INFID, June 15, 2006
INFID's Short News Overview No. VII/10: June 9-15, 2006
Debt & Poverty
CGI pledges $5.4billion for 2006 budget, reconstruction
The Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) has pledged US$5.4 billion in total loans
and grants this year to support the government's medium-term development and
reconstruction of disaster areas.
The commitment, which the country's group of major creditors made during its annual
meeting with the government on June 14, will consist of $3.9 billion in funds to help
finance the 2006 state budget, and $1.5 billion in grants to be disbursed directly to the
public outside the budget, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono told a
The budgetary support funds will consist of $3.7 billion in program and project loans,
with the remaining $200 million in technical assistance grants to support the
government's reform agenda.
The $1.5 billion in grants, meanwhile, will mostly consist of CGI's preliminary
commitment for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yogyakarta and Central Java,
which were devastated the May 27 earthquake that caused Rp 29 trillion ($3.1 billion)
Read more: http://www.infid.be/cgi_pledges_2006.htm.
'Govt needs to borrow more from domestic sources':
Preliminary Damage and Lost Assessment Yogyakarta and Central Java Natural
Consultative Group Meeting for Indonesia Statement by Stephen Schwartz:
The World Bank Brief for the Consultative Group on Indonesia:
Source: JP 15/06
Govt to increase education spending to 10% of budget
The government can only afford to increase national education spending to 10 percent,
or Rp 38 trillion (US$4.13 billion), of the state budget this year, Finance Minister Sri
Mulyani Indrawati says. Sri said the state's limited finances meant it was impossible
for the government to earmark the extra Rp 16.9 trillion needed to meet the 20 percent
requirement for education spending set by the Constitution.
"The government's position is that we will focus on maintaining the current electricity
rates by allocating more subsidies. This, the President has made clear. So there will
be no sharp rise in the budget for education," she said.
The Constitutional Court has ruled the government is in violation of the Constitution for
not allocating 20 percent of its budget to education. Mulyani said if the government
was forced to meet the requirement, it would have to raise electricity rates and scrap
funding allocations for infrastructure projects and the reconstruction of
However, during a meeting between the government and House of Representatives
leaders on June 6, it was agreed that the 20 percent requirement could be met next
Indonesian education budgets have long been among the smallest in Asia, with
spending standing at around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, as compared to
5.3 percent in South Korea and 2.8 percent in Vietnam, according to the 2003 data
from the World Bank. Economists say the lack of skilled human resources here has
contributed to the country's slow pace of development.
Source: JP 08/06
Law expert: Prosecutors' decree dropping charges against Suharto is
A legal expert testified on June 9 that a decree dropping corruption charges against
former dictator Suharto was unlawful and could be revoked.
On May 12, the South Jakarta Prosecutor's Office issued a decree, citing the health
of the former strongman, who was then being treated at hospital for internal bleeding
following colon surgery. He earlier reportedly suffered several strokes and has a heart
ailment.An alliance of three human rights and anti-Suharto groups filed a lawsuit
against the decree, arguing it was premature to drop the charges and that prosecutors
lack the authority to annul a case already processed by the court. The group also
found the decree mistakenly cited some irrelevant chapters in the Criminal Code
Anna Erliana, an expert in state administration and legal procedures, testified that the
mistake might be due to negligence by the chief prosecutor for signing the decree
"The referred chapters could be corrected ... but since the decree was already
publicized, the mistake can cause the decree to be revoked for the sake of law," said
Erliana, a lecturer on the state-run Indonesia University's law faculty.
Marwan Effendi, a prosecutor attending the hearing, rejected the claim, telling
reporters that the discrepancy was merely a "mistake of the typewriter."
Suharto family looks headed for a comeback:
Source: AP 09/06
Legislators take stand against sharia laws
Concerned by the creeping Islamization of the country's secular state, 56 national
legislators are urging President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to abolish sharia-based
bylaws already in place or risk the country's disintegration.
In a petition, which included signatories from Muslim-based political parties, the
House members said local administrations' implementation of the bylaws contravened
the 1945 Constitution and the five principles enshrined in the Pancasila state
"The deliberation and implementation of bylaws should have been carried out
according to the 1945 Constitution and Pancasila, and within the framework of the
Unitary State of Indonesia," one of the signatories, Constant Ponggawa of the
Prosperous Peace Party (PDS), said on June 13 during a meeting with the House
leadership to express their views. Constant said that the President should move
quickly to nullify the bylaws or the state faced disintegration.
