Thursday, April 30, 2009

Terrorists invoke West Point teaching

Credentials Challenged, Radical Quotes West Point
BEIRUT, Lebanon — He has been mentor to some of the most brutal
terrorists on earth. But Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a prominent
cleric and theorist of jihad living in Jordan, has grown tired
of hearing younger extremists accuse him of going soft.
So in a recent Internet post to his followers, Mr. Maqdisi
defended his hard-line credentials by invoking a higher
authority: the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
“Credit is due to the testimony of enemies,” Mr. Maqdisi wrote,
as he directed his readers to a recent journal article by Joas
Wagemakers, a Dutch scholar of jihadism, and the “Militant
Ideology Atlas,” both published by the center. Both identified
Mr. Maqdisi as a dangerous and influential jihadi theorist, he
So did two articles by liberal Arab columnists, Mr. Maqdisi
added proudly, including one that referred to him as a “sheik of
violence” and “the head of the snake.”
It is not new for Islamic extremists to cite Western
counterterrorism reports. Ayman Zawahri, the deputy of Osama bin
Laden, has referred at least twice in his taped statements to
“Stealing Al Qaeda’s Playbook,” a 2004 article also published by
the center. But recently Mr. Maqdisi has taken this
hall-of-mirrors phenomenon to a new level, complaining bitterly
that secular Western analysts generally understand him better
than many in his own community.
“I am surprised at the low level of their thinking,” Mr. Maqdisi
wrote of his critics, “and how the enemies of religion read and
understand us better than they do.”
The complaint is a testament to the growing community of Western
jihad watchers, an obsessive and multilingual crew who monitor
and debate terrorist Web statements like Talmudic scholars
poring over a manuscript.
It also illustrates the fragmentation of authority within the
global jihadist movement, where even prominent figures like Mr.
Maqdisi are vulnerable to younger critics who feel free to
interpret the call to jihad, and the Koran generally, as they
see fit.
For the Western analysts, being cited approvingly by a Qaeda
figure can be unsettling.
“It is inevitably a little bit flattering,” said Thomas
Hegghammer, a fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of
Government, who first pointed out Mr. Maqdisi’s complaint on the
blog he edits, Jihadica. “But it does make me worry a bit about
the implications of what I do and what I write.”
The home page of the Jihadica site, founded a year ago by the
scholar William F. McCants, advertises itself with an anonymous
quotation said to be taken from a survey of jihadists about
Internet sites that monitor militant Islamism online: “It is, in
my view, the most important and dangerous among the sites in
this group.”
All this self-consciousness is multiplied by the Internet, which
has become a recruiting tool for jihadists but is also uniquely
vulnerable to spies and informers. The fact that Western
scholars and defense analysts have occasionally proposed using
influential theorists like Mr. Maqdisi to undermine jihadist
movements only makes this worse.
For all their suspicion toward each other, many militant
Islamists often speak of Western analysts — especially those
with a clear link to the military — with the respect due a true
enemy. Mr. Maqdisi, whose Web site includes the world’s largest
online compilation of jihadist literature (it is searchable by
author), is clearly aware of what is written about him, and
about jihad generally.
Despite his stature, he has been fighting off criticism from
jihadists for years. Born in what is now the West Bank, Mr.
Maqdisi spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s,
where his writings and speeches legitimizing violence influenced
Osama bin Laden and others. In the mid-1990s he was sent to
prison in Jordan and became the spiritual mentor of a fellow
prisoner, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who later became notorious for
decapitating hostages as the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
In 2005 Mr. Maqdisi was briefly released from prison and
criticized Mr. Zarqawi’s bloody car-bombing campaign against the
Shiites of Iraq. That led some to accuse him of becoming a tool
for the Jordanian or American authorities, an accusation that
has been renewed in recent months.
Mr. Maqdisi, who is now under house arrest in Jordan, has
angrily turned that accusation against his critics, arguing that
their efforts to undermine him and other jihadist leaders derive
from a strategy outlined by Western analysts working for “the
Crusader RAND Corporation.”
In fact, at least a few Islamists seem to see the hand of the
RAND Corporation, an American policy organization that produces
reports on terrorism and other subjects, in many plots. This
year a hard-line Saudi cleric told this reporter during an
interview that “RAND-ites” were seeking to de-Islamize Saudi
Mr. Maqdisi’s problem is more homegrown. A new generation of
jihadists, many of them less educated and respectful of
authority than their elders, has begun taking issue with him.
Mr. Maqdisi believes suicide bombing is a legitimate tactic but
has said it should not be used indiscriminately, and he has
spoken against the sectarian massacres in Iraq. For this he is
accused of turning his back on jihad.
In a sense, Mr. Maqdisi can hardly complain, because he did the
same thing to his clerical elders when he was young.
“For several decades, there has been a dynamic at work in the
radical Sunni Islamist community where each new generation
becomes less principled, less learned, more radical, and more
violent than the one before it,” said Bernard Haykel, a
professor of Middle East studies at Princeton.
In fact, recently some Western counterterrorism experts have
seized on this trend and hailed it as proof that Al Qaeda and
its affiliates are doomed to destroy themselves in an orgy of
violence and in-fighting. Whether Mr. Maqdisi will also cite
those Western theories in defense of his own approach remains
to be seen.
The New York Times
By ROBERT F. WORTH Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Islam and Politics in Indonesia

A Momentous Change of Guard in Indonesian Islamic Politics
The current spotlight is on the search for a future coalition in
Indonesia but attention should also be given to the fact that
the polls have led to a historical change of guard among the
ranks of Islamist parties. This change involves the Unity
Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
But it also concerns the Crescent Star Party (PBB) which failed
to reach the electoral threshold of 2.5% and is thus not
permitted to run under the same name in the next elections.
PPP was the only de facto Islamist party during the New Order
years. De facto because, in 1984, the government required all
political parties to adopt the state doctrine Pancasila as party
ideology. In the first two post-New Order elections in 1999 and
2004, PPP still obtained the most votes of all Islamist parties.
In 1999, PPP gained 10.7% of the votes. In 2004, its share
dropped to 8.1%.
PKS attained 1.2% of the votes in 1999. In 2004, it made a big
leap forward with a 7.2% share. In this year’s polls, PKS for
the first time outperformed PPP. Current vote counts establish
PKS’s result at 8.3% and PPP’s at 5.4%. This means that, aside
from the Democratic Party, PKS was the only party improving on
its 2004 election result.
The switch of ranks is significant because PPP and PKS stand for
two different brands of Islamic politics. PPP is an amalgamation
of traditionalist and modernist Islam, as represented by
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Parmusi (Indonesian Muslim Party). NU
and Parmusi have different histories and theological traditions
which has led to a frequently uneasy partnership in PPP.
Parmusi is the New Order-endorsed successor to the Masyumi
Party. Masyumi was Indonesia‘s largest Islamist party of the
1950s. Many senior Masyumi leaders refused to join Parmusi.
Instead, they established the Indonesian Islamic Propagation
Council (DDII) which redirected the Islamic struggle to campuses
and mosques through Islamic education and proselytisation. For
the old Masyumi elite, it was DDII that carried on the struggle
of Masyumi during the New Order. By contrast, Parmusi mostly
perceived Masyumi as a point of historical reference. It only
carried on a partial Masyumi-derived agenda adapted to the
restrictive politics of the New Order.
After the fall of Soeharto, many senior Masyumi leaders left in
DDII were behind the formation of PBB which they believed to be
the only legitimate heir of Masyumi. PBB’s lofty ambitions,
however, were shattered when it gained a mere 1.9% in the 1999
elections. The poor showing indicated that the Islamism
represented by Masyumi has waned in significance and that it
would not be able to be revived in the post-New Order era. The
results of this year’s elections re-confirmed that Masyumi
symbols and references are unable to gain significant support in
Indonesia today.
Masyumi approached the Islamic canon as a set of legal rulings
and aspired to write shari’ah terms into the constitution.
Whereas PBB most comprehensively adopted its political programme
to Masyumi, Parmusi showed little concrete desire to align PPP
with former Masyumi goals. In fact, Parmusi’s self-proclaimed
devotion to Masyumi in recent years more appeared as a tool for
countering PPP’s NU-dominated leadership.
Significantly, many Islamists gradually perceived Masyumi’s
shari’ah-centred approach as politically inopportune. The
necessities that the New Order’s patronage system had created
suggested more practical ways of doing politics. With practical
considerations paramount, many Islamist notables in previously
Masyumi-close organisations such as Muhammadiyah no longer see
support for a Masyumi legatee party as useful for their own
Meanwhile, with its propagation of Islamic education and
mission, DDII played a crucial role in popularising an approach
which later was taken up by PKS. In the 1980s, the New Order
government sought to shut down political activities at
universities. This generated a new generation of Islamist
activists to look toward the Muslim Brotherhood for adopting new
organisational methods, characterised by the use of cells for
religious training.
PKS activists thus readily paid homage to Masyumi but they also
questioned the wisdom of Masyumi’s political approach in order
to advance Islam. They especially viewed the open ideological
hostilities of the 1950s as exasperating.
What is more, throughout the New Order, DDII was unable to tie
new cadres to Masyumi’s cause. For the campus-based activists,
however, the struggle for Islam was ineffective without the
systematic formation of devoted cadres. As a result, PKS became
the only cadre-based party in Indonesia,
PKS’s systematic cadre build-up was very much unlike PPP’s
flexible cadreisation methods and its ambition to create
internal unanimity contrasted with PPP’s trademark factionalism.
PBB leaders, for their part, bickered over what political
behaviour the dedication to Masyumi had to entail. PKS, by
contrast, acted on a coherent and internally socialised ideology
and a clear political strategy. This strategy has always been
decidedly pragmatic and accommodative, inclined to cloak the
party’s dedication to Islamist political goals.
At the same time, PKS might eventually be heading in the same
direction as PBB, quarrelling over what political behavior the
struggle for Islam has to entail. Most well-known PKS leaders
belong to the pragmatic bloc yet many doctrinaire Islamists in
the party have increasingly found fault with the view that
almost any political compromise is warranted in the pursuit of
ideological objectives. So far the party has successfully kept
internal fictions from the public eye, yet it is not implausible
that these struggles will surface in the years to come.

