Second Apotik Senopati crash highlights indifference

A BMW jumped the curb and ploughed into Apotik Senopati at about 4am today. The driver was apparently a 19-year old student. A video post by @TMCPoldaMetro showed  what looked like the driver showed a young man wearing a black cap whose breath, said police, smelled of alcohol.

This morning’s crash was the second. No fatalities except damage to the pharmacy.

 

This was the second car to crash into Apotik Senopati since October. Then a Nissan Livina driven by a female student crashed into the pharmacy at 3.30am, killing a security guard who was sitting at the front of the pharmacy. Police said the driver was inexperienced and hit the gas instead of the brake pedal when she had to negotiate the steep turn.

Just two months ago almost to the day, a Nissan Livina driven by another student -logged into the same pharmacy, killing the security guard who was on duty.

 

 

So the authorities later today came up with a typical Indonesian solution, the put up barriers about a meter high around the turn. It’s a typical Indonesian solution because it does not seem to have occurred to the powers that be that the problem is not the turning but lots of other things that might involve, horrors!  – enforcement of the law.

The law, if enforced properly, wants as a punitive measure to would be offenders. If unenforced, it breeds a sense of impunity, inviting anyone with the means to do what they like and flout the law.

There is no evidence that the law was enforced in the first case involving the Livina. Either the police did not press charges against the woman driving it or the media did not pursue the story to its conclusion. This has given rise to rumors that the case was hushed up because the female driver was apparently the daughter of someone with connections and means. Some people said the father was a member of the DPR.

It remains to be seen what the police will do to the driver of this morning’s BMW. If it does not press charges (and announce it since @TMCPoldaMetro has a penchant for tweeting the news out) then it will look like another case of a rich boy getting away with it because Daddy has the connections and the mollah to buy him out of trouble. It will send a signal to other rich kids that they can get drunk and drive and cause harm to property or people and be able to get away with it.

Silence on the development of this case would also be a bad testimony for the Press that seems to get shallower and flightier where their attention span to stories are concerned.

The two crashes also bring to light how lacking Jakarta has been on educating party goers to the dangers of driving under influence of alcohol or other substances. Even in neighboring Malaysia, drunk driving laws are enforced often and on the mass media you can see or hear admonitions not to drink and drive.

The problem is becoming acute in the Senopati area where many night clubs have sprung up along Jalan Gunawarman and Jalan Senopati.

There is nothing wrong with entertainment establishments but when they do not check for proof of adulthood before serving drinks this can be a problem. These establishments are also become int a pest to the residents of the area who now must brave the unnecessary traffic jams so that the establishment owners can turn a profit.

There is no proper parking areas so the cars are parked and valet-ed at the side of these streets. Why can’t the government do the right thing by either banning these entertainment spots (how many of them have licenses to operate) or to provide parking facilities so that the roads are not blocked by the party goers. The government can easily afford acquiring land and building multi-storey parking lots merely by taxing the establishments.

But all this – the enforcement drink driving laws, the education against drink driving and the proper zoning of commercial properties and provision of parking lots — is being overlooked. Why? The only plausible explanation is indifference. Indifference by the police, indifference by the courts, indifference by the City Government.

Rather than do something to make the situation better all they do is erect higher barriers. The pharmacy may be better protected but the next time the drunk driver could be the one facing fatality.

 

 

 

 

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.

Solving the wrong problem precisely with proposal to convert Shiites

This is a typical case of what Mitroff and Silvers discuss in their book Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely. Unspun has a more precise tag for this kind of thinking which is in my tag: shot-for brains.

The root causes of the persecution of the Shiites by the majority Sunni Moslems in Indonesia is not because they hold a slightly different belief. What’s really causing this wholesale and constant attack on a minority is intolerance, reluctant and poor police enforcement and an absence of political to hold the police accountable for failure to keep the peace (what happened to the police chief after he admitted to a failure of intelligence in the last Shiite bashing? Nothing) will to get Indonesians to respect the law and one another.

Solve these problems and you would see a reduction of cases where Shiites are persecuted, often brutally. Converting Shiites to Sunnis would be solving the wrong problems precisely and have it come back to bit us in the rump. If there are no shiites to pick on the intolerance, poor enforcement of laws and lack of political will give the opportunity for other bullies in the Indonesian society to persecute others. Perhaps gays, lesbians, transponders, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, the rich, Chinese…whichever group that forms a minority and therefore vulnerable to mob rule.

