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“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.
In this age of satellite imagery what further investigation is needed to zoom in on the plantations with forest fires and punish them? What fumes is the Forestry Ministry and other Indonesian officials inhaling?
Singapore’s air turns “hazardous” as Indonesian fires rage
Pollution index tops 300, indicating hazardous air quality Singapore sending delegation to Indonesia on Thursday Indonesia suggests Singapore companies partly to blame
By Kevin Lim and Eveline Danubrata
SINGAPORE, June 19 (Reuters) – Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “hazardous” levels late on Wednesday as smoke from slash-and-burn land clearing in Indonesia enveloped the city-state, inflaming tensions between the Southeast Asian neighbours.
Singapore, a major financial centre, will send a delegation to Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the smog that has turned its usually clear skies grey, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told a news conference.
The outlines of skyscrapers were barely visible in the central core of the bustling city-state and the smell of burnt wood permeated the air.
“Things will get worse before getting better,” the Today newspaper quoted Balakrishnan as saying on its Twitter feed.
The Pollution Standards Index (PSI) soared to a record high of 321 at 10 p.m., up from 290 just an hour earlier and below 200 earlier in the day. The haze has also shrouded some parts of Malaysia.
A PSI reading above 300 indicates “hazardous” air quality, while a reading between 201 and 300 means “very unhealthy”.
The 321 level smashed the previous record of 226 reached in Singapore in 1997 when smoke from Indonesian fires disrupted shipping and air travel across Southeast Asia.
Operations at Singapore’s Changi Airport, an Asian aviation hub, have not been affected so far but work at some construction sites appeared to have stopped or slowed.
Drug stores and supermarkets ran out of face masks and people queued in long lines to buy multiple boxes of them when fresh supplies came in.
Raffles Quay Asset Management, which manages the Marina Bay Financial Centre complex that houses many of the banks operating in Singapore, said it has issued face masks to security staff.
“They are stationed outdoors for long hours and directly exposed to the haze,” it said.
The illegal burning of forests to clear land for palm plantations is a recurring problem in Indonesia, particularly during the annual dry season from June to September.
Indonesian officials have suggested companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the blazes. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn farming.
“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.
Singapore-based palm oil companies with land concessions in Indonesia include Wilmar International Ltd WLIL.SI, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd GAGR.SI and First Resources Ltd FRLD.SI.
Wilmar, Golden-Agri and First Resources said on Wednesday they had a “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land. Cargill, whose Asia-Pacific regional hub is in Singapore, said there were no hotspots nor fire on its plantations in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan.
I have emigrated.
I have done so because of chauvinistic pigs like Ahmad Hamidi who think they have a better claim on the land where four generations of my family grew up in than relative newcomers like him.
If you look at the Wikipedia entry into Wan Hamidi, it says that he is of Javanese origin, with with roots in Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta. Here you see a photo of Wan Hamidi in Javanese gear being at home in Jogjakarta.
So you have to wonder at the duplicity that Malaysians have to put up with if they stay in Malaysia. You have this Javanese posing as a Melayu (which is an ethnic group in Riau and Kalimantan, but become elevated to a race in the Malaysian Constitution). The Prime Minister Najib Razak and his father a former Prime Minister are of Bugis origin (see here).
And of course, as we all know, Mahathir is a mixed-blood with Indian being a prominent part of the mix. (The Tunku – Abdul Rahman – was also of mixed blood with Thai coursing through his veins but he’s the only decent chap in the Umno elite)
So you have all these guys with foreign blood running Umno and through Umno, Malaysia for the past five decades. It is rotten to the core and they would have been drummed out of office, if not for widespread fraud.
So emigrate my Malaysian brothers and sisters. Life outside is much better. But if you’re not inclined or do not have the option to emigrate, fight them tooth and nail!
PETALING JAYA – Malaysia’s newly-appointed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has reportedly said that Malaysians who are unhappy with the country’s political system should leave the country, stressing that loyal citizens should respect the rule of law.
