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30 May 2007
Crude Palm Oil Policy to be Effective from June 1

Crude palm oil (CPO) producers are to be obligated to set aside some of their products for domestic needs.

The domestic market obligation (DPO) policy will come into effect as from June 1, 2007.

“The DPO implementation is a mandate of the State Decree on Plantations,” said Anton Apriyantono, Agriculture Minister, after accepting bird flu vaccine aid from Chinese government at the Agriculture Department building, Jakarta, yesterday (29/5).

“(The implementation provision) is the Agriculture Minister Decision for a start,” he said

Anton explained that for the time being, the DMO policy was being implemented in order to fulfil domestic cooking oil needs because cooking oil is one of the nine staple household goods.

Therefore, CPO stocks are prioritized for domestic needs.

“It's unfortunate (for producers) if the price abroad is high, but we limit it here,” said Anton.

On the other side, in order to secure domestic stocks, the government cannot determine the price.

“We still leave the price to the market mechanism,” said Anton.

Regarding the CPO quota per producer, he went on to say it will be determined later with the Industry and Trade Departments.

“It can't be set by us alone,” said Anton

What is certain is the minimum limit being calculated based on the company's tax payment and amount shipped abroad.

Anton said that the DMO policy is effective even for companies associated with Malaysia.

Fahmi Idris, the Industry Minister, instead stated that the DMO policy for fulfilling domestic palm oil need will be effective by the end of the month.

He explained domestic CPO needs reach 4.5 million tons per year.

“So the obligation (DMO) amount is between 4.5 million to 5 million tons per year,” he said, on Monday (28/5) at the Vice President's office, Jakarta.




My mind's unweaving/ 4:33 PM

Prosecutor Rejects Australian Expert Witness’ Statement

The public prosecutor in the review trial of the illegal drugs case involving Australian citizens--Tan Duc Tan Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew James Norman—has rejected an expert witness from Australia.

According to prosecutor Olopan Nainggolan at the Denpasar District Court, yesterday (29/5), the statement of Professor James R.P. Ogloff from Monash University was considered not to be relevant with the trial materials.

In his statement, Oglof said that during the last 30 years the number of countries which still implement death penalty continues to decrease.

The prosecutor also objected to the statement because the permit from the Australian Justice Minister for Ogloff was only sent by e-mail the print-out of which was not submitted during the trial.

The convicts' lawyer, Erwin Siregar, stated he brought a copy of Australian Supreme Court's statement that explained about Ogloff's whereabouts.




My mind's unweaving/ 4:33 PM

29 May 2007
MoU Must be Reviewed, Indonesian Workers in Malaysia Suffering Losses

A number of Indonesian migrant workers activists have asked the government to review the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia signed in Bali in 2006.

The agreement is regarded as being detrimental to Indonesian citizens working as migrant labors.

Miftah, Chairperson of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Association, said that under the MoU, employers were allowed to seize employees’ passports.

This was despite passports being individual identities which cannot be held by anybody except police and immigration officers.

“But the government easily gives permission that passport is submitted to employers or agents in Malaysia,” Miftah told Tempo yesterday (27/5).

The policy that allows employers to hold passports, said Miftah, actually triggered the large number of trafficking cases.

It is not surprising therefore that the rights of Indonesian workers in that country are often violated.

For example, torture, unpaid salary, prohibition to marry at work place and impediments to meet family members.

“All are human rights violations,” said Miftah.
Anis Hidayah, Executive Director of Migrant Care, questioned the deportation policy carried out by Malaysia.

According to Anis, a lot of Indonesian workers are to be deported due to the wrong recruitment system in Indonesia.

“Indonesia should have been able to struggle to remove the deportation option, and fight for legalization. The documents are legalized because the laborers there actually already have jobs.”


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My mind's unweaving/ 10:17 AM

Tangguh Field's Gas for America Can Be Transferred to Other Buyer

The sales of some liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Tangguh gas field, Papua, to Sempra, United States, can be transferred to another buyer.

The transfer will be carried out if the LNG sales price is higher than that of Sempra’s.

Eddy Purwanto, Deputy of Marketing and Finance at the Upstream Oil and Natural Gas Business Executing Body, emphasized that the gas transfer from Sempra can be done to any other buyer.

“As long as the sales price is better than Sempra’s,” he told Tempo last weekend.