Opinion Asia
by Bernhard Platzdasch

Bernhard Platzdasch is a visiting research fellow at the
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Indonesia another perspective

Indonesian Exceptionalism
Over 100 million Indonesians went to the polls this month as the
world's largest Muslim-majority nation held legislative
elections on April 9. This is the third national election cycle
since the democratization process began just a decade ago. It is
also the first election in which voters cast ballots for
individual legislators within a party slate, rather than merely
voting for a political party itself. While this represents a
major step toward making government directly accountable to
voters, the process is also certain to produce a significant
number of disgruntled candidates whose failure to attain a seat
in the legislature may now be blamed on something other than
internal party politics.
As it turns out, there is good reason for disappointment with
the implementation of this year's election. The political
parties managed themselves rather well throughout the campaign
period; however the National Election Commission apparently made
grave errors in setting up the polls. It has become apparent
that a huge number of eligible names may have been left off
voter rolls. Credible accusations of vote fraud also remain to
be addressed. As a result, there is some question as to whether
all of the country's leading political parties will sign off on
vote tallies once the counting is concluded on May 9.
But before we rush to support some disenfranchised political
set, it is important to understand the overall thrust of the
election results. By all accounts, incumbent President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono will almost certainly emerge the victor. His
Democrat Party is projected to have won a plurality in the
legislative election with approximately 20% of the vote. This is
nearly a three-fold increase above his party's fledgling
performance in 2004. Moreover, polls gauging the popularity of
candidates for the upcoming presidential election on July 8
identify Mr. Yudhoyono as the undisputed favorite ahead of all
other challengers by at least 35 percentage points in an open
race. Gauged against individual contenders in hypothetical
two-candidate races, the president's popularity increases
In the next position in the popularity polls is former President
Megawati Sukarnoputri, who held the nation's highest office from
July 2001 to October 2004. Her Indonesian Democratic Party of
Struggle (PDI-P) is known for its defiant stand against the
Soeharto government in 1996 as well as consistent leadership in
nationalist politics. PDI-P is projected to tie for second place
in the legislative election with Golkar. As the political
apparatus that orchestrated elections during the era of
authoritarian politics, Golkar's experience enabled it to win a
plurality of the vote in 2004. Its aging leaders now appear
rudderless however in spite of their partnership in Mr.
Yudhoyono's current ruling coalition. Each of these
second-string parties appears to have mustered only around 14%
of the vote this year, representing a decline since 2004 of
approximately four percentage points for Megawati's PDI-P and a
dismal seven point loss for Golkar.
Islamic political parties also experienced devastating setbacks
in this election. Overall, support for Islamic parties declined
from some 31% of the vote in 2004 to perhaps 20% this year.
Although the conservative Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS)
managed to gain a percentage point or so with 8.5% of the votes
projected, it fell far shy of its 20% target. Several smaller
Islamic parties appear to have suffered complete collapse as
their failure to secure at least 2.5% of the vote means they
will not be awarded seats in the legislature and will not be
eligible to contest the next national election in 2014. This
appears to be the fate of the ultra-conservative Crescent Star
Party (PBB), which has reportedly been knocking on the doors of
secular party offices this week in an effort to once again
reduce the minimum vote threshold needed for party survival.
Aside from President Yudhoyono's growing popularity and the
declining fortunes of political Islam, this election tells us
some profound things about Indonesian society. In particular, to
sum up the current state of Indonesian politics in a word, it
appears that Indonesians have grown increasingly pragmatic in
their approach to politics.
The nation's first democratic election in 1955 resulted in the
emergence of four relatively distinct political blocks with
nationalists, Islamic modernists, Islamic traditionalists, and
communists each earning between 16% and 22% of the vote. These
groupings reflected the deep social and cultural divisions that
animated politics for decades and led to the deadly polarization
of the mid-1960s.
The present election reveals little trace of an ideologically
divided nation. On the contrary, even experienced observers of
Indonesian politics are hard pressed to describe just how
Golkar, PDI-P and the Democrat Party differ beyond some minor
economic policy positions and of course the character of the
individuals involved. Each party is considered nationalist,
committed to Indonesia's official ideology of Pancasila, more or
less pro-business, and ostensibly anti-graft. Each also has some
track record of accommodating powerful religious lobbies when
party interests are at stake.
The fourth contender, the Islamic PKS, distinguishes itself as
the party of dakwah (Islamic preaching). However, as public
opinion polls have suggested public frustration with divisive
religious politics, PKS has moderated its approach and has
attempted to woo voters by presenting itself in increasingly
nationalistic terms.
In broad brush strokes, what this election thus suggests about
Indonesian society is that the emotional draw of ideology,
religion, charismatic leadership, and social controversy has
begun to decline as concerns about good governance, fiscal
accountability, and government professionalism have risen. The
problem that Indonesia faces no longer stems from its past
social and cultural divisions. Rather, the danger at hand
reflects the fragmentation of a political elite that has yet to
understand the interests of voters while failing to grasp the
nature of the new democratic playing field.
The fact is that it is hard to read this election as anything
other than a significant vote of confidence in President
Yudhoyono’s ability to govern—in spite of his party's current
weakness in the legislature. Most of the major political players
appear to have accepted this fact and are moving forward with
the coalition-building process through which they will nominate
candidates for the presidential election.
There will certainly be numerous disputes over legislative party
seats in the coming months. Indeed, it has quickly become clear
that the election of 2009 will be remembered as a serious test
of Indonesia's young democracy. But there is already a legal
precedent in place for handling election disputes in the courts.
Before any of Indonesia's major politicians decide to reject the
election results outright and lead their supporters into the
streets in protest, I suggest a whirlwind tour of the region.
Indonesia's expanding sense of democracy stands in sharp
contrast to several of its nearest Southeast Asian neighbors.
Across the Straights in Malaysia, for example, a new prime
minister has taken office amid a ban on opposition newspapers
and accusations of extra-constitutional political manipulation
in the northern state of Perak. In Thailand, a state of
emergency continues in the capital as democratic institutions
have been set aside in apparent favor of street demonstrations.
We've heard much about the world's largest Muslim-majority
nation in recent years and how it has come to stand out as a
model of democratic stability. We know that direct elections
have been instituted at the provincial, district, and municipal
levels across the country since 2005. But now with the nation
facing a growing political crisis, let us hope Indonesia's
current and former leaders can demonstrate to the world that all
of this talk about "Indonesian exceptionalism" really has some
Far Eastern Economic Review
by Richard Kraince
Richard Kraince is Research Professor of Southeast Asian
Humanities at the College of Mexico in Mexico City.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Filipino Radicals Help Indonesia Brethren

MANILA, Philippines -- Muslim Filipino rebels have helped
Indonesian terror suspects evade capture by giving them refuge
and access to weapons and funds in the southern Philippines, a
government report says.
The information was gleaned from a recently arrested rebel who
told government interrogators that Indonesian terror suspect
Umar Patek has established ties with Filipino militants in the
Patek, who fled to southern Mindanao in 2003, had established links with at least five rebel groups in order to gain a safe haven for Jemaah Islamiyah, a radical Indonesia-based faction.
U.S. and Philippine security officials have long been concerned
that such tie-ups could allow foreign radicals to pass bomb-making skills and their extremist brand of Islam to Filipino militants and turn southern Philippine rebel strongholds into terrorist training grounds.
Patek and fellow suspected terrorist Dulmatin fled to Mindanao a
year after allegedly helping mastermind the 2002 nightclub
bombings in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people. They have
remained in Mindanao since then, along with about 40 fellow
Jemaah Islamiyah members.
Venancio, a member of the country's largest Muslim rebel group _
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front _ helped Patek and other
Indonesian radicals move around Mindanao, locating hide-outs and
moving money through different bank accounts.
Venancio was arrested by government intelligence agents last
January in southern Cotabato city in connection with a killing
apparently unrelated to the Muslim insurgency.
and other Indonesians knew ranking commanders of the smaller but more brutal Abu Sayyaf group and the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a violent group of Islamic converts linked to deadly bomb attacks in the southern Philippines.
Patek and Dulmatin also knew a commander of the Moro National
Liberation Front, a group based on southern Jolo island that
signed a 1996 peace pact with the government but whose members
have refused to disarm.
Venancio received bomb-making training as a new rebel recruit in 1997 in a Moro Islamic Liberation Front camp in Mindanao. He trained with about 30 Indonesians and 10 Middle Eastern nationals.

Indonesia and the U.S.- A New Partnership

One could say that observing Indonesia-US relations has become more interesting since the Obama administration came into power,particularly after the visit of US state secretary Hillary Clinton to Jakarta in February 2009. Indonesia-US relations have been and will always be a very important factor for both countries' foreign affairs. As the largest country in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim population in the world and is the fourth most populous country in the world.