Malaysian news website fz.com reported on Thursday that in his first opinion piece printed in the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia daily since receiving the portfolio on Wednesday, Mr Ahmad Zahid wrote that the illegal gatherings held across the country by opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition was a form of escapism and the denial of the fact that it failed to take control of Putrajaya.
“Malaysia inherited the political system from the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries also use the first past the post system where political parties contesting in the election will only have one representative in each constituency with the principle of a simple majority of votes,” he said in a column.
He said opposition leaders, especially those from Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Democratic Action Party, had been “irresponsible” in confusing young Chinese voters and their followers who are “politically blind” to dress in black to protest against the result of the 13th general election which they believed went in their favour, going by the popular vote.
Interesting article but isn’t an important question being left out in this article here? What sort of spatial planning does the city have or implements to allow that many malls? If only journalists would ask the right questions, we can hope to have a better city.
Just when you thought Jakarta may sink beneath the combined mass of the city’s 130-plus malls, a further 313,500 square meters of retail space has been announced, with just three large malls contributing 83 percent of the increase.
The largest of them is St. Moritz in West Jakarta with 129,200 square meters, followed by Ciputra World in South Jakarta and Green Bay Mall in West Jakarta, with 78,000 and 52,000 square meters respectively. St. Moritz is being built by Lippo Karawaci, while Agung Podomoro is the developer of Green Bay Mall.
Ferry Salanto, the director of research at Colliers International Indonesia, said that the developers of those three malls have strategies in place to secure tenants for their malls.
“If they hadn’t secured tenants they would not build the malls,” Ferry said last week.
Local developers have their own flagship tenants when opening up new malls, such as Lippo’s deal with Debenhams and Parkson, and Ciputra’s with Lotte.
Artadinata Djangkar, a director at Ciputra Property, which is responsible for Ciputra World, said the entrance of foreign retailers has increased demand for more retailing space in Jakarta.
In the past two years alone, several international retailers have set sail for Indonesia. Besides South Korea’s Lotte, there is Parkson from Malaysia, Japan’s Aeon and Thailand’s Sentral Group.
The presence of these chains creates lucrative business opportunities for local developers. Ciputra World 1 will cost its developer Ciputra $130 million, while Lippo’s St. Moritz mall is a part of the $1.2 billion mixed-use St. Mortiz Penthouses & Residences project.
Setyo Maharso, the chairman of Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), said that the strong demand for retailing space is tracking a steadily growing property market. “It is because [malls] are the supporting facilities of neighborhoods and cities,” he added.
With strong economic growth and rising purchasing power, Setyo predicted that the property market will grow between 10 percent and 15 percent this year.
Colliers’ Ferry said that property developers still needed to advance their understanding of mall management in order to generate more revenue.
He said that there are two types of mall in operation in Jakarta, the first being “community malls,” whose visitors are mostly people from the surrounding area, and “destination malls,” which hope to attract visitors from distant areas.
Ferry said that mall construction will slow next year, due to the Jakarta government’s ongoing moratorium on mall construction, introduced in 2011.
He added the policy would encourage more malls to be constructed in regions surrounding Jakarta.
Ferry said that the four regions surrounding Jakarta tended to take turns to host new malls.
“This year, there are more new malls in Bekasi [then the other three regions]. We predict that in 2014, there will be more new malls in Tangerang,” Ferry said.
It always amazes Unspun how everyone in Indonesia, especially the politicians, excel at barking up the wrong tree whenever something big happens and they are suggesting ways to avoid future such incidents.
The Sleman Prison Attack (brow) is one such incident. As with the past the politicians are zeroing on the amorphous concept called the government, the lack of political will, the lack of enforcement etc etc.
All righteous sounding noises noises signifying nothing and eventuating in noting.
There is something thatt the Fourth Estate, The Press, can do about it though and it is by adopting a simple question they often use for heads of organizations mired in scandal: “Sir, Will you resign from your position to take responsibility for this situation?”