Based on information received by Tempo, gas sold to Sempra will be transferred to a buyer from Japan.
The reason is, Sempra's LNG facility was built quicker than first planned, in mid 2008.

Sempra signed Tangguh's 20 year gas purchase contract for a volume of 3.7 million tons at the price of US$5.94 per mmBtu.

Eddy went on to say, that the transfer of gas that was bought by Sempra to another buyer has compensations.

“Sempra will obtain certain compensations,” he said.

However, when asked whether the compensation was a penalty that the government must pay, Eddy did not give any answer.

Kurtubi, an oil and gas observer, said that the Tangguh gas sales price, which is under the average gas sales price from Badak refinery in East Kalimantan, will not result in any revenues for the state.

This is because, he said, with investment totaling US$6.5 million and the revenues totaling only US$8.5 billion for 25 years, all revenues are only sufficient to cover the investment costs.

“So what does the state obtain?” he said to Tempo.

Currently, the gas sales contract amounts to 2.6 million tons to Fujian, China for 25 years, with an average price of US$3.35 per mmBtu.

The contract with SK Power Korea amounts to 0.55 million tons for 20 years with US$3.5 per mmBtu sales price.

The contract with Posco Korea 0.55 million tons for 20 years with US$3.36 per mmBtu sales price and Sempra (West Coast, US) 3.7 million tons for 20 years with US$5.94 per mmBtu sales price.




My mind's unweaving/ 10:16 AM

25 May 2007
World Health Assembly Grants Indonesia's Demand

The World Health Assembly, during the 60th meeting in Geneva, Swiss, granted Indonesia's request for a more transparent mechanism as regards sending bird flu virus samples.

Because of this, developed countries will no longer be able to take advantage of poor countries attacked by bird flu.

“The resolution will bind all members of the World Health Organization (WHO),” wrote I Nyoman Kandun, Director General of Disease Control and Environmental Improvement at the Health Department, in a short message to Tempo yesterday (23/5).

Earlier, Indonesia refused to send H5N1 virus samples to the WHO's collaboration laboratory.

The reason for this is the virus, that must be given freely by infected countries, will later be used for research, including for producing bird flu vaccines.

The problem is, the vaccine made by developed countries will then be sold at an expensive price to the infected countries.

“Bird flu virus is provided free from developing countries, but medicinal companies take on a patent on the vaccines and sell it at an expensive price,” said Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari.

According to Kandun, in the future the resolution will be followed up with cooperation among governments and among divisions.

The cooperation is aimed at revising the term of reference and documents on virus shipping.

“Virus shipping must be done transparently, responsibly and beneficially for all sides in maintaining the world's health,” he said.


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My mind's unweaving/ 1:05 PM

Supreme Court Annuls Mystic Programs Provision

The Supreme Court has passed the judicial review proposed by the Association of Indonesian Private Television Stations (ATVSI) against the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission's (KPI) decision on the broadcasting performance guide and broadcasting program standard.

KPI must revoke the provisions, including mystic and pornographic television programs.

ATVSI Chairperson Karni Ilyas acknowledged having received the Supreme Court's decision recently.

“It was already sent to the Association's office this afternoon (yesterday). It was only the summary, the details will follow,” she said when contacted by Tempo yesterday (23/5).

In the decision, the Supreme Court gives three month time for KPI to revoke the letter no. 009/SK/KPI/8/2004.

If within three months the letter is not revoked, the provision will not have any legal force.

According to Karni, actually from the aspect of content, the association agrees with KPI provision.

“We agree that programs with mystic and porn nuance must in fact be limited,” he said.

According to him, the association's claim is more because KPI made the provision earlier than the government.

“In addition, KPI regulates the sanctions. Through the sanction is already regulated in the Broadcasting Decree,” he said.

In article 57 of the decision, for example, factual programs with occult, paranormal and black magic themes may only be broadcasted between 10pm and 3am.

The sanctions stated in article 77 are the forms of written notice, program temporary halt, duration
limitation, fines, freezing television program, turning down license extension up to television station's license revocation.

These sanctions are what the association considered as too heavy.

KPI acknowledged it will study the Supreme Court's decision.

According to KPI member, Don Bosco Selamun, the provision they made for all television stations including TVRI (state-owned television station), is normal.