Shia conversion is solution: Minister

Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, September 06 2012, 11:08 AM

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali says converting Shiite Muslims to the Sunni Islam followed by most Indonesians would be the best way to prevent violent outbreaks between the sects in Sampang, East Java.

“The best solution for what has been going on in there is dialogue. Many things can happen after a dialogue. We had an experience where the Ahmadis […] converted to mainstream Islam after dialogue,” the minister said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting with lawmakers on House of Representatives’ Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs.

Suryadharma was referring to the local religious leader in Ciaruteun village in Bogor, West Java, who persuaded 15 members of the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect in March 2011 to convert to the form of Islam practiced by most Indonesian Muslims.

The minister said that in first stage of the conversion process, minority Shiites, their majority Sunni neighbors and other stakeholders in Sampang could meet for a dialogue.

He declined calls made by moderate Muslim groups to make a determination whether Shia is heretical, claiming it was outside his remit as minister.

“I’m in no position to make the decision. I can’t ask the MUI [Indonesian Ulema Council] of Sampang to retract their religious fatwa [edict] deeming Shia as heretical. As I have said earlier, dialogue will be the best way,” Suryadharma said.

Contacted separately, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Nasaruddin Umar concurred with Suryadharma that the ministry was obliged to educate subscribers of faiths deemed deviant by “mainstream” religions to convert to the teachings of the six religions recognized by the governments.

“We never condemned Shiite Islam as heretical or prohibited it from being practiced here because Saudi Arabia, for example, has never banned its followers from going to that country for the haj pilgrimage,” Nasaruddin said.

“I think there are around 11 different types of Shia Islam, and not all of them are heretical. It is the strands that veer off from mainstream Islam that we have to deal with,” the deputy minister said, declining to elaborate if the Sampang Shiites were outside mainstream Islam.

Sunni Muslims attacked a Shiite community in Sampang on Aug. 26, forcing almost 300 people to seek refuge in the local forest before they were given refuge in a tennis stadium.

The violence followed an attack in December 2011, when a Shiite Muslim, Mochamad Kosim, 50, was hacked to death. Three other Shiites were injured and 37 families lost their homes in the attack.

Suryadharma dismissed speculation that the violence in Sampang resulted from a sibling rivalry between Shiite leader Tajul Muluk and his Sunni brother, Roisul Hukuma.

The minister said that the mother of the brothers, Umah, was severely injured in the attack and had asked that the government to relocate the Shiites to prevent more attacks.

“She told me that when I went to visit her a day after the attack. However, it is up to the community whether or not they want to leave the area. We will move them to somewhere safer if they make the decision. Nonetheless, they can stay in the neighborhood if they want to do so,” he said.

East Java Governor Soekarwo previously dismissed schemes to relocate Shiite residents, although little action has been taken by provincial officials to safeguard them.

Critics said that Soekarwo’s reluctance to take action to aid the Shiites was done to garner support from Sunni Muslims in the run up to the East Java gubernatorial election.

Suryadharma and Nasaruddin declined to comment on potential connections to gubernatorial politics.

Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts and Habib Rizieq’s FPI

Here are two different but fascinating stories. It takes place in different countries and different times, but they both tell the story about how you can fool (and intimidate) all the people some of the time but  not all the people all the time.

The first is set in the US in the 1950s, when the country was gripped by Cold War Tensions. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy exploited the fears and uncertainties and claimed that he had a list of Communists and Soviet sympathizers in the US Government and society.

Thereafter, using Senate Hearings as his bully pulpit he proceeded to launch a witch hunt against the putative Communists. Many innocent lives were affected. Careers were destroyed and some of his victims took their own lives.

For a moment he seemed unassailable. If you spoke out against then that meant you were a Communist or a sympathizer. There were some dissenting voices but by and large most people were afraid to provoke the ire of McCarthy because of his thuggish and intimidating tactics.