It is simple, direct to the point and places accountability squarely on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the overall discipline and conduct of their organisations – the head of the organization.
Yet such questions are never asked in Indonesia by the media to the heads, in this case of the military and the police. As a result the concept of responsibility for things happening on their “watch” never gets fully realised and dissipates in the heat of the rhetoric that accompanies each incident.
As a result the chiefs of the military and the police do not feel the heat even if their people killed others, or torch the rival’s organization, or commit cold blooded executions. They have no incentive to change things. Neither will thier successors because they know that they would not be held accountable.
Does anyone know what is stopping Indonesian journalists from asking such a simple question?
Lawmakers have lambasted the government for its failure to protect the public after a brutal attack on Cebongan Prison in Sleman, Yogyakarta, left four people dead.
An unidentified group of 17 gunmen, wearing face masks and carrying assault rifles, barged into the jail early on Saturday morning, threatening the wardens before executing four prisoners awaiting trial over the death of a soldier.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said on Sunday that the attack was a major embarrassment for the government.
“Revenge motives aside, this attack signifies an open attempt to disgrace the ruling government, in particular the Justice and Human Rights Ministry,” he said, warning a spate of similar violence could now be triggered.
Tjahjo called for all parties caught up in the attack — from Cebongan correctional authorities to the Indonesian military — to be transparent and ready for a full investigation into what happened.
“This incident indicates there is something wrong with the system,” he said.
Tjahjo noted a similar case in Papua, where an army post was attacked by rebels, remained unsolved, as did an attack on a police station in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
Comr. Gen. Sutarman, the National Police’s chief of criminal investigations, said that he had sent a team of officers to look into the incident.
“The National Police will provide backup for this case. The team is being led by [head of general crime] Brig. Gen. Ari Dono,” he said, adding that the police were still examining the crime scene and had yet to identify the assailants.
Fadli Zon, the deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said that the country was being taken over by “mafia.”
“I’ve never heard of such incidents except in action movies,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “The state is powerless and weak in the face of the armed forces. Rule of law is absent and undignified.”
Fadli said the government must take the executions seriously, and demanded swift steps to apprehend the culprits and ensure that such a shocking attack didn’t happen again.
“If not taken seriously, the public will lose confidence in law enforcers and they will take justice into their own hands,” he said. “This brutal incident shouldn’t have happened in Indonesia.”
Separately, Gerindra lawmaker Martin Hutabarat said vigilante acts usually stemmed from a lack of respect for the legal system, which was considered unable — or unwilling — to punish offenders.
“If the people trust our law enforcers, this incident wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I on defense, also called for a strong response from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“This case is not just a matter of discipline. This is an attempt to fight the government. The president must be firm when dealing with this case,” he said on Sunday.
The public had a right to feel terrorized, Tubagus added, with gunman wielding an arsenal of weaponry and taking over a high-security prison with ease.
“Where’s the control [from the army and police]? The state can be considered negligent,” he said.
The Cebongan attack is believed to be linked to a murder at a Slemen club, Hugo’s Cafe, early on Tuesday morning. Special Forces (Kopassus) soldier First Sgt. Heru Santosa allegedly was stabbed to death when he tried to break up a fight at the venue.
Sleman Police arrested four men in connection with the murder: Hendrik Angel Sahetapi, 31; Yohanes Juan Mambait, 38; Gameliel Yermianto Rohi Riwu, 29; and Adrianus Candra Galaja, 33.
Around 1:15 a.m on Saturday morning the jail was stormed by men claiming they were police. After unsuccessfully trying to move the suspects out of their cells, they opened fire, killing all four.
Should Malaysian citizens file a class action suit for wholesale incompetence while spending the taxpayers’ money?
A general election is expected next month in the Southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, and that usually means political shenanigans—abuse of national security laws, media manipulation and character assassination. After the last election in 2008, when the ruling coalition barely held on to power, public anger at such practices prompted Prime Minister Najib Razak to redraft laws and reform the electoral system. However, new revelations that his government paid American journalists to attack opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim raise questions whether those changes went far enough.
