Monthly Archives: March 2011

Ministry of Maritime helps Papua tsunami victims

The Ministry would extend its assistance in fishermen settlement reconstruction and fishery facility and infrastructure reconstruction.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) is ready to extend assistance to tsunami victims at Mettu Daby island in Papua.

On Friday, March 11, 2011, the island in Papua province was hit by the tail of gargantuan tsunami, triggered by a powerful earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale in Japan.

The Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency of Papua had earlier issued a tsunami warning to the northern coast of Papua at 04.15. pm. to enable its people to evacuate to the safer places.

Based on data collected by the local government in the field, the tsunami that hit Papua`s northern coastal areas had caused extensive damage at two locations namely Hotekamp coastal area and Enggros village.

At least 43 houses were damaged and one person perished, Head of the National Disaster Management Office (BNPB) of Papua, Yohanis Wemben said on Monday.

According to Wemben, 14 houses were seriously damaged and three others lightly in Tobati Village, while nine in Enggros Village seriously. There are also 19 houses in Holtekam and 13 in Hanurata damaged due to the tsunami waves.

The most damaged region is the Hanurata complex, Muara Tami District, located around 75 kilometer from Jayapura. Some of the public infrastructure facilities near the coast were also damaged by the tsunami.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad said on Sunday that the KKP would soon help rehabilitation and reconstruction program at Enggros village in Mettu Daby island which was hit by the tsunami.

Fadel said his office would also allocate an amount of funds from 2011 budget to assist the recovery process at the tsunami-hit island in Papua.

The minister said that for the preliminary step, the KKP would send a team to the disaster area in Papua to conduct an inventory of the needs of the tsunami-affected communities and to find out the amount of funds to be allocated for the rehabilitation and reconstruction program.

Therefore Fadel said the KKP would extend its assistance in fishermen settlement reconstruction and fishery facility and infrastructure reconstruction.

“The KKP is also mapping out other locations that have a big potential to be hit by tsunami, and expecting to cooperate with the local government to anticipate tidal wave disaster,” Fadel said.

He added that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries was also actively making familiarization of earthquake and tsunami mitigation at the coastal areas of smaller islands across Indonesia.

The mitigation of disaster threatening the coastal areas and smaller islands in the country has been arranged in Law No.24/2007 and Law No.27/2007 on coastal areas and smaller islands management.***(wpnn)


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MSG invites Indonesia as observer

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) grants Indonesia an observer status at its summit meeting in Suva, Fiji next week.

East Timor also has been granted observer status, while a founding member of the European Union, Luxembourg, has been invited as a special guest.

Fiji’s leader and MSG chairman, Frank Bainimarama, says the decision to invite Indonesia as observer is a historic moment in the young life of the MSG, which was formed in 2005.

The MSG is an intergovernmental organization made up of the four Pacific Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as well as the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) of New Caledonia with headquarters in Vanuatu.

The MSG was heavily involved in political discussions following Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum in May 2009 because its non return to democracy and was accused by the West, especially Australia and New Zealand.

Indonesia applied for official observer status at the MSG on February 2011.

It shows that Indonesia is open and ready at how to tackle some of the prickly issues the group may deal with – including the West Papuan independence movement.***(wpnn)

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Lala Suwages: A songstress from Papua

Born in the Indonesia’s easternmost province Papua 30 years ago, Lala was fascinated by song since she was a kid.

The 30-year-old songstress has started to gain recognition in the Indonesian music scene thanks to her unique voice and funky look.

“Hey, curly!” These were familiar words for Lala Suwages since she was the only curly-haired student at school. Upset, little Lala would ask her mother to take her to a beauty salon to have her hair straightened.

Now, as she is grown up, she has begun to love and be proud of her curly locks, which have become her trademark since she stepped into the Indonesian music scene.

Born in the Papua capital Jayapura on Nov. 15, 1980 and growing up in Jakarta, Lala was fascinated by song since she was a kid, actively singing in church and pegged to sing at every extended family event.

Her father, who also likes singing, and her mother, who used to be a professional Papuan dancer and choreographer, support Lala.

“Papa knew I had a talent so he encouraged me to regularly practice singing and participate in singing contests or events,” Lala said.

