Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pacific island countries appreciate Jakarta for Papua development

Pacific island countries appreciate Jakarta for Papua development


Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A number of Southern Pacific island countries have expressed appreciation for Jakarta`s new initiative in developing Papua and West Papua, the Indonesian part of the Melanesian island of Papua.

The people of the southern Pacific island countries belong to the same Melanesian race of Papua. 

"We support every step taken by the government of Indonesia for the prosperity of the people of Papua and West Papua," Nauruan President Baron Divavesi Waqa said after a meeting with an Indonesian delegation headed by Coordinating Minister for Law, Security and Political Affairs Wiranto at the Government House of the Republic of Nauru, on Wednesday, a government release made available to ANTARA News Agency said.

The Nauruan President said he was confident that the government of Indonesia is sincere in developing Papua and West Papua. 

"We people of Nauru will continue to see Indonesia as friend," he said, adding what Jakarta has done is to bring modernity to the country`s most backward regions. 

Meanwhile, Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said his country would not interfere in the affairs of Papua and West Papua, saying that he only want to see human rights are protected and the Papuan culture is preserved.  

"We don`t want to interfere with the Indonesian policy. We highly value human rights as well as cultures, but Tuvalu is in no position to interfere in that issue," Enele Sopoaga said.  

Displaying Papua Culture

In the commemoration of the 50th independence day of the Republic of Nauru, The government of Indonesia took part in the celebrations by presenting Papuan music band called Papua Original. 

Wiranto said, apart from taking part in the commemoration of the Nauruan independence day, he came with a mission to extend friendship.

Indonesia also has communities from the Melanesia and Polynesian race living generally in eastern part of the country. He referred to Maluku and Papua people.

"I come bringing a cultural troupe from Papua and West Papua to show that we have much in common in culture that we are friends. 

Editor: Heru Purwanto

1) Child Protection Minister Claims Papua Unfit for Children

2) Measles, Malnutrition Kill 71 in Papua
3) Realizing Australia’s Defense Export Dreams

WEDNESDAY, 31 JANUARY, 2018 | 18:24 WIB
1) Child Protection Minister Claims Papua Unfit for Children

Children swim in the sea in Raja Ampat, West Papua. TEMPO/Hariandi Hafid
TEMPO.COJakarta - Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yembise considers Papua as a region that is unfit for children’s development. Her consideration is influenced by the geographical condition of the region.
“I have expressed it to the [Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani] that the geographical condition hampers us in reaching those regions,” said Yohana following a meeting on Wednesday, January 31.
Yohana said that central government must synergize with the Papuan regional administration to Papua more hospitable for children. She said that based on Government Regulation No 23/2016, problems related to the development of children should be handled by each regional administration.
Furthermore, Yohana explained that the budget for women empowerment in Papua is still too limited. She has urged the Papuan government to increase the budget in that sector.
A number of state Ministers held a meeting at the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture office to discuss the follow-up of the extraordinary event took place in Papua. Coordinating Minister Puan Maharani said that she will utilize the budget from each ministry and Papuan special autonomy.
Chitra Paramaesti
2) Measles, Malnutrition Kill 71 in Papua
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 | 22:29 WIB
JAKARTA, NNC - Health Minister Nila Moeloek said as many as 13,300 children in Asmat Regency, Papua, have been vaccinated as efforts to control the epidemic of measles. Until now there are 71 people died from measles and malnutrition.
According to Minister Nila, not all districts in Asmat Regency get the service because it is constrained by difficult terrains. "There are still some unreached districts because to get to those places is difficult," said Nila, Wednesday (1/31/2018).
Based on data received by the Asmat Humanitarian Task Force as of Tuesday (1/30), the number of inpatients in Asmat remains 26 people, 19 of whom were treated in Asmat Regional Public Hospital and seven patients are treated in the Hall of Protestant Church of Indonesia Asmat.
Five patients who are still inpatient at Asmat Regional Hospital are diagnosed with measles, 10 people suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea, and four people suffering from fever.
The condition of patients treated at the Hall of Protestant Church of Indonesia is all malnourished. Previously, the number of patients treated in the Hall of Protestant Church of Indonesia was 47 people, of whom 40 patients had been discharged.
Meanwhile, Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham on a separate occasion said the problem solving in Asmat Regency must be integrated and cross-sectoral. A number of ministries solve problems of infrastructure, environment, education, health and others.
According to him, what is done in Papua should be based on culture, regional character, cannot be equated to others. Idrus also mentioned that the handling of the problem in Asmat is a humanitarian operation.
"The involvement of the TNI [Indonesian Armed Forces]-Polri [National Police] is in the context of humanitarian operations, not military operations," said Idrus


3) Realizing Australia’s Defense Export Dreams

By Grant Wyeth January 31, 2018
Canberra wants to spark growth in its defense industry, but the market is a crowded one.