In January, conservative American blogger Joshua Treviño belatedly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, revealing that from 2008-2011 he was paid $389,724.70, as well as a free trip to Malaysia, to provide “public relations and media consultancy” services to the Malaysian government.
These consisted of writing for a website called Malaysia Matters, now defunct, as well as channeling $130,950 to other conservative writers who wrote pro-government pieces for other newspapers and websites. When questioned in 2011 by the Politico website about whether Malaysian interests funded his activities, Mr. Treviño flatly denied it: “I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was.”
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
The campaign was more targeted than the Malaysian ruling coalition’s domestic attacks on Mr. Anwar. Mr. Treviño’s site mainly went after the opposition leader for anti-Semitic remarks and his alliance with the Islamist party PAS, and even accused him of links to terrorists through the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mr. Anwar has made anti-Semitic comments—though that’s in part to fend off domestic accusations that he’s too cozy with Zionists. He also has ties to organizations that have taken Saudi money, but the suggestion that he somehow has “ties to terrorism” is preposterous.
The site also defended an outrageous charge of sodomy brought against Mr. Anwar from 2008-2012, and it criticized the U.S. State Department and The Wall Street Journal for taking Mr. Anwar’s side. These postings were clearly aimed at sowing doubt among other would-be Anwar defenders in the U.S., especially on the right of the U.S. political spectrum.
Mr. Treviño paid other writers who know almost nothing about Malaysia but mimicked his propaganda. The New Ledger, edited by Ben Domenech, was even more vociferous, calling Mr. Anwar a “vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser.” One posting was entitled, “Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist money flowing to Anwar Ibrahim.” According to Mr. Treviño’s filing, he paid Mr. Domenech $36,000 for “opinion writing.” Three contributors of anti-Anwar items to the New Ledger—Rachel Motte, Christopher Badeaux and Brad Jackson—were paid $9,500, $11,000 and $24,700 respectively.
Mr. Treviño was initially paid by public relations multinational APCO Worldwide, which had a longstanding contract with the Malaysian government. APCO’s Kuala Lumpur representative through 2010, Paul Stadlen, now works in Prime Minister Najib’s office. David All, who at the time ran his own PR firm and collaborated on Malaysia Matters, also provided cash.
But from 2009-11, the Malaysian money came through Fact-Based Communications, which under the leadership of journalist John Defterios produced programs on client countries for CNN, CNBC and the BBC. After this was revealed in 2011, the three networks dropped all FBC programs, and Atlantic Media Company President Justin Smith resigned from its board.
Influence-peddling has a long and sordid history in Washington, and governments that use repressive methods at home yet want to remain on friendly terms with the U.S. typically have the biggest bankrolls. It’s not unheard of for PR operators to pay less reputable journalists and think-tankers to write favorable coverage, as the Jack Abramoff case in the mid-2000s showed.
The Malaysian scheme, however, is notable because it drew in respected writers such as Rachel Ehrenfeld, who has contributed to the Journal in the past and took $30,000, Claire Berlinski, who got $6,750, and Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary magazine, who was paid $5,500. Some of the articles appeared in well-known publications such as National Review and the Washington Times.
Mr. Najib’s falling popularity at home suggests his days as Prime Minister could be numbered. The irony is that he was more democratic and played a more responsible role in the region than his predecessors. Even opposition figures have quietly admitted to us that he has steered Malaysia in the right direction. That should have been more than enough for a legitimate public relations operation to work with. Resorting to underhanded tactics to undermine the opposition has only backfired for Mr. Najib, at home and abroad.
A version of this article appeared March 9, 2013, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Malaysia’s U.S. Propaganda.
One for the record. Will this up the game for TV business news reporting in Indonesia? What would it mean for companies operating here? Do they need to have better media handling skills to take advantage of this development?