“I’m not a good dancer, though. I’m a bit stiff when it comes to dancing. Even though my songs are mostly upbeat, I feel like I’m an electricity tower when I dance.”

Growing up listening to songs from Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Cool & the Gang, Earth Wind & Fire and Whitney Houston, who later became her biggest musical influence, she still did not have much confidence to make singing her profession.

Young Lala was more interested in playing the role of detective, lawyer or any profession which dealt with politics since she liked to spend her spare time reading detective books instead of love stories.

“I thought I was not good enough in terms of singing quality,” she said, adding that she started to realize her talent in high school.

At university, she started taking offers to sing in cafes and later launched her professional career when she joined a group called Tabitha’s Friends.

She later had the chance to represent Indonesia in the international singing contest, Voice of Asia, which took place in Kazakhstan in 2003 and in which she earned the Major of Almaty prize.

While preparing to take part in the event she met her future husband, musician Bobby Sandhora, who once arranged songs for Lala.

Since that moment, the singer has been flooded with offers to perform at a number of musical events, including the international Java Jazz Festival (JJF) and JakJazz.

In 2007 JJF and Lala collaborated with a Dutch band called Daughter of Soul and performed with the Krakatau jazz band in a segment titled “A Journey to Krakatau”.

Her soulful voice and performances have brought her once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, like when she was given an album offer by Singapore-based record company Life Records.

The album, called Devoted to You and released in 2007, consisted of recycled love songs from the 1960s which she describes as simple, soulful and relaxing.

The success of Devoted to You was followed with a audiophile record, I Love You This Much, two years later.

While the clinking of piano dominates Devoted to You, the latter uses the strumming of acoustic guitar.

During those years Lala split her time between Singapore and Indonesia to record and promote her albums.

A record company once offered to produce her debut solo album, but Lala turned down the chance because she already had a deal with Catz Records.

2009 was an important year for Lala as she finally realized her biggest dream of making a solo album.

Her debut pop album, titled Langkah Baruku (My New Step) also includes two recycled song Semua Jadi Satu (All Become One), created by veterans Deddy Dhukun and Dian Pramana Poetra, and Nada Kasih (Love Tone), which was popularized by Fariz Roestam Munaf and Neno Warisman.

For Nada Kasih, Lala collaborated with Joeniar Arief (former member of Tofu), giving the song a fresher tone with R&B and jazzy nuances.

“It took quite a long time to finish this album because there was an adaptation process for the label to find out my uniqueness and selling points,” Lala explained.

When the album finally hit the market, she was relieved.

“When you are a singer and you have your own album, it means you already have an identity. The album proves my existence in the music industry.”

This year, Lala is gearing up for her second album.

“It’s still pop but the concept is way different from the first one. The second one is more vintage and oldies. It will be a unique piece,” she explains.

Just like her first record, she has penned many songs for her second album. The tracks still center on love with more serious and weightier lyrics.

“The lyrics are deeper than ever. The love thing that I talk about in this album is not only the love that you feel when you are in love, but also a more serious kind of love like the love towards your spouse,” said the singer, who also wrote songs based on her friends’ personal love experiences.

Her husband Bobby and renowned musician Tohpati also took part in her second album, which is planned for release at the middle or end of this year.

Lala’s unique voice and urban style certainly distinguishes her from other homegrown female songstresses.

“Since the beginning of my career I have wanted to have a different color, bring out different talent and introduce broader perspectives about the essence of beauty to the public.

“So far, people may be familiar with the beauties from the west or central parts of Indonesia, while I represent the character of women from Eastern Indonesia more. We’ve got our own style,” said the singer, who shared the stage with jazz mogul Bubi Chen at the recent Java Jazz Festival.

That’s one of the reasons why she sticks to her curly hair.

“I once tried to straighten my hair because I wanted to look stylish. It was in the early 2000s. My hair was really straight but I soon learned that having straight long hair was impractical in terms of treatment,” she said.

“The problem is I’m not the kind of feminine woman who likes to go to beauty salons. I like practical things. I can’t stand sitting hours in a salon to do a hair mask or anything. I give up!”

Lala then decided to go back to her natural curls.

