Indonesian President Joko Widodo plans to spend $22 billion on infrastructure development in 2015 to help revive Southeast Asiaâ€™s biggest economy from the weakest expansion in at least five years.
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Traffic jams in Jakarta cost the city at least Rp 28.1 trillion (US$3 billion) each year, the Transportation Ministry says.
â€œThe greatest area of loss, amounting to Rp 10.7 trillion per year, is related to fuels," Transportation Ministry Inpector General Iskandar Abubakar said Thursday during a discussion on mass transportation systems in Jakarta, as reported by tempointeraktif.com.
The notorious traffic congestion also inflicts losses of at least Rp 9.7 trillion in lost productivity, while losses related to health reached Rp 5.8 trillion and public transportation owners suffered Rp 1.9 trillion in losses.
As of last December there were more than 11 million vehicles in Jakarta , comprising 9 million motorbikes, 3 million cars, and 63,000 public transportation vehicles.
The deteriorating situation along the Thai-Cambodian border was undermining confidence in Asean and affecting economic recovery, tourism and investment prospects, Asean chief Surin Pitsuwan said in an urgent message to the two countries over the latest deadly flare-up.
The violent conflict started with gunfire and an artillery dual in mid-afternoon on Friday near the long disputed site of Phra Viharn/Preah Vihear Temple. While the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, areas close to it are claimed by both sides.
Surin called on both sides to allow Asean to help them reach some form of temporary truce and cool down the emotions and anger so that the higher interest of both peoples and Asean could be protected and enhanced.
"The situation has escalated into open conflict. And that will definitely affect our economic development, confidence in our region, and tourism and prospects for foreign investment, which have just been picking up in light of the world economic recovery," he said.
Diplomatic sources revealed that Surin's wishes would materialise soon as Indonesia, the current Asean chair, is also stepping up diplomatic efforts to help the two sides find a temporary solution, so that bilateral mechanisms can accomplish their objectives of border demarcation and peace.
Actor cum politician Tjandra Pratomo â€œAdjieâ€ Samiadji Massaid died of heart attack at the Fatmawati Hospital in South Jakarta early on Saturday morning.
Adjie died at the age of 43.
Ayob, one of staffers to Adjieâ€™s wife Angelina Sondakh, confirmed Adjieâ€™s death.
â€œWe are all shocked and saddened by the news,â€ said Ayob as quoted by Antara.
Adjie reportedly got a heart attack after playing futsal on Saturday evening.
â€œHe loves sports. We never think that he would die like this,â€ Ayob said.
Adjie has been elected as House of Representatives member from Democratic Party from 2004-2009 and 2009-2014. He married to former model and fellow House member Angelina Sondakh in 2009 and had one child. He had two children from his first marriage with singer Reza Artamevia. They divorced in 2005.
Democratic Party faction chairman Jafar Hafsah said that Adjieâ€™s death is a big loss for the party.
â€œWe lost our hopeful and tough cadre,â€ he said.
He is scheduled to be buried today at the Jeruk Purut cemetery in South Jakarta. Before his funeral, the public can pay their last respects at Jl. Taman Cilandak 2 Block E No. 14, Cilandak Barat, South Jakarta.
State oil and gas firm PT Pertamina lowered the price of its non-subsidized fuel, Pertamax, in Greater Jakarta on Thursday in response to a spike in the consumption of subsidized fuel.
A Pertamina press release on Friday said that the price of Pertamax was lowered to Rp 7,950 (88 US cents) per liter from Rp 8,050. The prices of other non-subsidized fuels remained the same â€” Pertamax Plus stayed at Rp 8,450 and Pertamina Dex at Rp 8,750.
Company spokesman Mochamad Harun said Pertamina made the cut to prevent private car owners from shifting to subsidized Premium gasoline due to the large price difference between Premium subsidized fuel and Pertamax.
â€œThe lower price is an incentive for private car owners to prevent them from buying Premium,â€ he said.
Downstream oil and gas regulator BPH Migas head Tubagus Haryono said earlier that between Jan. 1 and 16, Premium consumption jumped 13.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
Harun said Pertamina did not decide to lower the price of Pertamax because it was afraid of losing out to its competitors, foreign private fuel distributors (i.e. Shell, Petronas and Total), which offered cheaper prices.
He said even with the higher prices customers preferred to use Pertaminaâ€™s products because they were better quality.
Indonesiaâ€™s rupiah climbed to a four- week high after the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates for the first time in more than two years, to help contain inflation. The governmentâ€™s benchmark 10-year bonds advanced.
Bank Indonesia increased its reference rate to 6.75 percent from a record-low 6.5 percent, Deputy Governor Halim Alamsyah told reporters in Jakarta today.
The move was predicted by six of 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg before the announcement, with the rest having forecast no change. Consumer prices in Southeast Asiaâ€™s biggest economy rose 7.02 percent from a year earlier in January, the most in 21 months, data showed this week.
â€œItâ€™s a good move to prevent inflation from going too far,â€ said Mika Martumpal, a senior market analyst at PT Bank Commonwealth in Jakarta. â€œThis will bode well for investors because it signals that the central bank is serious about fighting inflation.â€
The rupiah rose 0.4 percent to 8,993 per dollar as of 4:40 p.m. in Jakarta, from 9,025 when local financial markets were last open on Feb. 2, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency strengthened to as much as 8,990, the highest since Jan. 6.
