Category: Politics

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.

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.

Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States made him a deeply unpopular figure in Indonesia. In the days since his surprise election victory, Indonesians have been struggling to come to terms with what a Trump presidency might mean for their country and the region. We take a look at how the Indonesian media greeted Trump’s win.

Indonesia has been praised for its relatively smooth transition from authoritarianism to democracy, especially in light of the dashed hopes of the Arab Spring. But the journey has not been easy. Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar reflects on what Indonesia has achieved in the two decades since the start of the reformasi movement that led to the fall of Soeharto.

Last week, Indonesia at Melbourne spoke to former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud MD during a visit to Melbourne Law School. In this Q&A, Mahfud reflects on a number of the controversial cases that came before the court during his tenure, as well as prospects for anti-corruption and bureaucratic reform under President Joko Widodo.

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s time as leader has been marked by urban evictions on an unprecedented scale. Some 325 locations have been slated for eviction by the end of 2016, in the months approaching the 2017 governor’s elections. Dr Ian Wilson examines how urban poor groups, residents and their allies are mobilising and networking in response to the forced removals.

For more than a year, the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) has been quietly working on plans to amend the 1945 Constitution for a fifth time, and reinstate the State Policy Guidelines (GBHN). Bivitri Susanti writes that although the term “state policy guidelines” might sound rather innocuous, the return of the GBHN could have grave political consequences.

Anti-Chinese sentiment has deep roots in Indonesian society but there is a widespread perception that it has become worse over recent years, along with the rise of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok. Dr Robertus Robet writes that as Ahok’s opponents have struggled to formulate effective criticism against him, they have resorted to unsophisticated appeals to primordial concerns.

Arcandra Tahar lasted just 20 days in cabinet, with the revelation that he also held US citizenship ending his stint as minister of energy and mineral resources. The former deputy minister of law and human rights, Professor Denny Indrayana, looks at the administrative errors that were made, and asks whether the incident will finally lead to action on multiple citizenship in Indonesia.

Last month, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama disappointed many of his supporters when he announced that he would run as a party-backed candidate in the 2017 election. Dr Dirk Tomsa takes a look at Teman Ahok, the volunteer group that campaigned for the governor to run as an independent. What’s next for Teman Ahok, now that its reason for being no longer exists?

President Joko Widodo’s economy-focused cabinet reshuffle on 27 July has been described as evidence of his growing talent for managing political relationships. But as Matthew Busch writes, while the reshuffle might be a political success, it should not be assumed the gloss extends to the economy.

President Joko Widodo appointed a new cabinet on 27 July, adding nine new faces. Burhanuddin Muhtadi writes that the reshuffle was a pragmatic move aimed at consolidating his now broad ruling coalition and providing him with greater freedom to implement his priority programs. He might appear to be playing it safe, Burhanuddin says, but this strategy is not without risks.