Category Archives: International

Tri Mumpini Wins ‘Asia’s Nobel Prize’ for Helping Poor

Indonesian social worker Tri Mumpuni is among the winners of Asia’s prestigious Magsaysay award this year for giving green technologies to the poor, organizers said on Wednesday.

Award foundation president Carmencita Abella said Tri, along with an Indian engineer and a Philippine charity group, had helped harness the technologies to empower their countrymen and worked to create waves of progressive change across Asia.

Each year six people or organizations are named joint winners of the Magsaysay award.

This year the other winners were a man who set up an Islamic school for girls in Indonesia, a lender to India’s poorest, and a man working to restore democracy in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge murdered his father.

“Working on critical issues … they are showing how commitment, competence, and collaborative leadership can truly transform individual lives and galvanize community action,” Abella said.

The award, often described as Asia’s Nobel Prize, is named after a famous Philippine president who died in a 1957 plane crash.

It aims to honor people who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity.

Tri Mumpuni, 46, was recognized after her IBEKA foundation built 60 small power plants harnessing the energy of water stored in dams to bring electricity to half a million people, the awards foundation said.

She was once kidnapped with her husband by former separatist rebels in Aceh province while pursuing her nongovernmental group’s project to bring electricity to rural Indonesia.

Another winner was US-trained Indian engineer Harish Hande, 44, for bringing solar lights to a country where half of all households have no electricity, the awards foundation said.

His Solar Electric Light Co.-India has tapped the sun’s energy to light up 120,000 households and is now one of the country’s largest solar technology providers.

The winners are to receive their awards in Manila on August 31.

World Bank to Lend $300 Million for Geothermal Plants

The World Bank will provide $300 million in loans to help expand the power capacity of two geothermal projects on Indonesia’s Sumatra and Sulawesi islands, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today.
The loans will be used to boost the combined capacity of geothermal projects in the provinces of South Sumatra and North Sulawesi by as much as 150 megawatts by 2015, the statement said. The bank will be working with PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy, a unit of Indonesia’s state oil company PT Pertamina, it said.

Nissan to invest $313 mln in expanding Indonesia factory

Nissan Motor Co , Japan’s No.2 carmaker, plans to invest around $313 million to expand its existing factory in Indonesia to increase output, said Takayuki Kimura, Nissan’s Indonesian chief, on Monday.

Kimura said the firm plans to more than triple its output by 2013.

This is a larger expansion than it planned last year, when Nissan said it aimed to double its car production and market share in Indonesia by 2013.

Indonesia likely to become East Asia auto parts industry base

The inceasingly bright growth prospects of Indonesia`s automotive market are boosting the government`s belief that the country can eventually become a car parts industry base for East Asia, chief economic minister Hatta Rajasa said.

“If we consistently entertain the idea that Indonesia is an ideal place for automotive companies to base their car parts industries in, and continue to maintain our automotive market growth, it is not impossible that in the not too distant future our automotive industry will become the biggest not only in Southeast Asia but East Asia,” the coordinating minister for economic affairs said here on Friday.

He made the statement in his address opening the 19th Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) 2011.

But Indonesia could become a strong automotive parts industry base in the world and maintain its bargaining position as such only if it could forge a good connectivity between automotive and infrastructure industries, heighten efficiency at production levels and ensure the continuity of industrial feed stock supply lines, he said.

“Therefore, cooperation is needed between business and the government. This is good for the self-reliance and resilience of our automotive industry,” he said.

Hatta also said Indonesia should draw maximum benefit from its present position as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and as the coordinator of the integration of the automotive sectors of ASEAN member countries – an area being prioritized in the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

“This is a good momentum for Indonesia to accelerate its automotive industry development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bambang Trisulo, chairman of the advisory council of the Association of Indonesian Automotive Industries (Gaikindo), said he was optimistic Indonesia could become a strong automotive parts industry base for East Asia.

“I believe for 80 percent that we can achieve it so long as we can carry out what Hatta has outlined,” Bambang told ANTARA.

He said Japan as the biggest automotive producer in Asia had become more aware of the risks of keeping its car parts industry in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami there and might relocate its production facilities to Indonesia.

Another country that was eyeing Indonesia as a possible base for its auto parts industry was South Korea, and so was China, according to Bambang

Foreign direct investment up 21 pct in Q2 y/y

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia rose 21 percent in the second quarter of 2011 from a year ago, as strong commodity prices attracted investors into the mining sector, the government said on Thursday.

FDI from April to June was 43.1 trillion rupiah ($5 billion), which followed $4.6 billion of foreign investment in the first quarter, the country’s investment board (BKPM) said.

This took FDI in the first six months to just short of a half of its full year target for a record 156 trillion rupiah this year. Last year foreign investment into Indonesia reached a record 148 trillion rupiah.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy has been a hot destination for foreign investors in the past two years due to its resilient economic growth, abundant resources, emerging middle class and political stability.

