Tag Archives: Maluku

The Dutch Return, This Time as Friends

Cornelis de Houtman, the first Dutch traveler to arrive in Indonesia and generations of other Dutch officials, traders and investors that came later, knew well how Indonesia could provide a lifeline for the Netherlands for hundreds of years, while making themselves very rich in the process.

And now, with Europe still struggling to cope with an economic downturn, Indonesia’s significance is back on the table, offering massive opportunities for the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is sending its largest delegation since the independence of its former colony in 1945, a visit that has been dubbed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “the most serious effort to synergize the two countries that have deep historical ties for the sake of present and future mutual benefits.”

Dutch PM Mark RutteRutte, who leads 200 businesspeople representing more than 100 companies and research institutes on a three-day visit, will meet today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the Netherlands aims to build a new chapter of deeper cooperations with Indonesia, while trying to offset incidents that have damaged relations with its former colony in recent years.

“We have a long and difficult history together. But we must focus on the future, not only on the past, for the mutual benefits of the two countries,” Rutte told the Jakarta Globe in an interview in his office last week.

New era of relations

To show that the visit is historic and crucial, Rutte and Yudhoyono will sign an unprecedented joint declaration on comprehensive partnership between the two countries to take the relations to a new high.

The declaration will become an umbrella agreement for both countries to boost their cooperation further.

“The declaration marks the new era of our relations and cooperation. The partnership will focus on water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security and agriculture and education,” said Rutte, who will be accompanied by several key ministers and officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma.

Rutte stressed that what is important for both the Netherlands and Indonesia is how the countries can benefit each other in the future.

Bernard Bot, an influential Dutch senior diplomat and former foreign minister, who declared in 2005 that the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1945, agreed that it’s time for both countries to come to terms with past and move ahead. “There’s so much we can do together for the sake of our future,” he said.

“It’s for real now,” Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a separate interview.

Concrete offers

On water management, the Netherlands has funded a master plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer long, 15-kilometer wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“The master plan will be finished by early next year and groundbreaking will begin later in the year,” Retno said.

The Netherlands, Rutte said, has always had to deal with high water and sea waves in order to survive, considering that the country is partly below sea level. He added that his country would bring state-of-the-art technology for Indonesia to use.

“It’s time for the Netherlands to empower Indonesians by equipping them to fish, not by merely providing the fish,” said Jesse Kuijper, a businessman who will join Rutte to Jakarta and who heads the Netherlands-based Indonesia-Nederland Society.

On logistics, Dutch companies could help Indonesia build world-class seaports across the country while in agriculture several Dutch firms have offered their Indonesian counterparts investment and technology to enable the country’s farmers to produce food with the latest technology at a time when prices are rising and the nation is struggling to feed its people.

“The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, and we have many areas we can work together,” said Rutte.

In education, Indonesia has asked the Netherlands to treat Indonesian students as local students, so that they pay lower tuition fees. “It would be an excellent gesture from the Dutch government if the Indonesian students are treated as locals,” said Kuijper.

Difficult time in Europe

Rutte acknowledged that Europe and the Netherlands are facing tough times. “We have a difficult period at the moment. I do believe that we have made good strides but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

He said he admired Indonesia’s high economic growth of 6 percent annually. “We are jealous,” he said, smiling.

The latest figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show the Netherlands economy grew by just0,1 percent in the last quarter compared to the previous.

The CBS also reported that there were 46,000 fewer jobs in the third quarter.

“Indonesia can offer Dutch businesspeople a place for investment with a huge market of 240 million people and a growing middle class of over 100 million, as well as entry gate to the bigger market of Asean,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

He said the Netherlands now sees Indonesia as a successful democracy with long-term stability. “Relations between Indonesia and the Dutch should be more special — more than other ties — because we have a long history together. We can synergize, with Indonesia providing natural resources and markets and the Dutch providing capital, knowledge and technology,” Aleksius said.

He added that the Netherlands can offer Indonesia the opportunity to become a producer and not just a consumer. “It is now depending on Indonesia to realize the goals,” Aleksius said.