Australia is continuing its recent trajectory towards developing a more robust defense architecture. Not only has the country significantly increased its defense expenditure, and has begun acquiring major new hardware, this week saw the government release an aspirational new Defense Export Strategy that hopes to move Australia in to the top 10 defense product exporting countries by 2028.
Currently, the country’s defense exports amount to 0.3 percent share of the global market — $1.6 billion per annum — making it the 20th largest arms exporter. The government is hoping that by establishing a $3.1 billion fund that will provide loans to local defense industry manufacturers to expand their businesses, they will be able to find new export markets, and rapidly increase Australia’s share of the market. 
The plan seems wildly ambitious as countries in the lower half of the top 10 exporters (Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel) each have over eight times the worth of exports. However, Australia seems to have identified an area of manufacturing that should continue to grow as other manufacturing industries decline or become locally unviable, and it hopes that the country can develop the necessary skills to take advantage of the demand. Australia itself doesn’t have the military capacity to sustain a domestic industry with its own needs. But the government has indicated it would focus on complimentary hardware for its Five Eyes allies in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, as well as targeting markets in Asia and the Middle East. 
Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
The government has stated that as Australia’s export capabilities increase it will have measures in place to prevent the sale of hardware into conflict zones or to countries with poor human rights records. Yet according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Indonesia is currently Australia’s second largest importer of defense equipment (after the United States) at around 21 percent of Australian exports, and concerns remain about the behavior of the Indonesian military (TNI) in West Papua. While ever-closer ties with Indonesia are vital to Australian security, and greater arms sales may assist with this process, a greater consolidation of defense sales to Indonesia would be of particular concern to Australia’s Melanesian neighbors, who remain strong advocates for West Papuan rights. 
While the uncertainty brought by shifting regional power structures in the Indo-Pacific may be a major driver of Australia’s desire to enhance its defence capabilities, domestic regional economic shifts are also a significant factor. With the state of South Australia (SA) struggling with the viability of a number of manufacturing industries, it is seeking to become the hub of Australia’s defence aspirations in an attempt to revitalize the state’s fortunes. 
With the last car manufacturing plant in Australia closing in the state capital of Adelaide in October last year, the country has also lost a strategic heavy manufacturing capability should it find itself in need to convertcivilian operations into large-scale military production. The government seems to be attempting to pivot this civilian loss directly into a greater defense capability. Hoping that the “high end” value of this industry will be of greater and more stable financial benefit to the region, as well as a national strategic gain. 
However, the new scheme has posed the question of whether Australian defense manufacturers actually requirepublic funding to boost their operations, when opportunities for finance would exist in the private sector. Although the government may be using the high profile announcement to encourage defense manufacturers to heighten their ambitions. And the potential for civil society groups opposed to financial institutions lending to defense manufacturers gaining public traction could also have been a factor. 
Despite this, because the market for large scale defense hardware — warships, planes, submarines — is already dominated by the United States, Russia and European Union countries, it is unlikely Australia will develop the capacity and expertise to shift the market in any significant way within a decade. It is also unlikely that Australia could be competitive on cost either. The development of niche innovations that can be complementary to the hardware of major global defense manufacturers is most likely what the government envisages. 
The implications of the government’s proposal is that it sees some potential growth and profitability in the future of Australia’s defense industry. At the very least, the desire to develop a viable high-end defense manufacturing capability is an indication that Australia is seeking to create a more self-sufficient and muscular defense infrastructure. One that is less reliant on other powers and a little more strategic flexibility.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Indonesia: strategic threat or strategic partner?