At the same time, as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mentioned during a speech at the London School of Economic andPolitical Sciences, Indonesia's history has never been an easy one, an epic story of survival against the odds. However, such a picture of disorder and uncertainty no longer captures the Indonesia of today. Having overcome its trials and tribulations, Indonesia is now a resilient country that plays an active role in many strategic international issues such as climate change, interfaith dialogue, democracy as well as peace and security.

Amid the current international financial crisis, Indonesia remains as one of a handful of countries that continue to post positive projections of economic growth. In March 2009, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that Indonesia was one of the best performing economies. In addition, Indonesia has also recently taken the opportunity to play an active role in the G20.

Indonesia is now the third largest democracy in the world. The legislative election on April 9, 2009 was on the whole a fair, peaceful and transparent process. Indeed, Indonesia's democracy has achieved a point of no return, transforming the country into a progressive force in the international arena. During Clinton's visit to Indonesia, she mentioned that as a country with the largest Muslim population, Indonesia is able to harmonize Islam, democracy, modernity and women's empowerment.

For Indonesia, the US was, is and will remain an important
partner, particularly considering the latter's significant role
in international affairs. The US possesses everything that a
major power requires: a large population, a vast territory, a
strong economy, a mighty military and so on. In general,
relations between Indonesia and the US have been positive and
stable, but remain "full of surprises".

Bilateral trade has increased from year to year, with figures
reaching US$21.7 billion in 2008, which is around 17 percent
more than the total for 2007 ($18.5 billion). The US is also
among the biggest foreign investors in Indonesia.

Growing cooperation can also be seen in issues such as
counter-terrorism, defense, education, and the Millennium
Challenge Corporation. With such growth in relations as a
backdrop, it comes as no surprise that the US decided to lift
its travel ban on Indonesia.

During Clinton's visit to Indonesia, both governments agreed to
develop a comprehensive partnership. Questions did emerge in
response to the decision to establish such a relationship: If
the progress in bilateral relations in the past few years has
been achieved without a comprehensive partnership, why now is
there a sudden desire by both governments to broaden and deepen
their relations through a comprehensive partnership mechanism?

In general, a comprehensive partnership reflects a certain level
of maturity in bilateral relations between the two countries. It
is a partnership that should always be based on equality, mutual
respect and mutual benefit.

Trust and transparency also become very significant elements.
All in all, every effort should be made to ensure that these
requirements are in place in order for the partnership to work.

A Comprehensive Partnership provides a framework for the further
strengthening of bilateral relations. It should be flexible,
open and adjustable to dynamic and rapid developments in
bilateral and international relations.

A Comprehensive Partnership should bring added value to the
current bilateral relations. It should be innovative and capable
of offering both traditional and innovative approaches to
fulfilling the targets of the partnership.

In as such, failure to attain such added value would make the
partnership merely an example of political bureaucracy. Thus,
deliverables become a very important element in its success.

Priorities of cooperation could be wide ranging, from the
climate change issue to energy security, food security,
education, health, exchanges, economics and development,
defense, peace and security.

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the US
provides a golden opportunity for both countries to develop
their relations. For the first time, there is a US president who
has certain emotional ties with Indonesia.

The change in the US administration, particularly the "O
factor", and recent positive developments in Indonesia's
domestic situation, were indeed among reasons for Indonesia to
be chosen as one of the countries visited by the Clinton during
her first trip abroad.

For the first time, most of Indonesia has high expectations for
improved relations with the US. The same could also be said of
the Americans. During my official visit to the US a couple of
days ago, I sensed the same expectation and clear optimism that
the US should have better relations with Indonesia.

Bader, the senior director of the US National Security Council,
mentioned that never before had Indonesia and the US had such a
good opportunity in their bilateral relations.

While good relations are seen at the government level, can the
same be said of the relations among Indonesians and Americans at
the grass-roots level?

The relations at grass-roots levels or through people-to-people
contact remain at farer distance compared to those enjoyed at
the government level. Consequently, every effort must be made to
bring these two peoples closer.

In any democratic country, civil society plays a significant
role in shaping the government policy, reflecting the general
interest of the people. In the post-9/11 period, there were
feelings of "distrust" between the two countries' peoples. As a
pre-requisite to embarking on a new partnership, efforts are
needed to remove such "distrust".

Policies in favor of strengthening people-to-people contact
should be adopted in immigration, education, intercultural and
interfaith dialogues and education cooperation, and exchanges
should be undertaken to strengthen this contact.

When receiving the visit of secretary Clinton in February 2009,
President Yudhoyono mentioned that improving people-to-people
contact through education should become a priority in the
bilateral relations agenda of the two countries.

The benefits of adopting the new Comprehensive Partnership are
obvious. The priorities are also clearly mentioned. It is now an
urgent need for Indonesia and the US to seize the momentum -
now, not later. Momentum never lasts long; it is a brief
opportunity that should be acted on immediately.

In the mean time, special attention should also be paid to
managing peoples high expectations. Failure to fulfill such
expectations would be counter-productive and the success of the
Partnership would depend on how both countries are able to bring
more deliverables as "the meat" of the relations. Otherwise, the
Comprehensive Partnership would end up becoming yet another
sleeping document.

Hopes are high that the two countries' leaders would find a good time to officially announce the establishment of the
Comprehensive Partnership. Together, between the governments and
between the two peoples, we can make it happen.
by Retno L.P. Marsudi

Bali Updates

BALI UPDATE #659 - 27 april 2009

Balinese Court Music Comes to Singapore
Free Performances of Balinese Classics May 2-3, 2009, at the Esplanade in Singapore.

The centuries-old music of the Balinese Royal Court - a sound unlike any other music in the world and sometimes likened to the sound of water rushing down a mountain stream - is, to its admirers, a thing of ethereal, heavenly, and ineffable beauty.
Singaporeans will soon be privileged to hear live and on stage the rare sounds of the semara pagulingan - the "gamelan of the love god."
In feudal times, most courts in Bali possessed a semara pagulingan orchestra that served to lull the royal family to sleep, as well as accompany sacred pendet dances held in local temples. Today, due to the diminished role of palace society and the fast pace life of the modern world, this wonderful musical genre has become something of an endangered musical species. And, sadly, the remaining semara pagulingan sets left in Bali can be counted on one hand.
Mekar Bhuana Conservatory in Sanur [], was established in 2000 in order to preserve this vanishing art form. Working closely with senior teachers from traditional villages, and professional musicians and dancers, the Mekar Bhuana continues to make critical inroads in the documentation and rehearsal of rare Balinese court music and dance.
Living legends of Balinese dance and music are sought out and consulted, ancient recordings sourced from private collections around the world, and period instruments restored and returned to the performance stage as part of the organization's commitment to preserving Bali's musical heritage.
Appearing in Singapore May 2 and 3
Mekar Bhuana has been invited to bring the magic of semara pagulingan, played by 26 accomplished Balinese musicians, to the open-air stage at the Esplanade in Singapore as part of an international festival "A Tapestry of Sacred Music."
Performances on May 2 and 3, 2009 only. Details at [Esplande Website]
As part of this historic visit to Singapore, a seminar conducted by Vaughan Hatch, an ethnomusicologist and highly regard gamelan musician will be held on May 3, 2009 at the Esplanade Library at 3:00p.m. Hatch has spent more than a decade researching the classical style of the Balinese musical orchestra.

Sailing Tourism in Indonesia
Sailing Events Form Part of Five-Month-Long Regatta Stopping in Bali September 30 – October 4, 2009.

Radar Bali reports that Indonesia's Department of the Ocean and Fisheries have invited at least 10 countries to participate in 3 events intended to focus world attention on Indonesia's vast ocean resources.
The program, supported by the Indonesian government, is part of three ocean-centered events which include two international conferences scheduled to be held in Indonesia in 2009 and a five-month long sailing event.
The World Ocean Conference will be held in Manado, North Sulawesi May 11-15 and will host 121 countries discussing problems confronting the world's oceans. Running concurrently in Manado will be a meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative, comprised of member representatives from Indonesia, the Philippines, Solomon Island, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Timor Leste, with the United States and Australia as observers.
Sail Indonesian – Sail Bunaken August 12-20, 2009
The August sailing regatta set to take place August 12-20, 2008 will see participation by visiting yachtsmen from 10 nations as well as tall ship visits and visiting war ships from friendly nations.
Organizers are targeting participation by 100 yachts that will be hosted to a range of activities including a food festival, official dinners hosted by the President of the Republic and the Governor of North Sulawesi, an organized sailing regatta around Manado and a fireworks display.
Sail Indonesia 18 July – 25 October 2009
A 5-month sailing course from Darwin to Belitung will also be held as part of Visit Indonesian Year 2009. Foreign yachts are welcomed to join the entire voyage visiting at lest 18 Indonesian ports of call or to only join a portion of the route visiting much of Eastern Indonesia.
The fleet will call on Bali September 30 – October 4, 2009.
The accompanying map on shows the sailing route, ports and schedule.

click images to enlarge

For more information contact:
Yayasan Cinta Bahari Indonesia
Raymond Timotius Lesmana
Mobile : +62 811 – 124574
Related Website
[Sail Bunaken 2009]
Oh, You Give Me Fever
Bali Airport Installs Thermal Scans and Health Measures to Curb Singapore Flu Outbreak.

