Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bieber, BlackBerry Improve RI-Canada Ties

Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia Mackenzie Clugston acknowledged being satisfied to see the bettering trade and economic relations between his countries and Indonesia. He reckoned that the enhanced bilateral ties were due to two factors, BlackBerry and Justin Bieber.

"Indonesia is our biggest trading partner in Southeast Asia, and two-way trade and investment continue to expand. Canada continues to supply two items of utmost importance to Indonesians’ daily lives – wheat for noodles and Blackberries," said Clugston, referring to Canadian smartphone product which is popular among Indonesia’s cellphone users.

Clugston made the statement on the occasion of commemorating 144th Canada Day on July 1, 2011. The celebration took place in a hotel in Jakarta, Thursday evening.

Clugston said that those two products contributed to the increasing Indonesia-Canada trade relation. “The trade volume of the two countries up to now is more or less US$2.2 billion. Indonesia gained surplus, Canada gained revenues of about US$1 billion while Indonesia US$1.2 billion,” said Clugston answering VIVAnews' question.

The ambassador that has been posted in Jakarta for more than two years also said that some Canadian companies--industrial, financial and service—have already steady business in Indonesia. “Indonesia represents a growing market for Canada’s goods, service and investment. A lot of our companies have come to Indonesia and employed tens of thousands of Indonesians,” said Clugston.

The two countries also nourish partnership in other sectors, including anti-terrorism, state administration, human rights, pluralism and poverty reduction. "New projects in the past year are focussing on areas such as helping Indonesians in Sulawesi restore mangroves and improve the livelihoods of farmers," said Clugston.

He also reminded that the bilateral ties were recently enhanced through the visit of two Canadian high-rank officials to Indonesia. They are Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. Along with Indonesian officials, they talked about enhancing the bilateral ties in financial service and agricultural industry.

Yet, there was another visit of a person who is more charming. "And who can forget Justin Bieber? We expect many more in the coming months," said Clugston, referring to the teenage star who held a concert in Sentul recently.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Indonesias' Exports Exceed Set Target

The National Bureau of Statistics (BPS) said Indonesia’s exports in December 2011 fell due to the global economic crisis. However, Indonesia was recorded to have export value of US$203.62 billion in 2011, or exceeded government’s goal of US$200 billion. 

According to Acting Head of BPS, Suryamin, the 2011 export had increased 29.05 percent on a year on year basis compared to 2010. However, when compared to November 2011, the December 2011 export was 0.22 percent lower. 

This occurred as the non-oil export demand dropped by 0.85 percent,” said Suryamin in a press conference in his office in Jakarta, Wed, Feb 1st. 

Based on BPS data, the non-oil export in December 2011 fell by 0.85 percent compared to November which had reached US$13.60 billion. The decline in exports was recorded in animal fats and oils worth US$489.9 million, whereas an increase was shown in metal ores, crusts and ash worth US$136.3 million. 

On the import side, BPS reported, along December 2011, there was an increase of import by 6.14 percent at US$ 16.34 billion compared to November. The import value of all categories in 2011 was higher than the previous year’s import value. 

Imports of consumer goods went up by 34.01 percent, raw material by 32.49 percent, and capital goods by 22.85 percent. 

With this achievement, he added, the trade balance in December 2011 experienced a rise of US$ 858.5 million, given the export of US$ 17.19 billion and import value of US$ 16.33 billion.  “Cumulatively, the trade balance from January to December 2011 gained US$26.32 billion worth of surplus,” he said.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Military Personnel in E Java Need Homes

The well-being of the Indonesian Military personnel living serving in East Java is seen by many as not proper. Half of around 29,000 military personnel from military area command Kodam V Brawijaya are still residing in homes belonging to the state, which are less in quantity.

Kodam V Jaya Commander Major General Suwarno said around 14,500 personnel have dwelt the homes, but many others have to live in rental homes.

"We have around 29,000 personnel. However, the state only provides only half of the said number," he said.

The army general conceded that as of 2000, the government has improved the well-being of the Indonesian Military personnel by rising the military budget. However, as time went by, he valued that the wages of the military personnel are second-rate.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Indonesia to Upgade 24 F-16 Jet Fighters

The House of Representatives Commission I gave the nod to US offer of 24 F-16 jet fighters that have been provided in the form of so-called "grants".

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro also met with his U.S. counterpart, Leon Panetta, in Nusa Dua, Bali, October 23, 2011. According to RI Defense Ministry’s official statement, Thursday, in the meeting Purnomo said he hoped for Panetta’s support to realize the grant of F-16 with an upgrade equivalent to Block 52. The House approved this grant under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) payment scheme.

The Indonesian government, in particular the Air Force, still needs additional primary defense equipment.

This very much affects the professionalism level of the combat pilots as well as the flight safety level,” said Purnomo. However, TNI Air Force’s wish to increase the primary defense equipment adequately is hampered by the state’s financial capacity, bearing in mind the new primary defense equipment is expensive.

In the future the F-16 fighter aircrafts will be upgraded from Block 25 to equivalently Block 52. The aircrafts will also be equipped with aerial combat (dog fight) weaponry for short and long distances as well as air-to-land weaponry.

Purnomo also conveyed his highest appreciation for U.S.’ support to Indonesia in modernizing TNI’s primary defense equipment. For the time being, the modernization is necessary for TNI.

