Category: Analysis

Recent years have seen significant divisions within Indonesia’s two largest Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr looks at the causes of these divisions and how they are affecting the organisations’ religious and political positions.

Following the fall of the New Order, Indonesian contemporary artists have enjoyed new artistic freedoms, as well as major commercial success. But Dr Wulan Dirgantoro writes that while the contemporary art boom has provided opportunities, it has also involved significant challenges.

During Soeharto’s 32 years in power, a small number of privileged business tycoons were able to accumulate extraordinary amounts of wealth. Professor Howard Dick and Jeremy Mulholland look at what has happened to Soeharto’s cronies and the relationship between power and capital since the fall of the New Order.

This month marks 20 years since the riots and violence that erupted in cities including Jakarta, Medan and Solo, and mainly targeted Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese population. In light of the recent surge in anti-Chinese sentiment in Indonesia, Dr Jemma Purdey questions whether violence like that of May 1998 could happen again.

Indonesia has achieved remarkable change since Soeharto stepped down. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that where the country will head next is far from certain, and recent developments suggest its future may be less liberal and less welcoming of foreign engagement.

Although remarkable progress has been achieved in judicial reform since the end of the New Order in 1998, the justice sector still faces serious challenges, such as widespread judicial corruption. Rifqi Assegaf reflects on what has been achieved, and what has not, over the past 20 years.

21 May marks 20 years since Soeharto stepped down, ending 32 years of authoritarian rule under the New Order, and setting off a major process of democratic reform. Indonesia at Melbourne is publishing a range of commentary and interviews reflecting on the reform process and what lies ahead for Indonesia.

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.