In an effort to control a regional outbreak of severe influenza known as Singapore Flu, officials at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport installed a thermal scanner Monday, April 20, 2009.
The severe, though seldom fatal, form of flu is thought to be spread by international travelers and can cause rashes and sores on its victims feet, mouth and hands and is especially prevalent among young children. Isolated cases have been identified in West Java and Jakarta, traced in several instances to recent visitors to Singapore.
Sometimes referred to a hand, foot and mouth disease (HMFD), only one fatality has been linked to the diseases from among nearly 5,000 confirmed infections.
Tourists arriving in Bali found to be suffering from a fever are immediately sprayed with a 70% alcohol solution before being sent to an examination clinic at the airport for examination. Then if "Singapore Flu" symptoms are confirmed the passengers is sent to an isolation ward at a local hospital.
A similar fever scanning unit is also in operation at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
The current outbreak of HMFD is not thought to be connected with the outbreak of Swine Flu now reported in the U.S.A. and Mexico.
A Round About Welcome
New Statue Being Erected at Entrance to Bali's Airport.

Visitors traveling the new road leading to Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport cannot help but notice the construction activity surrounding a new statue being erected at the round-about, approximately half-way between the Bypass and the airport; entrance.
Local interest began to pique last week when traffic trying to access the airport was detoured as construction workers and engineers struggled to place the 8 meter figure atop its foundation which brings the total height of the monument to 19.45 meters.
The bronze monument depicts I Gusti Ngurah Rai, a revolutionary hero who died in the battle of Margarana on November 20, 1946 and the namesake of Bali's airport. A lesser monument of I Gusti Ngurah Rai already stands at the edge of the mangrove forest at the eastern end of the airport's sole runway.
The new statue measuring 8 meters stands (including its podium platform) a total of 19.45 meters high. The monument will be surrounded by 17 water fountains. Those numbers are not coincidental and reflect 17-8-1945 the date on which the Indonesian Republic dates its birth when Soekarno and Hatta declared national independence in Jakarta.

Empowering People, Strengthening Networks, Fighting AIDS
9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific August 9-13, 2009 in Bali.

Organizers recently paid a visit on the Regent (Bupati) of Badung, Anak Agung Gede Agung, to brief him on preparations for the Ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) to be held in Bali August 9-13, 2009.
The theme adopted for the Bali conference is ”Empowering People, Strengthening Networks” and seeks to empower people - both HIV-positive and HIV-negative vulnerable to HIV - and strengthen networks - faith-based organizations, communities, governments, regions, sectors, as well as individuals - to affect change.
Specific issues to be discussed at the Bali conference to be held at Nusa Dua include mobility, migration, and people with disabilities within the context of those affected by AIDS/HIV.
Experts on HIV/AIDS and policymakers will share their experience and knowledge on the disease while in Bali. Expertise and knowledge will be exchanged to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS, focusing on creating policies that enhance access to the treatment and prevention of the epidemic.
Related Article
[Asia-Pacific AIDS Congress in Bali Set for 2009]
Conference Website
[ Ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP)]

Crocodile Shock in Bali
Animal Rights Groups Up in Arms About Deplorable Condition of Bask of More than 130 Crocodiles Abandoned at Taman Festival Bali.

According to Jakarta Globe, the animal rights group Pro Fauna has raised the alarm regarding the deplorable condition of a large bask of crocodiles abandoned at Padang Galak, just north of Bali's famous Sanur Beach. The reptile collection were once part of the various attractions located at Taman Festival - a 9.8 hectare entertainment and recreation park operated by Indonesian businessman Bambang Pangestu. The bankrupted park closed in 2000 in a half-completed status.
Also left behind was a large group of captive crocodiles housed in a pit who have multiplied and survived, nourished by people who have brought food and, more recently, through cannibalization.
According to Rosek Nursahid of Pro Fuana, "We've monitored their condition for the past six months and they aren't being treated properly, although there are keepers that have been appointed to take care of them." The Malang-based animal rights group has made formal complaints to the Bali Conservational Agency (BKSDA) and the Ministry of Forestry in December but have received no response from these agencies.
The reptiles, kept in rancid pools, are resorting to cannibalism to stay alive. While difficult to count, a census carried out in 2007 estimated 130 crocodiles were living at the park.
The lack of an official response to a situation urgently threatening animals in Bali is pointed by some as an indication of the poor monitoring and control carried out by those charged with supervising animal welfare in Bali.

High, Dry and Busted in Bali
Huge Cache of Illegal Alcohol and Counterfeit Custom Stamps Seized in Bali.

Bali's Custom and Excise Officers have conducted a raid on a warehouse in Bali confiscating thousands of bottles of imported wine and alcohol. The raid, conducted in April 16, 2009, uncovered nearly 550 cases of alcohol containing over 5,600 bottles. Also discovered by customs officials were a quantity of counterfeit custom stickers.
According to NusaBali, officials estimate the potential loss in government revenues represented by the illegal alcohol and customs stamps at Rp. 8.7 billion (US$950,000).
Indonesian Customs regulations provide for criminal prosecution of those connected with illegal smuggling operations. Punishment under the law can total up to 8 years behind bars and fines equal to 20 times the applicable import duty.
Customs officials have taken into custody a businessman with the initials KS who reportedly purchased the alcohol and false stamps from parties in Jakarta and Surabaya.
On one level, the Bali raids can be seen as a manifestation of warnings from many quarters that the recently introduced custom's duty on imported alcohol approaching 300% are a virtual guarantee that a black market in imported alcohol will soon emerge.

Where Prayers are Not a Moveable Feast
Balinese Hindu's Seek to Protect Holy Temple at GWK Complex

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) officials have asked for the assistance from the highest ranking Hindu organization in Bali (PHDI) and the Department of Religious affairs to help mediate a long-standing conflict between the cultural park and local residents over the Pura Majapahit temple located within the boundaries of the 230-hectare facility.
The controversy centers around the desire of GWK's management to move the contested temple to a new location and the steadfast insistence that the temple be maintained in situ and local residents be allowed unfettered access to the religious site.
In recent weeks, local residents surrounding the GWK complex have launched protests and religious parades through the park, including a demonstration that briefly blocked the park's entrance on March 30, 2009.
Meetings held between GWK's management and local Hindu devotees living in close proximity to the park have reached an impasse, prompting GWK to seek outside mediation of the problem.
Related Article
[See: Protestors Shut Down GWK Access for One Day]

Garuda's Profitability Zooms in 2008
Efficiency, New Aircraft and the Sales of Assets Allows Garuda Profits to Increase Eleven-Fold in 2008.

Garuda Indonesia experienced an 11-fold increase in net profits in 2008 as compared to 2007. Net profits in 2008 for the Indonesian flag carrier totaled Rp. 669 billion (US$59.7 million) while in 2007 only Rp. 60 billion (US$5.4 million) in profits were booked.
In 2008 Garuda carried 10.1 million paying passengers, an increase of 9.8% over 2007 when 9.2 million passengers flew with the airline.
Quoted in Kompas, the airline's CEO, Emirsyah Satar, analyzed Garuda's good fortune, saying: "in the current global financial crisis, airline passengers are decreasing more on long haul routes. Passenger loads on domestic and regional routes continue to grow."
Satar also attributed his airlines profitability on fuel saving programs, an increasingly younger fleet of aircraft, electronic procurement systems and other management efficiencies now being introduced.
An aviation analyst, Dudi Sudibyo, also credits Garuda's surge in profitability to the sale of the corporate headquarter building in downtown Jakarta, suggesting that the vastly improved profitability is not completely due to operational issues and may not be sustainable over the long term.
Garuda operates 50 Boeing 737-NG, 10 Boeing 777-300ER and is scheduled to receive a new Boeing 777-800NG and Airbus 330 in June of 2009.

Yuyun Ismawati Honored with Goldman Prize
Bali-based Environmentalist Honored for Grass Root Efforts to Save the World.

Yuyun Ismawati, a 44-year-old single mother in Bali has just been awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in establishing Bali Fokus - a community-based environmental group.
Established in 2000, Bali Fokus works with local residents to recycle waste and capture recyclable items before their disposal at local dumps. A total of 40 people now work with Bali Fokus separating trash and composting organic matter collected from over 500 households. Recycled items are turned into handicrafts that are sold and produce income while compost is bagged and sold to gardeners.
Ismawati is also credited with helping to establish SANIMAS - a community sanitation efforts that is now in operation across Indonesia in 75 cities.
She is also a founder of Indonesia's Toxic-Free Network - an association of non-governmental organizations working together to combat incineration of wastes, pesticides and the introduction of heavy metals into the eco-system.
.An indefatigable environmentalist, Ismawati has helped draft legislation on waste management and climate change.
Goldman Environmental Prize
The prestigious Goldman Environmental Award is given to community-based environmental champions working at the grass root level.
Now in it's 20th year, recipients are given a cash award of US$150,000 – divided among winners within one of six geographical regions.
Winner were honored at ceremonies held at the San Francisco Opera House and the Smithsonian National History Museum in Washington, D.C.

Garuda to Fly Brisbane-Bali in November 2009.
As Garuda 'Good-Byes' Darwin, Plans are Made to Restart Brisbane Service.

Bali Post reports that Garuda Indonesia is considering re-establishing flight service between Bali (Denpasar) and Brisbane, Australia. The re-examination of the viability of putting Brisbane back on the Indonesian carrier's Australian gateways comes on heals of the recent termination of service to Darwin and an ongoing evaluation of route efficacy.
Garuda's CEO, Emirsyah Satar told reporters in Jakarta on April 24, 2009: "We will re-open the Denpasar-Brisbane route beginning in November. We see the Brisbane market as prospective. Hopefully, everything goes as planned."
The Commercial and Marketing Director or Garuda, Agus Priyanto, said the re-opening of the Bali-Brisbane run is part of a general route restructuring and efforts to maximize the revenue produced by the current fleet. He also said that the current competitive setting demands that Garuda cannot afford to fly to destinations only once or twice in a week.
When asked about his Airline's recent decision to abandon Darwin after 28 years, Emirsyah said the decision to stop flying to Darwin was purely commercial in nature. The Indonesian carrier will continue to fly to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Said Emirsyah, "actually, it was not only Garuda who decided to no longer fly to Darwin, but also silk Air, Qantas, and even Royal Brunei."

