Sunday, December 30, 2007

'True face' of Indonesia

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Friday Indonesia on the Move, a compilation of his articles and speeches depicting a "true picture" of Indonesia.

Yudhoyono said the book could be used to tell the global community about Indonesia.

"We have often been judged by perceptions, instead of reality ... and that is not fair," he said.

"I agreed that my articles and speeches could be published as a book because I want Indonesia to be better understood by the world," he said.

Yudhoyono said the title was chosen because the phrase accurately portrayed the development of the country.

"Indonesia is moving forward with all its challenges and problems," he said.

The President said that although Indonesia had yet to completely survive the impact of the economic crisis, the country had made significant progress in the last 10 years.

"New problems emerge, but if we honestly evaluate them, we will find some achievements and progress along the way," he said.

"Don't you think that democracy and human rights protection are getting better in this country?" Yudhoyono said.

Indonesia, he added, had also moved forward in terms of economic growth.

"From 7 percent (before the crisis), it dropped to minus 13 percent (when the crisis hit in 1997), which was a huge contraction. But now we can reach at least 6 percent growth," said Yudhoyono, adding that if Indonesians continued to work hard, the country could reach 7 percent growth again, but with better underlying systems.

He said that Indonesia had also shown progress in eradicating conflicts and corruption. "The conflicts in our society are getting smaller and milder," said Yudhoyono.

"Although we are not satisfied yet, but as a grateful people let's declare 'we are on the move'," said Yudhoyono, to applause from the audience, which consisted of national leaders, cabinet members and some ambassadors.

Indonesia on the Move contains Yudhoyono's speeches and articles from the end of 2005 until the end of 2006. The book includes other authors' articles and comments on Yudhoyono's leadership. The book was edited by presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal and published by Bhuana Ilmu Popular, under the Kompas and Gramedia Group.

The book launch was accompanied by the opening of a new Gramedia book store on Jl. Matraman, Central Jakarta.

Yudhoyono urged the audience to support efforts to increase reading among Indonesians. He said reading was needed for Indonesia to become an advanced society. "An advanced society comes from a learning society and a learning society comes from s reading society," said Yudhoyono(Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta)


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Malaysia drops Indonesian Dances from Tourism Campaign following protests

Malaysia will drop two dances that originated in Indonesia from its overseas tourism campaigns following protests from the neighboring country, officials and a report said Tuesday. Activists demonstrated outside the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta last week, slamming Kuala Lumpur for promoting Indonesia's traditional Barongan masked dance as part of Malaysian culture in its tourism campaigns, the national Bernama news agency said.

It quoted Tourism Minister Adnan Mansor as saying that the Indonesian government also sent him letters pointing out that the Endang dance performed recently by a Malaysian group in Japan originated in Indonesia. "We will stop using the two dances in our tourism promotion program," a Tourism Ministry official said. The two dances are popular in parts of Malaysia which have close cultural links with Indonesia.

The official, who declined to be named because of ministry policy, said cultural officers from the two countries will meet to resolve the issue to prevent it from sparking a diplomatic row. The two countries share Islam as their main religion and have similar national languages. But they also have a history of testy relations.

In October, Indonesia accused Malaysia of stealing a Malay folk song - "Rasa Sayang" or "Feeling of Love" - as the theme song for its overseas tourism promotions. Jakarta said it may sue Kuala Lumpur for breach of copyright. Malaysia rejected the allegation, saying the song has origins in both countries and doesn't belong solely to Indonesia. Indonesian lawmakers have also accused Malaysia of taking credit for other traditional Indonesian arts such as batik fabrics and the shadow puppet theater.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Investment Growth Will Decrease in 2008

The government is predicting that investment growth next year will decrease in line with the slowing down of the global economy, triggered by the trend of increasing world crude oil prices. “Perhaps in the first half of the year the influence won’t yet be there yet, but if (crude oil) prices continue increasing, then 2008 investment will be affected,” said Muhammad Lutfi, Head of the Investment Coordination Agency (BKPM) last weekend in Jakarta.