Then one fine day, the mirror cracked. McCarthy was trying to implicate a young man who belonged to the law firm of US Army legal counsel Joseph Welch in senate hearing that was broadcast live on TV. Welch stood up to McCarthy in his now famous “You Have no Decency” response (see YouTube video below) and it was over. From there McCarthy was exposed for the charlatan he was and stripped bare. People realized that the King had no clothes and McCarty went on a downward spiral. The Senate censured him and he died 10 years later, supposedly of a heart attack but widely suspected of dying from alcoholism.

The second story is set in present day Indonesia, which is in the grip of indecision and political intrigue between the various political parties and government institutions . Habib Riziq exploited this situation to build his base of support  in Jakarta through the FPI and is now trying to extend his influence in the rest of this country.

His tactics, like, Mccarthy’s are similar. Thuggism that intimidates dissenting voices. The FPI has been threatening people and even the police with impunity. Even though there are dissenting voices, people are generally afraid of confronting him or the FPI. They not only destroy lives but also property.

Now comes  the fine day yesterday in which hundreds of people from the Dayak community in Kalimantan stood up to Habib and the FPI by banning him from landing in Palankaraya airport and rejecting the FPI’s presence in their backyard. Is this Indonesia’s “You have no decency” moment?

Langkah Suku Dayak Tolak FPI Bisa Jadi Contoh – Nasional – Beritasatu.com

“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.

Keberanian masyarakat adat suku Dayak untuk menolak keberadaan Front Pembela Islam FPI di Provinsi Kalimantan Tengah harus dihargai dan menjadi contoh bagi masyarakat lain untuk berani menentang benih-benih intoleransi antar umat beragama.

“Keberanian masyarakat Dayak untuk menolak FPI secara terbuka itu harus kita hargai, dan seharusnya menjadi inspirasi bagi yang lain untuk berani bicara dan bertindak melawan intoleransi,” kata Wakil Ketua Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, hari ini.

Ratusan masyarakat adat Dayak di Palangkaraya menolak kedatangan anggota FPI ke kota tersebut dalam rangka tablig akbar, karena khawatir keberadaan mereka akan mengganggu keharmonisan antar umat beragama di Provinsi Kalteng.Menurut Bonar, penolakan tersebut sangat wajar dan bisa dimengerti mengingat catatan aksi FPI.”FPI kan sudah ada di Kalimantan Timur, mereka sudah melakukan sweeping beberapa kali dan bahkan menganggu komunitas Ahmadiyah di Samarinda. Wajar kalau para pemuda Dayak khawatir kalau kejadian yang sama akan terulang di provinsi mereka,” kata Bonar.

Menurutnya, ada lebih banyak lagi pengikut Ahmadiyah di provinsi Kalimantan Tengah, bahkan jumlahnya adalah yang terbesar di provinsi Kalimantan.Lebih jauh Bonar menambahkan bahwa penolakan masyarakat adat Dayak terhadap keberadaan FPI tetap membutuhkan alasan yang sangat kuat agar tidak menentang hak umum untuk berserikat dan mendirikan organisasi.

Bonar juga mengatakan sebaiknya dijalin dialog antara kedua pihak dan FPI harus berjanji bahwa mereka tidak akan melakukan tindakan kekerasan dan melanggar hukum.”Jika mereka tidak mau menurut syarat tersebut, barulah bisa ditolak keberadaannya,” kata Bonar.Bonar menambahkan radikalisme adalah hal yang tidak mungkin bisa dihindarkan, namun selagi para penganut kepercayaan radikal tersebut tidak melakukan tindak kekerasan atau menyebarkan pesan kebencian maka keberadaannya masih bisa ditoleransi.

“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.

Who shall cast the first (subsequent) stone at the lavish and ostentatious legislators?

Before any of us cast the first subsequent stones, deservedly, at the parliamentarians, it is perhaps wise for us to ask what role we in Indonesian society play in condoning and encouraging such ostentatious and shameless displays of (often ill gotten) wealth.

Do we, as a society, shun them or at least avoid them at social functions and the parties they throw,or do cozy up to them and eagerly attend their lavish parties? Do we give that skeptical look when their children flaunt their Hermes handbags, Laubotin shoes and fancy cars or salivate over them and toady to the “rich and famous?”

Unspun suspects that Indonesian society, especially among the elites, not only do not frown on the obviously corrupt lawmakers and their families but actually fawn over them. So who is the guilty one here for all this corruption? The legislators or our very own Washed, Perfumed and Beautiful People that form the upper crust of Indonesian society? Who shall cast the first subsequent stone after Busro Muqqodas and Marzuki Alie, on a good day?