Bali Considers New Laws on Pet Ownership
Bali Discusses Laws to Bring Island's Pet Population Under Control.

The provincial government of Bali is in the process of preparing new laws that will help control rabies by introducing rules and procedures affecting pet ownership.
The draft legislation, being discussed in a series of public hearings, stipulate:
• Any dog, cat or pet monkey running loose on public streets is subject to capture and detention.
• Pet owners will be able to claim their pets back after paying the cost of warding their pet in a detention center.
• Pets not claimed can be offered for adoption, but may be euthanized if new homes cannot be found.
• Pet owners will be required to register their pets with local animal control authorities.
• Pet shops and pet dealers must be officially licensed.
• Owners will be required to keep their pets under control and provide preventative inoculations.
The draft legislation, if approved, would set a new standard of attention to animal welfare on the island and require the authorities to build a pet pound to house captured pets awaiting reclaiming, adoption or extermination.
The new law is likely to prove controversial with many Balinese families who maintain a loose master-pet relationship with their dogs; allowing pets to come and go as they please from their family compound.
Another part of the new pet owner law also provides for 6 months of imprisonment and fines of up to Rp. 50 million (US$5,450) if anyone fails to report suspected cases of rabies to the authorities.

Take a Photo Tour of Bali
International Business Times Takes a Photo Tour of Bali.

International Business Times have published a photographic journal of a Bali tours by Debra Corbeil.
The article and pictures are available at [Traditional Bali – A Photo Tour]
Both the island and the on-line article are well worth a visit!

Global Concern Over Swine Flu
No Cases of Swine Influenze Reported in Indoesia or the Rest of Southeast Asia.

Fears of a potential global pandemic loom as new cases of Swine Influenza (H1N1) are now suspected in diverse geographical locations including Mexico, U.S.A., Canada, Spain and New Zealand. A unique form of influenza, the swine variety is described by health experts as containing strains of swine, bird and human influenze ciruses.
Symptom resemble typical cases of the flu with patients complaining of fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In some cases diarrhea and vomiting are also presented sypmtoms.
Unlike most influenza outbreaks which place the very young and elderly at particular risk, the current outbreak of swine influenza is most insidious among young adults. As of Monday, April 27, 2009, CNN reports 81 deaths have resulted from the disease, all in Mexico.
The disease has brought Mexico’s capital to a standstill. Schools and unioversities have suspended courses, public gathetings cancelled and Sunday masses in the strongly Catholic city were devoid of worshippers over the weekend.
The U.S. government has declared a public health emergency with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warning the U.S. to expect more, potentially severe cases. The CDC has activated is Emergency Operations Center while the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”
The WHO is not, however, recommending any restrictions on trade or travel in connection with the outbreak.
Several countries have issued travel warnings cautioning against travel to the United States.
In this age of international air travel, governments world-wide have responded by setting up screening stations to help prevent the spread of the disease. Rehearsed and ready as a the result of the SARs scare of recent years, health officials in Asia have both the knowledged and equipment to employ. In Indonesia, public health teams have been deployed to international airports armed with thermal sceeners and the power to send passengers suspected of being infected with the disease to special isolation epidemic wards at nearby hospitals.
As of Monday, April 27, 2009, there have been no swine flu cases reported in Indonesia or in other locations in Southeast Asia.
Precuations Recommended
In oder to halt the spread of Swin Flu people are reocmmended to:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you become sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. will provide regular Swine Influenza Updates via its home page.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Business,Trade, Oil, Gas, Mining updates from Jakarta

- Indonesian Telco Indosat's Profit Plunges 82 Pct
- Astra’s Federal Unit Plans 14.6% Bond Yields to Lure Investors
- Bank Tabungan Sets Indicative Coupon On IDR1.5 Tln Bonds
- BNI Hopes To See 20% Increase In Net Profit
- Indonesia's Bank Jabar Banten Raises IPO Earning Target
- Indonesian Govt Trying To Save $2 Bln From 2009 State Budget
- Indonesia permits 3 firms to import 125KT raw sugar
- Indonesia's Production Of Processed Cacao Down 30%
- Indonesia's Bakrie Plantations Posts 32% Fall In Q1 Sales
- Indonesia's Citilink To Operate As Independent Airline
- Indonesia's Garuda reaps big profit in 2008
- Indonesia's KAI Facing End Of Monopoly In Railway Operations
- Indonesian Govt Preparing Draft On Stopping Hcfc Imports
- Germany Is Main Rattan Export Destination Of Cirebon,
- Indonesian Govt To Popularize Brands Of 200 Domestic Products
- Indonesia Expecting Forex Earning From ADB Meeting In Bali
- Mozambique, Indonesian Firm Sign $30 Mln Gas Deal
- Mozambique Signs Gas Explor Contract With PT Kalila Energi
- Indonesia's Pertamina to buy 510,000 barrels HSFO for May
- Pertamina allocates 1 mil bls May LSWR for export
- Irregularities In Oil, Gas Cause Potential Losses To Indonesia
- Santos 1Q Revenue Falls 15%, Maintains Output Call
- Newcrest Output Drops 17% as Cadia, Gosowong Slow
(Courtesy Joyo News Service)

