Category: Analysis

Indonesians were stunned over the weekend by photos of kindergarten students dressed as violent extremists. Lies Marcoes writes that while the choice of costume was disturbing, the fact that something like this could happen in an Indonesian kindergarten was not a surprise.

President Joko Widodo surprised many when he selected Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his vice presidential running mate. Dr Budhy Munawar Rachman looks at Ma’ruf’s record at the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) and writes that if the pair are elected, things could become a lot worse for religious minorities.

When Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf was arrested for corruption last month, members of the public began asking if his hand would be cut off. But as Dr Dina Afrianty explains, Aceh’s Islamic Criminal Code does not cover corruption, and is primarily concerned with regulating sex.

Religious identity politics is increasingly becoming the norm in Indonesian elections. Dr Sandra Hamid calls for more attention to be paid to the period between elections, and how growing exclusivism in the practice of Islam can have implications for future electoral contests.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has taken a bold step to prevent corruption convicts from participating in future elections. Bahruddin suggests that this approach could be augmented with a strategy to shame corrupt candidates and parties on the ballot paper.

Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun take a look at the results of the 2018 regional elections. Rather than reflecting national-level dynamics, they write, the behaviour of political parties and politicians at the local level is defined primarily by opportunism.

Last month, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) leaders criticised a senior Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) figure for visiting Israel, sparking a furious online campaign of retaliation from young NU-linked activists. Associate Professor Greg Fealy takes a closer look at the escalating tensions and what they might mean for next year’s elections.

The Indo-Pacific is slowly replacing the Asia-Pacific as the dominant security and economic concept in our region. Natalie Sambhi writes that the complex challenges of this vast region should be approached bit by bit, and Australia, India and Indonesia could start by strengthening trilateral cooperation in the region’s southwest sector, the “Indo-Australis”.

According to official government narratives, the military was forced to step in to save the nation from a coup on 1 October 1965. Drawing on her remarkable new book, Dr Jess Melvin explains how rather than reluctantly stepping in, Soeharto and the military used existing military chains of command to actively seize power.

With the 2019 elections fast approaching, Dr Teguh Dartanto presents results from a recent research paper suggesting that in the 2014 Presidential Election, voters in villages with good economic conditions were more likely to vote for Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo last week met participants of Indonesia’s longest running human rights protest, Kamisan (“Thursdays”). Dr Ken Setaiwan writes that despite the promising photographs that came out of the meeting, his government has little interest in pursuing justice for past crimes.

Over a couple of weeks in early May, Indonesia saw the deadliest spate of terrorist activity since the 2005 Bali bombings. Terrorism researcher Judith Jacob writes that the attacks are consistent with global trends in Islamist militancy but they are also distinctively Indonesian in several important ways.