The Netherlands already is Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe. In 2012, trade between the two countries was worth $4.7 billion.

Blast form the past

Relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands have experienced ups and downs, with two incidents proving particularly embarrassing for leaders of both countries in the last few years.

President Yudhoyono was forced to cancel his trip to the Netherlands in 2010 after a group of Moluccan independence activists filed a motion in the Dutch courts to arrest the president for gross human rights violations in Maluku and Papua.

Relations became tense after the trip was canceled, with many in Indonesia blaming the Dutch for insulting Yudhoyono.

The relations plunged into a new low when the Dutch government had to cancel the sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia last year after the parliament voted to reject the deal. Indonesia then angrily turned to Germany to buy the same tanks.

Rutte, who loves Indonesian food like nasi goreng and sate and whose parents lived for some time in Indonesia, gave assurances such incidents would not happen again under his administration. “In fact, we are expecting President Yudhoyono to visit us next year,” he said.

About the Moluccan activists, Retno said everybody has the right to keep on dreaming. “But the question is whether or not it is realistic.”

She said relations between the two countries are getting better, with both sides understanding and trusting each other.

Retno also said the close connections between the people of the two countries meant Indonesia and the Netherlands could not afford to let relations cool.

Currently, 10 percent of the Netherlands’ 17 million population has direct or indirect links to Indonesia. And every year, Retno said, thousands of Indonesians travel to the Netherlands as tourists or for business, with the Dutch doing likewise.

Aleksius said fewer and fewer people in Indonesia see the Netherlands as a former colonial power.

“I don’t think it matters much now. People are becoming pragmatic, seeking concrete benefits and looking forward instead of being bothered by the past,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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NZ police training programme in Indonesia’s Papua region on track

The New Zealand government says the next planned programme of community policing training by New Zealand police in Indonesia’s eastern region of Papua is still on track.

The government says the Eastern Indonesia Community Policing Program is likely to commence early next year.

New Zealand ran similar training programs in Papua region between 2008 and 2010.

The overall design and scope of the program being planned is yet to be finalised, but will incorporate findings from the design scoping mission undertaken last October.

The program’s base location is to be the Papua provincial capital Jayapura, and it will work across Papua, West Papua and Maluku provinces.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

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Papua to enjoy broadband next year

Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua will connect to high-speed Internet. The Communications and Information Ministry said that broadband would make headway into the province in 2013.

Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that as many as 27 provinces across Indonesia now had access to broadband Internet via the Palapa Ring.

The Palapa Ring is a project aimed at linking Sumatra, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua to eight existing network connections, or backhauls, via approximately 35,380 kilometers of undersea and 2
1,870 kilometers of underground fiber-optic cables.

Fiber optics, unlike copper cables, enable fast data transmission, a prerequisite for broadband Internet. The ministry and a consortium of telecommunication companies kicked off the project, worth US$700 million, in 2009 and targets its completion by 2014.

“The establishing of broadband connections has been carried out across the provincial capital cities located on Java island,” he said on Tuesday (11/12).

He added that major cities and industrial hubs including Jakarta and its surrounding areas, as well as Bandung and Semarang, were already connected to broadband Internet.

However, five cities still have to wait until next year for broadband connections. “The cities include Jayapura, the capital of Papua, Manokwari [West Papua capital], and Ternate [in North Maluku], in addition to Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi and Ambon [Maluku capital],” he said.

He added that broadband penetration across the 27 provinces was “still low, lower than 12 percent”. “Ideally, the penetration rate should be at 100 percent,” he said.

He added that the government aimed to connect all major cities and industrial hubs in Indonesia with broadband connections by 2015.

“Our target is to even connect homes with fiber optic cables,” he said.

Under the national broadband plan, the government plans to transform Indonesia into a knowledge-based society by 2015 by improving Internet access. By 2020, the government expects the country to have gone digital through the application of e-government initiatives.