Bloomberg LP will start broadcasting Bloomberg Television Indonesia in May, more than 20 years after the financial news and information giant opened a bureau in the world’s fourth-most populous country and Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Andrew Lack, chief executive of Bloomberg Media Group, said that Indonesia had huge potential as a market for media content. Bloomberg LP established the Bloomberg Media Group — a combination of its television, print, radio, mobile and digital media properties — in 2011.
Indonesia’s economy grew 6.2 percent in 2012, among the fastest in the Asia-Pacific region and faster than developed economies in Europe and North America. Among the 10 Asean member states, only the Philippine economy expanded at a faster pace.
“When you are in the finance and business information business, you’ve been watching Indonesia in the past several years … I ask, ‘How do I get to Indonesia and how soon?’” Lack said on Thursday.
A survey by market researcher Nielsen in 2010 estimated that there were around 50 million TV viewers in Indonesia, of which around three million were pay TV viewers. Indonesia has a population of more than 240 million people. Bloomberg LP says on its website that the Bloomberg Television network is available in more than 310 million homes worldwide.
To set up its Indonesia operation, Bloomberg Television has formed a partnership with Idea Group, a media holding company backed by Recapital Group, which is headed by Sandiaga Uno and Rosan Roeslani. Idea Group was also behind the creation of the online marketplace Bukalapak.com.
Adithya Chandra Wardhana, the chief executive of Bloomberg Television Indonesia, said that it planned to work with existing broadcast companies in Indonesia on free-to-air, pay TV, Internet and mobile platforms.
Adithya said that the company had secured a deal with local regional television networks such as Jakarta TV in the capital region, Surabaya TV in East Java and Depok TV in West Java. Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with Makassar TV to provide content for the eastern part of the country.
Bloomberg Television Indonesia is also in talks with several major pay television networks, Adithya said, but declined to name them, as the deals have yet to be finalized. “We target middle-, upper-class and affluent audiences. We will be the only television network that specializes in business and financial news here,” he said.
“We will create business content in Bahasa Indonesia, about 80 percent local and 20 percent international.”
The company has recruited Kania Sutisnawinata and Tomy Tjokro, both of whom are former Metro TV news anchors, and 50 other journalists.
Bloomberg Television Indonesia will also air live from the Indonesia Stock Exchange every day to its global network, which is expected to benefit Indonesia.
“I think Indonesia will benefit most from the exposure that we bring,” said Parameshwaran Ravindranathan, head of Asia Pacific for Bloomberg Television, based in Hong Kong.
Indonesians will be forgiven if they are flabbergasted by the news item below. That’s because in Indonesia there is lacking that narrow-mindedness that is so common among Malaysian, particularly Malay politicians who are unable to distinguish between religion, culture and language.
For you see, in Malaysia, race, and along with it religion and language, are politicised. The formula is simple: Malay(race)=Islam=Koran=Jawi=Malay(language) and anyone that says otherwise is seen as trampling in their underpants.
Hence the hullaballoo in Malaysia whenever they uncover any Bible translated into the Malay language, or in Jawi. Indoensians are too mature and diverse to believe that religion belongs to one ethnic group, race, or language. To them religion transcends the racial/language barriers.
Unspun thinks politicians such as Ibrahim Ali should get some intellectual development and maturity by visiting Indonesia, where the Bible is read mostly in the Indonesian language. In spite of this, Indonesian Muslims are in no danger of being proselytised en mass into some heathen religion. The Indonesians know better than their Malaysian counterparts that the Islamic faith is made of more sterner stuff than the word.
This goes to show one again how secure the Indonesians are being themselves and how insecure the malaysians are in their faith, their race and where they stand in society. Pathetic and Ibrahim Ali wins a shit-for-brains tag from Unspun.
Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says his call to Muslims to burn the Malay-language Bible written in Jawi and using the word ‘Allah’ was not intended to hurt the feelings of Christians but that it was a reaction to those trying to violate the federal constitution.
