Foreign Affairs/US-Indonesia Relations

Idul Fitri Holiday Period

The government has decided to maintain its Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) to extend the collective Idul Fitri holiday, which will see offices closed for 10 days from June 11 to June 20. Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani said the decision to maintain the extended holiday was made after the government was informed of public concerns over social and economic disruptions, as well as public order and security issues.

Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Alive in Indonesia

Although it still remains to be whether former Indonesian general Prabowo Subianto will make another run at Indonesia’s presidency in 2019, he has made appearances and statements foreshadowing his candidacy. According to recent news reports Prabowo officially received the support of the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) during International Workers’ Day (May 1) where he said: “There are no people in the world that want to open their doors to foreigners like us… The United States wants to make a wall to keep them out. In Australia people who try to enter are discharged to remote islands, in Malaysia, our own illegal migrant workers are whipped,” he said. Prabowo was referring to a recent regulation introduced by President Jokowi to simplify work permits for foreign managerial workers and stimulate needed foreign investment. The former general– in keeping with populist trends– did not discuss the finer points of the regulation and other policies that reserve blue collar jobs for Indonesians. One commentator wrote: “Beyond being an important endorsement for the former general, who is still struggling to consolidate the political coalition needed to make his candidacy official, Prabowo’s cautionary comments to the KSPI crowd about the dangers of allowing more foreign workers into Indonesia strongly signal something that many political analysts have predicted — Prabowo is planning to adopt a similar strategy to that used by US President Donald Trump for his campaign, one that relies heavily on exploiting the economic insecurity of voters through xenophobic fear-mongering about foreigners coming to take their jobs.” (Coconuts Indonesia).