Alexis: right decision for the wrong reasons

Alexis almost certainly has prostitution as one of its services and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is right to close it down if morality is his kind of thing.

But shutting it down based on press reports rather than on hard evidence is worrying, as it sets a bad precedence of executive action based on suspicion.

What this means is that in future all the Jakarta government has to do is suspect that you are guilty of a violation to impose sanctions on you.

And the basis of their suspicion? Media reports.

While there are many responsible and professional journalists out there who would document and recheck their facts before going to print, there. are many more still who are slack, naive and easily manipulated or can be bought or intimidated.

This being the case, it is not difficult for anyone to engineer negative stories against any business or party. And given the depleted ranks of journalists because of falling ad revenues it is easy for even implausible stories to be copy pasted onto other publications, amplifying the negativity.

With Anies’ action to deny the renewal of Alexis based on mere press resports rather than, say, an investigation by City Hall officers or the Police, we have entered the dubious territory of Kangaroo Courts.

We’d better hop onto trying to right this wrong before we end up in Anies’s pocket.

How transnational couples can start owning properties in Indonesia

If you are a foreigner married to an Indonesian or vice versa, this would be a forum you’d want to attend.

The reason is that until two weeks ago you’d have a pre-nuptial agreement if you want to have a normal life in Indonesia that allows you to buy and sell properties.  Article 29 of the 1974 Marriage Law makes it a bitch for you to divide up your property and debts unless this was agreed on before you get married. It does not recognize any agreement between consenting adults on their property and debts if it is made after marriage.

The consequences of such an interpretation of the law makes it virtually for transnational couples to buy and own property. Banks  would not give you a loan because the Law does not recognize the foreign spouse as a legal entity, meaning that if you die then they cannot take up the payments for the loan. There is apparently also some provision that if you do not have a prenup should any of you die, half of your assets would be surrendered to the state.

This was clearly unfair to Indonesians most of all, so it was good news that the Constitutional Court last month declared this policy unconstitutional. For more details on this decision see here.

But now that the Court has overturned the 42-year policy, what next for married couples? How should they go about drafting their Post-Nup agreements? Should it be bilingual? Where should such an agreement be filed at?

The Indonesian Mixed-Marriage Society (PerCa), that has been doing an excellent job championing the rights of transnational couples in Indonesia, is holding a talkshow next week to have these questions answered. Make sure you attend it if you want to avoid the uncertainties that usually accompany any simple bureaucratic procedure in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Dream on Malaysia while Indonesia takes stand against “Islamic” crazies

I’ll never forget how wistful my Malaysian cardiologist was when he found out that I was from Indonesia and that we now have Jokowi as the President.

“He seems a good guy, isn’t he?” he said of Jokowi as I lay prone and half naked on the examination table.

“Yes he is,” I said.

“Ah, if only we can have a leader like that, simple, honest, straightforward…” he said as his stethoscope hovered over me and his mind conjured up the same qualities for his national leader.

Then he looked sad as reality bit. “Too bad, we can only dream what you have in Indonesia…” Perhaps he was conjuring images of his own leaders?

The sad thing about my cardiologist is that he is not alone among Malaysians. In my last trip back a few weeks ago my friends and acquaintances also reflected this sentiment. It seems that they are close to despair that the winds of change that have prevailed in Indonesia will ever reach them.

This despair is understandable though when you look at Malaysian society today and how religion, mainly Islam, is being used by an increasingly emboldened group to assert the superiority of the Malays overt the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia.

These groups have tacit, and sometimes not so tacit, backing from the Government and the ruling Umno party. A bit like the FPI (the Islamic Defenders Front) in Indonesia during the previous administrations.

Before the changes that swept the likes of Jokowi, Ahok, Riduan Kamil and other progressive leaders to power in national and municipal governments. The only power centre was the Government, made up of political brahmins out to rip off the country.

As the main interest of these brahmins was to enrich themselves by securing their political positions, they tacitly, and sometimes not so tacitly, supported organisations like the FPI and Laskar Jihad, essentially thuggish gangs abusing the name of Islam as a cover for their  extortion, intimidation and coercion of others, Muslim or not.

During Ramadhan the FPI would, for instance, conduct raids on licensed drinking establishments and turn those places upside down — unless they were paid protection money.

At other instances, depending on who paid them, they would harass whatever targets even to them.

For a long while many Indonesians despaired but there was little they could do. The police was reluctant to move against these organisations as they knew that their political masters were behind them. Companies went unheeded or left to wither in some mouldy file on some dusty desk.