Indonesian Telco Indosat's Profit Plunges 82 Pct
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia pulse - State telecommunications operator
PT Indosat Tbk said on Wednesday its net profit in the first
quarter of 2009 plunged 82.4 per cent to Rp107.9 billion (US$10
million) from Rp613.9 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Indosat President Director Johnny Swandi said the rupiah's
depreciation against the dollar was responsible for the drop.
He said income only grew 5.3 per cent to Rp4.497 trillion in the
January-March 2009 period from Rp4.269 trillion in the same
period last year.
Operating expenses meanwhile rose 6.3 per cent to Rp3.42
trillion from Rp3.22 trillion and total debts increased 3.5 per
cent to Rp17.49 trillion from Rp23 trillion.
Astra’s Federal Unit Plans 14.6% Bond Yields to Lure Investors
By Naila Firdausi
April 23 (Bloomberg) -- PT Federal International Finance, a unit
of Indonesia’s largest auto retailer PT Astra International,
said it will price new bonds to yield as much as 14.6 percent to
lure investors.
The Jakarta-based company plans to price 365 billion rupiah ($33
million) of 370-days notes to yield 12.55 percent, 93 billion
rupiah of two-year bonds to yield 13.55 percent and 542 billion
rupiah of three-year bonds to yield 14.6 percent, it said in a
statement published in the Investor Daily Indonesia newspaper
PT Federal plans to use money raised from the sales to boost
lending, the statement said. The offer period for the bonds
lasts through April 27, and the company will list the notes on
the Indonesia Stock Exchange on April 30.
The company on March 18 said plans to sell 600 billion rupiah of
Bank Tabungan Sets Indicative Coupon On IDR1.5 Tln Bonds
JAKARTA, April 23 (Dow Jones)--Unlisted Indonesian lender PT
Bank Tabungan Negara will sell its three bond tranches, worth a
total of IDR1.5 trillion ($136.7 million), with coupons at an
indicative 150 to 200 basis points above coupons on government
benchmarks of the same tenors, the bank's finance director said
Bank Tabungan, a state-owned, midsized lender, will look to
price its three-year bond based on the FR18 government bond that
matures July 2012; its four-year bond based on the FR33
four-year government bond; and its five-year notes on the FR51
five-year government series, Finance Director Saud Pardede said
ahead of a news conference.
The FR18 pays a coupon of 13.175%, the FR33 12.5% and the FR51
11.25%, according to data from the finance ministry and the
Interdealer Market Association.
Pardede said bookbuilding begins Thursday and will end May 5,
with the bonds to be offered to investors May 22-26.
The funds raised will be used to support Bank Tabungan's loan
growth, he said without elaborating.
PT Danareksa Sekuritas, PT Mandiri Sekuritas and PT Trimegah
Securities are underwriting the bonds.
BNI Hopes To See 20% Increase In Net Profit
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Publicly traded bank PT Bank
Negara Indonesia (BNI) (JSX:BBNI) is set to see a 20 per cent
increase in net profit this year after recording a strong growth
last year.
Last year the state bank posted a 36.1 per cent rise in net
profit to Rp1.22 trillion (US$110.9 million) with net interest
income surging 32.7 per cent to Rp9.91 trillion.
Its Vice President Felia Salim said the bank hopes to continue
to see an increase in interest and fee-based income this year
despite gloomy economic outlook.
Commercial and consumer credits still contribute strongly to net
interest income and fee-based income is also growing , Felia
The bank, however, has to pay more attention to growing non
performing loan (NPL) especially involving corporate credits,
she was quoted as saying by the newspaper Investor Daily.
Last year, the bank succeeded in slashing its gross NPL rate
from 8.2 per cent to 4.9 per cent and this year it hopes to cut
the figure lower, she said.
Indonesia's Bank Jabar Banten Raises IPO Earning Target
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's PT Bank Jabar Banten
has raised the amount it hopes to earn from initial public
offering (IPO) to be launched in the last quarter of this year.
The bank owned by the provincial administrations of West Java
and Banten raised the earning target to Rp385 billion (US$35
million) from Rp300 billion set earlier from the IPO, which has
been delayed since 2007.
Corporate secretary Endang Ruchiyat said the bank will sell 20
per cent of its shares in the IPO reducing the shares of the
regional administrations to 80 per cent.
The bank is also studying possibility of issuing bonds valued up
to Rp2 trillion in the second half of this year to increase its
credit financing capacity, the newspaper Investor Daily said.
Indonesian Govt Trying To Save $2 Bln From 2009 State Budget
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - The government is trying to save
Rp21 trillion (US$2 billion)from the 2009 state budget to be
able to cut a state budget deficit to 1.3 per cent of the gross
domestic product (GDP) next year, a minister said.
Speaking to the press after opening a coordination meeting of
national development here on Wednesday, State Minister of
National Development Planning Paskah Suzetta said the fund could
also be used to increase fiscal stimuli and government subsidy
next year.
"We will try to optimize the use of the 2009 state budget fund
so that we can save Rp21 trillion to keep down the budget
deficit to 1.3 percent," he said.
By doing so, the government was optimistic that the 2010 budget
deficit would be lower than the projected 2.5 per cent of the
GDP for this year, he said.
In the draft 2010 state budget, the government would continue to
rely on tax receipts, he said.
Suzetta, who is also chief of the National Development Planning
Agency (Bappenas) said the draft 2010 state budget would
constantly be based on conservative approaches although the
economy would begin to recover next year.
"The year 2009 is the most fragile phase as the economic growth
will contract," he said.
Indonesia permits 3 firms to import 125KT raw sugar
JAKARTA, April 23 (Reuters) - Indonesia has issued permits to
three sugar refiners to import 125,000 tonnes of raw sugar ahead
of schedule to replenish stocks, traders said.
The permits were to be given for imports in the second half of
this year but the three can start buying now because they are
running out of stock, a trader in Jakarta said.
The three firms are PT Permata Dunia Sukses Utama, PT Sugar
Labinta and PT Makassar Tenne. They were among seven refiners
which obtained permits in December to buy 807,365 tonnes of raw
sugar during the first six months of 2009.
Diah Maulida, director general of foreign trade at the trade
ministry, confirmed that PT Permata Dunia Sukses Utama is one of
few firms receiving the permits but she would not give more
Indonesia relies on imported raw sugar, since domestic supply of
the sweetener is not yet sufficient, to produce high quality
refined sugar used by the food and beverage industry.
Southeast Asia's biggest economy is however scaling back imports
of white sugar for household consumption since domestic output
is bigger than consumption. (Reporting by Yayat Supriatna;
Writing by Aloysius Bhui; Editing by Ben Tan)
Indonesia's Production Of Processed Cacao Down 30%
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's production of
processed cacao sank 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 on
sagging market demand especially in international market.
Production fell to only 31,200 tons in the first three months of
this year from 44,500 tons in the same period last year, the
association of cacao industries said.
Association chairman Aluisius Wayadanu said two processing
factories have even stopped operation in South Sulawesi, one of
the largest cacao bean production centers in the country.
Aluisius said exports have been on the decline since the last
quarter of 2008 with shrinking demands in major markets
including the United States, Europe and Japan.
Last year, the world's third largest producer of cacao beans,
produced 178,000 tons of processed products of cacao and 80 per
cent of which were exported, the newspaper Investor Daily
Indonesia's Bakrie Plantations Posts 32% Fall In Q1 Sales
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - PT Bakrie Sumatera Plantations
(JSX:UNSP) posted a 32 per cent decline in sales to Rp459.6
billion (US$41.8 million) in the first quarter of this year from
Rp677.8 billion in the same period last year.
The prices of its products, crude palm oil and rubber sank in
international market, a company official cited.
Its sales of CPO were valued at Rp351.6 billion in the first
three months of 2009 down 28 per cent from the same period last
year, Dian Indah, its investor relations officer said.
A sharper fall of 42 per cent was recorded in the sales of
rubber to Rp108 billion from Rp187.7 billion, Dian added.
Indonesia's Citilink To Operate As Independent Airline From July
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Citilink, a business unit of the
Indonesia's flag carrier Garuda Indonesia will start to operate
as an independent airline in July, an airline official said.
Juwono Tjipto, the marketing manager of Citilink, which serves
domestic routes, said the spin off process is now in the final
Juwono said Citilink already has three units of aircraft
including two units of Boeing 737-300 and one unit of Boeing
737-400 and the number will be increased to 10 units by the end
of this year.
In September, Citilink is to receive a grant of 5 units of
aircraft from Garuda allowing it to widen its service areas, he
was quoted as saying by the newspaper Investor Daily.
Indonesia's Garuda reaps big profit in 2008
JAKARTA, April 23 (AFP) -- Profits for flag-carrying airline
Garuda Indonesia jumped more than tenfold in 2008 thanks to
increased revenue and higher passenger numbers, the company's
chief executive said Thursday.
The company's net profit for January to December last year
surged to 670 billion rupiah (60.97 million dollars), up from 60
billion rupiah the year before, Emirsyah Satar was quoted as
saying by Dow Jones Newswires.
"At a time when most airline companies reported weak earnings
last year, Garuda was able to book a strong profit due to higher
revenues," Satar said.
Garuda's revenue rose 37 percent on year to 19.4 trillion rupiah
from 14.2 trillion a year earlier, he said.
The airline carried 10.1 million passengers last year, an
increase of nine percent from 2007.
The carrier has increased profits despite stiff competition from
regional and low-cost carriers and years of heavy debt
The company made a net loss of 688.47 billion rupiah in 2005,
narrowing it to 197 billion in 2006.
Garuda has struggled under a European Union ban imposed in 2007
on safety concerns preventing all Indonesian airlines from
flying in its airspace.
A Garuda Boeing 737 crash-landed at an airport in the Javanese
city of Yogyakarta in 2007, killing 21 people.
Indonesia's KAI Facing End Of Monopoly In Railway Operations
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - The Indonesian government will
soon introduce a regulation paving the way for the
liberalization of the railway sector.
The ministry of transport has submitted a draft regulation on
the railways to the state secretary for presidential approval,
the newspaper The Jakarta Post said.
Tunjung Inderawan, the railway director general, said the draft
regulation calls for an end to the monopoly of PT Kereta
ApiIndonesia in railway operation n the country.
Meanwhile, a railway analyst from the Indonesian Science
Institute Taufik Hidayat said the regulation should also address
matters such as safety in railway transport and equal treatment
of all players in the business.
Indonesian Govt Preparing Draft On Stopping Hcfc Imports
BANDUNG, April 23 Asia pulse - The Indonesian government is
preparing a draft on the scrapping of hydrochlorofluorcarbon
(HCFC) from the list of import commodities.
"We have stopped the import of types of chlorofluorcarbons, and
later their abolition from the list of import commodities,"
Masnellyarti Hilman, deputy for human resources conservation and
environmental damage control of the Ministry of Environment in
Bandung said Friday.
It was stated in a seminar on challenges and opportunities for
the elimination of ozone destructive substances in Indonesia
that the elimination of HCFC from the list of Indonesian import
commodities, is scheduled for completion in 2013.
And the government's draft on the abolition of
hydrochlorofluocarbons in Indonesia is scheduled for completion
in 2030.
Germany Is Main Rattan Export Destination Of Cirebon, Indonesia
CIREBON, West Java, April 23 Asia Pulse - Germany has become the
biggest destination of Cirebon's rattan handicraft exports
valued at up to US$2 million a month.
Germany had been importing 198 containers of rattan handicraft
goods from Cirebon regency in Indonesia each month, Head of the
Cirebon Regency Industry and Trade Agency Haki told the press on
The commodities with their attractive and artistic shapes and
forms had become very popular and sought in Germany, he said.
He added that the rattan commodity exports to Germany in January
2009 reached 198 containers worth US$2.009 million.
The other countries in Europe which had also imported a great
deal of the commodities from Cirebon are Italy and Greece.
Cirebon's rattan commodity exports in February 2009 reached 745
containers estimated at US$7.6 million he said.
The regency had also been exporting its textile products to
Argentina and Egypt, he added.
Indonesian Govt To Popularize Brands Of 200 Domestic Products
