Politics, Health, Law, Security

Big Clash on “Eco-Business” Island near Singapore

Residents of Rempang Island in Riau Islands province clashed last week with security forces in a demonstration against plans to develop the island into a new economic hub, which necessitates the eviction of hundreds of families from their homes before the end of the month. The island is scheduled to be the location of the a Chinese investment in the world’s largest solar panel and glass factory. A joint team consisting of around 1,000 members from the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) clashed on Thursday with protesters, who had tried to the stop security forces from setting up posts and marking boundaries for the new development project. nvestment in the development of the island is targeted at US$11.5 billion and the project is being spearheaded by PT Makmur Elok Graha (MEG), a company owned by Tommy Winata. Rempang residents, however, have questioned why they need to be evicted, particularly since the 10,000 people living in the area are only occupying a small portion of the 17,000-hectare island. “We want to continue [living] here, because this island is part of our identity, where our cultural roots lie. We are not at all opposing the investment plan, we just want to [live] side by side with it,” Bobby, a representative of the local community, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, meanwhile, said that people living in Rempang were illegal squatters, as the government had leased Rempang Island since 2002. “It’s the process of clearing [Rempang] that has become the source of the trouble. It’s not about land rights, it’s about [the eviction] process, because they have been living there for around a dozen years and they now suddenly have to leave,” Mahfud said on Friday, as quoted by Antara. (Jakarta Post)

Bad Air, Work From Home

Jakarta is planning to extend remote working for public employees and ramp up water misting from tall buildings as the city’s air quality has not improved despite various efforts to curb air pollution, including shuttering a coal fired power plant. To reduce the number of vehicles in the city and improve the air quality, the Jakarta administration ordered half of its public employees to work from home last month as part of an effort that was planned to continue until Oct. 21. Jakarta acting governor Heru Budi Hartono said authorities were now considering extending the remote working system for city public officials at least until the rainy season starts in November.

Court Completes Review of Petition to Lower Age of Candidates

The Constitutional Court has finished its review of a petition to lower the age minimum for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Chief Justice Anwar Usman has said, suggesting that the court will deliver its verdict in the coming days. If the court approves the petition, the minimum age to run for the country’s top two public offices will likely be lowered from 40 to 35 years old, a change that could be a game changer in the upcoming presidential race. If the court allows the age to be lowered President Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming, could become a candidate.