However, besides the still low Internet penetration rates, e-government schemes have lagged. Several regions have pushed back the disbursement dates for electronic identification, or e-KTP.

Tifatul said the contribution of information technology, which includes the Internet, toward the gross domestic production (GDP) has risen in the last decade.

A study by the World Bank shows that a 10 percent rise in broadband penetration would increase GDP by 1.38 percent.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Scouts find Jayapura secure, beautiful

Raimuna Nasional X Jayapura“It turns out that Jayapura is beautiful and comfortable. It’s nothing like what I imagined before I come here,” girl scout Sri Lestari of North Maluku said upon her arrival at the Cenderawasih campground in Waena, Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday.

Sri, one of the participants of the Indonesian Scouts Movement’s Raimuna X national camping event in Waena from Oct. 8-15, said that prior to her arrival in Jayapura, she heard a number of negative things about the province of Papua.

She said she was told that Jayapura was not safe and frequently marred with rapes, kidnappings and riots, and leaving home, these worries still weighed on her mind. Yet, her impression changed as she met other fellow scouts from Papua on board the passenger ship KM Doloronda that took her to Jayapura. “They are friendly and quick to make friends,” Sri said.

Boy scout Misbakul Aulat of North Halmahera regency shared the same experience. “We were welcomed very warmly. It was completely different from the incidents we often see in the media,” he said.

Abdul Latief, a scout supervisor from Central Sulawesi said, “In fact, we don’t have such worries anymore after we moored at Jayapura Port.”

Unlike previous years, the participants in this year’s event do not need to erect tents as the organizing committee prepared uniquely designed huts whose walls and roofs were made of woven palm leaves, locally known as nipah.

Water containers have also been prepared at the campsite to allow the participants to conduct their activities during the event.

Some 4,000 scouts from across the country are attending the event that was officially opened by Vice President Boediono.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Papuan students to participate YES program in the U.S.

A student coming from Sorong, West Papua province, has become one of 21 students from Indonesia to participate in the student exchange program entitled Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) in the United States from August 2012 – July 2013.

“It is great, I did not expect to go to America. From several tests conducted in Makassar (South Sulawesi), I was the sole participant from West Papua, while others were from Papua, Makassar, Mataram, and Maluku,” Ilonka Amaia, a high school student of SMAN 1 Sorong, West Papua, said here Friday.

She was talking on the sidelines of the welcoming event for the 21 student participants of the YES program held by U.S. Consul General in Surabaya Kristen F Bauer. The event was also attended by the coordinator of NGO Bina Antarbudaya, Nisa Permatasari.

“I am ready to introduce some Papuan culture to American students and the public. I will demonstrate the traditional dance Yospan and also a small traditional musical instrument, the tifa. I will also take Papua traditional clothing, including chest and woven grass cloths,” the second grade students said.

In welcoming the students, the U.S. Consul General in Surabaya, Kristen F. Bauer, expected the students might take the opportunity to explore the experience, as much as possible, during their studies and spend a year in America.

“Coming home from America, you can share the experiences with fellow students and the Indonesian community. If you see something good in there, such as environmental projects, then you can practice them here. ” she said.

Similarly, the spokesman of U.S. Consul General in Surabaya, Emily Y Norris, added that the special program of high school students and the schools started in 2003 was intended to allow Americans to learn about Indonesia directly from Indonesians, which is a Muslim-majority country.

“By contrast, Indonesians can teach Americans so that eventually each other can understand and work together. Right now there are five to six 6 American students who are studying here,” she said.

Source: ANTARA News

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President Yudhoyono: No offensive operations in Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reaffirmed that there has not been offensive military operations in Papua since 2005, and since then the government has taken an approach of raising the population`s welfare to aid in solving problems in the province.

“Indonesia has managed problems in Papua as well as possible. For Indonesia, the Papua issue is not about sovereignty but a political, social, justice and welfare issue. I thank all friends who have given full support to Indonesia`s sovereignty and integrity. Since 2005, several weeks after I rose to the presidency, I stopped the use of the security approach and chose a welfare and justice approach instead (to deal with problems there),” he said in a speech before 128 ambassadors and representatives from international organizations at a meeting here on Wednesday (15/02).