During trading on Friday, crude oil prices fluctuated until surpassing a new record of US$92.22 per barrel.

Predictions that prices will reach US$100 per barrel arose due to the high demand for oil nearing winter together with the heating-up political situation between both Turkey and Iraq and also the United States and Iran.

Lutfi explained that the factor of crude oil prices was quite an important influence as regards future investors in determining a country for investment.

This is because every (crude oil price) US$1 increase is a large influence, especially on price increases of fuel and other goods.

“Yet, Indonesia is still very competitive as it’s in the process of improving the primary commodity value chain,” he said.

Lutfi said he estimated that sluggish investment next year would also caused by the investment cycle that occurs once in two years.

Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said she was of the opinion that sluggish economy will have a greater effect on developed countries whose growth would slow down.

“Asian countries whose growth is still high and structure is changing in this region, such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China, still encourage the entry of investment,” she said.

Business circles are also predicting that next year’s investment growth will be more difficult compared to 2007.

This is because the government must still work hard to improve investment climate within a short period of time, especially to minimize high economic costs.

“The government must repair the investment climate, especially as regards infrastructure procurement and policy improvement,” Sofjan Wanandi, General Chairman of Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association, told Tempo last weekend.

According to BKPM records, during the first half of this year, foreign investment reached US$4.1 billion.

This is equivalent to Rp36.9 trillion and amounts to a 16.8 percent rise, compared to the total of US$3.51 billion in the same period last year.

This foreign investment contributed almost 57 percent to total domestic investment of Rp65.3 trillion.

Jakarta, 29 October, 2007 (TEMPO Interactive)


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Malaysia's Vision 2020

I just read a newspaper telling Malaysia vision in 2020. at glance i've thrown my imagination to Indonesia that ever arose its vision 2030 by Yayasan Forum Indonesia last time that predicted will be a fifth growing country in the world.

Malaysia's Vision 2020
The government of Malaysia has provided a clear vision to its companies and their employees: to reach the standard of living of industrialized countries by the year 2020. This plan, called Vision 2020, is accelerating Malaysia's shift to high-technology industries. Specific objectives include accelerated industrial restructuring, technological upgrading, human resource development, and industrial linking. Malaysia's seventh development plan emphasizes the capabilities of its manufacturing sector by producing higher-value-added products and developing workers better capable of meeting the requirements of more sophisticated manufacturing processes. The plan focuses on development of industry, academic, and government relationships. The government is developing preemployment schools to train employees with strong work ethics and loyalty to company and country. It has also developed high-tech industrial parks to allow for the concentration of industry, research and development, and academic institutions. The government is also supporting industry with technical training programs and research programs at universities.

The Penang Economic Council drafted the Penang Strategic Development Plan in 1991 to support Vision 2020. Specific strategies included the promotion of skill-intensive, technology-intensive, and high-value-added industries through building an R&D infrastructure, including technology parks, and a supportive culture with a qualified workforce. In order to attract skilled workers from other states and countries, Penang is creating a competitive wage policy that will change its manufacturing core competence from labor-intensive to capital-intensive manufacturing. Companies from Japan, the United States, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Germany invested over RM 15 billion (about $6 billion) in 1995. Malaysia continues to follow in the path of Singapore, developing close relationships with foreign and local industry participants. For example, Intel assembles its Pentium chips and does much of its packaging research and development in Malaysia, and Motorola has its premier packaging group in Malaysia.

Malaysia is a founding member of and plays a strong leadership role in ASEAN. The country is also involved in the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Among the newly industrialized economies of East Asia, only Malaysia enjoys preferences under the General System of Preferences (GSP). GSP was intended to help developing countries grow their economies. It provides special access to first-world countries' markets, and industry protection measures that give local companies a competitive advantage. To attract companies and investments, Malaysia is reducing corporate tax rates from 32% to 30%. It will also reduce withholding taxes from 20% to 15% on interest payments made to nonresidents, and reduce the taxes on technical fees and royalties from 15% to 10%. Import duties are being reduced on more than 2,600 items, and sales tax on machinery parts and components and imported heavy machinery will be abolished.