The wRap Indonesia: Aug. 29, 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia - The politically sensitive matter of raising subsidized fuel prices and objections to controversial amendments to the law on legislative bodies lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Jokowi 'ready to be unpopular' and raise subsidized fuel prices if Yudhoyono isn't
President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Thursday, August 28, that he was "ready to be unpopular" by carrying out the politically sensitive but necessary task of raising subsidized fuel prices to help ease the budget deficit, according to Tempo. Jokowi said he had asked President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to do it before he steps down in October, but that the latter said "conditions were not right at the moment" to do so, Reuters reported. State-owned oil and gas company Pertamina last week limited its distribution of subsidized diesel and gasoline, but was forced to lift daily quotas in the wake of long queues at gas stations. This comes as a new survey showed public expectation that Jokowi would improve conditions is at a high of 71.73%, Antara reported.
2. Constitutional Court begins hearing on objections to legislative bodies law
The Constitutional Court began hearing on Thursday objections to the controversial amendments to the Law on Legislative Bodies, known as the UU MD3, which were passed by the House of Representatives on July 8, a day before the presidential election. Five groups are challenging the law for different reasons, including a new provision requiring that law enforcement officers obtain a warrant from the ethics council before they can question a legislator in a criminal investigation. On the other hand, former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, the chairwoman of PDI-P – the largest party in the House but the head of the minority coalition – objects to the scrapping of a previous provision that automatically gives the House speaker’s post to the party with the most seats. Women's activists, meanwhile, argue that the new law is unconstitutional because it does away with minimum quotas for female legislators in key leadership posts. Full story at the Jakarta Globe.
3. Indonesia, Australia sign deal to end spying row
Indonesia and Australia on Thursday signed an agreement aimed at drawing a line under a damaging espionage row and paving the way for the resumption of full cooperation on issues such as defense. Ties between the neighbors sank to their lowest point in years in November after reports that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of Yudhoyono and his inner circle. Jakarta recalled its ambassador from Canberra and suspended cooperation in several areas over the incident, including efforts to stop people-smuggling boats reaching Australia. Read the full story on Rappler.
4. Yudhoyono assigns 3 ministers for transition talks with Jokowi
After their first official transition meeting in Bali on Wednesday, Kompas reports that Yudhoyono appointed 3 ministers to communicate with Jokowi's transition team: Coordinating Minister for the Economy Chairul Tanjung, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, and Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto.
5. 3 dead in Pertamina gas-line explosion in Subang
Three people were killed and 4 others seriously injured after a Pertamina gas line in Subang, West Java, exploded on Thursday afternoon. Tempo reported that the burning diesel spread throughout the surrounding areas, burning homes at least a kilometer away from the gas line. West Java Police said the explosion caused 50 meter-high flames and sent smoke 100 meters into the sky, according to the Jakarta Post. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.