JAKARTA, April 22 Asia pulse - The Indonesian government is to
make an effort to popularize the brands of 200 of the country's
products at home, regionally and globally, Trade Minister Mari
Pangestu said.
"The trade ministry wants the brands of 200 local products to be
widely known in the country, in the region and in the world,"
the minister said here on Wednesday.
She said her office was currently making a database on companies
whose products were potential to have trademarks of their own
including products of small and medium businesses.
To meet the target "we will facilitate them to be able to
participate in various exhibitions," she said.
She said her office would also help improve packaging of
products, provide production equipment and with marketing.
Right now, she said, the government had just launched "Love
Indonesia" campaign logo and program to improve appreciation to
the country's products, services and image in the international
Besides encouraging going global, the trade ministry had also
encouraged small and medium businesses to sell their products in
good packaging and with trademarks.
She said the main problem of small and medium businesses was
their production which was still limited. In view of that, she
said her office would coordinate several small and medium
businesses to meet large-scale orders.
For example, she said, "10 small and medium businesses would be
asked to produce same products to meet orders."
The director of business development and registration of the
ministry's Directorate General of Domestic Trade, Dede Hidayat,
said his office would intensify development programs for small
and medium businesses so that they could become big.
"We are ready to facilitate to make their products enter modern
retail business. We are also ready to help those wishing to make
trademarks or packaging," he said.
Dede said his office was ready to accompany small and medium
businesses during negotiations with retailers and introduce them
to producers of small packages (5,000 to 10,000 product units).
He said his office also had a matchmaking program to connect
small and medium businesses with foreign buyers.
Indonesia Expecting Forex Earning From ADB Meeting In Bali
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Indonesia expects to earn US$7.5
million in foreign exchange from the annual meeting of the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) in Bali on May 2-5, a minister said.
"Around US$7.5 million in foreign exchange is expected to come
from around 2,500 foreign participants through their spendings,"
acting Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sri Mulyani
said after reporting preparations for the meeting to President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here on Wednesday.
She said the 42nd annual ADB meeting was scheduled to be
attended by ADB governors, representatives from international
non-governmental organizations, banking institutions, observers
and investors.
The ADB which is the world's second largest financial
institution after the World Bank has 67 member countries.
"This will be the second time for Indonesia to host such a
meeting," Mulyani said.
She said the event would have a positive impact on Indonesia's
image as it would show Indonesia to be in stable conditions and
able to host an internatinal event and contribute to efforts to
help the world economy recover from the crisis.
"Certainly there will also be tourism promotions during the
event and then more tourists will come," she said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to open the
meeting on May 4.
"President Yudhoyono and president of the ADB would also sign an
ADB annual meeting series stamp," she said.
Mulyani said President Yudhoyono had given directives to ensure
the meticulous preparation of the meeting "so that the
international community's confidence in and perception of
Indonesia is maintained."
Mozambique, Indonesian firm sign $30 mln gas deal
By Charles Mangwiro
MAPUTO, April 23 (Reuters) - Mozambique state oil and gas
Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetes, ENH, signed a $30 million
deal on Thursday with Indonesian mining company, PT Kalila
Production, to look for gas in the central Sofala province.
ENH's Chief Executive Officer, Nelson Ocuane, told reporters the
investment was for gas prospection in the Buzi bloc for the next
eight years. He plans to open two wells for prospection and
another two for evaluation in an area covering 600 kilometres
(373 miles).
"We have signed the deal for the amount of $30 million and ENH
has ceded 75 percent of its shareholding in the Buzi bloc to PT
Kalila production, (and) the two companies would have joint
operations in technical, research and production," Ocuane said.
PT Kalila will be represented locally by Buzi hydrocarbons, a
company 100 percent owned by PT Kalila production.
PT Kalila has operations in Indonesia as well as the United
The government last year awarded ENH a licence to explore for
gas in Buzi, which has estimated reserves of 10-17 billion cubic
feet, as demand for gas by industrial consumers in Mozambique
and neighboring countries rises.
Mozambique has enormous proven gas deposits, but has so far
lacked the technical and financial capability to tap into these
reserves and satisfy its growing energy needs.
(Reporting by Charles Mangwiro, Editing by Henrique Almeida and
Peter Blackburn)
Mozambique Signs Gas Exploration Contract With PT Kalila Energi
By Fred Katerere.
April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Mozambique’s national hydrocarbons
company signed a $30 million agreement with PT Kalila Energi
Ltd. of Indonesia to prospect for gas in the Buzi bloc in the
central Sofala province, the company said.
Kalila will explore for natural gas in the area for the next
eight years and will drill two prospect and two evaluation
wells, Nelson Ocuane, chief executive officer of Empresa
Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos de Mocambique, known and ENH, told
reporters in the capital, Maputo, yesterday.
ENH has ceded 75 percent of its shareholding in the Buzi bloc to
Kalila, Ocuane said. The contact also provides for funding for
social responsibility and staff-training programs.
Platts Commodity News April 23, 2009
Indonesia's Pertamina to buy 510,000 barrels HSFO for May
Singapore-- Indonesia's Pertamina is set to import three cargoes
of 170,000 barrels each of 180 CST high sulfur fuel oil, with 2%
sulfur for May, steady from April levels, a source with
knowledge of the imports said Thursday.
The state-owned refiner is expected to buy all three cargoes
from its trading arm Petral on a term basis.
The three cargoes are expected to be delivered to Jakarta,
Surabaya, and Pulau Sambu.
Pertamina has a term contract to buy two to six cargoes of 180
CST high sulfur fuel oil a month from Petral.
Pertamina buys fuel oil for Indonesia's state-owned power
utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara.
Jonathan Nonis,
Platts Commodity News April 23, 2009
Indonesian Pertamina allocates 1 mil barrels May LSWR for export
Singapore-- Indonesia's state-owned refiner Pertamina has
allocated up to 1 million barrels of low sulfur waxy residue for
export in May, industry sources said Thursday.
This is down 685,000 barrels from what was allocated in April.
Pertamina will export two cargoes of 200,000 barrels each of
mixed-cracked LSWR and three similar-sized cargoes of V-500 LSWR
from its Balikpapan refinery in May.
The state-owned company has not offered any straight run LSWR
from Sungai Pakning, or its Kasim refinery, a source said. "I
don't see any [straight run LSWR] but it may be out later," he
The mixed-cracked LSWR will go to Japanese term-lifter Mitsui,
while the three V-500 LSWR cargoes will go to Japanese term
lifters Itochu, Mitsui as well as Malaysia's Petronas.
The Indonesia state oil company had signed a term contract with
Petronas to supply up to two cargoes of 200,000 barrels each of
V-500 LSWR per month over October2008-September 2009.
Product Volume Lifter Loading (Balikpapan)
V-500 200,000 barrels Petronas May 6-8
Mixed Cracked/V-500 200,000 barrels Mitsui May 10-12
Mixed Cracked/V-500 200,000 barrels Mitsui May 15-17
Mixed Cracked/V-500 200,000 barrels Mitsui May 19-21
V-500 200,000 barrels Itochu May 28-30
Jonathan Nonis,
Irregularities In Oil, Gas Cause Potential Losses To Indonesia
JAKARTA, April 23 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's Supreme Audit Agency
has found Rp30 trillion (US$2.7 billion) of possible budget
losses and irregularities in the first half of last year.
The potential losses caused by irregularities were found mainly
in the oil and gas sector, agency chairman Anwar Nasution said.
The losses were caused largely by mismanagement and lack of
monitoring, Nasution told lawmakers in a meeting.
He said the auditors of the agency found several weaknesses in
government institutions and their failure to comply with laws or
Santos 1Q Revenue Falls 15%, Maintains Output Call
SYDNEY, April 23 (Dow Jones)--Santos Ltd. (STO.AU) Thursday
reported a fall in first-quarter revenue on reduced production
and a lower oil price, but the blow was softened by higher gas
prices and a weaker Australian dollar.
The Adelaide-based company stuck to its annual production and
cost guidance and said that it's continuing to talk to a range
of potential liquefied natural gas customers.
Santos has expansive oil and gas interests in the states of
Western Australia and Victoria, and overseas interests in
Indonesia and Vietnam. But it is pinning most of its growth
prospects on its coal seam gas assets in Queensland and their
potential to be liquefied for shipment to Asia.
Santos said it's continuing marketing discussions with a range
of LNG buyers after telling Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday it's
continued to "encounter firm interest from buyers". Chief
Executive David Knox said in February that its LNG joint venture
with Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, hopes to
sign a customer some time in 2009 - a feat analysts say is
becoming increasingly difficult given the current demand slump
and possible future LNG oversupply.
Revenue at Santos in the three months to March 31 fell 15% to
A$540 million on year as production slipped 4% to 13.2 million
barrels of oil equivalent.
Santos's output was impacted by the sale last year of 40% of its
assets to Petronas and natural field decline.
The company maintained its annual production guidance of 53
million-56 million BOE and its annual production cost guidance
of A$550 million-A$570 million. If Santos's first quarter
production is maintained throughout year, it will hit the bottom
end of its annual production guidance.
First-quarter production of 13.2 million BOE included a 2% rise
in oil output, driven by a better performance from the company's
Western Australian assets. Gas production at Indonesia jumped
30% after pipeline capacity constrictions were eased.
Investors welcomed the steady production figures and relatively
small fall in revenue compared to size of the fall in the oil
price. The company's shares closed 3.9% higher at A$16.50.
Over the first quarter, Santos sold its oil for an average price
of A$71.16, down 33% on-year, but the fall would have been worse
if it weren't for a weaker Australian dollar.
Santo got A$4.50 a gigajoule for its gas, up 13% on-year and
said the rise was primarily due to higher LNG prices. The
company is also benefitting from an undersupply of gas in
Western Australia.
Newcrest Output Drops 17% as Cadia, Gosowong Slow
By Jesse Riseborough
April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s
largest gold mining company, said third-quarter output declined
17 percent because of slowing production at its Cadia mine in
New South Wales state and the Gosowong operation in Indonesia.
Output dropped to 364,794 ounces in the three months ended March
31, from 441,341 ounces a year earlier, the Melbourne- based
company said today in a statement. Copper production rose 11
percent to 23,436 metric tons.
Newcrest today kept its full-year output forecast at 1.63
million ounces to 1.7 million ounces of gold and 85,000 tons to
88,000 tons of copper and will need to boost gold production
this quarter to meet its target. All mines are producing
according to plan, the company said.
Output from its Cadia operation slumped 45 percent due to lower
ore grades and increased movement of waste material, Newcrest
said. Output from Gosowong declined 22 percent, also due to
lower grades and a drop in processing rates, it said.
Newcrest rose 1.7 percent to close at A$28.89 on the Australian
stock exchange. Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.5 percent to
$894.58 an ounce at 6:05 p.m. Sydney time.
The company wants to boost output by about 40 percent to 2.3
million ounces annually by 2014, Newcrest said in a
presentation. The target can be reached by increasing output
from existing mines and excludes acquisitions, Chief Executive
Officer Ian Smith said today on a conference call with analysts.
“Everything within this five-year plan to get to 2.3 million
ounces is at hand,” Smith said. “The chances of further
enhancements as we go through a refreshment of the five- year
plan every 12 months going forward is that we’ll progress that
profile to a better place.”
The company’s gross cash margin widened 36 percent to A$845 an
ounce from the previous quarter, with the average sale price
jumping to A$1,352 an ounce. Gross costs were A$507 an ounce,
down from A$576 an ounce the previous quarter, Newcrest said.

