Category: Analysis

The Chinese state’s Confucius Institutes are often depicted as vehicles for expanding Chinese soft power. But as Rika Theo writes, the Indonesian experience demonstrates that the institutes are not simply unidirectional projects imposed on Indonesia from a wealthy partner seeking to expand its influence.

Since coming to power, the administration of President Joko Widodo has accelerated the national land certification program, believing that secure land tenure can contribute to economic growth and improved welfare for rural people. But Emilianus Yakob Sese Tolo writes that land certification may have led to some unintended negative outcomes.

The years-long dispute between Freeport and the government looks to be finally nearing resolution, with the mining giant agreeing to give a majority stake in its local unit to the government. But Nurkholis Hidayat and Valerie Tan write that while Freeport and the government continue to negotiate, the rights of Freeport’s thousands of local workers have been ignored.

For more than a year, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) has been tracking the so-called Muslim Cyber Army (MCA), which stands accused of spreading hoax news and hate speech online. SAFEnet Regional Coordinator Damar Juniarto presents a detailed examination of the shadowy network.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have developed a strong rapport with President Joko Widodo. But Professor Tim Lindsey and Dr Dave McRae write that this may not be enough to overcome the mutual misunderstandings and suspicions, and tensions over human rights issues, that complicate the bilateral relationship.

In contrast with many other countries around the world, in Indonesia, social media has yet to play a significant part in the recruitment of new terrorists. It does, however, appear to affect the speed of radicalisation. Terrorism scholar Solahudin presents new research and looks at the reasons why.

While most of Indonesian civil society was preoccupied with proposed changes to the Criminal Code, the House of Representatives (DPR) last week passed a revised version of the 2014 Law on Legislative Bodies. Dr Robertus Robet looks at the controversial changes, which he says will result in a DPR that is resistant to criticism and immune from prosecution.

On 8 February, the Constitutional Court issued a decision that paves the way for the national legislature (DPR) to compel the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to attend questioning, using its so-called hak angket powers. Professor Simon Butt presents a legal analysis of the decision.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein last week issued a stern warning about Indonesia’s plans to revise its Criminal Code. Tim Mann looks at Hussein’s recent visit to Indonesia and questions whether the country’s engagement in the UN rights process is just window dressing.

The past two weeks have seen politicians accelerate efforts to pass long discussed reforms to the Criminal Code (KUHP) to criminalise same-sex relations. Naila Rizqi Zakiah writes that while the focus has been on homosexuality, proposed revisions are much broader, and seek to criminalise all extramarital sex, regardless of gender.

Indonesia’s growing middle class are travelling overseas in record numbers but the numbers holidaying in Australia are disappointing. Ross B. Taylor writes that unless something is done about the expensive and onerous visa process faced by Indonesians, Australia will continue to miss out.

Many Indonesians are concerned about the damage that hoaxes and so-called “fake news” are doing to social cohesion. Professor Ariel Heryanto writes that it is difficult to find a more powerful hoax than the story of the 30 September Movement, which has provided the basis for numerous other nonsensical and dangerous hoaxes.