China govt opens cracks in its culture of secrecy

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang China govt opens cracks in its culture of secrecy?

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Shenzhen | Sun, 01/31/2010 2:22 PM

The Chinese businessman battled for years to get cities to reveal their budgets, but his quest seemed quixotic in a country notorious for keeping citizens in the dark.

Then China did what would once have been unthinkable - it enacted an open-government policy, and last fall Wu Junliang pressed his case with the Guangzhou city government. This time, to his surprise, he won - big time. The largest city in southern China put budget plans for all 114 municipal departments and agencies online. Astonished citizens flooded the Web site to download documents, causing it to crash by the second day.

It was an eye-opening moment, illustrating the potential of the fledgling Open Government Information regulation to allow Chinese citizens to challenge the government's culture of secrecy.

"We were all very excited. It's the first time in 60 years in this country that a city government has released their budget. And more significantly, they put it online so everyone can access it," said Wu, 51.

Although he says he never set out to be a crusader, his victory was by far the biggest since the regulation took effect nationwide on May 1, 2008, allowing citizens to request information and get a response from the government within 15-30 days.

It's an important step toward transparency for a country struggling to combat corruption and meet the needs of a rising middle class and an economy that will soon be the second biggest after America.

"Clearly, nationwide, Chinese have become increasingly aware that they have legal rights and they are becoming more confident in using them," said Katherine Wilhelm, senior fellow at Yale University's China Law Center.

Recent years have indeed seen greater openness - public hearings on utility rates, for example - but the new disclosure policy could be the most significant in delivering government accountability.

"This is a starting point but it's also a turning point," said law professor Wang Xixin from Peking University. "Traditionally, China's legal and political culture emphasizes keeping secrets inside government. The idea of open government or transparency is quite new. One of the most significant impacts of ... (the new regulation) is that it helps to change that kind of bureaucratic ideology."

Although the change applies to all levels of government, its limitations are also clear. Exempt from release are official state secrets, a category so broadly defined that virtually anything - maps, GPS coordinates, even economic statistics - can be withheld.

In theory, the rule can be used to try to pry any information out of any government agency. But ordinary Chinese know to stay away from subjects that would directly threaten the Communist Party's monopoly on power, such as harassment of political dissidents or anti-government violence in Tibet. And officials can still easily put information beyond the reach of citizens by declaring it a state secret.

Implementation has been slow and uneven. One survey of 30 provinces found that more than 60 percent had failed the criteria for responsiveness. Even Wu's rare success may not be a total victory - some question whether Guangzhou's budget numbers are complete.

Still, experts say the new measure could be far-reaching, because it helps establish a foundation for broader legal reforms.

The very idea that citizens are entitled to obtain information from their government was electrifying to many. Requests, from the mundane to the politically sensitive, poured in as Chinese navigated new terrain.

A Beijing dog owner wanted to know where pet-licensing fees were going. A Shanghai lawyer sought specifics about China's 4 trillion yuan ($588 billion) stimulus plan. Artist Ai Weiwei asked why so many schoolchildren had perished in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake (5,300 out of 90,000 by official count, but the number is believed to be much higher.)

Beijing alone fielded some 25,000 queries and processed about 500 formal requests in the first couple of months. Many dealt with individual interests, such as property disputes, urban housing demolitions and company restructurings.

Among the first was a query about how much had been collected from tolls on the Beijing Capital Airport Expressway and where the money had gone. The request was filed by Wang, the law professor, who is among a group of legal scholars using the new rule to push open the doors of government.

He got only a partial answer but his effort got extensive media coverage. "We called it a test case," he said. "If we filed, would the government respond? But secondly, it was to let the public know they can do it too."

Shanghai lawyer Yan Yiming is still waiting for specifics on the massive stimulus plan. He filed his third request in January.

"Although a lot of obstacles get in the way, I will stick to it anyway," he said.

Wu has been portrayed in national publications as a public interest hero, though his glasses and thoughtful manner make him seem more wonkish than populist.

He spent 20 years in the U.S., and calls himself Julian. Wu got a master's degree in political science from the University of Houston and worked in financial services there. He now heads a financial assets firm in Shenzhen, a boomtown on the border with Hong Kong, south of Guangzhou.

Though he calls it "just a hobby," budget reform has become his passion. He even created a Web site ( in 2006, the year before he returned to China. Then he heard about the new disclosure regulation.

