Contracts not valid if it ain’t in Indonesian?

Whoa! This may have far reaching implications for foreign companies that have signed contacts with Indonesian companies — and result in lots of work for Indonesian lawyers and translators.

Another mess for the Jokowi government to try to sort out if they want to attract foreign investment.

INDONESIAN HIGH COURT AFFIRMS FIRST INSTANCE COURT DECISION THAT CONTRACTS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARE VOID

There has been continuing uncertainty and concern about the Indonesian legislative requirement that the Indonesian language be used in contracts with Indonesian parties.

In the absence of anticipated implementing regulations, there are many unresolved questions about the meaning and applicability of the broadly expressed requirement.

In May 2014 the Jakarta High Court rejected an appeal against the 2013 ruling by the West Jakarta District Court which declared an Indonesian law governed loan agreement between an Indonesian borrower and a foreign lender to be void on the basis that the loan agreement was written in English in contravention of the requirements under Indonesia’s Law No. 24 of 2009 concerning Flag, Language and Symbol of State and National Anthem “Law 24/2009” – please click here for our previous e-bulletin on the impact and effect of the first instance decision.

There was no new legal reasoning provided by the Jakarta High Court as to why the first instance judgment should be upheld. The judgment simply stated that the appeal submitted by the foreign lender to overturn the first instance judgment was rejected on the following grounds:the Jakarta High Court was of the view that the first instance decision was decided correctly in compliance with prevailing laws; andthere were no new facts submitted by the appellant that would undermine the first instance decision.

via 2014/09/17 – Indonesia Update | Indonesian High Court affirms first instance court decision that contracts written in English language are void.

Posted in business, Indonesia, Litigation PR | Leave a comment

Elisabeth Pisani’s Bad Boyfriend in a guide slanted to women and issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a book review I wrote for Magdalene on the critically acclaimed (by reviews in Economist, New York Times etc, and now Unspun) Indonesia Etc.

Magdalene

 

 

Posted in Indonesia | 1 Comment

A sorry apology over the “opportunity” arising from Robin Williams’ death

This is a timely reminder for all of us in the communications industry not to get carried away by our literary abilities and thought leadership skills, to the extent that we become insensitive on matters that matter to people most.

A mistake has been made, an apology issued but I wonder what PR professionals would make of the Twitter apology? To me it did not go enough. There was no mea culpa and then it segued straight into intent. It falls short of an ernest apology, especially for professional wordsmiths.

Personally I am saddened by the death of Robin Williams, who has been a part of so much of the lives of  people of my generation since Mork and Mindy days.

That he apparently committed suicide because depression only goes to show how vulnerable we all are to this condition. The role that depression plays in our lives, especially when we get older, is rap and scary. We all need to learn more about depression and its link with Alzheimer’s Disease.

RIP Robin Williams.

PR Giant Edelman Apologizes for Calling Robin Williams Death an Opportunity

But says blog post on sparking mental health discussion will remain live

By David GrinerAugust 14, 2014, 10:40 AM

Robin Williams died Monday. Authorities say he committed suicide. | Photo: Jay Paul/Getty Images

 

Edelman is usually tapped with helping brands avoid or disentangle themselves from public backlash, but the global PR firm instead found itself in the hot seat this week.At issue was a blog post from media relations strategy evp Lisa Kovitz, who said the suicide of comedian Robin Williams created a PR opportunity for groups advocating for better treatment of mental illness.

“As we mourn the loss of Robin Williams to depression, we must recognize it as an opportunity to engage in a national conversation,” she wrote. “His death yesterday created a carpe diem moment for mental health professionals and those people who have suffered with depression and want to make a point about the condition and the system that treats it.”

While she certainly has a point about such a high-profile tragedy bringing mental health and depression into the spotlight, quite a few readers found the post to be in poor taste.

Most of the backlash likely stemmed from Gawkers writeup calling Edelman a “soulless PR conglomerate” using a celebritys suicide to promote its own expertise.

Asked by Adweek whether she regretted the phrasing or the intent of the blog post, Kovitz directed us to Edelmans tweet of apology this morning:

 

Despite the companys apology, Kovitz said the blog post “will remain live.” Most critics of the post said they felt it was positioned as a sales message for the PR agency:”Using someones death as an opportunity to position yourself as THE PR company to walk potential clients through the best way to benefit from this conversation is callous,” said commenter Erin Blaskie, who shared her complaint with her 30,000 Twitter followers as well. “Instructing potential clients to pay your firm money to help them take advantage of this situation is gross. This isnt a PR opportunity. This is someones life lost.”

via PR Giant Edelman Apologizes for Calling Robin Williams Death an Opportunity | Adweek.

(Disclosure: I run a communications consultancy that sometimes competes with Edelman’s local operations, but this posting has more to do with how the profession should behave rather than about  competitor firm) 

 

Posted in communications, Crisis and issues management, Twitter | Leave a comment

What to do when a head hunter comes into town

This is a post I wrote for our office blog and it tells of our reaction to a headhunter of an international PR network that has been trying to hunt some MavHeads.

