Editorial (250)



The decision of the majority of the British people to get their country out of the European Union, the EU, entered a new phase. A problem arose when most British parliamentarians did not heed the call of British Prime Minister Theresa May to support her agreement with the European Community. In a vote late on Tuesday in London, the majority of the British Parliament rejected the proposed agreement made by the government with the European Union. The refusal was carried out not only by opposition MPs, but also by government parties. Earlier Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the rejection of the agreements she made with the European Community would disappoint the British people. One point of the agreement between the British government and the European Union is that Britain will pay a “divorce bill” to  the European Union around £27bn. In addition, the two parties agreed on the existence of a transition period that provides opportunities for both parties to avoid disruption to the business sector and trade. Indeed there will be no significant change with the agreement which scheduled to  start on  March 29, 2019 until December 31, 2020. Prime Minister Theresa May and her supporters are certainly thinking hard about the rejection by a majority of members of the British parliament. In addition to anticipating problems in the country, Theresa May also thought hard to convince the European Union of the implementation of the  agreement. It is possible that the British Prime Minister will approach and attempt to make some adjustments. This is still possible because the agreement between the British Government and the European Union is political in nature. Domestically,  criticism was raised over Brexit because members of Parliament considered Theresa May fail to fulfill hopes that Britain would regain full control of the bag of economic and trade policies held by the European Union. Another issue that is considered very crucial after Brexit is the regulation of borders in the Northern Ireland region. While it  was still  in the European Union, the border between the United Kingdom and northern Ireland is not physical. However, after exiting the European Union the border will become evident in the form of a control mechanism specifically to check the flow of goods. Prime Minister Theresa May must now make every effort to implement the results  of the referendum  two years ago. This is a test for her government because the impact of not agreeing to an agreement with the European Union is a threat of a vote of no confidence from Parliament.


On Wednesday, January the 9th 2019, the homes of Two Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Leaders, Agus Rahardjo and Laode M. Syarif were terrorized by bombs. A vynil pipe-like bomb was hung on the fence of Agus Rahardjo’s home which is located at Graha Indah, Jatiasih, Bekasi City. Meanwhile, two molotov bombs were thrown at the house of Deputy Chairman of KPK, Laode which is located in Kalibata, South Jakarta. After receiving the information striking the houses of the two Corruption Eradication Commission Leaders, President Joko Widodo immediately instructed Indonesian National Police Chief, Tito Karnavian to investigate the terror case. According to President Joko Widodo, the terror was clearly an intimidation for Law Enforcement Agencies, therefore the terror could not be tolerated. President Jokowi believes that the effort of eradicating corruption would not be impeded due to the terror attack. It was not the first time that members of KPK were threatened by terror. Previously, KPK’s investigator, Novel Baswedan was attacked by unknown men who threw acid on his face and the case still has not yet been solved. Recently, as many as 65 officers were appointed by Indonesian National Police Chief, Tito Karnavian to investigate the terror case of Novel Baswedan thoroughly. Based on the Letter of Appointment signed by Chief of the Indonesian National Police, Tito Karnavian on Tuesday, January the 8th 2019, the Join-Fact Finding Team (TGPF) consists of Policemen, KPK, and experts on the related fields. However, the effectivity of the team in resolving the terror case remains a question. Serious commitment from the authorized parties in solving crimes is required especially the ones which engage in corruption eradication, considering corruption is an extraordinary crime in Indonesia. We do hope the Indonesian Police and other law enforcement agencies will take intensive actions to solve the terror case so that KPK investigators can perform their duty in eradicating corruption effectively without any disturbances.



Earlier this week, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un paid a visit to Beijing, China. During the three-day stay, he met Chinese President, Xi Jin Ping. This is the second visit of North Korean leader to Beijing. Last year, ahead of Kim Jong-un's meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore, Kim Jong-un had also met President Xi Jin Ping.

From this second meeting, North Korea received support from China to continue negotiations with the United States. In addition to discussing the issue of negotiations, Kim Jong-un also invited President Xi Jin Ping to visit Pyongyang. President Xi Jin Ping agreed without mentioning when he will pay the visit. Kim had felt the need to go to Beijing because North Korea had made Beijing its partner.

