JAKARTA, Indonesia – A new ban on smoking in public vehicles and the screening of the controversial film The Look of Silence to mark Human Rights Day lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Transport minister bans smoking in public vehicles
In the country where one of every three people are smokers, the transportation minister has issued a decree that would likely prove challenging to implement: a ban on smoking in public transport. 'No Smoking' stickers should also be placed on all modes of transport – buses, trains, ships, planes. A bylaw in Jakarta already bans the same, but drivers, especially of public buses, are still frequently seen with a lighted cigarette in hand while on the road. But Transport Ministry spokesperson JA Barata said sanctions would be imposed on those who violate the rule, which was issued in accordance with the country's Health Law.
2. Malang screenings of ‘The Look of Silence’ disrupted, canceled
Students gathered to watch the scheduled screening of Joshua Oppenheimer’s Senyap (The Look of Silence) at Warung Kelir in Malang on Wednesday, December 10 – one of 7 in the city and almost 500 across the country to mark Human Rights Day – were surprised when a group of men wearing Pemuda Pancasila (Indonesian paramilitary organization) uniforms arrived and demanded it be stopped. In the video above, posted by YouTube user Sasa Diana, the man in the white headscarf is heard saying, “Do you have a permit?” He looks for the organizers and asks the screening to be stopped. "My family was a victim of the communists. My father was jailed by the communists because he preached Islam to the people.” Tempo.co reported that the screening proceeded later on with military supervision.
It was a different story, however, at the University of Brawijaya, which prohibited the screening of the award-winning film on Indonesia's 1965-66 anti-communist massacre. “We already had a permit from the campus, then suddenly (on Wednesday morning) the campus said they were banning the screening,” Andri Juni, one of the coordinators, said. He said the day before, soldiers visited the organizing committee and asked them to cancel the screening.
Lt. Col. Gunawan Wijaya, who heads the military district command in the region, reportedly said the film could cause friction between groups and they would monitor its screening to maintain peace. But screenings of the controversial film in the rest of the country appeared to have proceeded without incident, which activists hail as significant progress.
3. Jokowi courts investors in South Korea
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo met with business leaders in Busan, South Korea, on Wednesday, as part of a three-day working visit that includes attending a summit on the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-South Korean relations and several bilateral meetings. But Jokowi reminded investors the government would be the one to determine locations of investment projects. "This is to ensure that projects are distributed fairly among regions and are not centered in Java," he stated after meeting with a number of South Korean business leaders, according to state news agency Antara. Among those in the meeting were heads of South Korea's leading companies such as Posco, Lotte, and Daewoo.
4. Independent probe demanded as police, military deny involvement in Paniai shooting
While police continue to hunt down suspects in the recent taxi robbery incidents in Jakarta, they're warning commuters to be extra careful when hailing cabs in these 5 areas at night: Kebayoran Lama, Kebayoran Baru, SCBD, Kuningan and Senopati. Police have so far arrested 3 men – including one who claims to be a driver for the Blue Bird Group, Indonesia's largest and most reputable taxi company – with one more still at large. Two women fell victim to their modus operandi: they get on a white taxi that looks like an Express cab, then one of the robbers hiding in the trunk enters through the backseat to rob them. – Rappler.com