“Besides, my husband used to say, ‘I love you just the way you are’. So, I keep my curly hair now. It’s good to be yourself.”

Lala also contributed her career success to her husband, as they worked hand in hand on a number of projects, including creating Lala’s two albums.

Working with her spouse, who she married in 2005, is not always as easy and smooth as she imagined.

“But the good thing about having a musician husband is he understands me,” said Lala, who became a mother in December of 2009.

Paving her way in the music world step by step, she always feels grateful.

“I do believe that the step-by-step process is more meaningful than an instant one since it allows us more time to better prepare,” she said.“I try to give it my best and maintain my existence in music.”

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Room for improvement in Papua

Three priorities for Papua: better communication, more affirmative action for indigenous Papuans and ”more openness”

INDONESIA’S Vice-President, Boediono, has signalled a new drive for reconciliation with the troubled province of Papua, revealing plans to create a new agency to arrange talks with disaffected Papuans and promote prosperity.

In an interview with the Herald, Dr Boediono conceded the central government needed to move beyond its usual preoccupation with economic development and develop new policies for Papua.

”There is room for improvement. That’s why the President asked me to look into what can be done in this area,” said Dr Boediono, who arrives in Australia today for a visit to Perth and Canberra.

Papua, a resource-rich region in eastern Indonesia, has an indigenous Melanesian population racked by poverty and swamped by migrants from others parts of Indonesia. Separatist sentiment simmers amid a low-level insurgency and frequent allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.

Papuan groups, including its major churches and elected Papuan Peoples’ Assembly, want a formal dialogue ”without condition” with the central government and a renegotiation of Papua’s special autonomy deal, introduced in 2001 but widely seen as a failure.

But Dr Boediono rejected such a ”bilateral” dialogue, saying multiparty ”communications” would be better assisted by a new agency. He said a proposal was being formulated for ”some kind of institution that will be there on the spot, that will look at all the co-ordination and communication and implementation as well”.

It is hoped the agency would be created this year after a special decree by Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Representatives from Papuan civil society groups, local government and the central government would be in the agency on an ”ongoing” basis as it formulates new policies and development programs.

International donors would be welcome to contribute aid money, but not to play a mediation role as happened in Aceh in 2005 when a peace accord was forged to end decades of bloody separatist insurgency. Even so, the new agency is loosely modelled on the reconstruction and rehabilitation agency known as the BRR that successfully organised the development of Aceh after the devastating tsunami that spurred on the establishment of the pact.

Dr Boediono identified three priorities for Papua: better communication, more affirmative action for indigenous Papuans and ”more openness”.

Asked about reducing the heavy security presence in Papua, Dr Boediono offered no immediate encouragement. ”Let’s see the new approach, how it works. The process is to make all these programs effective on the ground and give benefits directly to the communities – that’s what is our main aim.”

Socratez Yoman, a prominent figure in Papua’s Baptist Church, said in the dialogue, Jakarta must abandon its jargon of ‘unitary state of Indonesia’ and Papuans must abandon our demand for independence,” he said.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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Papua expects 12% rice production increase

Papua is expecting a 12 percent increase in rice production through 2011, from about 115,000 tons last year.

The increase is expected to be boosted by an almost 10 percent expansion of cultivated areas, to 2,551 hectares, as well as an increase in productivity, Papua Central Statistics Agency (BPS) chief Djarot Soetanto said Monday in Jayapura, as quoted by

He added that Papua expected to contribute 0.17 percent to the total national rice production this year, a slight increase from 0.15 percent in 2010.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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RI favorite investment destinations for British companies

The Jakarta Post’s Hendarsyah Tarmizi and four other Indonesian journalists were invited by the British Embassy in Jakarta recently in February to London to get firsthand information on the UK government’s investment and trade policy.

The British government recently issued a White Paper on Trade and Investment, an ambitious strategy to nurture international trade and investment through a number of actions, which, among others, include providing financial support for local firms to export and invest overseas.

Included in the strategy is a range of actions to promote market access and investment in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, which is now leading the global recovery. Its rapidly growing economies make the region a particularly rewarding destination for exports, as well as for investment.