Indonesia: strategic threat or strategic partner?
17 Jan 2018|
Does Indonesia pose a strategic risk for Australia? The answer might be ‘no’ if one looks at the recently released Australian foreign policy white paper. It argues that Indonesia—along with Japan, India and South Korea—is an ‘Indo-Pacific democracy’ that is bilaterally and regionally important to Australia. Australia, it says, will therefore ‘work closely with Indonesia in regional and international forums to support and protect a rules-based regional order’.
The premise that Indonesia and Australia can leverage their relationship into a strategic partnership with regional effects perhaps follows the vision in the 2016 defence white paper. That document shifted the bilateral tone away from the traditional security ambivalence into a partnership based on shared geo-economic and maritime interests.
Nonetheless, parts of the Australian strategic community still consider Indonesia a possible strategic risk. One example is a recent ASPI report, Australia’s management of strategic risk in the new era, by Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith. The report wasn’t about Indonesia as much as it was about China. It focused on key warning indicators and defence capabilities Canberra should consider, as ‘a major power threat’ can’t be ruled out.
The issue with Indonesia was ‘whether Islamic extremism is entering the mainstream of Indonesian politics, and so eventually posing a direct threat to Indonesia’s domestic stability and having implications for’ Australia. If Indonesia becomes ‘some sort of aggressive Islamist extremist state’, the authors argue, it could pose ‘a fundamental threat to Australia’s security’. After all, Indonesia’s growing economy would ‘give it the option of developing much more serious military capabilities’.
Concerns over Indonesia’s strategic trajectory are certainly not new; they go back to the 1960s and 1970s. But today, the argument that Indonesia could pose strategic risks for Australia (in the way Dibb and Brabin-Smith conceive it) is fundamentally flawed because it’s based on problematic assumptions, not sound or systematic analysis.
First, the ‘Islamist extremist state’ argument assumes that (1) the ‘mainstreaming’ of Islamic extremism will lead to a ‘takeover’, (2) the process of such a takeover will lead to ‘domestic instability’, and (3) such a state will be ‘hostile’ towards or perhaps intent on attacking Australia.
Putting aside the fact that none of the key terms (such as mainstreaming extremism or instability) are properly defined, these assumptions rely on a logic whereby the entry of Islamic extremism into mainstream politics automatically leads to ‘takeover’ and ‘hostility’. Given that logic’s complexities, the analysis should be empirically supported rather than conjectured through assumptions.
Further, the assumptions aren’t about contested strategic interests if an ‘Islamic extremist state’ arises or about whether Indonesia has the requisite offensive capabilities or hostile intentions. Instead, they’re about Indonesia being ‘different’, whether defined by religion (Islamic) or regime type (non-liberal democracy). Assuming that a different Indonesia will pose a strategic risk just because it’s different sidelines any effort to understand the country on its own terms—a hallmark of strategic analysis driven by ethnocentricity.
One could misinterpret such analysis as a variation of the erroneous myth that Islam as a religion or Islamic societies are inherently or irrationally hostile towards a ‘liberal Western’ state like Australia. While I don’t believe that’s what Dibb and Brabin-Smith are arguing, without a clear elaboration one could misread it as such.
Second, the argument that economic growth leads to improved and offensive military capabilities assumes that (1) defence planning is externally oriented and ‘rational’ (that is, a threat-based, value-maximising assessment of the strategic environment and goals within existing constraints), and (2) Indonesia could be threatening because its intentions could change overnight.
Indonesia’s economic growth has indeed been correlated with the rise of its defence spending (roughly US$6–8 billion in recent years). But most of that money (around 65% to 75%) goes to personnel in the form of salaries, education and other benefits. Indonesia spends only around US$1–2 billion annually on procurement (divided equally among the three services).
Indonesia also faces numerous challenges to modernising its defence forces. Planning has been erratic and subject to bureaucratic politics and civil–military contestations. The operational readiness of most of its ships and aircraft is currently in doubt too. Overall, Indonesia doesn’t have the offensive capabilities to attack Australia to begin with, nor does it plan to acquire them.
The question of intentions, on the other hand, is always elusive. But Indonesia’s military has always been strategically defensive—major military exercises, along with doctrinal developments since the 1990s, can attest to that.
Even the examples invoked to paint Indonesia as a possible ‘threat’—the 1960s West Irian campaign and Konfrontasi, as well as the 1975 Timor invasion—were driven by domestic concerns rather than regional expansionism. Politically, Indonesian elites often express annoyance about and a lack of trust in Australia’s intentions. But except for the occasional political scandals, Jakarta hasn’t seemed to care much about Australia in recent years.
Perhaps Dibb and Brabin-Smith’s arguments are based on worst-case forecasting, which makes sense given Australia and Indonesia’s turbulent bilateral history. But the assumptions that spring from such a premise could crowd out efforts to better see Indonesia in its own terms. If so, perhaps Ken Booth is right: worst-case forecasting is to strategic analysis what the ‘god of the gaps’ is to theology—it fills in for what we don’t understand.

