• Indonesia throws the dice on more natural resource bets.

    Indonesia Stumbles Into More Natural Resource Bets

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) order on 23 March 2016 that the Masela Block use an onshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) refinery ended six months of intrigue — and years of delay — about Indonesia’s largest offshore gas field. Rather than the floating plant (FLNG) proposed by contractors Inpex and Royal Dutch Shell, gas will be piped to a remote island in Maluku Province where it will be liquefied and used for industry.

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  • Indonesia's poor are getting fatter than its wealthy.

    Indonesia's Unhealthiness is Biased Toward the Poor

    New ADBI research (Aizawa and Helble, forthcoming) studies how overweight and obesity have become major threats to public health in Indonesia. The evidence shows that obesity, which was previously a problem among high-income groups in the country, has spread across all income groups. Obesity in the lower-income groups, in particular, has been rising rapidly.

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  • Indonesia doesn't have to fail the Papuans.

    Fixing the Flaws in Indonesian-Papua Relations

    Since West Papua’s integration into Indonesia in 1969 through a United Nations-sponsored people’s referendum — a process considered deeply flawed — the Papuans’ problems have haunted all Indonesian presidents.

    A critical juncture came after the downfall of the authoritarian regime of former general Suharto. Beginning in 2002, President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s administration implemented the Papuan Provinces Special Autonomy Law, which aimed to give Papuans more authority to manage their affairs based on local customs.

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  • IS is unpopular in mainstream Indonesia for now.

    IS in Indonesia Could Create Economic Chaos

    Those behind the attacks in Jakarta on 14 January desperately hoped to emulate the 13 November attacks in Paris. This time they fell far short. The attackers, contrary to initial impressions, were entirely locally organised and failed at almost every level. Four innocent lives were lost but they had clearly hoped to take many more.

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  • Jokowi has a head start with Muslim support, but needs full buy-in.

    Indonesia's Jokowi Musters Muslim Support Against IS

    On 14 January 2016, Indonesian supporters of so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group launched a coordinated bomb and gun assault in the heart of Jakarta. The attack is a game changer for terrorism in Indonesia. However, Indonesia’s leaders are closing ranks as the government of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) pursues a long-term response to the growing IS threat in the region.

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  • Jokowi has unfortunately little leverage when it comes to reforms.

    Joko Widodo and His Uphill Battle for Indonesia Reforms

    To many, Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) election represented a break with the past, as he had no ties to existing military or political elites. The new president was also different from his predecessors in other ways. He had humble beginnings as a furniture seller and began his career in politics at the local level as mayor of Surakarta. In Indonesia and abroad it seemed clear that Jokowi was different and his lack of ties to previous regimes was considered to be an advantage.

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  • Indonesia's growth has been relatively strong until recently.

    Concern Grows Over Indonesia's Recent Growth Slowdown

    Put in a comparative, historical perspective, Indonesia’s economic growth performance has been relatively strong. Yet the recent slowdown in growth is a cause for concern.

    It is estimated that the Indonesian economy will only grow 4.7 percent in 2015 and 5.1 percent next year, far below China and India — and even below Vietnam and the Philippines. In addition, the significant drop in total factor productivity growth following the Asian financial crisis has yet to recover, unlike in Thailand and Malaysia.

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  • Indonesia's 50-year old coup was largely ignored by the West.

    A History not Discussed without Controversy

    In October 2015, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival cancelled the launch of three books containing testimonies collected from survivors of Indonesia’s worst political genocide of the 20th century. Why is discussing history so controversial in Indonesia?

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  • The jury is still out on the effectiveness of Indonesia's reforms.

    Indonesia's Reform Bar is Set Very High

    As 2015 draws to a close, the Indonesian government is trying to convince the jury on two counts — first, that it has turned the corner towards more constructive economic policy, and second, that it has the political leadership and capacity to implement this new policy.

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