The Independent MP for Pasir Mas explained to Utusan Malaysia that his call was to wake up those who tried to proselytise Muslims.
“We respect Christians and it was not my intention to offend or hurt the feelings of others. We have tolerated a lot.
“But when we voiced out our reaction to the action of a certain party that distributed Malay-language Bibles to students of a secondary school in Penang, many were angered,” the Umno-owned daily quoted Ibrahim as saying.
Full story: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/219603
Unspun’s always envied the sartorially gifted. From primary school till even today Unspun’s struggled to look presentable and failing every time and is totally jealous of those who can manage to look cool and composed even in the most trying of circumstances.
Hence Unspun’s always admired those guys who could wear a leather jacket, or a polo neck sweater in Indonesia’s heat and still look cool. Unspun would have dehydrated if he tried anything like that.
No fan of leather jackets, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalagewa is one of those on the top of Unpun’s envy list. He always looks impeccable, as in the photo below where event the president looks like some hoi polloi in the middle of a flood. The Foreign Minister, however, manages to be in suit and tie and looking smart even with his trousers rolled. All very smart, but is it proper attire when one’s President’s official residence is in danger of becoming the next Atlantis?
What is it with old men in power and rape? Why is it so difficult for them to understand that the fact that rape is violence, where the raper violates the rights of the victim to assert their power over them?
Rape can happen to anyone. To men, to women, regardless of how they behave and dress, or where they hang out. It often caused, not by the victim “asking for it” but by the rapist not giving a flying f about another person’s rights or humanity.
Yet we have these men, such as Indonesia’s candidate for a Supreme Court justice and Mumbai’s Police Commissioner putting the blame one everything and everyone but the perpetrators themselves.
What gives? Why do these seemingly educated men think this way? Do they not have mothers, sisters and daughters who are vulnerable to rape? Would they blame their women relatives if some rapists were to violate them?
Unspun thinks that the proper response is to lock these men up in prison, throw away the key and subject them to gang rapes. And then mock them if they complain. Perhaps such treatment would inject some empathy into their worthless selves?
A candidate Supreme Court justice told members of the House of Representatives that some rape cases might involve consensual sex and require more lenient sentences.
“Both the victims of rape and the rapist might have enjoyed their intercourse together, so we should think twice before handing down the death penalty,” Daning Sususi told lawmakers on House Commission III on law and human rights on Monday.
While rape carries a maximum penalty of 12 years’ imprisonment under Indonesian law, Daning might have been referring to recent cases involving rape and murder.
Daming’s comments were greeted with laughter from lawmakers overseeing his “fit-and-proper” hearing.
Democratic Party lawmaker Himmatul Aliya Setiawati, for example, she had no problems with Daming.
“He has met the criteria from the answers he gave us. Other factions have said that they won’t vote for him, but we will look at his overall score,” Himmatul told reporters.
However, lawmaker Pramono Anung Wibowo from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that his party would vote to reject Daming, a career judge from Banjarmasin, East Kalimantan.
This is not the first time, a public official made a statement which blames the victims of rape.
Last year, Former Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo advised women against wearing provocative clothes while riding public transportation in order to avoid being raped.
His statement came after recent gang rape cases on public minivans, including the rape of a Binus University student who was subsequently killed.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh Monday said sex education would only make matters worse as far as crime against women is concerned as there is a higher rate of such crime in countries which have sex education in their curriculum.
“Sex education needs to be carefully thought out. Look at America. It has sex education as part of its curriculum, but students are simply being taught about how to have intercourse,” Singh said at a discussion on women’s safety organised by Loksatta, the Marathi daily of the The Indian Express group. “According to a survey, rape is more common than smoking there. Countries with sex education in their curriculum only have an increased number of crimes against women.”
Singh said a strong emphasis on moral education is needed. “Sexual violence is more psychological than physical. This is because people today have a polluted mentality,” he said, attributing it to the lack of moral education in schools in particular.