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JAKARTA, Indonesia – What the Democratic Party’s support for direct local elections means and a new controversy over a reduced time limit to finishing college degrees lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Can the Democrats save Indonesian voting rights?
The ruling Democratic Party, which makes up the largest faction in the current legislature, has confirmed its stance in support of maintaining direct local elections. Party secretary general Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro Yudhoyono, the president’s son, said the party “should be in line with the thinking of the people, including the aspiration of regional leaders, who do not want the political rights of the citizens of Indonesia to be removed”. If lawmakers all vote along party lines, this means the controversial Regional Elections Bill – which seeks to have regional executive leaders be chosen by local legislatures (DPRD) instead of directly elected by the people – would be rejected if it goes to a plenary vote. Read the full story on Rappler.
2. Not ready to work yet? Students protest limit on finishing degree
Indonesians apparently want to be able to stay in college longer, if they choose to do so. Student organizations on Wednesday protested a new Education Ministry regulation that limits to 5 years the study period for a degree, down from 7 before, Liputan6.com reports. Students from some of the country’s top universities, University of Indonesia and University of Gadjah Mada, criticized the regulation as an effort to silence critical and creative youth. Read more at Tribunnews.com.
3. Radical group threatens to shut down LGBT seminar
Muhammad Fuad, leader of the Ka’abah Defender Movement, reportedly said he was worried academic freedom had been hijacked by groups who wanted to inject the society with discourses on LGBT issues.
A radical Islamic group has threatened to forcibly close down a seminar on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues being organized by Sanata Dharma University’s School of Psychology in Yogyakarta if it proceeds, the Jakarta Post reported. Muhammad Fuad, leader of the Ka’abah Defender Movement, one of the elements grouped under the Islamic Society Forum (FUI), said they have requested the seminar be cancelled. “If not, we will cancel it by force.” The university rector said the university would reconsider and cancel the seminar if it turned out that the seminar’s theme would hurt the feelings of some groups in town.
4. ‘Act of Killing’ director wins MacArthur ‘genius grant’
Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of the acclaimed Indonesian genocide documentary “The Act of Killing” and its follow-up “The Look of Silence“, has been named a member of the 2014 class of MacArthur Fellows. He joins five other arts figures in receiving the honor, which is commonly known as a “genius grant” and comes with a prize of $625,000. The MacArthur prize is considered among the most prestigious grants in the United States. Read the full story from the LA Times.
5. Agnez Mo, Noah nominated for MTV Europe Music Awards 2014
After a week of voting, two of Indonesia’s top artists – Agnez Mo and band Noah – have officially been nominated for Best Southeast Asia Act in the MTV Europe Music Awards 2014, which will be held on November 9. They are up against top artists from the rest of the region – Sarah Geronimo from the Philippines, Yuna from Malaysia, Ho Hgoc Ha from Vietnam, Stefanie Sun from Singapore, and Slot Machine from Thailand. – Rappler.com