“Because KPI is given the job in the Broadcasting Decree to protect the society from violence, pornography, sadism and mysticism,” he said.

According to Don Bosco, this KPI provision is different from ATVSI's code of ethics.

“ATVSI's code of ethics are valid for the internal, KPI's decision is general,” he said.



My mind's unweaving/ 1:04 PM

24 May 2007
Indonesia: Market for China's Export Product Remainders

Indonesian domestic product industries are losing the competition against China's imported goods in the domestic market.

The goods from China which enter Indonesia are export remainders.

Cyrillus Harinowo, BCA's Independent Commissioner, said most of China's goods in Indonesia are export goods remainders.

“So the prices are much cheaper,” he said during the “Dragons at Your Door: China's Position in the World Trade Course and How Indonesian Entrepreneurs Response China's Excellence” discussion yesterday (21/5).

Almost all of Chinese exports to Indonesia are export product remainders sold at a very low price.

It is estimated that Chinese products that enter Indonesia amount to 10 percent of China's total exports.

Cyrillus asked that domestic producers make goods which can compete with China-made products.

This is because tariff and non-tariff impediments for restraining the export goods remainders are also not effective.

“It's difficult to face such goods,” said Cyrillus.
Imposing a 100 percent import duty, he said, would not influence the abundance of Chinese products.

The reason for this is that Chinese products will still be cheaper than the normal prices on the international market.

Cyrillus suggested that producers group together to produce medium quality products in order to face the invasion of Chinese products.

This is because Indonesia can export more natural resources products especially energy source and agriculture products that China does not have.

The University of Indonesia's Chinese Study Center Head, Ignasius Wibowo, said that productivity of workers in China is very high, so China can produce cheap products.

“No bureaucracy impediments and production costs are much cheaper. China has managed to build industrial centers,” he said.


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My mind's unweaving/ 12:21 PM

World Bank Supports Freedom of Information Bill

The public being ably to access easily information from governmental institutions is considered as one of the important factors in advancing corruption eradication.
This was conveyed by World Bank communication officer, Ahmad Sukarsono.

“Indonesia already has good instruments for corruption eradication, but without public open access, i believe corruption eradication will be more difficult,” said Ahmad during the Workshop of Access to Obtain Information and Good Governance in Indonesia at Le Meridien Hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday (22/5).

According to Ahmad, the Freedom to Obtain Public Information (KMIP) Bill which is being discussed by the House of Representatives (DPR) will be the oxygen for corruption cases in Indonesia.

World Bank as a financial organization which often provides loans, supports this KMIP Bill being passed.


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My mind's unweaving/ 12:19 PM

23 May 2007
Medicine Prices in Indonesia Extremely High

The public buys medicine with a price that is actually higher than the standard price. This fact is rarely realized because the medicines are needed and the consumers are not given an option to use other medicines.

“Patients are often deceived,” said the Head of Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation, Marius Widjajarta, in Jakarta yesterday (21/5).

According to Marius, the foundation he is leading has carried out a survey in 25 hospitals in Indonesia. The result is the costs expended by patients for medical devices and medicines reach 60 to 70 percent of the total cost. “This isn't natural. Patients should only spend 30 percent of the total cost for buying medicines,” he said.

Marius assumed that the ruse against patients is practiced by pharmaceutical companies and doctors who give the prescription. Pharmaceutical companies set a high price for medicines they produce. “The difference can be 200 percent of the generic medicines price,” he said.

It is very rare that patients refuse a prescription given by a doctor. In the meantime, doctors have a motive that patients buy the medicines they recommend. “Pharmaceutical companies give commissions to doctors. The commission is a reward as the doctors prescribe the medicines they produce,” said Marius.

This sham actually does not have to happen if the government's role in monitoring the labeling of medicines runs well. The government must also issue a regulation to determine the price of branded medicines.

Director General of Pharmaceutical Service and Medical Device Improvement at the Health Department, Richard Panjaitan, said that the government does not have the authority to determine the prices of branded medicines.

The government is only authorized to determine the prices of generic medicines to be consumed by the public. “For determining medicine’s price, a law is necessary. Now the draft is being composed by us,” he said.


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My mind's unweaving/ 10:21 AM

AGO Reopens BPPC Case

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) will once again investigate the alleged corruption of the Coordination Body and Clove Marketing (BPPC) which involved Hutomo Mandala Putra a.k.a. Tommy Suharto. The investigation is the AGO's priority as it is considered as the case with the fastest verification process compared to the other Tommy's cases.