The story below is in The Jakarta Globe today:

Marzuki Defends Lifestyles of Indonesia’s Rich and Elected

Busyro Muqoddas

House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie has found himself in a familiar position, back on the defensive over the extravagance of legislators.

Even while acknowledging a small problem with lawmakers living “hedonistic lifestyles,” he attacked the head of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for making that same claim.

Busyro Muqoddas, the KPK head, this week criticized lawmakers for their shows of wealth, which he said were out of place for so-called people’s representatives. And on Tuesday, Constitutional Court chairman Mahfud M.D. called on lawmakers to curb their extravagance.

Marzuki, from the president’s Democratic Party, responded by saying that Busyro should focus on his own job. “Stop with the inflammatory statements,” he said.

He also denied Busyro’s claim that most lawmakers lived lives of luxury. “Not even 5 percent live these hedonistic lifestyles, and we’ve been calling on those who do to change,” he said.

But many, including the coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch, Adnan Topan Husodo, aren’t buying Marzuki’s defense.

He said the reality was that many lawmakers were showing off their wealth, including when they visit their constituents in luxury cars with security escorts.

And many people have pointed out that the parking lot at the House often resembles a luxury car lot.

Marzuki, though, says the critics are being unfair. “We can’t forbid people from becoming rich, we cannot. But if they enter the legislature, they should live like true representatives of the people,” he said.

But Adnan said lawmakers needed to learn how to take criticism. “They overreact to everything. This is a reflection of their oversensitivity,” he said.

Bambang Soesatyo, a vocal lawmaker from the Golkar Party who was independently wealthy before entering the legislature, however, said Busyro was on target in his criticism

“Public officials, including lawmakers, should not forget who elected them and not be lured by power,” he said.

Ruhut Sitompul, who was a successful lawyer before he became a lawmaker, said that although he had several luxury cars, he drove an Innova to work.

Ruhut also joked that he knew of several lawmakers who used public transportation before being elected and were now being driven around in luxury cars.

Mahfud, from the Constitutional Court, said the lure of the luxury lifestyle ended up snagging many lawmakers.

He said it was obvious that many members of the House suddenly found themselves awash in mansions, fast cars and financial assets after entering the legislature.

The problem, he said, is not the existing laws on corruption, but a decline in morality among the nation’s elected officials. If officials are corrupt, he said, they will find ways around anticorruption laws.

“It is true that not all lawmakers are like that. Bambang Soesatyo , for example, I know was already rich before. But many suddenly became rich after becoming lawmakers,” he said.

iPad resellers acquitted

There is some sanity and logic, even justice, at the Indonesian courts after all. The Central Jakarta District Court has finally thrown out the case where the Police, in a fit of misplaced priorities and zealotry to enforce the Law, sought the prosecution of two men trying to resell a few iPads in Indonesia – on the lame excuse that they did not have manuals for using the iPad in Indonesian. What’s curious is which are the 40 listed items mentioned in the story below that are required by law to have Indonesian language manuals? Why is it so important for them to have Indonesian manuals? Or the more appropriate question in Indonesia: “Who stands to profit from translating the manuals and printing them in Indonesian?”

Curious iPad Case Closed as Court Clears Resellers | The Jakarta Globe

Central Jakarta District Court judges acquitted two men on Tuesday who were controversially charged with violating consumer protection laws after selling Apple iPads without Indonesian-language manuals.

“Based on expert testimony and an official letter issued by the Trade Ministry, the iPad is not among the 45 items that must have Indonesian-language manuals,” presiding judge Sapawi said.

Sapawi also said that since the two defendants were not distributors, importers or manufacturers, they were under no legal obligation to be certified. The prosecutors had accused the two of operating without certification.

The court ordered the return of the iPads in question and cleared the two men, Randy Lester Samu and Dian Yudha Negara, who had found themselves at the center of a storm of controversy since their arrests on Nov. 24, 2010, in a sting operation.

Policemen posing as buyers had responded to an advertisement on Kaskus, an online forum. Randy and Dian told police they bought the tablet computers in Singapore, but they were not able to produce customs papers.

Read More here.