Thursday, June 12, 2008

Indonesia's Problems

Jakarta.

In Indonesia, the rich are getting fatter and the poor are getting thinner.

The Indonesian president is a former general who worked for Suharto.

Members of the rich elite are promoting fundamentalism as a way of keeping themselves in power.

Duncan Graham, on 11 June 2008, wrote about FACING INDONESIA'S PROBLEMS CLEARLY / Indonesia's extended pre-adolescence.

Graham lists Indonesia's problems:

1. "Xenophobia is on the rise ... Religious intolerance is destroying places of worship and putting dissidents in jail. For most pluralism is a myth."

2. "Indonesia has more than 40 million unemployed and under-employed."

3. "The gap between the haves and have-nots is obvious, ugly and an awful threat to internal stability."

4. "The government continues to ignore its constitutional duty to spend 20 per cent of income on education. An estimated six million children don’t go to school and 1.5 million teachers are said to be unqualified. Indonesian education is way behind other Asian countries and slipping fast."

5. There are "badly run and poorly maintained transport systems."

6. There is "an unreformed bureaucracy."

7. There is "a corroded legal system."

8. All these factors "make doing business a continuous struggle. Claims for economic growth need to be considered sceptically: Indonesian statistics are notoriously elastic... "

9. "Corruption has grown since Suharto fell."

10. "Indonesian literature and film is still decades behind the rest of the world."

11. "The Indonesian army has long been used as a political police force suppressing internal separatists; if stories from closed West Papua are true the force is being applied with brutality and demands exposure."

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Jakartass reminds us of some history:

26th October 2004 - "Following the trashing of bars by the self-styled Islam Defenders Front (FPI), it was reported that the National Police had yet to ‘interrogate’ any of the thugs. A full eye-witness account of the intimidation and extortion that occurred on Friday night was posted by the Reveller on Jakarta BlokM."

27th January 2005 - "According to reports, the leader of an anti-corruption watchdog devoted to exposing crimes by state officials has been arrested in Aceh province for improper handling of aid intended for tsunami victims. Farid Faqih, chairman of Government Watch (GOWA), and three members of the radical Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) were arrested on yesterday evening on suspicion of violating procedures in the storage and use of aid."

3rd August 2005 - "Indonesia's reputation as a bastion of moderate, tolerant Islam has been cast in doubt after the nation's ulemas council (MUI) issued 11 fatwas banning liberal Islamic thought, religious pluralism, inter-faith marriage, inter-faith prayers led by non-Muslims and women leading prayers attended by men."

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