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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.

27 November 2020


Politics: Rizieq Shihab failed to stage large rallies of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) followers in provincial capitals – significant counter‑demonstrations occurred in some instances – and on 25 November he entered hospital in Bogor with a malady described by aides as “not Covid”.  Jakarta’s regional military commander won praise for assigning soldiers to remove more than 900 banners and billboards featuring Shihab in the city.  The visceral move to thwart FPI propaganda sets an important tone – it shows that Shihab no longer commands the same awe‑inspiring impunity that he enjoyed in the past (Page 2). 

Justice: The arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) of Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo ousts one of the cabinet’s poorest performers, while creating a chance to restore sound governance in a sector with economic and ecological importance.  The case deflates the credibility of Edhy’s Gerindra Party chair, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who railed against corruption as a presidential candidate.  It also strains his relations with the president (who wields clout over the KPK) and threatens to cast Gerindra back into opposition (p. 4).  

Policy News: The 2021 Legislative Program (Prolegnas) features 36 bills, but parliament typically passes only a handful each year (p. 9).   

The government disclosed details of an Omnibus Bill on the Financial Sector Reform.  It would revise 13 laws to strengthen government control over banking‑system interventions, mainly through an enhanced Savings Guarantee Agency (LPS).  It would expand the remit of the Financial Services Authority (OJK) to cover certain conglomerates.  It would compel Bank Indonesia (BI) to pay heed to government advice, but there are no indications of other incursions on central bank independence (p. 11).

Two bills from Islamic parties – on Alcohol Prohibition and Family Resilience – again appear on parliament’s, but their prospects for passage are remote (p. 12).

Health: Testing levels remained flat and the positivity rate climbed slightly to 13 percent, while active cases grew nationally (but not in Jakarta).  The president curtailed the year‑end holiday to help curb infection.  Officials attribute low testing to reluctance among close contacts to give samples, lest they must quarantine and lose daily income (p. 13).  The Covid‑19 Recovery Team chair pledged that vaccination will be a free choice (p. 14). 

Economics: Tax revenues have fallen 18 percent and collections through October are 69 percent of the 2020 target (p. 15).


EXTRA: Latest Podcast episode of On the Level with Jeff Hutton

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.