With a large population and high economic growth, Asia is expected to become the main engine of the world’s economy in the next decade.

The International Monetary Fund estimates Asia’s economy would grow 50 percent in the next five years. A New NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland study showed 65 percent of UK businesses believed Asia represented a new market opportunity.

The enthusiasm of local businesspeople about the growth potential in Asia was apparent a business seminar in London. The “Doing Business in Asia — Meet the Experts” gathering attracted more than 200 business executives from a wide range of business activities in the country.

Similar events in Edinburgh, Newmarket and Northern Island to support the White Paper programs were also well-attended by local businesspeople.

Asia’s growth potential is not only centered in China and India as many people believe. Several other countries in the region such as Indonesia and Vietnam also offer the same opportunities for global investors.

British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Green acknowledged China and India were among the most promising countries to do business in thanks to their large populations, growing middle class and big domestic markets.

But in addition to these two giants, Indonesia and Vietnam also offered the same business opportunities, he said. “In fact, the two countries are among popular export and investment destinations for UK companies,” the former chairman of the HSBC Group told Indonesian journalists at his office recently.

Indonesia, in particular, is one of the favorite investment destinations not only for UK companies but also for other global investors. Indonesia has been identified as one of the top markets for global investors, according to a recent survey published by UK Trade and Investment.

In the survey conducted on more than 520 global executives, Indonesia was selected as the number two investment destination behind Vietnam beyond the BRICs for 2010 thanks partly to the country’s relatively stable political condition, rich natural resources and large domestic market.

The Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said the UK was the second-largest foreign investor in the country last year after Singapore.

As one of the larger emerging markets, Indonesia has become an important investment destination. The country offers investment opportunities not only for the development of the country’s rich national resources, but also for its infrastructure.

The Indonesian government, for example, plans to develop at least 100 large infrastructure projects worth more than US$47.3 billion between 2010 and 2014. The projects, including the development of roads, ports, seaports, railways, power plants, water supply and sanitation facilities, will be offered under a public–private partnership (PPP) program. Sixteen of the PPP projects worth $32.37 billion will be offered to the private sector this year.

Green said British companies now operating in Indonesia were mostly engaged in financial services, oil and gas exploration and production activities. The London-based HSBC, one of the first foreign banks to operate in the country provides sharia banking services to enable it to optimally tap into the business potential in the largest Muslim-majority country.

Energy giant BP, which is headquartered in London, is also one of Indonesia’s largest foreign investors. The company, which is now developing a liquefied natural gas plant in Papua, has invested $5 billion to date.

Green said that in addition to financial services and energy, the UK had much more expertise to offer ranging from advanced engineering, creative industries and transportation to environment and satellite technology to help Indonesia achieve its economic growth targets.

British expertise in engineering and transportation could, for example, help Indonesia improve its infrastructure problems, while sharia banking services could also help promote the use of Islamic bonds in raising funds needed for infrastructure development, he said.

Like Green, Lord Powell, the cochair of the British government’s Asia Task Force, also sees the prospect of investing in Indonesia.

“It doesn’t take a genius to understand the business opportunity in Indonesia,” he said. “Its growing middle class and high economic growth tell us all about its bright prospects.”

Powell, who led a British trade delegation to Indonesia last year, said that with its large domestic market and relatively stable political conditions combined with its rich natural resources, Indonesia certainly offered wide opportunities to foreign investors to do business.

The Indonesian government has amended a number of laws related to investment activities, legal uncertainty remains the main concern of foreign investors planning to invest in Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to build a better legal system. He mentioned this in early January to mark the start of stock trading at the Indonesian Stock Exchange after the year-end break.

Indonesia certainly should make a legal breakthrough in order to be able to further promote foreign investment, if it wants to maintain its growth momentum.

Source: The Jakarta Post


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Australia warns Papuans against making boat trip

The Australian Immigration Department is warning a group of Papuans to scrap their plan of trying to reach Australia illegally in a few weeks.

A group of more than 100 Papuan’s are preparing to make the perilous boat journey to draw attention to their call for Australian citizenship.

The trip’s organiser says among them will be two so-called “fuzzy wuzzy angels”, who helped Australian soldiers during World War Two.

Source: Radio Australia

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