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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.
Politics: Former President Yudhoyono publicly provided his successor with suggestions for managing current economic conditions. Yudhoyono’s list lacks new ideas or support for contentious reforms, but it should at least help raise awareness about the need for urgency (Page 2). The Home Affairs Ministry issued restrictions on foreign journalists, but President Joko Widodo reacted promptly to complaints and rescinded the rule (p. 2). The president has yet to name a new chief of staff to replace Luhut Panjaitan (the new coordinating security minister), but Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung is a possibility (p. 4). The coordinating human development minister, Puan Maharani, suffered criticism for a botched website project (p. 5). There are differing accounts about whether the scope of the coordinating maritime post, held by Rizal Ramli, will expand (p. 5).
Justice: The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of five cleaning staff on child sex abuse charges, despite extremely weak evidence. The verdict, which came forth in late July but became public late last week, revives concerns about how justices will handle an imminent appeal in the case involving the released Jis educators Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong (p. 6). Judges issued a 10 year sentence for a prominent Partai Demokrat figure, Sutan Bhatoegana, for taking funds in 2013 from Energy Ministry officials (p. 8).
Policy News: An economic policy package will come forth soon, according to the new coordinating economics minister, Darmin Nasution. Although details are lacking, officials indicated that it may focus on deregulation measures to foster growth. However, risks inevitably exist that the package may disappoint, by tweaking details rather than tackling problems (p. 8). The president instructed law enforcement officials to apply a more lenient interpretation of the 1999 Corrupt Crimes Law, in order to reassure officials and encourage them to implement spending projects. But cabinet members issued equivocal messages and the effort is unlikely to correct under spending (p. 10). Deliberations have resumed on a Banking Bill, which may aim to restrict the operations of foreign owned banks (p. 11).
Infrastructure: A decision is due soon on whether, and how, to proceed with a high speed rail project linking East Jakarta with Bandung, West Java (p. 11).
Economics: Amid continued rupiah depreciation and under spending, the central bank governor reduced projections (p. 12).
Appointments: The president provided parliament with nominees for ambassadorial postings, including one for the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Rizal Sukma (p. 14).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.