What do you do if you’re running a Public Relations Consultancy in talent-starved Indonesia — and you learn that the chief regional headhunter of a multinational PR network coming to town next week – and suggesting your talents to meet up with her through LinkedIn?

You can, like the knights of yore and their ladies, lock up their assets in chastity belts and put the key on a lanyard close to your heart, or other parts of your anatomy.

Or you can keep very quiet and see who takes leave, or goes MIA for a few hours, on the days that the Headhunter is in town most of next week. That way you know who are the ones that are looking elsewhere.

Or more radically, you can let your whole office know and using this fact to educate them on how to use their LinkedIn accounts. If they have been contacted by Headhunter, they have tarted their LinkedIn profile well; if they haven’t they still need to work on their profiles – or put in more time before they are eligible to be poached.As usual Maverick has chosen the radical approach….read more here

Posted in Indonesia, Public Relations | 1 Comment

Presidential Debate II: Muddling through the muddle

While watching the second presidential debate last night, one of my colleagues posted a trenchant commentary on the progress of the debate at-a-glance:

debate

To Unspun, it really summed up the debate last night: a muddle of unoriginal thoughts, lacking a focal point, confused but if you look closely you begin to see some patterns.

The patterns that we see are Jokowi stuck in concreteness at the expense of demonstrating to the public that he can also think big; Prabowo stuck in thinking in the abstract at the expense of being concrete. Each of the candidates are locked in their default positions and do not seem to be able to move beyond them.

In terms of their argument strategy Jokowi stresses on his achievements and how electronic solutions (his trump card? Sorry couldn’t resist the pun) will solve problems. He stresses on getting things right.

Prabowo hammered on a theme that his brother Hashim spoke about at the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent’s club – lots of money is being wasted now because of corruption, inefficiencies and bad policy. Leakage was his key message. And the solution to that was to get tough.

Both candidates did not display the vision or the courage to go beyond nationalist sentiments. Jokowi espoused the PDIP’s policy of holding contracts sacrosanct, giving some comfort to investors but at the same time spooking them by suggesting erecting barriers as a counter measure to the Asean Economic Community. Probowo has channeled him to champion reciprocity and trying to stench the leakage of Indonesia’s riches to foreign shores.

In terms of style, Prabowo appeared more confident and poised. Jokowi fumbled and mumbled, reinforcing his image as the Forrest Gump of Indonesian politics.

At the end of the night both candidates were disappointing and the question that needs to be asked is if any of them slipped so badly that it would cost them any vote; or if their lacklustre performance was staged purely for the benefit and schadenfreude of the chatting classes of Indonesia with their  social media accounts on steroids.

So what lessons can one draw from the second presidential debate?

For Unspun it was that both candidates are somewhat equally limited in terms of espousing a vision that could inspire change and rely the nation. Where does that leave the electorate then?

The answer has to be between, on one hand, Uninspiring Candidate #1, Prabowo who has no record of government, whose success in the military and business is difficult to attribute because of his elitist and privileged upbringing, who thinks he can ride the Islamist-Fundamentalist Tiger and triumph over them, like Lee Kuan Yew with the Malayan Communist Party and whose running mate Hatta Rajasa, who as Coordinating Economic Minister in SBY’s Cabinet, was responsible for the many of the economic ills he rails against.

On the other hand there is Uninspiring Candidate #2, Jokowi, who is good with homilies and getting things done, who is not adept at all at talking about policy, who is from a humble, non-elitist background, whose honesty and integrity has been proven and whose running mate Jusuf Kalla is the man who told the Pancila Youth in The Act of Killing that Indonesia needs preman.

The issues, like the painting above remain murky and confusing. And given the candidates’ inability to embrue the cut and thrust of intellectual parrying as we have been accustomed to expect through television, movies and Western politicians (as well as Rumpole of the Bailey books) things won’t get any less confusing in the few weeks left before the presidential election.

But the pattern is emerging strongly on where Indonesians should place their votes for the future. Provided, of course, that Probowo isn’t able to rise to the occasion and commandeer the emotions of the nation’s wong cilik to vote for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Indonesia | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Making sense of the first Presidential debate