“The order to begin investigation was issued on May 7,” said Director of Criminal Act Investigation, Muhammad Salim, yesterday (21/5).

Salim explained that the indications of corruption in the BPPC case are strong. He said these include the requirement that BPPC did not carry out as regulated by the Presidential Instruction No. 1/1992. However, he did not explain it further.

Salim also stressed he will examine all sides related to BPPC, including the former Main Village Unit Cooperative Chairman, Nurdin Khalid. The AGO team, he said, is formulating the role of the main cooperative chairman.

AGO's Civil Director, Yoseph Suardi Sabda, said the alleged corruption in BPPC can be made as a means of disbursing Tommy Suharto's money in Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) Paribas of the Guernsey branch by the Indonesian government. If the investigation states Tommy's money must be seized, Yoseph believes that the money in Guernsey can be used to pay the compensation. The disbursement can be done through the civil and criminal procedure.

Tommy's lawyer, O.C. Kaligis, is of the opinion that AGO's measure is only a manipulation and seems to be forced. “The main purpose is only the verification of the Guernsey trial,” said Kaligis when contacted by Tempo.

A member of the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) working body, Adnan Topan, is optimistic about the AGO's scenario. “The case hasn't expired. AGO can even name Tommy as a suspect,” he said.


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My mind's unweaving/ 10:20 AM

21 May 2007
“England Must Oversee Origins of Oil Palm”

England, as the biggest palm oil importer in the world after the Netherlands, must set up tight regulations on the origins of palm oil, which is to be a bio-fuel base commodity. This is because the development of a palm oil estate is closely related to deforestation and the orangutan slaughtering.

“We hope that the palm oil plantation will not destroy forests or habitats,” said Director of the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), Hardi Baktiantoro, during a rally in front of the British Embassy, Wednesday (16/5). In the rally, four COP activists wore the uniform of plantation officers and carried orangutan puppets, also fuel jerry cans.

Throughout 2006, said Hardi, the rescue team from the Forestry Department and the Nyarumenteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center, Central Kalimantan, managed to save 368 orangutans from a number of palm oil plantations. The plantation workers generally consider orangutans as pests as they eat palm oil leaves. They also chase orangutans from palm oil plantations. As a result, orangutans lose its habitats, water and food sources.

“This cruelty is a violation against the Decree No. 5/1990 on Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation. The perpetrators could face five year imprisonment or Rp100 million fine,” he said.




My mind's unweaving/ 5:00 PM

18 May 2007
Producers Lower CPO Sales Price

The producers of crude palm oil (CPO) lowered the sales price at the factory level to Rp6,100 per kilogram starting yesterday (14/5). On Friday (11/5), the CPO sales price was Rp6,500 per kilogram.

By the decrease of the CPO sales price at factory level, it is expected that the price of cooking oil can decline to between Rp6,500 and Rp6,800 per kilogram, as expected by the government. The national average retail price of cooking oil is still Rp7,900 per kilogram.

This was an agreement between the government and CPO and cooking oil producers during the cooking oil price evaluation meeting at the Trade Department yesterday.

In the agreement in early May with the producers, the Trade Department threatened it will impose sanctions in the form of a hike in CPO export levies if producers could not lower the cooking oil price to Rp6,500-Rp6,800 on June 1.

Industry Minister, Fahmi Idris, said that producers were ready to supply between 100,000 and 150,000 tons of CPO to Java and outside Java. “As much as 80 percent goes to Java,” said Fahmi after the meeting.

Director General of Agriculture Products Marketing and Processing at the Agriculture Department, Djoko Said Damardjati, said yesterday that producers who are not in the Indonesian Palm Oil Entrepreneurs Association were also willing to provide 10,000 tons of additional CPO, which only awaits the approval of company leaders in Malaysia.

The price of cooking oil up to last weekend in several regions was still high.


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My mind's unweaving/ 8:38 AM

Some State Officials Do Not Pay Tax

The Tax Directorate General revealed several names of state officials who have not paid tax or submitted the Yearly Information (SPT) of Tax. “They also don't have a personal tax number (NPWP),” Tax Director General Darmin Nasution told reporters in Jakarta, yesterday (14/5).

