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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.

20 October 2017


Politics: Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan began his term inauspiciously by railing against the exploitation of pribumi – i.e., non‑ethnic‑Chinese.  He brusquely dismissed criticism and claimed he was merely recounting colonial history – but this excuse is hollow.  There are police charges against him, subjecting him to standards comparable to those used against his election opponent, Basuki Purnama (‘Ahok’).  At a time when the province he governs clearly needs healing, Baswedan consciously aggravated its wounds.  This bodes ill for confidence in an economically vital province (Page 2).  Of 27 parties seeking eligibility for the 2019 election, 14 (including the 10 in parliament) passed an initial administrative verification phase.  Of these, only the Solidarity Party (PSI) favors reform.  The process has disqualified two overtly sectarian parties: the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and Idaman (p. 3).  The president appears undecided about the police chief’s plan for a new unit that supposedly intends to combat corruption (p. 5).  Golkar’s putative nominee for West Java governor accused an unnamed party crony of extorting him (p. 5).

Policy News: Business associations are again calling attention to the crucial issue of labor severance payout rates – a topic last debated during the first Yudhoyono administra­tion.  But a Labor Ministry official insists that no change is under consideration (p. 7).

International: A belated but constructive declassification process provides added detail about how the US government was enthusiastically supportive of Soeharto’s anti‑Communist pogrom in 1965‑66.  Renewed international scrutiny will elevate pressure on the Widodo administration to examine the period forthrightly.  Last month’s anti‑Communist riot, which injured five, showed how injustices can recur (p. 7).

Appointments: After 18 months of delays, the administration sacked the entirety of the Batam Business Agency (BP Batam), which ran the island’s ostensible ‘Free Trade Zone’.  The successor of the notorious Batam Authority, BP Batam was equally ineffective in bringing investment into the island neighboring Singapore.  For the new head, Lukita Tuwo (secretary to the coordinating economics minister), prospects remain daunting, as institutional dysfunctions and municipal patronage practices persist (p. 15).

Economics: Growth in domestic cement sales is accelerating gradually, indicating progress on infrastructure (p. 16).

Jakarta: Construction of the Kuningan‑Mampang Underpass – a debilitating bottleneck in the business district – faces delay due to a lack of supporting measures by three state utility firms (p. 17).


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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