindo pledged to stop clearing forests until it had conducted proper sustainability assessments, but campaign group Mighty has gathered evidence to show that Korindo has broken its promiseIt has barely been two months since Korean-Indonesian conglomerate Korindo bowed to demands from environmental activists and announced a moratorium on forest clearing in its palm oil concessions, but campaigners claim that the company has already broken that promise. 
Through satellite images obtained on 13 January 2017—about a month after Korindo’s moratorium announcement—United States based non-governmental organisation Mighty found that Korindo was preparing to clear about 1,400 hectares of forest in an area that it had promised to stop clearing until the land had undergone proper audits to assess its conservation value………… 


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