Although he has pocketed the names, he refused to explain the identities of state officials who did not pay tax. He was also reluctant to give the details of institutions or departments of the officials who did not report their tax obligation by the Tax SPT because he will first report the cases to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Regarding the names of civil officials of echelon IV up to I who neither have NPWP nor submitted Tax SPT, they will be reported to the respective ministry or state institutions. “This is a part of tax intensification to optimize the state revenue,” he said.

A House member, Andi Rahmat, said that the signals of state officials not paying tax have already been there a long time and this could happen. However, there is a possibility that the officials did not intend to break the law or avoid the obligation to pay tax.

The State officials generally have NPWPs. The problem is, he said, they are not accustomd to filling out Tax SPT. “Perhaps many ministers don't know how to fill out Tax SPT,” he said while mentioning that he already filled out his Tax SPT.

Therefore, he said that the Tax Directorate General must intensify the campaign of self assessment of tax much more. “Everybody must have an NPWP, especially those whose income exceeds the income that is tax-free,” he said.

He was sorry that Indonesia does not have a solid system yet like European countries which already implemented NPWP ownership. “In Europe, even people who want to make a call must show his or her NPWP, so they comply with the tax system,” he said.

He still supports the publication of the tax embezzlers. “The Tax Directorate General's findings must be revealed soon so that people feel the obligation to pay tax.”


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My mind's unweaving/ 8:37 AM

Tax Officials to Hunt Down Sukanto Tanoto

The Tax Directorate General at the Finance Department will concentrate on hunting down the main players in the Asian Agri Group tax embezzlement case, including the company's owner Sukanto Tanoto and the other shareholders.

Mochamad Tjiptardjo, Director of Tax Intelligence and Investigation at the Finance Department's Tax Directorate General, did not deny the possibility that the Asian Agri's owner could be legally charged.

”If there is proof, then why not? This is already classified as a criminal case,” said Tjiptardjo in Jakarta yesterday (15/5).

“The numbers of the suspects and the amount of the state's losses may increase,” he said

When asked the same question, whether or not the Tax Directorate General would also hunt down Sukanto Tanoto, on a separate occasion, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said, “We'll see how the Tax Directorate General handles the case. But clearly, the government will chase after payment of all the tax debts plus the fines.”

On Monday (14/5), the Tax Directorate General already stated that five Asian Agri Group directors were suspects of tax embezzlement. The five persons' initials are LA, WT, ST, TNK and AN.

Asian Agri is the second biggest holding company in the Grup Raja Garuda Mas – a company owned by Sukanto Tanoto, Indonesia's richest person in 2006 according to Forbes magazine.

According to Tjiptardjo, 18 members of the Tax Directorate General investigation team are working domestically and abroad to search for new findings in the case.

The legal base being used to charge the embezzlers, including those who asked for the manipulation to be carried out, he said, was Decree No. 16/2000 on Tax General Provisions and Procedures.

So far, according to him, the case development was only as far as the involvement of the five Asian Agri directors.

Signs regard new suspects have not yet been reached at this level of the investigation.

It is so far estimated that the state's losses amount to Rp786.3 billion, or around 30 percent from the total funds marked-up by the company which reached Rp2.62 trillion, but this amount could rise.

According to M. Salim, Director of the Attorney General's Office Investigators, the AGO is still analyzing public complaints about Asian Agri’s alleged corruption and tax embezzlement practices.

“We just received the reports last week,” said Salim.

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My mind's unweaving/ 8:36 AM

12 May 2007
Asia Worries Economic Crisis is Returning

All finance ministers in Asia are concerned over the monetary crisis recurring in this region because recently economic conditions were similar to those before the crisis in 1997. The main indicator is a large-scale capital inflow from the world is entering the Asian region.

According to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati this was disclosed during the fortieth Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in Kyoto on 4-8 May. During the meeting, the matter under discussion was the Asian market 10 years after the crisis and how Asia's future is.

The phenomenon, she said, was seen from the high capital inflow to the Asian region due to the abundant funds of the global market. Several countries are experiencing pressure of the capital inflow so the currencies are strengthening sharply such as Thailand’s and India’s.

“Thailand's Baht and India's Rupee are experiencing a very sharp appreciation despite the fact they are both major countries,” said Sri Mulyani in Jakarta yesterday. According to Sri Mulyani, Indonesia must learn from the crisis experience 10 years ago.

Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency, Anggito Abimanyu, said although there is such a risk, the potential of a crisis occuring now is different than in 1996. In that year, the crisis occurred because after the capital inflow, there was capital outflow from Indonesia on a large scale.

“The difference is, now there is no information that isn't monitored by the government,” Anggito emphasized.
Standard Chartered Bank's economist, Fauzi Ichsan, is of the opinion that the concern over the second monetary crisis in Indonesia need no response. The reason is the main indicator that is able to produce such condition is not happening now. “The foreign exchange reserves are already above the amount of hot money in circulation, either at Bank Indonesia Certificate (SBI) or other bond institutions,” Fauzi told Tempo. Hot money is a term for money being invested for the short term in Indonesia.

Prior to the first monetary crisis, according to him, Indonesia's foreign reserves was below the hot money amount. Currently, the foreign exchange reserves is already around US$50 billion, or below the hot money that amounts to below US$50 billion.

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My mind's unweaving/ 8:42 AM

11 May 2007
11 Japan Loan Bank Projects Delayed

The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has discovered that the realization of 11 infrastructure projects funded with loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation has been delayed.

“The delayed projects belong to the Public Works Department, the Transportation Department, Cipta Karya and Bina Marga,” Benedictus Benny Setiawan, Director of Development Funding Monitoring and Evaluation told Tempo at his office, Jakarta, yesterday (9/5).

Benny explained that the projects were delayed because of land acquisition and project procurement.

Four projects were delayed because of land acquisition problem, Batanghari Irrigation; North Java Corridor Flyover, Tanjung Priok Access Road and Double Double-Track.

The projects which were delayed by procurement are Lower Solo River Improvement, Komering Irrigation Project, PTSL for Water Resources Development and the Railway Electrification and Double Double-Track.

The projects' procurement was hampered due to land acquisition.

The Dumai Port project was delayed by the Indonesian Military (TNI) Navy’s quay demolition.

The problem was settled in the end of 2006, but the process must be accelerated because it is likely to not to be completed on schedule.

The Maritime Education and Training Improvement project is also not in accordance with schedule due to design alterations.

The constraints resulted in the absorption of loans being low.

Benny said that not all of the loans from the Japan Bank were absorbed.

The US$5.95 billion in loans from the Japan Bank is equivalent to 40.8 percent of the total foreign loans for infrastructure projects.

Funds from Japan Bank are allocated for 51 projects.
The delay in projects and fund absorption did not make the government pay commitment fee to Japan Bank.

However, infrastructure facilities cannot be enjoyed soon by the general public and economic costs have occurred.
“Roads were ruined due to high transportation cost,s so goods' prices are also high,” said Benny.

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My mind's unweaving/ 1:53 PM

10 May 2007
Minimum 10 Percent Investment Growth Required

The government needs investment growth to be 10 percent in order to catch up with the targeted non-oil and gas export growth of 14.5 percent.

Last year, investment growth was only three percent.
Mari Elka Pangestu, Trade Minister, said that investment growth was required in order to increase export growth.

“This year investment growth must be 10 percent, up from last year's three percent,” she said, on Monday (7/5).

She went on to say that the competitiveness of export products in the world market no longer faces the matter of lowest production cost anymore.

“But how to deliver goods quickly and at a low distribution cost,” said Mari.

In order to support investment and export growth, she said the government will prioritize the state budget for building infrastructure.

“Inefficient transportation and logistics are problems that must be solved,” she said Mari.

Muhammad S. Hidayat, Chairman if the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), acknowledged he was pessimistic about the target set by the government last week.

At that time, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy said that investment amounting to Rp1,180 trillion was needed to reach the economic growth target of 6.8 percent by 2008.

It is expected that most of the investment will come from the private sector because the government can only provide around Rp141 trillion.

“With such target, we can no longer do business as usual. The government must do concrete policies in order to improve investment climate,” Hidayat told Tempo.

According to him, without concrete policies, such as government regulations, presidential regulations,
ministerial regulations or other regulations which separate the authority between central and regional governments, the investment target will not be met.