Evan A. Laksmana is a senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a visiting fellow with the National Bureau of Asian Research in Seattle, Washington. Image courtesy of Pixabay user aditya_wicak.

1) Health crisis highlights devastation of traditional Papuan diet

2) Malnutrition in Papua, Home Affairs Ministry Evaluates DAU

1) Health crisis highlights devastation of traditional Papuan diet
about 1 hour ago 

Military personnel deployed to the Papua district of Asmat in response to measles outbreak January 2018 Photo: Supplied/ Jane Soepardi

An Indonesia-based human rights researcher says malnutrition is widespread throughout Papua as imported foods have shattered traditional diets.
West Papuans had long lived off traditional Melanesian staple foods such as sago, sweet potato and traditional pork, but these had been increasingly replaced by rice and instant noodles.

This comes as Indonesian health officials responded to a health crisis in Papua province's Asmat district where a deadly outbreak of measles had been exacerbated by malnutrition.
Papuan police last week said there were more than 10,000 malnourished people in Asmat.
Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said he has travelled throughout the region over the past two decades and seen the diets change for the worse.
"I see it all over Papua, not only in Asmat," he said.
"Their staple diet changed dramatically. Nowadays I see them consuming rice. Why? Rice is coming from their national government as their main diet."
Mr Harsono said that in Asmat people were also consuming less of the traditional sago as land was being used up for palm oil and mining.
He said he used to see a lot of sweet potato in Wamena in the Highlands, but rice was now more plentiful there too.
Meanwhile, government and military health teams vaccinating against a range of diseases had been dispatched to the district of Asmat after a measles outbreak which has killed at least 60 local children.
An Indonesian health official with one of the teams Jane Soepardi told RNZ Pacific many of the children she visited last week had zero immunity.
Mr Harsono said the government had been quite speedy in getting to affected areas but that the death toll underscored Jakarta's neglect of Papuans' basic health rights.
According to him, Indonesia's belated vaccination drive in Papua was not a long-term solution to health problems in Papua.
"The question is without a programme and routine vaccinations, continued vaccinations, what will happen next year, what will happen two years from now?" he said.
"I'm afraid that without a change of the government approach in the area in Papua, it is going to be repeated again."
Andreas Harsono said restrictions on access to Papua should be lifted so it could receive international assistance.
TUESDAY, 30 JANUARY, 2018 | 12:28 WIB
2) Malnutrition in Papua, Home Affairs Ministry Evaluates DAU

TEMPO.COJakarta - The Director-General Regional Development of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Diah Indrajati, promised to evaluate the special-autonomy implementation in Papua Province because there are hundreds of malnourished patients in Asmat District.
The general allocation fund (DAU) is allocated annually for the development. Papua Province and West Papua receive two percent of total DAU annually and are valid for 20 years.
Of the two percent, 70 percent is for Papua Province and 30 percent for West Papua. Both regions receive DAU because they are the regions that fully authorized to govern. Besides Papua Province, Aceh Province and Yogyakarta are also the special-autonomy regions.
Papua Province and West Papua are also provided with additional infrastructure funding. The fund is provided for all regions so it will accessible by land, air, sea, for the next 25 years.

DAU is prioritized for education and health. DAU in Papua and West Papua is always increasing year by year from 2002 to 2018. For 2018, Papua Province received DAU Rp22.45 trillion and West Papua Rp8.02 trillion from the total DAU Rp61.67 trillion.
Diah regretted that there is still malnutrition happened in Papua, especially in Agats District, Asmat. "That means something has not gone right.”