"I thought, at least I have something to back me up. I found a weapon I can use," he said. "Without this regulation, we had no legal way to ask these questions."

When May 2008 arrived, he and a small band of volunteers sent requests to 36 local governments and to 15 national ministries. Only the Shenzhen city government let him see its budget, but not make copies.

Last fall, he and other volunteers sent another round of requests to major cities and provinces, and within a week came Guangzhou's astonishing response. Shanghai, which initially said no, reversed itself after hearing about Guangzhou's decision.

Cai Dingjian, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said Wu's success highlighted the need for public pressure.

"If we only rely on the law to push for openness and there is no pressure from the citizens, the government probably won't take the initiative to open up its budget information," he said.

For his part, Wu plans to keep pushing for ansers.

"There's lots of ways to make society progress. People talk about democracy, freedom of speech, free press, which is all important but sometimes hard," he said. "When you wake up people as taxpayers, it's easier. I pay tax, you pay tax. You should get something from your government. People understad that."

Related Article:

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

MARINA BAY SANDS - Attraction and Threat That Singapore Offers to Indonesia

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang MARINA BAY SANDS - Attraction and Threat That Singapore Offers to Indonesia?, Kamis, 28 Januari 2010 | 17:41 WIB

Marina Bay Sands (model)

JAKARTA, - There is an optimism for Singapore to absorb more Indonesian visitors through its project, Marina Bay Sands. Thomas Arasi, CEO of Marina Bay Sands, during a press conference, Thursday, at Balai Kartini, Jakarta, voiced this by stating that it will be a grand attraction, especially for Indonesian tourists to visit Singapore, once it's accomplished.

According to Arasi, the majority of tourists in Singapore are indeed from Indonesia. He estimated that around one million Indonesians visit the Merlion country every year.

This number is even higher, at 1.7 million per year, according to Singapore Tourism Board (STB) manager, according to Hassan Kassim in a previous report to in November 2009. But both sources agree that the number will increase in the future.

So, it's only natural to make Indonesia the prime marketing target. In his press release, Arasi admits that, "Indonesia will be the main market for Marina Bay Sands."

For travellers from Indonesia

Well, if you're the travelling type, then the Marina Bay Sands will indeed be a magnificent tourism magnet, among which it boasts: a casino; three hotel towers topped by a single giant roof, the Sands Skypark, that gives you a 360 degree view of Singapore and even glimpses of its neighboring countries; lots of premium brand stores and world class restaurants; two glass pavillions built off-shores to look like floating icebergs; and a convention center with the capacity of 45,000 people.

Sheldon Adelson, president director of Las Vegas Sands, the developer of Marina Bay Sands, expects a gross profit of one billion USD per year. This coming April, the first stage of the Marina Bay Sands will be open, which covers 50 percent of the total project.

For travel agents

For Indonesian travel agents, this could be an opportunity. According to Sapta Nirwanda, marketing director general of the Department of Culture and Tourism, on January 22, 2010, with the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, Indonesian travel agents must be more daring in promoting foreign tourism spots. He believes that so far Indonesian travel agents only focus on domestic tourism. "We only take care of the domestic ones, the foreign ones are still limited."

So the Marina Bay Sands is another good spot to attract customers with, especially since travelling to Singapore is generally cheap for Indonesians. No extra cost for visa, with NPWP (tax register number) we don't have to pay the fiscal tax, and the plane ticket is relatively cheap, on AirAsia's website today there's even an offer of Rp. 99,000 for a Jakarta-Singapore flight.

Artists rendering of the "Welcoming Hand of Singapore", the museum which is part of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resorts.

For domestic tourism

But the Indonesian domestic tourism might have a harder time to compete. The most famous tourism spot in Indonesia is Bali, but, as reported previously, according to Al Purwa, chairman of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agent Association, Indonesian travel agents are urged to promote other tourism spots on the northern part of Indonesia so that tourists aren't bored with Bali.

Besides Bali, Indonesia has other great potential places for tourism. Some are quite well developed, take for example the three isles, Gili Meno, Gili Air, and Gili Trawangan, on Pemenang district, north Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara. Kompas recently did a coverage, praising this area for having good and cheap accomodations and facilities, and also recommending people to go snorkling there.

The Bunaken Island National Park in Menado is also one rising star. Its marine biodiversity is known world-wide and is a wonderful snorkling site.

