JAKARTA, Indonesia – President Joko Widodo’s maritime vision as presented at the 9th East Asia Summit and plans to increase vehicle taxes in Jakarta lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Jokowi presents maritime doctrine to the world
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s laid out his vision of Indonesia being a maritime axis on the global stage on Thursday, November 13. In a brief speech at the 9th East Asia Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Jokowi outlined the 5 pillars of his doctrine: rebuilding the Indonesian maritime culture, maintaining and managing marine resources with a focus on fisheries development, prioritzing the development of maritime infrastructure and connectivity, maritime diplomacy and eliminating the sources of conflict at sea, and developing its maritime defense force. “As a maritime country, Indonesia must assert itself as the Global Maritime Axis, as a force between the two oceans: the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean,” he said. Myanmar was the second leg of Jokowi’s first international trip, and he heads to Brisbane on Friday, November 14, for the G20 Summit.
2. Jakarta wants higher vehicle ownership taxes
In another move to boost tax revenues – and perhaps help ease the capital’s legendary traffic congestion – Jakarta plans to increase the progressive tax for private vehicle ownership. The regulation is currently being reviewed by the relevant government ministries, but the head of Jakarta’s Tax Service Department says they hope to apply the increase “in December or January 2015 at the latest”, according to Tempo.co. The proposal is to increase the tax rate from 1.5% to 2% of the vehicle’s listed price for the first car, from 2% to 4% for the second, from 2.5% to 6% for the third, and from 4% to 10% for the fourth or more.
3. Declining global oil prices likely to delay subsidized fuel price hike
The looming subsidized fuel price hike will likely not happen within the month, as oil prices continue to decline. Crude fell below $80 a barrel for the first time in 4 years on further signs of a slowdown in China’s economy, Reuters reported on Thursday. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Wednesday these developments would delay the fuel price hike, but that the increase was still inevitable. On Thursday, the Democratic Party also officially rejected any plans to hike prices within the month. “The time is not right as the price of oil is decreasing,” Democrat lawmaker Khatibul Umam Wiranu said, according to Kompas.com. The decision was apparently made after a meeting led by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Cikeas on Thursday.
4. MUI supports government plan to leave religion column on IDs blank
The highly debated move to allow Indonesians to leave the religion column on their identity cards blank has received support from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s highest Islamic authority. Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Saifuddin has insisted that the religion column needed to be maintained on the ID cards, but said people were free to leave it blank to accommodate those whose beliefs were not among the 6 religions officially recognized by the government. “The most important thing is that they register their names on the database of demographic administration,” he said on Thursday, as quoted by The Jakarta Post. But he discouraged the government from officially recognizing any new religions, according to Detik.com.
5. Path to set up shop in Jakarta
Given its popularity in social-media-mad Indonesia, it comes as no surprise that social networking app Path has announced plans to establish a branch office in Jakarta in early 2015. Path product manager Shehab Hamad said on Thursday having an office in Jakarta can improve the company’s operational activities in Southeast Asia, Tempo.co reported. As of February 2014, the San Francisco-based company had more than 4 million users in Indonesia. Twitter in August also announced plans to open an office in Jakarta to tap the growing economy. – Rappler.com
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