Since then, he said, Papua has been granted special autonomy and a special budget has been allocated for development in a number of sectors in which Papua was considered behind other regions.

“Based on the MP3EI, (the master plan for acceleration and expansion of Indonesian economic development), we have set up a Papua-Maluku corridor that is undergoing development acceleration with a concrete agenda and budget,” he said.

Regarding the presence of police and military forces there, President Yudhoyono said, as in other regions, they are assigned to maintain order, conduct law enforcement and, for the military, safeguard the country`s territorial integrity, since Papua borders another country.

He said “only four battalions are assigned to secure the border, in addition to a local unit, and there has not been any military operations so far. Indeed, separatist activities still happen in Papua, claiming lives of police officers, military members and local residents. It is legitimate for us to assign our soldiers and policemen there for law enforcement purposes.”

Regarding excesses such as inappropriate acts by police and military members, President Yudhoyono reaffirmed that the government and the military (TNI) leadership would take harsh actions against those found committing such offenses.

“To deal with excesses, such as inappropriate actions that violate the law and human rights, sanctions would be given and the law would be enforced. Those who are guilty will certainly be punished. There will be no impunity. So, just follow the judicial processes. We wish to be transparent, as in the trials of terrorists,” he said.

President Yudhoyono added, “If (you) have negative information please inform us, inform the TNI commander, or the national police chief and we will investigate it. No incident will be covered up.

Further, I myself and the government will continue working seriously to overcome problems in Papua and obstacles to development.

Source: ANTARA News

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Poverty reduction in Papua and West Papua ‘on the right track’

Papua and West Papua, as well as fourteen other provinces in Indonesia made significant progress in reducing poverty levels.

It is far outpacing the national average and making it possible for Indonesia to reduce its overall poverty rate to 8-10 percent by 2014 as targeted, a senior minister says.

National Development Planning Minister Armida S. Alisjahbana said Tuesday (03/01) that despite the country’s relatively high poverty rate of 12.36 percent, several regions, including Gorontalo, Maluku, Papua and West Papua, achieved progressive reductions in their poverty levels over the last five years.

During the last five years, she said, the patterns of poverty rate reductions among the provinces was quite different.

“We have regions that can achieve progressive decline, but in some regions it is not convincing,” she told a press conference at the National Development Planning Ministry office.

According to the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), the Indonesia’s poverty rate dropped by 5.26 percent over the 2006-2011 period.

As of September 2011, the number of poor people reached 29.89 million people, or 12.36 percent of total population.

“With this progressive decline in poverty rates over the last five years, we are optimistic we can reduce the poverty rate to 10.5-11.5 percent by 2012 and between 8-10 percent by 2014,” said Armida.

The 16 provinces that outperformed the national average were Aceh, Bengkulu, Central Java, Central Sulawesi, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Gorontalo, Lampung, South East Sulawesi, South Sumatera, South Sulawesi, Papua, West Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), West Papua and West Sulawesi.

Of the total 16 provinces, Gorontalo had the highest reduction rate at 10.38 percent, while West Java had the lowest as its poverty reduction reached only 3.84 percent over the last five years.

Prasetijono Widjojo Malajudo, the minister’s deputy on economic affairs, said that pro-poor plans and budgets, as well as activities that might contribute to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), had helped Papua and other provinces to achieve progressive declines in their poverty levels over the last five years.

He said 29 regencies and municipalities were now piloting pro-poor planning and budgeting, a program conducted by the National Team of Accelerating Poverty Reduction (TNP2K).

“Pro-poor planning and budgeting is a program that allows governments to keep their consistency both in the budgeting process and using the allocated budget to finance activities in priority areas, namely reducing poverty and unemployment,” he said, adding that by applying such planning and budgeting methods, local governments could monitor whether they were effectively delivering programs to targeted poverty pockets.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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