But not all national tourism spots are doing so well. One random example is the Selarong cave, Yogyakarta. The cave and water fall there used to shelter a national hero, Prince Diponegoro, while struggling for independence. This intriguing tourism spot, as observed, is rather abandoned and has even been vandalized.

Just for your information, according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009, regarding international tourism for ASEAN countries, Singapore is on the first rank, while Indonesia is on the 81st.

The Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism has set the year 2010 as the 'Year to Visit Museums', which is a noble vision, but which museum to visit? One of the Marina Bay Sands' iconic structure is also a museum: the 'Welcoming Hand of Singapore'. (C17-09)

Marina Bay Sands under construction

Related Articles:

The New Icon for Singapore to Attract Indonesian Visitors

Web Portal Launched To Promote Travel To Asean

Official website of the ASEAN Tourism Association

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

13 Asian Nations Meet to Save Tigers

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang 13 Asian Nations Meet to Save Tigers?
Jakarta Globe, January 28, 2010

Asian tigers are severely threatened by habitat loss and poaching. (AFP Photo)

China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhumane and fuel demand for the endangered big cat's bones and skin, the World Bank said Thursday.

The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.

Tiger farms are found principally in China, as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Owners claim rearing the cats in captivity will help reduce the illegal trade in tiger parts which are used in traditional medicine, but environmentalists say it only stimulates further smuggling.

``Our position is that tiger farms as an animal practice are cruel. They fan the potential use of tiger parts. That is extremely dangerous because that would continue to spur demand,'' said the World Bank's Keshav Varma, who is the program director for the Global Tiger Initiative, a coalition formed in 2008 with the Smithsonian Institute and nearly 40 conservation groups. It aims to double tiger numbers by 2022.

``The Global Tiger Initiative as well as the World Bank are in favor of shutting down these farms,'' he said by phone from the sidelines of the conference in the beach resort of Hua Hin.

Wild tiger numbers have plummeted because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and poaching. From an estimated 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number today is less than 3,600.

China alone is believed to be home to 5,000 domestic tigers, and farms thrive despite the government banning the trade in tiger parts in 1993. It has imposed stiff sentences on offenders and ordered pharmacies to empty their shelves of tiger medications purported to cure ailments from convulsions to skin disease and to increase sexual potency.

The first tiger farms started before the ban, but others sprang up afterward because speculators thought the ban would be temporary. The government says the farms have been developed to attract tourists but critics say they are used to harvest tiger parts.

Despite lobbying from influential businessmen for the ban to be lifted, China last month announced it would take stronger law enforcement action on the trade in tiger parts and products. It also promised stricter regulation of captive breeding.

Conservationists like the group TRAFFIC welcomed the new measures but continue to call for tiger farms to be shut down. They say allowing trade in tiger parts would fuel poaching because it is cheaper to kill a wild animal than to raise a tiger on a farm. The parts are indistinguishable.

Varma said tiger farms had yet to be discussed at the three-day ministerial meeting that began Wednesday, attended by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.


Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Germany to host G20 financial regulation summit in May: report

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Germany to host G20 financial regulation summit in May: report?

Reuters, BERLIN, Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:00am EST

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will host a summit of the Group of 20 developed and emerging nations in May to focus on financial market regulation, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

The goal will be to accelerate coordination within the group, the magazine reported, adding that Germany wanted to prevent finance ministers, central bankers, and experts from G20 countries from moving forward unilaterally on oversight.

(Reporting by Brian Rohan; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Get Free eXcellent BACKLINK

eXcellent BACKLINK
Everybody knows how important backlink, and we offer for backlink exchange to increase your site traffic and pagerank. Submit your site here, for free and permanent. Hurry, before it become pay submission.

Link farm? No, we combine your backlink with related topic article, so google will recognize your link as deeplink, which that is a good backlink.

Excel Auto Filter

Excel Auto Filter

Dalam software Microsoft Excel, terdapat satu fitur yang sangat berguna buat saya dalam mengolah database, namanya adalah Auto Filter. Dari namanya tentunya sudah kebayang bahwa fitur ini berguna untuk menjadi filter dalam menampilkan database. Dengan fitur Auto Filter ini, kita bisa memilih untuk menampilkan data sesuai filter yang kita tentukan sendiri, sehingga tidak perlu mencari masing-masing record. Auto Filter tidak mengubah isi database hanya membantu membuat filter dalam menampilkan database, ketika fitur ini sudah dinon-aktifkan, maka database akan kembali seperti semula.