Monday, January 29, 2018

1) Why health research rarely influence policy in Indonesia

2) Inalum asks Danareksa to calculate Freeport’s shares value
3) A Guide to Navigating the 2018 Risk Landscape in Indonesia
1) Why health research rarely influence policy in Indonesia
The Conversation January 29, 2018 7.27pm AEDT
There is a disconnect between what health researchers in Indonesia are investigating and what the government aims to achieve in solving the country’s health problems. 
With a population of more than 250 million people, Indonesia faces a wide range of health issues
In Papua, the country’s easternmost province, reports say at least 61 children have died from malnutrition and measles. The government has sent military and health personnel to deal with the crisis in the remote area. 
Indonesia is also still struggling with high death rates of mothers and newborn babies during birth. Indonesia failed to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by 75%. In 2015 there was 305 deaths from 100,000 live births, while the neonatal death rate is 14 per 1,000 live births. 
In their five-year strategic plan (Renstra) for health, the government has aimed to increase the responsiveness of the country’s health system and to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths. 
To meet these targets, the government should base the policies to tackle this problem on evidence gathered from research. The Ministry of Health has tried to increase the use of evidence from its research arm, the National Institute of Health Research and Development (Balitbangkes). 
But my research shows that researchers at the institute do research independent to the Health’s Ministry’s program objectives.

Lack of engagement

Currently, program managers and policy makers at the Ministry of Health do not rely on researchers. They also do not request any research findings to back up their decision making. 
NIHRD researchers are expected to provide evidence-based studies on health that decision makers can use in making policies. But, a 2017 external review found most of the 30 research proposals submitted by the institute’s researchers for 2018 and 2019 funding were not related to any specific Ministry of Health programs. 
The ministry used very few of the findings from more than 1300 studies that the institute produced between 2011 and 2015. Most research reports were kept on the library shelves.
A quick review of selected publications in the Kesmas: National Public Health Journal (2013-2017) show how research topics seem to be chosen independent of any Ministry of Health program targets or goals. 
There are many health researchers outside of the NIHRD. But, the academic community in general has limited engagement in policy debates so they are not heavily involved in providing evidence for either policy or practice. 
This is partly caused by their host institution’s rigid rules which limit research to conceptualising existing theoretical frameworks, mapping the decision-making landscape in a specific location, or challenging conventional public health assumptions.

What needs to change

At the moment, researchers and policy makers or program managers are not comfortable working together because they don’t understand how to apply the concept of “evidence-based research”. 
Operations Research, which is a practical method that applies analytical models to make better decisions, can be used to connect researchers and policy makers or program managers. The key in using this method is to utilise measures that have been determined by program managers or health planners as the expected result and other socio-demographic factors as the reasons for the results. 
For example, the Ministry of Health has a program called the Healthy Archipelago (Nusantara Sehat) program to deploy around 6,300 health practitioners to Indonesia’s remote regions such as borders or outer islands. This program aims to strengthen health services in remote areas, such as Papua. 
At the moment, there is no monitoring on program implementation. The Health Ministry may request researchers from the NIHRD to investigate how well the program is doing by using Operations Research, using the Ministry’s targets as the study’s dependent variables.
While researchers should be aware of areas and programs that are high on the government’s priority list, policy makers also to be better in communicating their needs to researchers through greater involvement in research conceptualisation and conduct. They should share with the researchers what their priorities and program goals are. 
This way, government staff can help medical researchers to achieve the results we all desire.


2) Inalum asks Danareksa to calculate Freeport’s shares value

Viriya P. Singgih The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Mon, January 29, 2018 | 05:48 pm

State-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) has asked state-owned investment firm PT Danareksa to help calculate the shares value of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in an effort to acquire the latter’s majority stake.
The current administration has been involved in intense negotiations with PTFI, a subsidiary of American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), since early 2017 over the latter’s future operations in the country.
Among other things, the government demands that FCX increase Inalum’s ownership in PTFI from the current 9.36 percent to 51 percent by June in return for extending PTFI’s contract from 2021 to 2041.
Read also: Papua, Mimika to get Freeport stakes
In order to do so, Inalum intends to establish an independent valuation team to calculate the value of PTFI’s shares.
“We have asked Danareksa to lend a hand for this transaction [with FCX]. But Danareksa will also need some help from a major accounting firm and investment bank,” Inalum president director Budi Gunadi Sadikin told reporters in Jakarta on Monday.
In the past years, the government and FCX have never been able to see eye-to-eye over the shares value of PTFI.
The government previously calculated the remaining 41.64 percent of shares to be taken over from PTFI to be worth US$2.46 billion. Meanwhile, FCX’s estimation is $6.6 billion because it takes into account the reserves and operation of Grasberg mine in Papua, which is being operated by PTFI until 2041. (bbn)


The Diplomat

3) A Guide to Navigating the 2018 Risk Landscape in Indonesia

The Indonesian economy presents a stable outlook, but the political landscape of the country paints a bleaker picture.