Many Indonesian Muslims also felt trapped as to criticise them could be construed as criticising Islam. All a bit like Malaysia today, you just have to substitute the names of the organisations into Perkasa and other Malaysian organisations.

But while Malaysia still wallows in this unhappy state of affairs, Indonesia has moved on and have called the bluff of the bullies.

Jakarta Vice Governor Ahok, an ethnic Chinese and Christian, has borne the brunt of the FPI’s wrath over the past few months as they sought to block his swearing in (they didn’t succeed. He was sworn in yesterday). They called him an infidel and other names and say that he should not be allowed to lead Muslims.

But instead of keeping quiet or avoiding the issue Ahok has done something really brave. he took the FPI full on head-to-head. He has now filed a complaint with the Home Ministry asking that the Government ban the organization.

But what is heartening to note too in Indonesia is how the ordinary Muslims from all sectors of society are also speaking up against these self-proclaimed defenders of Islam and Islamic values.

All over social media, in small protests and in social settings they are making their voice heard that the real Islam is one of compassion, tolerance and understanding – and the FPI do not represent them.

It is through widespread groundswells like these that the tyranny of bullies like the FPI can be checked. Wouldn’t it be great if such groundswells can take place in Malaysia as well?

Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan

From Nusa Tenggera Timor, from Rayhanzhampiet.com,  comes this uplifting tale of two courageous policeman who had the temerity to stop the Governor’s convoy because the outrider cars were illegally using sirens.

What’s impressive is that when the Governor complained to their boss, NTT Chief of Police Brigjen Ricky Sitohang about their behaviour, Sihotang  backed them up and told the media that lowly policemen should not fear anything if they carried out their duties according to the law.

Now if there were more policemen and their chiefs who are like that the rest of us would not have to suffer the irritation of private cars and petty officials who turn on their illegally installed sirens to try to muscle their way through the traffic jams the rest of us are caught in.

Someone should promote the policemen and their chief. Indonesia needs more professionals like them.

 

Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan

(NTT Governor Frans Lebu has the gall to ask the policemen why they halted his convoy after his motorcade was caught using sirens illegally. Photo from Rayhanzampiet,com)

Kisah Dua Polantas Yang Menghentikan Iring-Iringan Mobil Gubernur NTT | Share With Irfan.

Saya sangat tertarik untuk menuliskan cerita ini begitu membaca headlinenya di Tribunnews.com kemarin. Ceritanya Dua anggota Satlantas Polres Kupang, Aiptu Piet Ena dan Aipda Mess Nite, menghentikan perjalanan Gubernur NTT Frans Lebu Raya dan rombongannya, usai melakukan kunjungan kerja di wilayah Kabupaten Kupang, Kamis 10/12013. Penghentian dilakukan polisi saat gubernur melintasi Jalan Timor Raya di Noelbaki, karena kendaraan yang mengawalnya membunyikan sirene.   Gubernur NTT Frans Lebu Raya menghampiri dan menanyakan kepada anggota Polantas Polres Kupang, alasan menghentikan iringan-iringan kendaraan rombongannya, Kamis 10/1/2013.Gubernur Frans Lebu Raya pun turun dari mobil dinasnya, lalu menghampiri dan menegur dua anggota Satlantas yang sedang bertugas. \”Pak Gubernur turun dari oto mobil dan tanya saya. Kamu tahu tidak saya Gubernur NTT, kenapa kalian tahan? Saya hanya bilang, kami tidak tahan bapak. Kami hentikan kendaraan yang mengawal bapak karena membunyikan sirene, dan itu melanggar aturan. Lalu Pak Gubernur bilang biarkan saya lewat, nanti saya sampaikan ke Kapolda,\” kata Piet menirukan ucapan gubernur. Hal senada disampaikan Aipda Mess Nite. Menurutnya, sekitar belasan mobil rombongan gubernur yang dihentikan. Bahkan, ada sebagian dari rombongan yang menendang papan rambu lalu lintas yang bertuliskan pemeriksaan kendaraan. Namun, keduanya mengaku prosedur yang dijalankan saat menghentikan kendaraan merujuk pada aturan lalu lintas, yakni UU Nomor 22 Tahun 2009.

Read more

On the @misbahkun vs @benhan case

Unspun’s reminded of the Gandhi witticism: “Those who engage in mudslinging often lose ground” in the unfolding case between Twitterati Benny Handoko (@benhan) and Golkar politician Misbahkun (@misbakhun). For the current development of the case  see here.

