Politics, Law and Security

Breaking the Natural Resources Curse

After decades of reliance on natural products, from spices, palm oil and raw ore to oil, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reiterated his commitment to break Indonesia away from the “natural resources curse” and focus on human development. For that intention, the government has allocated tens of billions of dollars from the proposed 2020 state budget that carries the theme “state budget for competitiveness acceleration through innovation and empowerment of human resources quality”, the President said in his state of the union address on Friday. The human capital budget will be disbursed through various channels including the Education and Culture Ministry, Manpower Ministry, Health Ministry and regional fund transfers. Programs include subsidies for students, endowment funds for education, research and culture funds, training for the unemployed as well as universal healthcare insurance and stunting reduction acceleration programs. “Armed with innovation, quality human resources and technological proficiency, we can break away from the natural resources curse,” said Jokowi in front of policymakers and lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday, dressed in royal Sasak attire. (Jakarta Post)

Government Reinstates Disabled Dentist

In a case that shows promise for the disabled the Presidential Staff Office announced on Monday the government has decided to reinstate Romi Syofpa Ismail, a wheelchair-bound dentist in South Solok, West Sumatra, as a civil servant candidate after the district government disqualified her for “not meeting the requirements” despite Romi passing the civil service exam with the highest score.

Romi’s case has put Indonesia’s disability policy in the spotlight by revealing that regional administrators often still discriminate against disabled people, even though the 2016 Law on People with Disabilities has already outlawed the practice.

“We’ve looked into the case and agreed that doctor Romi should remain as a civil servant candidate,” Presidential Staff Office deputy Jaleswari Pramodhawardhani said in a press release on Monday.

Papua Unrest

National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian has ordered the deployment of 300 personnel of mobile brigade to Papua to maintain th security in Deiyai, Paniai, and Jayapura. The three regions have been gripped by protest rallies that turned into riots, following a racial incident in Surabaya involving Papuan students who were called “monkeys”. On August 29, the a protest in Jayapura turned violent caused damage to the Papua People’s Assembly building and several office spaces. A day before in Deiyai, two civilians and one Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel died during the riot. Anti racism protests have occurred on several university campuses. In Papua these demonstrations also include a demand for an independence referendum. The Indonesian government, as well as most foreign governments (including the US) consider Papua and West Papua to be integral to Indonesia since the 1962 NY agreement and 1969 Act of Free Choice.