Top Stories

What accounts for Indonesia’s infrastructure deficit and how can the government best address it? How does President Joko Widodo differ in his approach to infrastructure compared to his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono? Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues and more with Associate Professor Jamie S. Davidson, from the National University of Singapore, in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Last week, the government announced it would seek to ban three gay social networking apps, following the alleged misuse of Grindr in a child prostitution case. Hendri Yulius writes that the bans are representative of the government’s struggle to maintain power and authority in the internet era and show that the rapid development of information technology does not necessarily lead to advances in freedom of expression.

Anti-Chinese sentiment has deep roots in Indonesian society but there is a widespread perception that it has become worse over recent years, along with the rise of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok. Dr Robertus Robet writes that as Ahok’s opponents have struggled to formulate effective criticism against him, they have resorted to unsophisticated appeals to primordial concerns.

Indonesian smokers were worked up last month over rumours that the price of cigarettes would soon rise to Rp 50,000 (AU$5). As Dr Krisna Hort explains, the rumours originated from an article that showed that doubling the price of cigarettes would increase tax revenues to a level that could cover the current deficit in the national health insurance scheme (JKN).

President Joko Widodo made an appeal to Southeast Asian unity in the face of regional instability as the ASEAN Summit kicked off in Laos this week. Dr Avery Poole writes that this may bode well for Indonesia’s traditional leadership role in ASEAN but we are unlikely to see significant progress on key regional governance challenges.

Indonesia’s indigenous peoples face serious challenges, including insecure rights to land and lack of recognition of their traditional religions. How are these issues being addressed, and what regional differences have to be taken into account? Dr Ken Setiawan explores these questions and more with Sandra Moniaga, from Komnas HAM, in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

President Joko Widodo has already shown signs that human rights will not be a top priority for his government. But as Christian Donny Putranto writes, few of Jokowi’s passionate campaigners would have ever imagined that two years after his election his administration would promote military officials involved in abducting pro-democracy activists to senior positions in security agencies.

How widespread is corruption within the Indonesian police? What power do illicit funds afford the institution? And what are the prospects for reform under President Joko Widodo and new Indonesian Police Chief Tito Karnavian? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues and more with Dr Jacqui Baker, from Murdoch University.

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court will today hold a fifth hearing on a legal challenge to the Criminal Code that seeks to criminalise same-sex intercourse between consenting adults. PhD candidate Daniel Peterson writes that the Court’s approach when it upheld the Blasphemy Law in 2009 suggests that the outlook for Indonesia’s LGBT community is bleak.

Arcandra Tahar lasted just 20 days in cabinet, with the revelation that he also held US citizenship ending his stint as minister of energy and mineral resources. The former deputy minister of law and human rights, Professor Denny Indrayana, looks at the administrative errors that were made, and asks whether the incident will finally lead to action on multiple citizenship in Indonesia.

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s contrasting approach to foreign policy compared to his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, stands to reshape Australia-Indonesia ties. In this public lecture, Dr Evi Fitriani charts President Joko Widodo’s distinct approach to foreign policy and outlines the implications for Indonesia’s relationship with Australia.

Last month, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama disappointed many of his supporters when he announced that he would run as a party-backed candidate in the 2017 election. Dr Dirk Tomsa takes a look at Teman Ahok, the volunteer group that campaigned for the governor to run as an independent. What’s next for Teman Ahok, now that its reason for being no longer exists?

Divorces are becoming more common in Indonesia, and women are now responsible for 80 per cent of divorce applications. Dr Dina Afrianty writes that although Indonesian law requires husbands and fathers to pay child support and maintenance after divorce, women have few avenues for redress if their former husbands don’t pull their weight.

How free is the Indonesian press? How does the concentration of media ownership affect journalists and audiences? And how are digital technologies transforming the media landscape? Dr Ken Setiawan chats to Dr Ross Tapsell about these issues and more in Talking Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo’s economy-focused cabinet reshuffle on 27 July has been described as evidence of his growing talent for managing political relationships. But as Matthew Busch writes, while the reshuffle might be a political success, it should not be assumed the gloss extends to the economy.

Pages