Like most people living in Indonesia, Unspun’s impression of the presidential candidates had been confined mainly to a diet of TV newscasts, print news stories and the endless rhetoric – for one side or another – on social media. So like most people Unspun watched the first presidential debate last night with some expectations: a mercurial, fiery orator in Prabowo big on the national issues and a somewhat vague Jokowi who may be good on city administration homilies but all out at sea on national issues. Like most people Unspun was pleasantly surprised. The Tiger of Asia (Macan Asia) proclaimed by Prabowo’s campaign banners turned out to be a doddering pussycat. Instead of being inspiring and articulate, he looked puffy, unsure and unprepared, delivering normative, boring answers. Jokowi, on the other hand, was starting to look versatile and presidential. Instead of wearing his trademarked checked shirt, he wore a dark suit, white shirt and red tie. And although unpolished he demonstrated that he could take on national issues and articulate coherent solutions and policies. How did this come to pass? How does someone of Prabowo’s background – an elite family, good education, stints overseas become so inarticulate and fumbling, while a simple businessmen who stumbled into politics could spur himself toward being presidential? There must be many reasons but if Unspun had to guess Probowo’s folly rested on two intertwining factors: hubris and a New Order mindset. The hubris was evident when a day before the debate Mahfud MD, who is now heading the Team Sukses Probowo-Hatta, told reporters that Prabowo was already prepared for the debate and had no need to practice. It would seem that they were all drinking the Kool Aid at the Gerindra headquarters. Hubris mixed with a New Order mindset can be a fatal combination. The New Order mindset is characterised by a self-perception fed by acolytes and bereft of any reality checks. So in the run-up to the presidential debate Prabowo must be looking at the mirror and seeing a ferocious Asian Tiger. Jokowi, on the other hand, was reported to be mugging up for the debate. Unsure of himself, he nonetheless had the pluck to take on this wholly new level of challenge and, from his performance last night, managed to master at least some of the basics. The question that we have to ask ourselves is what do their performances at the debate, given the context, say about the presidential candidates? To Unspun it says that Prabowo is moribund to the old ways. That there is substance to the rumour that he usually thinks that he’s the smartest guy in any room, and therefore does not need to put in the extra effort to put in a good presentation. he takes things – his abilities, his privilege, his stature for granted. Jokowi, on the other hand, does not have a fixed mindset. He is willing to learn new things and he’s obviously a fast learner. He is adaptable and if he keeps this up he’s likely to master the new skill of managing the presidency. What wasn’t surprising were the performances of the running mates. Prabowo’s Hatta Rajasa was yet another Order Baru creature, spewing out normative without conviction. Jusuf Kalla was more engaging and sometimes witty. His baiting of Prabowo over human rights in 1998 was masterful. Of the partnerships the Prabowo-Hatta relationship looked like a master-factotum relationship while there was a synergy between Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla. Unspun is looking for the next round where the presidential candidates face each other alone. Will Prabowo be able to come down from his high horse and work toward a better performance? Will Jokowi be able to hold the floor on his own without Kalla’s support? This is all shaping out to be a more interesting presidential race than though and the television, much reviled in Indonesian educated society for their usual trashy programming, may yet prove to be the great leveller of Indonesian politics through the presidential debates. And yes, the moderator sucked. So did the moving LED backdrop.

Posted in ask the right question, Indonesia, politics | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Blogger, the Crowd, and the Prime Minister

One of the early promises of the Net was its ability to democratise, to level the playing field.

Then the Net became ubiquitious, Facebook and others let the barbarians and trolls in to play and many of us got disenchanted with it.

So it is particularly heartening then to read about the power of the Net to level the playing field between Singapore blogger Roy Ngerng in the David corner and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Goliath corner.

Roy had been asking questions about how the Singapore Government has been using, or abusing, its funds. Lee didn’t like the criticism so he sued Roy.

The legal suit has been the Big Stick that governments and the rick can wield against pesky reporters and writers, who are usually not that well off financially. I remember many years ago in Malaysia when a tycoon took out a suit against one of the big names in journalism M.G.G. Pillay for something he wrote.

M.G.G. spiritedly tried to fight it but the pressure of having to pay something beyond what he could make if he lost the suit took its toll. I think it broke him to a certain extent.

But now, thanks to the Net, we have crowd funding, like what Roy has resorted to. The implications of his action, and his initial success at raising up to S$50,000 with little effort, has huge political implications.

It now means that writers and bloggers need no longer be that afraid of the crippling legal suit, especially if they are writing something critical about a government, institution or individual that is not publicly popular.

Sue me? I’ll crowd fund my law suit. let’s see you in court. Libel laws are still important, as with the principle of the right of the aggrieved party to sue for libel, but in this instance at least the scales of Justice have been tipped to be more even.

Published: 2 June 2014 | Updated: 3 June 2014 3:56 AM

A Singaporean blogger sued for damages by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pic) said Monday he had successfully raised fees for his legal defence in just four days through crowdfunding.

Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, a government health worker who posts comments on social issues, said 1,104 people had so far contributed more than Sg$72,000 (RM184,900), exceeding his target of Sg$70,000 (RM179,700) when he launched the campaign Friday.

Ngerng published the transaction history of his bank account on his crowdfunding platform. Many of the donors registered comments criticising Lee and opposing the use of libel suits to silence government critics.

Singapore officials have long used defamation suits against printed publications to defend their reputations.

Ngerng was the first online critic brought to court by a Singaporean leader.

“Donations were mostly of small denominations, and ranged from one cent to two thousand dollars,” Ngerng, 33, told AFP.

“It reflects the people’s frustrations with the current situation,” added Ngerng, author of a blog called ‘The Heart Truths’..[continued...]

 

Posted in blogging, Social Media | Tagged , | 2 Comments