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My mind's unweaving/ 8:12 AM

09 May 2007
Banks Compelled to Implement International Standard Financial Statement

Bank Indonesia (BI) will oblige banks to implement the International Financial Reporting Standards/IFRC) by 2010. The implementation of this international-scale international financial reporting standard will be carried out gradually starting next year. “The implementation is gradual, but in 2010 all banks must utilize it,” said Deputy BI Governor Siti Fadrijah in Jakarta yesterday (7/5).

The standard international financial statement are the accounting and reporting standards which are valid internationally. The financial standard accounting statement used by the Indonesian Accountants Association (IAI) is also based on the international provision.

The implementation of the standard international financial statement will influence the evaluation of companies’ or banks’ assets and liability. This affects both profit and loss. If the net difference is negative, the profit decreases automatically. Thus, he said, Bank Indonesia will analyze any concepts or components which will be included in the international standard financial statement analysis.

According to him, BI and IAI are also analyzing accounting standards which are to be included in the international financial statement component. “This (IFRS implementation) must be analyzed carefully so that it doesn't cause an upheaval.”

PT Bank Mandiri 's Director, Pahala N. Mansyuri, said that consistent IFRS implementation will benefit banks in the long term.

However, he is of the opinion that IFRS will face impediments if the international accounting standard component (IAS) 39 is included.


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My mind's unweaving/ 5:01 PM

07 May 2007
Court Concedes that Suciwati Wins

The Central Jakarta District Court granted some of the civil claims proposed by Suciwati, the widow of late Munir yesterday (3/5), against PT Garuda Indonesia. The judges' panel led by Andriani Nurdin, stated that the accused, PT Garuda Indonesia as the accused 1; former Garuda Managing Director Indra Setiawan (the accused 2) and Captain Pilot Pantun Matondang (the accused 9), have committed actions against the law.

Judge Andriani stated that the accused are guilty for being negligent about the cause of human rights activist Munir's death, , on September 2004 on the GA-974 flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. According to the judge, when passengers are under emergency measures, pilots should consult doctors or nurses or senior flight attendant to cancel the flight and land at the nearest airport.

The judges' panel used Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention on international flights as consideration in deciding. The Article states that international flights should obey the Convention.

The judges’ panel also used Decree No. 15/1992 on Flights, which regulates the definition of an accident. According to an expert's statement during the trial, murder is not categorized as an accident so Garuda was thought to take responsibility.

However, the judges' panel widened the definition of an accident and regarded the event of Munir's death as an accident. “The principle of absolute responsibility was effective. Garuda must be responsible,” said the judge. The death of Munir, according to the judge, showed that Garuda violated the principles of caution and prudence.

In addition to being found to have broken the law, the judges also obliged Garuda and the other accused to pay compensation jointly amounting to Rp664,209,900.

In response to the verdict, Suciwati said the judges missed an important matter in the prosecution, that Garuda should have carried out an internal investigation into abuse and irregularity. “It's a form of responsibility to the public,” she said.


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My mind's unweaving/ 11:47 AM

04 May 2007
Government Delays Importing Rice

The government has decided to delay the second phase of 500,000 rice imports as it is now near the grand harvest.

“It is delayed until the end of June, 2007,” said Bayu Krisnamurthi, Deputy Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Agriculture and Maritime Affairs Division, after attending the rice coordination meeting in Jakarta yesterday (2/5).

He explained that the government's plan to import rice will not change.

During the planting season 2006-2007, the government decided to import 1.5 million tons of rice.

The first phase of rice imports amounting to 500,000 tons was realized between last February and March.
The second phase is delayed and the plan for the third phase of another 500,000 tons is only optional.

This means the import will be carried out only if the Indonesia government needs it.

In addition, the government's decision whether or not to take the remaining rice (outstanding) depends on the national rice procurement and domestic price progress.

What is clear, is thato far the government has not decided to take the third rice import phase.

“The outstanding import (500,000 tons), hopefully, would not necessarily be realized,” said the man who was sometimes called Yayok.

According to him, the government will continue monitoring the progress until this June.

Based on the prognosis, the farmers' rice can be absorbed by the government until May or June.

The State Logistic Company (Bulog) can already absorb the farmers' rice 400,000 tons of the 900,000 tons target until May.

“We will catch up the remaining between May and June,” he said.

Mustafa Abubakar, Bulog Managing Director, said up to April, of the one million tons of the first and second phase import plan, 520,000 tons have been realized.

“We'll see the progress after May. In June, we'll see the domestic absorption number,” he said in Jakarta yesterday.