Kim Jong-un had expressed his disappointment in his New Year's speech, because the nuclear negotiations seem to be slowing down, not as expected. Kim Jong-un even   threatens that his attitude will change if Washington does not alter the sanctions imposed on his country.

While South Korean President, Moon Jae-in who had acted as the mediator, at a press conference on Thursday (January 10, 2018), said that Kim Jong-un's second meeting with President Donald Trump will be held again. He emphasized that Seoul would cooperate with Washington on sanctions against Pyongyang.

President Trump and Kim's second meeting has been awaited by many parties. Now, it depends on the United States whether to let Kim Jong-un's patience run out and cause the North Korean nuclear program to be resumed or to respond to Kim Jong-un's invitation to immediately resolve this issue. The world is looking forward to the further development.



Every January 10, the world community, including Indonesia, commemorates ‘One-Million Tree Day. In Indonesia, the government, private sector and various organizations take part in commemorating this important day. On the day, a large number of trees are planted simultaneously.

The commemoration of the one-million tree day by planting trees is very important, considering the number of trees in the world including in Indonesia has decreased dramatically. Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya affirmed that based on the results of a survey in 2013, around 24.3 million hectares of forest and land in Indonesia were in critical condition. The condition of the critical forests is caused by many factors, such as forest fires, illegal logging, the paper industry, new land clearing and other factors.

The Indonesian government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has made various efforts to improve the condition of the forest. Take for examples, there are construction of multipurpose forests, urban forests, mangrove rehabilitation, and the implementation of the 25-tree-planting movement that was launched by President Joko Widodo on August 2, 2017, involving students,, scouts, personnel of Indonesian Armed Forces -TNI, National Police -Polri, and other mass organizations.

The tree planting from 2014 to 2016, according to Minister Siti Nurbaya, has been realized by reaching an area of 4.20 million hectares. Tree planting activities from 2014 to 2016 will address critical land reaching 24 million hectares.

The question is whether the planted trees live and grow until now (?)

President Joko Widodo at the commemoration of the Indonesian Tree Planting Day in Ponjong Sub-district, Gunungkidul, 9 December 2017 expressed his concern about tree planting activities in the commemoration of the one-million tree day as a ceremonial activity. His concern is very appropriate, because so far, many trees have been planted but there is no follow-up. The tree planting activities have spent a lot of budget, but the results are not worth the costs incurred.

Thus, the commemoration of the One-Million Tree Day this year is a momentum to raise awareness that the planting plant is not enough; there must be a follow-up by caring for the planted trees and ensuring that the tree can grow well.



The World Bank provided clarification about a report entitled ‘Infrastructure Sector Assessment Program (InfraSAP) which was recently quoted by several media. The report states that infrastructure in Indonesia is of low quality and not well planned. The World Bank report released in June 2018 also mentions that the administration of Joko Widodo and Yusuf Kalla relies on State-Owned Enterprises SOEs in building infrastructure. This was reflected in the government's decision to provide direct assignments of a number of projects to the SOEs.

The World Bank immediately issued clarification regarding the news. In its release, the World Bank confirmed that the report had not been officially published and was still in the finalization stage. However, the World Bank did not deny the news.

In a written statement on Monday (7/1), the World Bank reported that in compiling the report, the World Bank collaborated closely and discussed with relevant parties in the government, such as the Ministry of Finance, Bappenas, various Coordinating Ministries, Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) and the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

InfraSAP is a comprehensive analysis related to various obstacles, which can reduce funding for commercial and private infrastructure. This report is one of the possible policy reforms that can be considered and carried out by Indonesia in the short and medium term.

The World Bank has started preparing the report since mid-2017. This is in accordance with the invitation of the Indonesian government to cooperate in finding solutions in a bid to be able to attract more private and commercial funding for infrastructure investment.

Apart from the clarification of the World Bank regarding the report, the Indonesian government has responded positively. Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyan assessed the World Bank report as a positive input for the government. The same statement was expressed by Minister of National Development Planning (PPN / Head of Bappenas), Bambang Brodjonegoro who claimed to have communicated with the World Bank regarding the InfraSAP report.