As things stand, Benny is now under detention for allegedly slandering Misbahkun over the Bank Century case, after the latter complained to the police. The series of twits that has led to this serious turn of events is captured in Jackson Purba’s Chirpstory feed “TwitWar Misbakhun Vs Benhan” by @misbakhun N @benhan.

As the Chirpstory feed clearly shows @benhan fired the first salvo by accusing @misbahkun. A Twitwar ensured where @misbahkun duked it out with @benhan, Twitblow for Twitblow. The virtual slugfest, after 100 tweets ended after @misbahkun warned @benhan to retract his statement and apologize or he would file legal charges.

Now it appears that @misbahkun has followed up on that threat and is getting the Indonesian Twitterverse riled up because of his action.

It is an interesting incident as the central issue here is whether you have a right to sue (or in the case of Indonesia, file a police report against) someone for slander after you’ve duked it out with them on Twitter.

True, the Internet and Twitter does not, and should not, exonerate anyone from slandering another person.  Twitter, however, allows you to talk back and have your say to whomever is interested in what you have to say. So several interesting questions pop to mind here:

  1. Would Misbahkun  have been morally justified to take legal action against Benny if he did not use his Twitter account to engage in a Twitwar with Benny. Would it have been Ok if he merely used his Twitter account (20,343 followers) to say that Benny was incorrect and that if he persisted he would take legal action, and left it at that?
  2. Did Misbahkun waive his moral right to legal action after engaging in a Twitwar? Would going to the law after arguably losing a fight with Benhan (a Twitter heavyweight at 49,799 followers) make him look like a sore loser?
  3. Finally here’s a question for social media and issues management typed: There is a lot of noise in the Indonesian Twitterverse. Would Misbahkun be better off had he ignored @Benhan’s tweets and let it pass rather than wage a Twitwar and file a legal action? Would such a course of action – benign neglect – have hurt his reputation? (not say he has a great one but would such an action lower his reputation from what it was before the Twitwar?)

Looks like its time for a vox populi on the issue:

What the Press can do to prevent future Sleman Prison Attack

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.

NEWS / World Gunmen overpower Indonesian prison guards, kill 4 detainees accused of murdering elite soldier Ambulances carrying the bodies of the victims of the pre-dawn attack on Cebongan prison leave the prison building in Sleman, Indonesia, Saturday, March 23, 2013. Indonesian police say a group of nearly 20 well-trained gunmen have stormed a jail on the main island of Java and executed four detainees accused of murdering a special forces soldier. (AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

 

 

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?

‘Weak’ State Blasted Over Sleman Prison Attack | The Jakarta Globe.

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.

Asinine Asshiddique backing instead of damning Daming

The law is bound to be an ass when its highest judges exhibit asinine behaviour. Here we have Jimly Asshiddiqie, the former head of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ,an institution that is supposed to exercise wisdom in the upholding and protection of Indonesia’s most important document, its Constitution, saying: “It’s part of  our culture to treat women inappropriately,”? 

Jimly’s thinks the Judicial Commission should therefore have gone easy on Daming by a mere rap of the knuckles instead of wanting his resignation.

Asshiddiqie Proud of our culture

In this instance, the Judicial Commission is totally correct in demanding his dismissal. Daming has, abover all things, shown poor judgement – a fatal flaw for a judge. There is no way a modern Indonesian society can have confidence in the Judiciary and the law if people like him remain in office. Jimly wins a shit-for-brains tag for his statement.

Former Constitutional Court chief backs Daming over rape joke | The Jakarta Post

Former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie slammed the Judicial Commission’s (KY) decision to dismiss Supreme Court justice hopeful Muhammad Daming Sunusi over an insensitive rape joke.

“Dismissing him is overboard [Daming] as he has apologized for his slip of the tongue. Daming is an example of Indonesian men. It’s part of  our culture to treat women inappropriately,” Jimly said on the sidelines of a meeting at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

However, Jimly added, Daming should still be punished for making such a controversial statement in public because he was applying for an important position at the Supreme Court.

Daming, current head of the Banjarmasin High Court in South Kalimantan, caused a national uproar last week after he said that once elected a Supreme Court justice, he would be lenient on rapists because they and their victims might have enjoyed intercourse.

Following his remarks, the KY decided to strip Daming of his position for breaching the judicial code of ethics.