Indonesia to renegotiate oil and gas contracts

The Indonesian government is looking to renegotiate oil and gas contracts with foreign companies it believes should be paying a higher branch profit tax rate.

A number of British and Malaysian companies are paying branch profit tax rates of 10% and 12.5% respectively which were based on bilateral tax treaties between Indonesia and the companies’ home countries.

However Indonesia’s Development Finance Comptroller insists the branch profit tax rate should be 20% in line with 2003 Law on Oil and Gas which was ratified in 2004, the Jakarta Post reported.

Last week Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission said 14 multinational companies faced tax arrears of up to 1.6 trillion rupiah (US$187.2 million).

The Finance Ministry’s director general for taxation, Fuad Rahmany, said the tax debts were the result of disputes between the Development Finance Comptroller and the foreign companies, which he would not name.

“This is a problem of prior contracts and tax treaties that no longer comply with today’s [regulations]. The finance minister has indeed ordered reviews of tax treaties with those countries,” Fuad said.

“But renegotiation won’t be easy because this involves other nations. We will need diplomacy to try to tell them that their tax treaties are outdated.”

Faud added the Finance Ministry would work with the Foreign Ministry to renegotiate the contracts with talks with the companies concerned expected to start by the end of the year.

It is understood the dispute mainly concerns contracts that were signed before the Oil and Gas Law took effect in 2004

Breakthrough: South China Sea Code of Conduct

ASEAN and China agreed on the implementation of the code of conduct in the South China Sea at an ASEAN meeting in Bali on Wednesday.

Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam described the move as a significant breakthrough.

Senior officials from both sides reached an agreement which could help reduce tensions in the South China Sea.

Although still at the early stage, the document raises hopes for a peaceful resolution to the overlapping claims in the area.

Singapore has described the latest development as a confidence building measure.

“ASEAN and China have shown flexibility to arrive at the guidelines both are comfortable with. The senior officials of ASEAN and China met today and have agreed on the guidelines, and those guidelines will be put to the foreign ministers tomorrow for endorsement,” said Mr Shanmugam.

Mr Shanmugam said now that the guidelines have been settled it will pave the way for both ASEAN and China to go further and work on the code of conduct (CoC).

He added there is commitment to move forward with the CoC but he also admitted it does involve a number of issues that need to be dealt with.

However, it’s to the benefit of all parties involved to complete it as quickly as possible.

Chinese company considering to invest in Kali Baru port project

Chinese company Wuxi Huadong Heavy Machinery Co.Ltd.(HDHM) said it was considering to invest in the Kali Baru port development project in Jakarta, Indonesia, in view of the good prospects of port business in Southeast Asia.

The conmpany`s president director, Jeremy Weng, made the statement here on Tuesday at a meeting with Pelindo II delegations and HDHM officials in connection with the planned shipment of three cranes bought from the company by Pelindo for ports in Indonesia.

“We are interested in doing business in Indonesia but we still have yet to discuss it internally first. Of course we need a lot of information in connection with it especially regarding the total investment to be needed,” he said.

Crane industries in China are seeking to expand outside China following its success in controlling local market.

They have even targeted Asia especially Southeast Asia including Indonesia.

Chinese companies recently won a bid for the procurement of 45 new cranes of various types from Pelindo II in 2010 worth Rp796 billion.

Aussie Ban leaves cows too fat

A Queensland grazier says his cattle are too heavy to be sent to Indonesia because of the temporary ban on live cattle exports.

The Federal Government has lifted the ban but port operators in north Queensland do not expect shipments to resume until September.

Ray Heslin from Inverleigh station in the state’s Gulf Country region, says more than a third of his cattle now exceed the 350-kilogram weight limit imposed by Indonesia.

He says the rest of his stock will also become too heavy for export if he has to wait until September for the trade to resume.

“We’ve sort of got to be gone before then because they start losing weight,” he said.

“It’s been two good seasons up here so cattle are a bit heavier than they normally are in a normal year.”

Maybank Islamic Signs MoU With Bank Syariah Mandiri

Maybank Islamic (MI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bank Syariah Mandiri (BSM), Indonesia, to establish cross border collaboration in all Islamic treasury and trade finance matters.

In a statement here Tuesday, MI said the collaboration would set the terms of cooperation between the two institutions in relation to enhancing cross-border liquidity flows and, as well as, increasing and diversifying the application of Islamic financial solutions.

“There are huge synergies to be gained from the cooperation in the areas of banking transaction structured, offered and undertaken in compliance with Islamic Syariah principles,” MI Chief Executive Officer Muzaffar Hisham was quoted as saying in the statement.

He said the signing of the agreements, in Jakarta yesterday, augured well for deeper Asean collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia