Category: Analysis

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.

What is the political and religious significance of the massive protest to “defend Islam” in Central Jakarta on 2 December? Does the huge turnout indicate a hardening of mainstream Muslim attitudes in Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy presents a comprehensive analysis of the events of 2 December and their consequences for Indonesian democracy.

Rising incomes and easy access to credit have resulted in huge growth in the number of motorcycles on Indonesian roads. But poor attention to and enforcement of road laws has also seen a spike in traffic fatalities. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 100 people die on Indonesian roads every day. Dr Tim Brickell examines this growing and largely preventable problem.

Dr Budi Hernawan has analysed 431 cases of torture that occurred in Papua between 1963 and 2010. He writes that although torture is generally considered a hidden crime, in Papua it is performed for an audience, sometimes spectacularly, and is designed to convey a message of terror from state authorities to the Papuan public. It is part of a larger strategy of domination by the Indonesian state, he says, in which the practice of torture is sanctioned and part of policy.

Professor Tim Lindsey examines the blasphemy allegations against Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama. He writes that the case reveals two problems at the heart of Indonesian democracy: the rise of religious intolerance among Indonesia’s Muslim majority and the manipulation of that intolerance by the small group of elite politicians who dominate Indonesian politics.