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REFORMASI WEEKLY REVIEW
SUMMARY OVERVIEW
8 June 2018

Politics: The president’s new communications aide, Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, used his first week on the job to brawl verbally with Amien Rais, advisor to the sectarian group ‘212 Alumni’.  By employing Ngabalin, an eccentric proselytizer, President Joko Widodo may be attempting to divide the ranks of Islamists.  But these groups only occupy the fringe of politics and could go ignored.  Instead, Ngabalin’s ostentatious sparring with Rais inadvertently helps the latter win media attention (Page 2).  Rather than backing the Anti‑Corruption Commission (KPK) and the General Election Commission (KPU), Widodo equivocated about barring corruption convicts from legislative elections.  Gerindra opposes the ban – squandering a prime opportunity to differentiate itself (p. 5).  The parliamentarian Aryo Djojohadikusumo appeared in an unseemly video; by association, this creates awkward publicity for his party, Gerindra, and his uncle, Party Chair Prabowo Subianto.  Gerindra’s risible efforts to absolve Djojohadikusumo only make matters worse (p. 4).

Justice: Thwarted last month by a Bali District Court ruling, police are now working through the Law Ministry to seize the Malaysian super‑yacht Equanimity, which the US FBI wants in relation to a probe of the 1MDB sovereign‑wealth fund scandal (p. 5).

Regional Elections: A poll in South Sulawesi’s gubernatorial race depicts the accomplished Bantaeng District chief, Nurdin Abdullah, leading two formidable insiders, Golkar’s Nurdin Halid and the outgoing incumbent’s brother, Ichsan Limpo (p. 6).   A Kompas poll shows a tight race in East Java (p. 6).

Policy News: Parliament passed a revised Counter‑Terrorism Law that marginally expands the powers of authorities, but uses a more restrictive definition of terrorism (p. 7).

Economics: S&P maintained Indonesia’s investment‑grade rating (p. 8).  Bank Indonesia’s second hike in two weeks is a welcome signal that the new governor is vigilant about currency stability, and indeed the rupiah has strengthened steadily since BI initially signaled its move late last week.  The hikes will impact growth, but perhaps only marginally: chief drivers of GDP are state‑directed stimulus and, especially, consumption by under‑leveraged households that are quite rate‑insensitive.  To be sure, pro‑investment reforms would assuage market actors, but Widodo is ill‑equipped for this at present (p. 9).

 

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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