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Reformasi: The Struggle for Power in Post-Soeharto Indonesia is a non-fiction narrative that charts the course of Indonesian politics between 1996 and 2001.

12 October 2018

Politics: The government announced a seven-percent hike for regular petrol (‘Premium’) – but within an hour cancelled the move, ostensibly at the behest of State Minister for State Enterprises Rini Soemarno.  A miscommunication between the president and energy minister may have been to blame.  Fuel price hikes are highly unpopular, but President Joko Widodo has a gaping lead over Prabowo Subianto and the exchange rate has slumped to Rp15,200/USD; a price hike is economically imperative and politically feasible, especially if it takes place as far ahead of elections as possible (Page 2).  A consortium of major media organizations in ‘IndonesiaLeaks’ conveyed details of alleged misdeeds by police.  The Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) is examining the matter but its chair is downplaying prospects for a case (p. 4).  Golkar’s interminable internal squabbles are posing distractions for the campaign team of President Joko Widodo, which is striving to keep Golkar Advisory Board Chair Aburizal Bakrie from defecting to Gerindra Chair Prabowo Subianto.  This marks yet another case of Widodo’s aides attending to elites, rather than reaching out to actual voters.  The efforts failed to elicit a clear pledge of support from Bakrie (p. 6).  Prabowo pledged to ‘Make Indonesia Great Again’ (p. 7).

Disasters: Press reports suggest that the effects of liquefaction – or ‘land tsunami’ – on three communities around Palu may have caused 12,000‑15,000 deaths.  The government has been slow to ascertain the scope of the losses (p. 7).

Surveys: Positive perceptions of national politics are near a post‑Soeharto high, according to new data from Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC).  The poll from early September also shows Widodo’s lead stable and intact, corroborating other contemporaneous surveys (p. 8).

Justice: Superficially, a new statute authorizing cash rewards for corruption informants bodes well for investigations.  In fact, it does little to address legal‑system deficiencies (p. 10).  A broad investigation is targeting East Java’s Malang District government (p. 10).

Jakarta: Governor Anies Baswedan changed the name of the plan to integrate public‑transportation tickets from ‘OK‑OTrip’ to ‘Jak Lingko’, but the plan itself remains unchanged.  Baswedan may want to distance himself from the ill‑starred program of Sandiaga Uno (p. 11).


Reformasi Weekly Review provides timely, relevant and independent analysis on Indonesian political and policy news. Delivered electronically every Friday, Reformasi Weekly is written by Kevin O’Rourke, author of the book Reformasi. For subscription information please contact. Reformasi Weekly is a product of PT Reformasi Info Sastra.
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