Indeed, the World Bank has not officially issued the InfraSAP report. But there is nothing wrong for the government to prepare itself for some improvements in infrastructure development planning. Take for example; one of the SOEs that will work on an infrastructure project can cooperate with the regional companies in the location. Thus, the project can have a direct double effect on the area; the infrastructure is built and regional companies can develop.



General Elections have just been held in Bangladesh. The results are quite astounding. The Awami League party led by Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina won 98% of parliamentary seats. This achievement will make PM Sheikh Hasina take her position for the fourth time. But the opposition considers the ruling government has used all means to win the general elections. Even, some parties consider her government to be authoritarian.

The election this time was marked by the detention of a journalist from a local newspaper. This reporter revealed the potential for fraud after seeing one of the electoral districts having around 20 thousand votes. This was more than the List of Registered Voters in the region. Then, the police arrested the reporter on charges of violating the Digital Security Act. But, the law is considered controversial.

Indeed, under the current administration, Bangladesh's growth rate has been said to be good for the past four years. In 2014, the economic growth of the country with a population of 167 million reached 6.3 percent. In 2017, it increased to 7.4% mainly contributed by trade with the United States and the European Union. But domestic voices want a positive rate of economic growth accompanied by positive democracy. Now, that hope is not realized yet. Opposition accusations are that the government is blocking voters’ sympathy to the opposition, following the arrest of pro-opposition activists. The United States, which is the biggest investor in the country, is ambiguous. On one hand, it expressed concerns over violence and intimidation ahead of the election. On the other hand, the USA gave appreciation to voters in Bangladesh.

On January 10, the new government of Bangladesh will be sworn in to lead the country. Bangladesh needs to learn from other countries that encourage economic improvement without abandoning the fundamental principles of democracy. Some countries with Confucian culture prioritize economic improvement by neglecting democracy. We look forward to whether there have been changes in the development of democracy in Bangladesh by the newly-elected government.



The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has implemented a social forestry program by implementing affirmative policies, namely increasing a sense of justice for the community, including indigenous people. Through this policy, the realization of social forest permits is expected to be completed in five to eight years so that the proportion of people to forests can increase, even though the corporation still dominates. Social Forestry itself is a system of sustainable forest management carried out in state forest areas by local communities to improve welfare, maintain environmental balance and maintain socio-cultural dynamics.

The government for the 2015-2019 period has allocated 12.7 million hectares for Social Forestry, through village forest schemes, community forests, customary forests, community plantations and forestry partnerships. Social forestry programs are aimed to create harmony by improving people's welfare and forest conservation. Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar said that the social forestry will be a program that will continue and be increased in 2019. The program has been allocated around 13 million hectares.

After social forest reserves reach the target, the next step is to increase the issuance of social forest permits. Throughout 2018, the average provision of social forestry permits amounted to 105 thousand forestry permits per month. This number increased compared to the previous year as many as 44 thousand permits per month. This increase occurred in line with improvements in governance in the form of de-bureaucratization and deregulation carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

The process of distributing social forest permits is a significant challenge because it must involve many parties, both regional governments, activists and academics to continue to assist the community in understanding social forest business management. Mentoring is also needed so that plants in social forests can produce maximum economic and ecological values. Companion of the social forest program, Tosca Santoso affirmed that if this social forestry program is implemented correctly, it can improve the regional economy, open employment, prevent natural disasters and help control climate change.