As one of the largest emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has been at the forefront of investments in the region. It is an archipelago consisting of 17,508 islands that rest on the Malacca Straits and South China Sea, both of which are regional hubs for trade. 
However, the current political, security, and socioeconomic paradigms capture risks and uncertainties that affect the investment climate of the country. The history of authoritarianism and elitist politics were trumped with the arrival of President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, who recently secured strong approval from the coalition. Besides a thaw in coalition politics and reforms in the crackdown on corruption, there are significant risk factors posed by regional dynamics in the region with a growing bubble in the banking sector that does not seem promising. 
Even though growth projections remain positive for the upcoming year, the investment climate in the country remains somewhat stagnant with manufacturing industry taking a dip and a slump in tourism. 2018 will prove to be a significant year as 171 administrative regions will simultaneouslyhold gubernatorial and mayoral elections. To understand the risks posed by all of these different factors, it is important examine them all individually alongside some key indicators, beginning with the domestic climate of the country.
Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Indonesia is a resource rich country which initially grew under Dutch colonial rule. Under Sukarno’s leadership following a four-year guerilla war with support from the Japanese, the Dutch granted independence to Indonesia in 1949. In 1965, coups and vigilante killings of communists and other leftists left the country torn, leading to the emergence of General Suharto taking power in 1967. 
What followed were over three decades years of authoritarian politics with a closely aligned military involved in corrupt political and economic practices. During Suharto’s rule, Indonesia invaded East Timor and incorporated West Papua into Indonesia. The late half of the 1990s saw the Asian Financial Crisis, which resulted from bouts of currency speculation, plummeting the value of the Indonesian Rupiah. By 1998, protests toppled the Suharto regime followed by free elections in 1999. 
After Suharto’s fall, East Timor gained independence (and in 2002 changed its name to Timor-Leste and admitted to the United Nations). Although the era of authoritarianism passed, the administrations of Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri (Indonesia’s 4th and 5th presidents, respectively) were dogged with corruption scandals. 
The following years saw Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono come into power through direct presidential elections, and he he enacted some anti-corruption laws and decentralization reforms. Even as corruption declined, the country continued to see clashes. Foreign copper and gold mines saw protests and separatist movements crippled the Aceh until finally peace deals were signed to give the region relative autonomy. Once Jokowi took power, he pushed forward anti-corruption laws, strengthening the rule of law and easing red tape barriers to investment. However, the current political climate of the country still presents a risk. 
Fractured Identities
Indonesia pushes forward with the slogan of “Unity in Diversity” as it houses many diverse ethnic groups and religions. The country has a long history of separatist movements, be it Timor-Leste or more recently in Papua. The divergent ethnic groups in the amalgam of islands have created fractured identities that have been a source of conflict. After the decentralization reforms were enacted due to ethnic and geographical issues, governance was relegated to the individual provinces. 
From the time of the Suharto regime, the military’s alignment with the political elite has been a source of dismay for the population. The Indonesian Military’s (TNI) has continued to fight separatist movements in West Papua and Makaum, which came on the heels of a yearlong courtship of Jokowi. More recently, West Papua independence campaigners gathered a staggering 1.8 million signatures on a petition that called for a free vote on independence. The increase in clashes between separatist groups and the government is a great source of risk for the country. At the same time, ethnic conflicts have manifested themselves in the major cities as well with the growing discontent with Chinese and non-Muslim groups.
Not only is Indonesia susceptible to fractured ethnic identities, but it also contains very diverse religious groups. It is also the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. The role of Islam has manifested itself in the politics and economics of the country as well. Aceh, for example, instituted Sharia post-decentralization. The formation of a Sharia police has resulted in strict punishments that are largely viewed as dangerous in the context of a democratic country. Religious factions have sought to stymie the growth of many minority communities along the islands, including Christians and Shia Muslims. Separatist movements coupled with ethnic divides in the region are likely to serve as a further source of conflict in the region.
Terrorist Activities and Returning Foreign Fighters