My mind's unweaving/ 8:29 AM

03 May 2007
Hilton Hotel Case: Seven Years’ Imprisonment Demanded for Pontjo and Ali Mazi

The public prosecutors, led by Ali Mukartono, are demanding that the defendants Pontjo Wutowo and Ali Mazi in the Hilton Hotel case each receive seven years in prison.

The prosecutors viewed that the former President Director of PT Indobuildco – Hilton Hotel's management – and former Indobuildco's legal advisor were found to have committed corruption in the case of Hiton's building rights extension.

“The two defendants enriched themselves or the corporation so that the state's finance bore losses,” said prosecutor Ali when reading out the prosecution’s charges at the Central Jakarta District Court, yesterday (1/5).

According to the prosecutor, the two defendants broke the Decree of Corruption Criminal Acts Eradication for extending the Hilton's building rights without permission from Bung Karno Sports Center as the owner of Senayan area land management.

However, said the prosecutor, the status of the land where Hilton (now The Sultan) was erected has changed to be the land managed by the state.

“The defendants should have first obtained the appointment in the form of land use agreement from the management,” said the prosecutor.

In addition to seven year prison term, the prosecutor is demanding a fine to each defendant if Rp500 million or replacement penalty of six month detention.

The prosecutor also demanded the revocation of Indobuildco’s building rights.

In response to the prosecutors' charges, the two defendants did not comment.

After the trial, they kept silent.

However, the defendants' lawyers O.C. Kaligis (Ali Mazi's lawyers) and Frans Winata (Pontjo's lawyer) said they were disappointed.

Frans said he did not understand the prosecutors' charge that his client's action regarding extension request was categorized as corruption case.

“The legal scope is at the state administration or civil,” he said after the trial.


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My mind's unweaving/ 11:46 AM

02 May 2007
Distances between Hypermarkets and Traditional Markets to be Regulated

The government has confirmed that it will strictly regulate the minimum distance between hypermarkets and traditional markets.

Ardiansyah, Director General of Domestic Trade at the Trade Department, emphasized that the regulation will be included in the President Regulation on Modern Markets, which is now still being discussed.

This regulation, according to him, will provide guidelines for determining the distance between a hypermarket and a traditional market and also the formula for the amount of modern markets to serve how many people.

Ardiansyah acknowledged that the regulation was in fact one of the government’s measures to accommodate the demands of traditional markets’ traders.

“Traditional market traders don’t want to confront the hypermarkets, not modern markets in general,” he said in Jakarta last weekend.

Although the distances will be regulated, Ardiansyah said a more detailed zoning will be included in the Zone Planning and Municipal Detailed Zone Planning, which is covered by regional governments’ regulations.

He explained that under the current Jakarta regulations, these matters were already regulated.

“But what’s the realization like?” said Ardiansyah.

Muhammad Iqbal, Head of the Business Competition Oversight Commission (KPPU), supported the restriction for modern markets to be located only in the suburban areas, like in France.

The problem is how this is to be implemented and monitored.


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My mind's unweaving/ 10:50 AM

01 May 2007
PLN Urged to Collaborate with Qatar and Bahrain

The government is putting out efforts to create a contract between the State Electricity Company (PLN) with electric generator investors from Qatar and Bahrain.

“We’re working hard in order to reach agreement and contract with PLN so that construction can begin,” the President’s special envoy for the Middle East, Alwi Shihab, told reporters in the Vice President’s Office, Monday (30/4).

The investors from Qatar and Bahrain, he said, have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a national private company to build a 150 megawatt electricity generator in Riau with an investment of US$600 million. Investment was also aimed at building a electricity generator in Kalimantan for the amount of US$700 million.

Alwi said if construction by the investment from Qatar and Bahrain goes smoothly, there will be many other Middle Eastern investors who join. He cited property companies from the United Arab Emirates and Dubai World have already been offered to build tourism destinations in Klungkung and Nusa Penida, Bali.

Dubai World will also build the highest skyscraper building in Indonesia. Alwi said it is planned that the building will be built in the middle of Jakarta, between Kuningan and Jalan Sudirman.

Construction, he said, needs land with a minimum width of five hectares. “We’re looking for the land, either from Jakarta (provincial government) or others,” he said.




My mind's unweaving/ 7:06 PM

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