New hope for Indonesia’s ethnic minorities

demonstrators at this rally outside the presidential palace in Jakarta in 2008 called for ahmadiyah to be disbanded. a range of subsidiary laws undercut constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Paramadina University, and Ben Hillman, ANU

During the past decade attacks on religious minorities have cast a shadow over Indonesia’s reputation as a tolerant and moderate Muslim-majority nation. Across the archipelago Christian, Buddhist, Ahmadi and Shi’ite communities have been exposed to increasing levels of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and violence, largely at the hands of Sunni hardliners. Read more…

Economic reform in Jokowi’s Indonesia

Indonesian drivers line up at a gas station in central Java on 17 November 2014 to fill up their tanks before fuel prices rose from 6500 to 8500 rupiah per litre at midnight, marking a crackdown on fuel subsidies. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Creina Day, ANU and Yose R. Damuri, CSIS Jakarta

The first 100 days of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his government have been distinguished by historic reforms to fuel subsidies, social assistance to the poor, streamlined investment licensing and virtually no new restrictive regulations on foreign trade. Fuel subsidy reform has given the government fiscal space for infrastructure development. Read more…

Jokowi’s turn to solve the Papua question

Two members of Balim Petapa, the community security guards unit formed by the Papuan Tribal Council. gradual ‘Papuanisation’ has been under way during the past 15 years. (Photo: James Morgan / Panos Pictures).

Authors: Cillian Nolan and Sidney Jones, IPAC

Indonesia’s Papua, covering its two easternmost provinces, simmers with the highest levels of deadly violence — inter-ethnic, electoral, land-related and domestic — in the country. Home to a Melanesian and largely Christian indigenous population, it became part of Indonesia in 1969 after a highly contested referendum and has since been home to a low-level armed struggle for independence. Read more…

The changing landscape of who owns what in Indonesia

Indonesian walk pass the trade monitor at Indonesia Stock Exchange in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Richard Carney, ANU; and Natasha Hamilton-Hart, University of Auckland

The financial and political crises of 1998 brought about significant changes in Indonesia’s corporate landscape. The proportion of Indonesian firms with political connections remains relatively high but is declining, as modes of political engagement are becoming increasingly varied. Read more…

Indonesia needs a new strategy for securing medium-term growth

Skyscrapers in downtown Jakarta, 5 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Nellor, NUS

The slowdown in Indonesian growth to 4.7 per cent for the first quarter of 2015 follows a steady quarterly slowdown since the 6.8 per cent peak just over four years ago. Is this slowdown simply a post-commodity boom cyclical downturn, or is it the beginning of an extended period of weakness?  Read more…

Executions signal a return to Sukarno-style foreign policy in Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo delivering a speech during ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference at Gedung Merdeka on 24 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Camroux, Sciences Po (CERI)

On 29 April Indonesia executed seven foreigners and one Indonesian for drug offences. The refusal of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to offer clemency despite pleas from foreign leaders has been analysed in a number of ways. Most have interpreted Jokowi’s decision as that of a contested head of state in a fragile democracy heeding public opinion, which seems to overwhelmingly (86 per cent in a recent poll) support the death penalty for drug trafficking. Read more…

Jokowi’s police go unpoliced

A speaker rallies the crowd at a demonstration in support of the KPK in February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jacqui Baker, Murdoch University

Rarely do the police figure in studies of politics. Of all the institutions of the state, police are the great wallflowers of the political party. They are not known for their great generals or their formidable political veto power. Read more…