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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.

16 April 2021

Politics: President Joko Widodo will alter two relatively minor aspects of the cabinet, subsuming the Research Ministry under the Education Ministry and altering the nomenclature of the investment portfolio.  But imminent changes have prompted diverse speculation about a wider reshuffle – although there has been no reliable confirmation of such a plan.  Meanwhile, the posturing of insiders provides a hint that tensions may be high within Widodo’s inner circle (Page 2).  Several National Awakening Party (PKB) figures have called for an extraordinary congress to replace Muhaimin Iskandar as party chair, perhaps with Yenny Wahid, daughter of PKB founder President Abdurrahman Wahid.  But whether sufficient support exists among regional chapters is far from clear (p. 5).  People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo formed a gun club.  His ostensible aim is to boost compliance with rules on permits (p. 5). 

Health: Case detections stopped declining and began edging up slightly week‑on‑week, by four percent, while testing positivity climbed three percentage points to 12 percent.  With increased mobility around Idul Fitri looming ahead, and just three percent of the nationwide target fully vaccinated, conditions seem ripe for another wave (p. 6).  The chief health safety regulator, Penny Lukito of the Food and Drug Agency (BPOM), withheld permission for a Phase II trial of an unconventional vaccine from the US, dubbed Vaksin Nusantara (VakNus), citing serious illnesses caused in Phase I, along with data inconsistencies and dubious clinical practices.  Nonetheless, its promoter – sacked Health Minister Terawan Putranto – is forging ahead, using the Army Hospital that he headed in 2019.  A host of generals, party leaders and parliamentarians earnestly back him, while no officials are supporting Lukito.  The politicized undermining of BPOM can only harm Indonesia’s overall vaccination drive (p. 8).

Justice: The controversial Jhonlin Resources Group twice moved documents just prior to visits from investigators of a tax bribery case – prompting suspicions of leaks within the Anti‑Corruption Commission (KPK) (p. 10).  The police chief unveiled an app for public reporting of police malfeasance (p. 11). 

Policy News: The president decreed a task force to pursue debts still owed from the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI) of 1997‑98 (p. 12).  Another decree acceler­ates the long‑awaited use of an integrated national map for boosting investment (p. 13).

Disasters: Cyclone Seroja’s death toll has reached 181, with 47 still missing (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.
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