The wRap Indonesia: Oct. 30, 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia - The political infighting and leadership drama at the House of Representatives and the World Bank's latest scorecard for doing business in Southeast Asia's largest economy lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Coalition fighting in the legislature reaches boiling point
The leadership drama in the House of Representatives (DPR) reached a boiling point on Wednesday, October 29. The majority opposition – the Red and White Coalition allied with former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto – already controls the House leadership and on Wednesday installed its members as leaders of all 11 legislative commissions. In protest, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's minority coalition – the Great Indonesia Coalition (KIH) – boycotted the meetings to appoint the commission leaders, announced the formation of a minority leadership structure and asked Jokowi to issue a special regulation that would legalize it, and said they would file a motion of no confidence against the existing House leaders. Read the stories on the Jakarta Globe and Tempo.co.
2. Doing business in Indonesia improves slightly, but still difficult – report
Setting up business in Indonesia appears to have improved slightly over the past year, as it climbed 3 spots to 114th place in the World Bank’s latest “Doing Business” report. Still, the report said it would take 52.5 days to open a business in Indonesia – longer than the 34 days needed in the Philippines and a far cry from the 2.5 days in Singapore. But getting an electricity connection would take far longer – 94 days in Indonesia as opposed to 42 days in the Philippines and 31 days in Singapore. But this is apparently already an improvement, as the report cited efforts to make getting electricity easier as one of the reforms Indonesia implemented over the past year. Read the report on Indonesia here.
3. Local officials struggle to keep up with Jokowi on visit to Sinabung refugees
Jokowi’s first official out-of-town trip as president appears to have made headlines for unusual reasons. On Wednesday morning, ahead of his arrival at Karo district in North Sumatra to visit refugees from ongoing eruption of Mount Sinabung, locals noted the differences between the incumbent and former president: traffic was normal and there were none of the extra security forces they’ve come to expect from a presidential visit. When he finally arrived, Jokowi was again greeted like a celebrity – thousands of students lined the streets, with a man even climbing a tree to get a glimpse of his new president. Local officials, though, had trouble keeping up with Jokowi, who didn’t follow the official itinerary. For instance, local officials gathered in the office of the Karo district head to greet him, but Jokowi went instead to a building housing refugees. But the visit resulted in Jokowi issuing urgent instructions to expedite and improve relocation sites for those affected.
4. Will fuel prices be raised or not? New minister hints at an answer soon
Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil says "there will be an announcement from the government (related to the fuel price-hike plan) in the not-too-distant future", the Jakarta Post reported on Wednesday. The new minister said the government was “fully aware” of the uncertainty caused by on-again, off-again debates on the plan to hike fuel prices. It seems the government will have to address the issue soon, as the remaining subsidized fuel quota for this year is less than 8 million kiloliters, from the 46 million kiloliter set in the 2014 revised state budget, the Jakarta Globe reported.
5. Popular comedian busted for drug use, drinks cleaning fluid
Popular comedian Kabul Basuki, better known by his stage name Tessy, is in a police hospital after attempting to drink floor cleaning fluid following a drug bust, local media reported on Wednesday. The arrest happened on Thursday, October 23, at the comedian’s house in East Jakarta, where he was found using methamphetamine with two friends. Police confiscated from them 1.6 grams of meth and other drug paraphernalia. But when they were taken to the narcotics office in East Jakarta, Tessy asked to use the bathroom, where police officers later found him vomiting after drinking the cleaning fluid, according to Detik.com. – Rappler.com