Category: Analysis

Over the past week, Indonesians have again been gripped by a massive corruption scandal. Kanti Pertiwi writes that too often anti-corruption efforts focus on the individuals involved and do not pay sufficient attention to the social, political and cultural context in which they are situated.

The expansion of the middle class in Indonesia has been accompanied by a rise in Islamic consumerism. Dr Inaya Rakhmani examines dominant narratives in Islamic-themed television programs, writing that the commercialisation of Islam has encouraged ideas and beliefs that aggravate rather than moderate social divisions.

When he assumed the presidency, Joko Widodo made a commitment to strengthen the rights of local communities over land and forests. Dr Rachael Diprose writes that despite recent advancements in the legal and institutional recognition of land rights, many challenges remain.

The fiercely contested Jakarta gubernatorial election has given rise to a cycle of charges and counter-charges between the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its opponents. Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata Ayun write that this politicisation of criminal justice is doing serious damage to the rule of law.

Early in the term of President Joko Widodo it seemed unlikely that Australia and Indonesia would continue to enjoy the amicable relations they experienced under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On the eve of Jokowi’s first bilateral visit to Australia, Dr Dave McRae writes that despite frequent tension, both countries share a strong belief that good relations must be maintained.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.

Since mid-2015, the government has banned the placement of Indonesian domestic workers in 21 mainly Middle Eastern countries. But Wahyu Susilo, from Migrant Care, writes that the desire to work in the Middle East remains high, and workers who flout the ban are much more vulnerable to human trafficking and abuse.

The exact details of what instigated the recent dispute between the Indonesian and Australian militaries remain unclear. But whatever the cause, Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the bilateral relationship is changing, and this kind of turbulence is likely to become more common.

Fake news and hoaxes are now a ubiquitous part of the public conversation online in Indonesia. Dr Airlangga Pribadi Kusman writes that when political engagement is based on lies or manipulated data, public participation in the political process may end up harming, rather than strengthening, democracy.

The bizarre arrest of Perth teenager Jamie Murphy in Bali last month prompted another round of tabloid reporting about Australians whose dream Bali holiday had turned into a nightmare. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the image of Bali as a dangerous “Yobbo Paradise” is inaccurate. In fact, of the more than one million Australians who travelled to Bali last year, only 60 had direct contact with police over issues or charges.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.