The rupiah gained 0.4 percent this week. Indonesiaâ€™s markets were closed yesterday for a public holiday.
Ten-year government debt gained. The yield on the 8.25 percent bond due July 2021 fell one basis point to 8.91 percent, according to closing prices from the Inter Dealer Market Association.
Two-year government bonds declined. The yield on the 11 percent note due December 2012 climbed 33 basis points to 7.65 percent, the biggest one-day rise since Jan. 25. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
â€œWe donâ€™t expect a sustained rally in bond yields yet, as investors are still uncertain about whether inflation has peaked ,â€ said Helmi Arman, a bond strategist at PT Bank Danamon Indonesia in Jakarta.
The Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has protested against the use of the word â€œIndonâ€ in a Malaysian newspaper, arguing that it carries negative connotations.
The protest was in response to an article in Berita Harian, titled â€œTaktik Kotor Indonâ€ (â€œIndonesian Dirty Tricksâ€), about Indonesiaâ€™s organization of the Southeast Asian Games in November.
â€œWe are disappointed and resent the word â€˜Indonâ€™ because the leaders of both countries have agreed not to use the word, including in the mass media,â€ Embassy spokesman Suryana Sastradireja told state news agency Antara on Wednesday.
The article, which is still available online, features an interview with Malaysian Olympic Assembly vice president WY Chin, who was quoted as saying that Indonesia had listed a number of sporting events that advantaged their athletes.
â€œWe just received the list of sport numbers to be competed [in the Sea Games] and most of them are sports where their [Indonesia] athletes are more likely to win,â€ Chin was quoted as saying.
Suryana said the newspaperâ€™s choice of the word â€œIndonâ€ in the headline could jeopardize diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries.
â€œThe word â€œIndonâ€ is very humiliating and very embarrassing. We are going to send a note of protest to the â€˜Berita Harianâ€™ and question their motives for using the word,â€ Suryana said. â€œWe demand the newspaper avoid using the word in future articles and the article writer must be sanctioned.â€
Syamsul, an on-duty editor at Berita Harian, said he was unaware of the controversy and could not comment.
Nafi Nur Rauf from the association of Indonesian students at Malaysiaâ€™s Utara University said there were two definitions of â€œIndonâ€ in Malaysia.
â€œI asked my Malaysian friends on campus the meaning of â€œIndonâ€ and they said it is only a short version of Indonesians, itâ€™s not to humiliate Indonesians but there is indeed another meaning which is an insult to associate Indonesians with maids or domestic workers,â€ Nafi wrote on the association's Web site.
Indonesiaâ€™s central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than two years after inflation climbed to a 21-month high.
The central bank increased its reference rate by a quarter percentage point, to 6.75 percent, Deputy Governor Halim Alamsyah told reporters today in Jakarta. The move, the first since October 2008, was predicted by only six of 22 economists. The rest forecast the measure to be kept unchanged at the lowest level since its introduction in July 2005.
Indonesia joins Asian nations from India to Thailand and South Korea in raising rates to damp inflation in a region thatâ€™s leading the recovery from the 2009 global recession. Indonesia had so far opted to increase lendersâ€™ reserve requirements and tightened rules on banksâ€™ foreign-exchange holdings to curb price gains.
Inflation â€œwill keep the pressure on the central bank to deliver back-to-back rate hikesâ€ until the benchmark reaches 7.5 percent, Prakriti Sofat, a Singapore-based economist at Barclays Capital, said before the decision. That will â€œaddress market concerns that it is falling behind the curve and send a convincing signal it is serious about containing inflation.â€
The Jakarta Composite Index has slid 8 percent from its Dec. 9 record high as investors were concerned the central bank has fallen behind regional peers in boosting rates to slow inflation. The rupiah has gained 3 percent in the past year.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Tuesday canceled its scheduled hearing with the House of Representativesâ€™ law commission after the latter adjourned the hearing on Monday because several lawmakers objected to the presence of two KPK deputies.
KPK deputy chief Haryono Umar said the hearing had been canceled because the KPK had a previous appointment with National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and Attorney General Basrief Arief at its office.
â€œWe already had a scheduled meeting with the National Police chief and the attorney general. So we couldn't attend the hearing,â€ Haryono said, as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Haryono added that the KPK had spoken with members of Houseâ€™s Commission III overseeing legal and security affairs, in regards to the cancellation.
The commission, which had invited KPK leaders to a hearing on Monday, had adjourned its hearing for a day after lawmakers argued over whether KPK deputies implicated in a bribery and extortion case, Bibit Samad Riyanto and Chandra M. Hamzah, should be allowed to attend.
After a vote, legislators decided to block Bibit and Chandra from any future hearings at the House.
Indonesian citizens in Egypt were told on Monday to prepare for imminent evacuation amid the worsening conditions there.
â€œWe are going to evacuate our citizens from Egypt, return them to our motherland,â€ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a news conference in Jakarta.
â€œWeâ€™re going to use air carrier Garuda and other airlines that are now being prepared. If possible, tonight the planes will head to Cairo.â€
He said the antigovernment protests and rioting were now threatening the safety of Indonesians. There are about 6,149 registered Indonesian nationals in Egypt, including 4,297 students and 1,002 migrant workers .
â€œThe governmentâ€™s first priority is security and safety, and to provide logistical aid for our citizens in Egypt,â€ Yudhoyono said.