Bali Remains Terrorism Target

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific
April 24, 2009

Indonesian Military Officer Warns Bali Remains Terrorism Target

Text of report by Indonesian government-owned news agency Antara

[Unattributed report: "Bali Remains Likely Target Of Terrorist
Attack : Mily Chief"]

Singaraja, Bali, Apr 22 (ANTARA) - After being hit by two major
terrorist attacks since 2002, Bali is still a very likely target
for any terror group planning to stage a large-scale offensive,
the region's military chief said.

"This is obvious because Bali is a major national as well as
international tourist destination. If Bali is attacked, the
national interest is jeopardized," said Maj Gen Hotmangaraja
Panjaitan, chief of the Udayana Regional Military Command, here

Pandjaitan whose headquarters is in Denpasar came to Singaraja
to officiate at a ceremony marking the transfer of the command
of Raider Infantry Battalion 900 from Lt Col Suhardi to his
succcessor, Lt Col I Wayan Suarjana.

The raider infantry battalion is one of the Udayana Regional
Military Command's crack units with anti-terror and commando

All regional military commands in the country, except in
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) and Jakarta, have raider infantry

Pandjaitan said since the last terrorist attack in Bali a few
years ago, there had been no indications of another terrorist
offensive. "But we all don't want to wait until a new offensive
does happen. We, together with all components of the community,
continue to try to identify any potential terrorist attack and
to preempt any," he said.

Panjaitan said, should a terrorist threat arise in Bali, the men
of Raider Infantry Battalion 900 would serve as a counter strike
force and thus be the first security force to move against the

Source: Antara news agency, Jakarta, in Indonesian 22 Apr 09

Indonesian Politics - In the Face of Hypocrisy

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has chosen
former army general with possible ties to human rights violations
Prabowo Subianto as a running mate in the upcoming presidential

Speaking after the party's national summit in Lenteng Agung,
South Jakarta, secretary general Pramono Anung said Megawati's
running mate must be an individual who possessed a fighting

"PDI-P is well known as a political party that fights.
Therefore, it is very important for the vice-president candidate
to have such quality," PDI-P secretary general Pramono told a
press conference.

Pramono said Prabowo, founder of Great Indonesia Movement Party
(Gerindra), was favored by almost all of party representatives
from 33 regions.

"The official announcement and final composition of PDI-P's
president and vice-president candidates will be made to public
before the deadline on May 9," he added.

Prabowo's "fighter" persona is sufficiently backed by his past
history as the one of New Order's top dog generals.

He has been considered by many to be the leading actor behind
activists abduction at the dawn of the New Order era in the late
1990's, through a so called "Rose Operation".

Most of those activists are still missing and the possibility of
their demise is second to none, judging from the time frame of
their abduction to the present date.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

China Uses Global Crisis to Assert Its Influence

Along With Aid to Other Nations, Beijing Offers Up Criticism of the West

BEIJING -- With Jamaica's currency in free fall, unemployment
soaring and banks heavily exposed to government debt, the
Caribbean island's diplomats went into crisis mode earlier this
year. They traveled to all corners of the world to seek help.
Jamaica's traditional allies, the United States and Britain,
were preoccupied with their own financial problems, but a new
friend jumped at the opportunity to come to the rescue: China.
When contracts for loan packages totaling $138 million were
signed between the two countries in March, China became
Jamaica's biggest financial partner. Headlines in Jamaica's
leading newspapers, which only a year ago were filled with
concern about China's growing influence in the region, gushed
about its generosity.
"The loan couldn't have come more in time and on more preferred
terms," E. Courtenay Rattray, Jamaica's ambassador to China,
said in an interview. While the island nation continues to value
its close relationships with Western powers, he added, in some
respects Jamaica has more in common with China. "Those are
developed countries. They don't have such an in-depth
understanding of the development aspirations of Jamaica as does
China," he said.
Overseas aid and loans are just one way China is asserting
itself in its new role as a world financial leader. While
polishing China's own image, Premier Wen Jiabao and other top
leaders have blamed the West for the global economic crisis.
Chinese officials increasingly are challenging the primacy of
the dollar, warning other countries about the danger of keeping
reserves in just one or two currencies, such as dollars and
euros. And as the global economic crisis has eroded faith in
U.S.-style capitalism, there's growing talk that a new "Beijing
Consensus" will replace the long-dominant Washington Consensus
on how developing countries should manage their economies.
Coined by British economist John Williamson 20 years ago, the
term "Washington Consensus" refers to a standard set of policies
-- including privatization of state enterprises, free trade,
deregulation and restraint in public spending -- that the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the U.S.
Treasury Department have long urged on debt-ridden nations,
particularly in Latin America.
A fierce debate has broken out among academics and financial
policymakers about how to define the Beijing Consensus, or even
whether such a thing exists; many say that it is a loose package
of political points rather than an economic model, and that
there is no formal effort by the Chinese government to promote
it. But some experts are already calling it a challenge to the
existing order.
"It is very possible that the Beijing Consensus can replace the
Washington Consensus," said Cui Zhiyuan, a professor of public
policy at Tsinghua University who edited a recent book on the
subject. "Since the crisis, the world doesn't have as much
confidence in the U.S. economic model as before."
In a report last month titled "The Beijing Consensus," South
Korea's Ministry of Strategy and Finance sounded an alarm over
China's aid and loans. Developing countries that accept Chinese
assistance, it warned, may lower their guard and gravitate
toward a Chinese-style economic model.
Jamaica's Rattray dismissed those fears as overblown. China's
financial assistance to his country came with "no requirement to
adopt specific macroeconomic policy approaches," he said, and
there is "no debate about the government of Jamaica's commitment
to a free-market economic model."
Cheng Enfu, an economics researcher at the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences, a government-affiliated think tank, said he
defines the Beijing Consensus as promotion of economies in which
public ownership remains dominant; gradual reform is preferred
to "shock therapy"; the country is open to foreign trade but
remains largely self-reliant; and large-scale market reform
takes place first, followed later by political and cultural
The global economic crisis, Cheng said, "displays the advantages
of the Chinese model" and has already expanded China's
influence. "Some mainstream economists are saying that India
should learn from China; Latin American countries are trying to
learn from China. When foreign countries send delegations to
China, they show interest in the Chinese way of developing,"
Cheng said.
Barry Sautman, a political scientist at Hong Kong University of
Science and Technology, said in a research paper that Western
academics often deride the Chinese model as "economic growth
without the constraints of democratic institutions." But, he
argued, the emerging Beijing Consensus "takes seriously some
aspirations of developing states often ignored or opposed by the
West," such as "a more equitable international distribution of
wealth and power."
As Beijing grows more assertive in international finance, it is
working inside as well as outside existing organizations. In
January, it joined the Inter-American Development Bank -- which
is active in Latin America and the Caribbean -- as a donor
country. It is in talks with the IMF to increase its
contribution to the fund in exchange for more of a say in IMF
policies. And in Asia, it is leading the push by the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations for a regional fund that will compete
with the Asian Development Bank.
This week, China's allies Kazakhstan and Pakistan -- both of
which recently got new loans from China -- threw their support
behind calls from China's central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan,
to create a new world or Asian reserve currency to replace the
dollar. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who also signed a
credit line with China recently, has backed the proposal.
In the past five months, China has signed $95 billion in
currency swap agreements with six countries that now hold part
of their reserves in yuan. The government has also begun to
allow companies in southern China to settle contracts with
foreign neighbors in yuan instead of dollars or euros.
Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University who as far
back as 2006 predicted a U.S. economic collapse triggered by a
housing bubble, said in an interview that the financial crisis
has shown that "different countries grow in different ways, and
nobody has the monopoly on that type of wisdom." While he does
not expect any immediate change in the international monetary
system, he said, in five to 10 years "the Chinese currency could
be the new reserve currency."
But Michael Pettis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace and a professor of finance at Peking
University, says China's recent moves are more about public
relations and aiding diplomatic allies than a true effort to
remake the global financial system or to push a new model of
development. Beijing has long used foreign aid to encourage
developing countries to stop recognizing Taiwan -- as Jamaica
did in 1972 -- and the talk about creating a new international
"supercurrency" may be mostly a warning to the United States not
to cover mounting deficits simply by printing money.
"It's about signaling concern about U.S. monetary policy,"
Pettis said.
At an economic forum in the southern Chinese city of Boao last
weekend, China's leaders seized every opportunity to criticize
Western countries and institutions.
China's top banking regulator, Liu Mingkang, called the recent
Group of 20 meetings in London and Washington "mainly lip
service without many concrete actions." Former vice premier Zeng
Peiyan said that if the United States wants to continue
receiving "foreign funding support," it should guarantee the
value of its Treasury securities to countries that buy them. And
Zheng Xinli, deputy head of the China Center for Economic
Exchanges, an influential new research center, called for a new
Asian development bank to compete with Western-dominated
By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Foreign Service

Researchers Zhang Jie in Beijing and Robert E. Thomason