The presence of terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jemaah-Islamiyah add another layer to the nature of instability in the region. Reports have approximated that close to 500 Indonesian foreign fighters were believed to be in Syria as of late 2017. After the increased presence of ISIS in the Philippines, Indonesia has ramped up its counterterrorism program in the hopes of keeping a lid on terrorist activities within its borders. Extremists from the Philippines pose another risk as the borders between the two island nations are rather porous; fighters could easily circumvent immigration controls and enter Indonesia. The critical challenge for the Indonesian government will be to curb extremist activities while rehabilitating returning foreign fighters.  
Upcoming Elections and Identity Politics
The impending elections of 2018 and 2019 are likely to pose significant risks for the country as ethnicity and religion could play a key role. The gubernatorial and mayoral elections set for 2018 are likely to witness a play on religious and ethnic sentiments. In West Java, Ridwan Kamil, who was touted as the leading candidate by the Muslim conservatives, was deemed a “lesser Muslim” following his open support for Jokowi. It is possible that the president himself might face similar challenges during his re-election. 
The more concerning aspect remains the espousing of religious rhetoric with respect to candidates’ suitability for office. Following the sentencing of Jakarta’s governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as Ahok) for alleged religious remarks, it is apparent that religion in some way will play a part in the country’s elections. As religious rhetoric increases, there is a stark possibility that sectarian divides will deepen and violence is likely to follow.
The Youth Bulge and Lack of Infrastructure Development
After the highly centralized and corrupt Suharto regime that ruled the country for nearly 30 years beginning in the 1960s, Indonesians sought to have more of a say in their governance. Ultimately, decentralization reforms did not provide the type of economic development that the country needed in its rural areas. Indonesia has continued to face a lack of technical and vocational training despite the growing youth bulge.
Unemployment and underemployment rates among the youth (15-24 years) are 22..6 percent indicating a need for more education and soft infrastructure development programs. Without critical education and training programs, it is hard for the nearly 60 million youth to find gainful employment. Given the general distance of the islands from one another, interconnectivity and communication has been lacking. Though Jokowi has promised infrastructure development and investment throughout the country, many of the proposed projects are big ticket items that may only provide temporary relief while draining the overall budget.
In the lead up to the Asian Games this coming year, the country had allocated $411 million to the infrastructure development budget. Of the country’s $156 billion budget for this year, over 9 percent has been committed to infrastructure development. In addition, the infrastructure development projects contain components that provide poverty reduction and relief programs. 
While the investment in infrastructure is a positive sign, it is important to note that some infrastructure projects, like the ones related to the Asian Games, are only likely to provide temporary economic growth. Should infrastructure costs related to the Asian Games ramp up in the months preceding the game, it would take away from essential infrastructure needed by the country.
The Deepening Effects of Climate Change
A critical risk that the Indonesian government will have to tackle head on is the effects of climate change. In the past year, Indonesia has witnessed multiple climate disasters, recording 2,341 natural disasters in 2017 alone. Reports have indicated that the Java Sea is rising and as weather conditions become more extreme, Jakarta appears to be sinking faster than any other large city in the world. In 2014, 2.6 million people had been displaced as a result of natural disasters. 
Every year, with the number of climate related disasters increasing, Indonesians will see mass displacements, increasing climate refugees, destruction of infrastructure and overall disruption in the livelihoods of the Indonesian people. These are all factors that must be addressed by the government as they will most definitely pose a socioeconomic burden on the country’s economy.
Indonesia is one of the riskier markets in Southeast Asia, primarily due to its domestic dissonance. The political risks are significant with challenges to security, infrastructure, and increasing employment throughout. These political factors will continue to bog down Indonesia’s growth unless they are remedied. 
2018 will prove to be a significant year in Indonesian politics with various issues in flux. Even though the Indonesian economy presents a stable outlook, the political landscape of the country paints a bleak picture. The Indonesian government might be able to achieve their economic growth targets, but unless they address some of these core issues domestically, the country’s growth will be met with multiple obstacles in the near future.
Aishwarya Gupta is an Analyst at Morgan Stanley with a Master of Science in Global Affairs from New York University. She has previously worked with UN Women, Advanced Energy Group, UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate and various other organizations. 
Ossama Ayesh is an Analyst at JP Morgan with a Master of Science in Global Affairs from New York University. He has worked with various international firms and organizations, including Advanced Energy Group, Eurasia Group and the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