2019 is a political year for the Indonesian nation, because on April 17, 2019, the Indonesian nation will carry out the General Election to elect the President and Vice President, members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) for the period 2019-2024. As we known, there are now 2 Candidates for President and Vice President in the Presidential Election, namely pair number 01, Joko Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin and pair number 02, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. This candidate pair is undergoing a campaign period that runs from September 23, 2018 to April 13, 2019. The most interesting thing from the campaign period for the election of the President and Vice President is the Debate of Presidential Candidates and Vice Presidents. There are 5 series of debates that will be held by the General Election Commission -KPU as the organizer of the General Elections in Indonesia, namely two presidential and vice presidential debates, two presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate. In addition, the KPU has also set themes, panelists and television media schedules which hold the first to fifth debates. The debate between presidential and vice presidential candidates is actually not new in Indonesia’s politics. In the 2014 election and the 2018 simultaneous regional elections, the KPU also held a debate on candidate pairs. From the debate, voters could get to know the candidate pairs of president and vice president and know the extent of their vision and mission if elected later. In contrast to the previous implementation, in the presidential and vice presidential debate this time, the two candidate pairs will first receive a list of questions that will be submitted by the panel a few days before the debating day. Both pairs of candidates can be better prepared to provide clear and substantive answers. It is hoped that this will make it easier for the public to make choices according to their aspirations. The debate is expected to take place naturally and healthily. So far, the presidential and vice presidential debate has often been carried out by the participants with a feeling of reluctance (Ewuh Pakewuh). Although this is closely related to Indonesian national culture, the essence of the debate itself sometimes becomes invisible.


Entering the New Year 2019, the United States federal government once again stopped the operation of some federal government agencies known as “shutdown”. In United States politics, a government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass, or the President refuses to sign, appropriations legislation funding federal government operations and agencies.This kind of problem had actually occurred in the first year of President Donald Trump's administration. The reason for the current shutdown is the negotiation issue over the 2019 Budget due to disputes between the Government and Congress. President Donald Trump and Congress on December 22, 2018 faced a deadlock in terms of budget approval to build the country's border wall with Mexico. Back in the beginning of 2018, part of the United States federal government agencies also experienced a weeklong shutdown. Unlike this year, the cause of the shutdown was the failure to reach an agreement on the immigration policy of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the deportation of people who were part of the program. Although not exactly the same, the main cause of both shutdowns was the problem of migration and immigration.This year, the difference in view between the government and Congress is the demand of President Donald Trump for Congress to approve a budget of 5 billion dollars to build a border wall with Mexico. Though towards the close of the year Donald Trump declared canceling his demands, the deadlock still happened. The congressional element questioned the budget proposal because while campaigning Donald Trump had stated that the financing of the construction of the barrier wall would be funded by Mexico. It became a problem when Trump would eventually finance the construction of the border wall by using tax payers’ fund.The case of a shutdown at the beginning of the year did not only occur in the era of Donald Trump. It had already occurred during the previous administrations.For other countries, the shutdown of a number of United States federal government agencies has no significant impact. One possibility is only the delay in US assistance to certain countries whose commitments were made early in the year, and could be constrained due to the non-operation of the institutions that deal with it. In addition, domestic problems that have caused a shutdown, may only provide an overview of the turmoil of US domestic politics which has an impact on budget approval.


Trump's Visit to Iraq

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Almost no one knows that  US President Donald Trump visited an air base in  west of Baghdad, Iraq for about 3 hours on Wednesday (December 26, 2018). This visit was made  to meet US soldiers who were on duty in Iraq. His arrival was kept secret even though there was notice to the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office just hours before the plane landed. Evidence that the landing was in secrecy can be seen from   the presidential aircraft lights, Air Force One,which  was turned off and the window cover was lowered.

Donald Trump, despite coming to Iraq, did not meet up with the Iraqi leader. Talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi were only carried out by phone. Both of them did not meet face to face because there was a matter of meeting arrangements. However, the Iraqi Prime  Minister Office said the President of the United States was invited  to Baghdad. The group in the Iraqi Parliament condemned Trump's arrival. Both the Islah group and its rival Bina consider Trump's visit a violation of sovereignty.

In front of the US  soldiers, Donald Trump conveyed the plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq. Trump doesn't want to delay anymore and states the US has been fighting for a long time for other countries. The US also does not want to play the role of world police. Yet, the statement was not in line with what was conveyed by White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said there had been no plans to withdraw US forces in Iraq.

Trump continues the tradition of US President visiting  troops in the conflict zone. But his mission is to withdraw US forces who have retained their position in Iraq by order of former  President Obama. In some policies, Trump seemed to deliberately cut some of the things Obama had done.

The question is, whether  Trump is serious about withdrawing US troops from Iraq. If that happens and the ISIS forces are not in Iraq anymore, the country can begin to build its ruins from the war. Hopefully a peaceful Iraq in the coming year can be realized soon. 

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