Gayus Lumbuun of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said the
petition was aimed at creating a powerful legislative movement to reverse the drive for
Islamization of the country.
Aside from nationalist politicians from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle
(PDI-P) and the PDS, a number of Muslim politicians, including Nusron Wahid and
Helmy Faishal of the National Awakening Party (PKB) and Anwar Sanusi of the
United Development Party (PPP), were present during the meeting. Politicians from
nationalist political parties included Trimedya Panjaitan, Permadi and Wayan Koster
of the PDI-P, Carol D. Kadang and Jeffrey Massie of the PDS and Joko
Purwongemboro of the Golkar Party and Muhammad A.S. Hikam of the PKB.
The petition is the first cross-factional campaign to oppose the passing of
Islamist-oriented regulations. Currently, 22 regencies and municipalities have
implemented sharia-influenced bylaws. Some of the bylaws criminalize conduct
prohibited under Islamic law, such as adultery, alcoholism and prostitution. Some of
the regulations have been criticized for restricting public freedom, especially women's
Read more: http://www.infid.be/sharia_legislator.htm.
Govt waffles on demand to scrap sharia bylaws: http://www.infid.be/govt_sharia.htm.
Source: JP 14/06
Militant Islamic Cleric released
Radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir walked out of a Jakarta jail on June 14 after serving
time for links to the 2002 Bali bombings, calling on jubilant supporters to join forces
for the spread of Islamic law.
Australia's foreign minister voiced concern about the release of a man who believes in
"jihadist principles" and a U.S. embassy spokesman said his sentence had been light
considering the crime.
Read more: http://www.infid.be/bashir_freed.htm.
Australia, U.S. deeply disappointed: http://www.infid.be/bashir_aus_us.htm.
Indonesia's Bashir says extremists misguided, Australia urges monitoring:
Source: Reuters 14/06
Independent body is needed to protect environment
Indonesia urgently needs an independent body to root out illegal logging, mining and
other environmental law violations, and to curb forest destruction, said a respected
environmentalist. Former environment minister Emil Salim said illegal activities such
as fishing, logging and mining, which continue unchecked, are damaging the country's
"We should establish a team on a par with the Corruption Eradication Commission
find the violators," he said.
Emil said a strong monitoring team would protect the environment so it would be
better and healthier for the country's next generations.
Sonny Keraf, a former environment minister during the Abdurrahman Wahid
administration, voiced similar concerns.
"Those who have been harming our environment don't get punished. We make rules
but many people break them," Sonny said.
He blamed the relevant government agencies for failing to display a serious
commitment to improving the situation. Sonny, a lawmaker with Commission VII on
the environment, said the House was considering empowering the State Ministry for
Environment to monitor, investigate and punish environmental lawbreakers.
Read more: http://www.infid.be/environment_independent_body.htm.
House dismayed by slow Aceh reconstruction
House of Representatives lawmakers are unhappy with the performance of the
Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR). In its single year of
existence the BRR had done little to build much-needed infrastructure in Aceh and
Nias, House Speaker Agung Laksono said.
"We are very disappointed (with the BRR) as we had imagined that brand-new cities
would rise from the debris of regions hit by the tsunami. But this has not
materialized," Agung said.
Agung said that in the two hardest-hit areas in Banda Aceh, Lampase and Uleuleu,
conditions were virtually the same as they were days after the tidal wave struck on
Dec 26, 2004.
"There is no city planning; everything is in chaos. The results don't match the
excessive amounts of foreign aid that has poured in," he said.
Earlier this week during a visit to Aceh, Agung said he was concerned about the poor
quality of houses the BRR built for tsunami survivors. Many did not even have toilets,
Responding to Agung's criticism, BRR chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said his agency
would improve the quality of more than 41,000 houses scheduled to be built later this
Read more: http://www.infid.be/aceh_slow.htm.
Source: JP 10/06
AFP Agence France-Presse
AP Associated Press
JP The Jakarta Post