1) Indonesia to expand vaccinations after Papuan measles outbreak

2) Indonesian teams scramble to attend Papua measles outbreak


6:47 pm today

1) Indonesia to expand vaccinations after Papuan measles outbreak

6:47 pm today 
A senior Indonesian health official says a vaccination campaign in Asmat will move to other Papuan districts in coming months after a deadly outbreak of measles.
As many as 100 children are feared to have died in the outbreak which has struck malnourished communities.

Director of Surveillance and Health Quarantine at the Ministry of Health Jane Soepardi has just returned from visiting Korowai tribespeople in one of the remotest parts of Asmat.
She said the health team she was with vaccinated children and adults to protect against multiple diseases.
She said a coming nine month mission ordered by the president will involve the army which had its own medical teams and can help with transport in hard to reach parts of the region.
"Asmat is not the only district with this condition. The other districts might soon have the same problem, measles outbreak and malnutrition, so the army plans to have the same mission with the other districts in Papua."
Dr Soepardi said there were four cases of malnutrition in the area she visited.
She said the malnourishment stemmed from dependence on rice rather than the traditional sago, swampy terrain which inhibits agriculture and other changes in traditional eating habits.
Dr Soepardi said her health team also vaccinated for diptheria which had broken out in other parts of Indonesia.
"Many of the teams, workers, dispatched to Asmat, Papua are coming from the infected diptheria outbreak area, from Java mostly so we are afraid that this might cause diptheria outbreaks in Asmat."
She put the measles outbreak down to people carrying it back to their homelands, which had no immunity, after gathering for festivals in the Asmat capital.
She said another problem in Asmat was the lack of manpower and the government planned to address the lack of health care workers in the district.
"Some health centres have zero manpower," she said.


2) Indonesian teams scramble to attend Papua measles outbreak

2:37 pm today 

Indonesian health teams are scrambling to attend to the deadly measles outbreak in Asmat district of Papua province.
In the past few months, around 60 children have died from the disease in the remote district where malnutrition cases are also soaring.
Since reports of the extent of outbreak filtered out of Papua earlier this month, Indonesia's government has moved quickly to attend to the situation, but is copping criticism for neglecting the health of Papuans over many years.
Papua's police commander, Boy Rafli Amar last week said the number affected by malnutrition had surpassed 10,000, which was exacerbating the measles problem.
An integrated health team to respond to the crisis has been dispatched from the Papua Province Health Office, Indonesian National Army, and the Ministry of Health.
The team was armed to supply Asmat villagers with medicine, vaccines, medical equipment and nutritious food.
A spokesman for the team told the Antara news agency that they had successfully attended to 117 Asmat villages where he said the measles outbreak had now been suppressed.
The epidemic is being attributed by health officials to food shortage, a poor sanitary environment, and a lack of medical personnel and facilities in Asmat.
Based on information received on 25 January, a total of 12,398 children in Asmat have been offered medical check-ups and treatment.
Of the total children, 646 are confirmed to be infected with measles.

Jakarta responsible

The NGO Human Rights Watch has fingered blame for the measles outbreak in Papua on the Indonesian government.
It said while Jakarta blamed the deaths in remote Asmat regency on nomadic lifestyles, it is the government who has neglected basic health rights of Papuans.
Human Rights Watch said that Indonesia could have prevented the deaths by establishing an effective vaccination programme in Papua. The current programme is patchy and has not included Asmat children, according to the NGO.
Despite Papua region's abundant resources, which provide significant revenue for the Indonesian state, Papua continues to lag in human development outcomes.
Across the whole Indonesian republic, the highest poverty rates, in relative terms, are all in its far east provinces of Papua, West Papua and Maluku, according to Jakarta's Statistics Agency.
The health situation is of particular concern. Papua has the lowest life expectancy in Indonesia and the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates. Diseases such as malaria, leprosy and malnutrition have strong footholds in in Papua, as does HIV/AIDS.
Although since coming to power in late 2014, President Joko Widodo promised to bring greater economic and social development to Papua, as well as improved health care, the welfare of Papuans appears to have deteriorated.
In the past couple of years, several reported outbreaks of endemic diseases in various parts of Papua have killed hundreds of people.
The government still significantly restricts access to Papua for international humanitarian and health NGOs who could help bolster public health services.
The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius PÅ«ras, reported after visiting last year that he was "concerned about the health status of ethnic Papuans" and called for greater health investment.