The wRap Indonesia: Dec. 10, 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Some good news on a Wednesday: The decision of opposition parties to support direct regional elections and the launch of 4G Internet service lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Opposition coalition now supports direct regional elections
The opposition now appears to have changed its mind and decided to maintain direct regional elections in Indonesia. Golkar Party’s Aburizal Bakrie and Fadli Zon, from Prabowo Subianto’s Gerindra Party, were both quoted as saying on Tuesday, December 9, that they would uphold the special government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) that former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued in October to cancel the controversial Regional Elections Law (RUU Pilkada) that took away direct regional voting rights.
Kini, secara sepihak PG menolak Perppu, berarti mengingkari kesepakatan yang telah dibuat. Bagi saya hal begini amat prinsip. *SBY*— S. B. Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) December 4, 2014
Saya telah memerintahkan para pimpinan PD untuk mulai menjalin komunikasi dgn PDIP & KIH, agar perjuangan bersama ini berhasil. *SBY*— S. B. Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) December 4, 2014
The move appears to have been prompted by threats that Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party would join the government-led coalition if the Perppu isn’t upheld. Yudhoyono last week tweeted about Golkar's betrayal of their agreement to support the Perppu, and his meeting on Monday with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo made his threat to join the government coalition very real. That would have given a strong boost to the minority coalition supporting Jokowi, especially as two opposition parties – Golkar and the United Development Party (PPP) – are struggling with internal divisions.
2. Telkomsel rolls out 4G service in Jakarta and Bali, other telcos to follow soon
Telkomsel, Indonesia's largest telecommunications company, has finally rolled out its 4G Internet service in Jakarta and Bali. In the initial stage, more than more than 200 4G base stations in the two cities will provide Internet connection speeds of up to 36 Mbps to those with 4G-enabled smartphones. Telkomsel subscribers will also have to change their SIM cards to enjoy the service. A map of the coverage area is available here. The company plans to cover 22 provinces by 2019. Not to be left behind, XL Axiata and Indosat also say they are testing their 4g systems and will launch the service soon.
3. Jokowi grants clemency to human rights activist, but stays firm on death penalty for drug convicts
During an event to mark Human Rights Day at the Yogyakarta Presidential Palace on Tuesday, Jokowi granted clemency to Eva Susanti Bande, a human rights activist who was sentenced to 4 years in prison for defending farmers in Luwuk, South Sulawesi, in 2010, against an oil palm plantation. But human rights activists are still disappointed that the president has not budged on his decision not to grant clemency to drug convicts on death row, and to go ahead with the execution of 5 death row inmates – three of whom were convicted for drug-related crimes – by the end of the year. Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told Rappler 140 countries have already stopped using the death penalty, and Indonesia should too.
4. Teen lovers who tortured and murdered ex-girlfriend get 20-year jail terms
A Jakarta court on Tuesday sentenced two teenagers – Ahmad Imam Al Hafitd, 19, and Assyifa Ramadhani, 18 – to 20 years in prison for the shocking murder of 19-year-old Ade Sara Angelina Surot. Ahmad was reportedly mad at Ade, his ex-girlfriend, for refusing to speak to him after they broke up. In March, Ahmad and Assyifa – then a couple – tortured Ade by inflicting electric shocks and beating her for hours in Hafitd’s car. She suffocated when they gagged her with a balled-up newspaper. The sentence was lower than the life sentence prosecutors sought and the maximum penalty of death that can be imposed for the crime. But the judges said they took the young age of the defendants into consideration. “Whatever the judges decide, it will not bring back Sara, our child,” Ade's father Suroto said. Read the full stories in the Jakarta Post and Jakarta Globe.
5. Thousands gather to protest oil price hike in Jakarta
Labor groups on Wednesday, December 10, gathered thousands of workers from Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang and Bekasi for a widespread strike and protest against the recently implemented fuel price hike. The workers gathered at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle at the heart of the capital and will move to the National Monument (Monas) near the State Palace. They are demanding both a roll back in fuel prices and higher minimum wages. – Rappler.com