Since the reform era in 1998, the Indonesian government has been putting emphasis on TNI reform, covering depolitisation and removal of TNI from business affairs,” said Purnomo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jakarta Calls Off Levy of Warteg Tax

The Jakarta administration finally called off the plan to impose a 10 percent tax over all small eateries known locally as warteg. Food business which earns less than Rp 200 million per year shall not be levied taxes.  

Small eateries, whose profit is worth less than Rp200 million per year, or Rp16.6 million per month or Rp 550 thousand per day, are not included as restaurant tax object. 

Head of Jakarta Tax Agency, Iwan Setiawandi, stated that Regional Regulation No.11/2011 does not specify about warteg tax, but only regulates 10 percent of tax of the restaurant's income. 

The types of restaurants mentioned in this regulation are: restaurants, cafeterias, canteens, stalls, bars and the likes thereof, including food services and caterings. 

This regulation is also valid in all regencies or municipals in Indonesia according to the Law No.28/2009 on Local Tax and Retribution,” said Iwan in Jakarta, today, Feb 2. 

He said the minimum tax rate is based on the discussion between the Provincial Legislation (Balegda) of DPRD DKI and the coordination meeting of Commission C of DPRD DKI as well as the executives and Warteg Association (Kowarteg) in 2011. 

Since December 29, 2011, the Local Regulation on Restaurant Tax has been legalized and was valid starting from January 2012.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Safee Signs With Pelita, but Maybe It’s Not So Risky

Malaysian striker Safee Sali extended his contract with West Java club Pelita Jaya on Wednesday, jeopardizing his chance to play for his national team.

Pelita Jaya plays in the breakaway Indonesian Super League, whose players have been barred by world football’s governing body from national duty.

Safee, who is Pelita Jaya’s captain, signed a two-year extension with the team for 2 million Malaysian ringgit ($658,000). He’ll earn $30,000 a month, not including match bonuses, and will receive free housing, a car with a personal driver and return air tickets to Kuala Lumpur.

The deal, according to the Web site of the New Straits Times, a Malaysian newspaper, makes Safee Malaysia’s first millionaire footballer.

I’m happy to stay at Pelita Jaya, especially since the new coach [Rahmad Darmawan] joined the club. I want to learn from him,” the 28-year-old striker told reporters. “My football has improved so much since I moved to Indonesia last February.

It was a risky decision for Safee, given that Pelita Jaya plays in the ISL. In December, FIFA, world football’s governing body, ruled that players in the breakaway league could not play for their national teams.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had asked Safee to leave Pelita Jaya so he would still be available for national duty. In 63 games with Malaysia, Safee has scored 38 goals.

It had been rumored that Safee was going to sign with Harimau Muda, a Malaysian team that plays in Singapore’s domestic league, when his contract expired on Tuesday.

But Safee, who has scored six times for Pelita this season, is staying put.

I’m a professional player, which means I decide everything on my own. Nobody can forbid me to play in the ISL,” he said.

Safee’s manager, Zakaria Rahim, said he had already explained everything to FAM.

I told FAM that the ongoing dispute inside the PSSI [Indonesian Football Association] won’t be affecting the club and Safee as a player. They could understand that and let Safee determine his future,” he said.

The contract, Zakaria added, has a clause that could see the striker play for another club under Pelita Jaya Cronus, which owns Pelita. Cronus is the sporting arm of Indonesia’s Bakrie Group.

Cronus has controlling stakes in the Australian A-League’s Brisbane Roar and Belgian second-division club CS Vise.

The contract says Safee will be given a chance to join other clubs that are owned by Pelita Jaya Cronus,” Zakaria said.

Pelita is currently in seventh place in the 18-club ISL with 14 points from 10 matches.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Solo Zoo Visitors Evacuated After Lion Gets Loose and Kills Camel

Visitors were sent scurrying on Tuesday after a lion escaped from its cage and killed a camel at Taru Jurug Zoo in Solo, an official said.

The preliminary information says that a camel was killed, with serious wounds to the stomach and neck, leaving five other camels in the collection,” said the zoo’s director, Lilik Kristianto

We will determine the chronology of the case,” he added.

He said the incident was believed to be the result of human error, after a zoo worker failed to securely lock the lion’s enclosure. It was not clear if the zoo had already identified the employee.

Human error is behind the escape of the lion from its cage. We checked and there was no damage to the cage door,” he said.

It took about 90 minutes for officials from the Solo offices of forestry and agriculture and the Nature Conservation Office to shoot the lion with a tranquilizer dart. The big cat was found inside the camel enclosure.

Lilik said the killing of the camel marked the first such incident at the zoo and vowed to punish the negligent employee, but added that he would wait for the results of an investigation into the incident.

One zoo visitor, 8-year-old Aldo, said he saw the lion cross over from his cage to the camel enclosure about 20 meters away. He said he saw the lion immediately attack a camel there.

I was keeping my mother company while she worked at her kiosk in the canteen area, and this male lion suddenly was running and jumped into the camel’s  enclosure,” Aldo said.

He said that zoo employees immediately evacuated visitors and zoo workers.

Head of the Jebres City Police, Chief Comr. I Wayan Sudita, said the zoo alerted the police, who temporarily closed down the zoo and ensured that everyone had been evacuated.

There were no injuries reported,” he said.

The police, he said, had opened their own investigation into the incident.

Taru Jurug Zoo was first established as a park in 1975 and covers 14 hectares of land.

It was turned into a zoo after the land for the city’s only zoo, Sriwedari Zoo, was appropriated for an extension of the Sriwedari public park. The animals from Sriwedari Zoo were moved to Taru Jurug Zoo.