Informasi lebih lengkap tentang Tutorial Software Excel diatas, silahkan lihat di situs ini:
Alamat Blog:

Sex for Sand Scandal in Malaysia

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Sex for Sand Scandal in Malaysia?

Jakarta Globe

Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia"s national graft-fighting watchdog arrested scores of government employees and business officials for allegedly accepting bribes and sexual favors to help smuggle sand out of the country, an official said on Thursday.

The crackdown is the latest bid by the government"s Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to repair its reputation, which took a big hit last year when an opposition activist died under mysterious circumstances after being interrogated by anti-graft officials.

Opposition leaders have accused the commission of using brutality against suspects and failing to successfully investigate corruption cases.

The commission"s new chairman took over on Jan. 1 and pledged to restore its credibility.

Commission officers have arrested 34 people â€" including political aides, civil servants and business officials â€" since Tuesday in a comprehensive crackdown on illegal sand mining and smuggling in several states, a commission official said on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to make public statements.

The suspects allegedly received bribes totaling 280,000 ringgit ($83,000) to facilitate illegal sand mining and smuggling to a neighboring country, the official said. Some also allegedly received “sexual favors,” the official said without elaborating.

The commission declined to provide details on who gave the bribes and where the sand was destined for.

The suspects could be charged with bribery, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years, the commission official said. Further arrests are expected.

The crackdown began last week when the commission arrested an irrigation department worker involved in sand mining, the official said.

A court sentenced the man to five months in prison earlier this week after he pleaded guilty to receiving 6,000 ringgit ($1,800) to help secure a permit to mine river sand.

Critics say the Anti-Corruption Commission has a low success rate in investigating and prosecuting cases.

Some have accused the commission of often targeting opposition politicians. Commission officials have denied any bias and insist they are doing their best to curb graft.

The commission came under heavy scrutiny last year when an opposition activist fell to his death from the commission"s 14th-floor office after being questioned there. A government-ordered inquest is investigating the death.

Associated Press

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Glaxo Sees 10% Growth in Asia This Year on Emerging Markets

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Glaxo Sees 10% Growth in Asia This Year on Emerging Markets?

Businessweek, by Regina Tan and Simeon Bennett, January 18, 2010, 05:29 AM EST

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc forecasts sales growth of as much as 10 percent in the Asia-Pacific region this year, in line with the market and last year"s 9 percent increase, spurred by economic expansion in emerging markets.

The strongest growth will come from Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where swelling wealth and lower prices for some drugs are spurring sales, Christophe Weber, London-based Glaxo"s regional director, said in an interview in Singapore today. Sales of some of the company"s products have surged in the past year, including a 10-fold jump for cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix, he said.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty is relying on revenue from emerging markets including Asia to prop up sagging sales in the U.S., its biggest market. Revenue from emerging markets expanded 25 percent in the third quarter, compared with a 12 percent decline in the U.S. and a 3 percent increase in Europe, the company said in October.

“You have different types of market in the region,” Weber said in an interview at his office. “You have more mature markets like Australia and New Zealand, and then you have more emerging markets which are fast-developing markets like all the middle-income countries in Southeast Asia.”

Northeast Asian countries such as Korea and Taiwan “are in the middle,” Weber said.

The Asian Development Bank expects economic growth of 5.4 percent in Indonesia this year, making it the region"s third- fastest behind Vietnam and Laos.

Price Cuts

Glaxo, which ranks fourth among drugmakers in Asia-Pacific, cut prices last year in the world"s poorest countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, to 25 percent of what it charges in Western nations.

The company said in June that it planned to reduce the price of Cervarix in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, and lower the price of 28 products in the Philippines by as much as 50 percent after the nation"s government asked Glaxo and rivals such as Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis SA to cut prices.

Glaxo is also reinvesting 20 percent of its earnings from poor countries into health infrastructure development such as hospitals and projects for clean water and sanitation, Weber said.

“If you just reduce your price but you don’t change the way you market your product, promote your products, then you won’t have a volume increase,” Weber said. “Patient education is very important as well. How do you educate the doctor, the patient or the population in case of prevention so that they feel that they should be vaccinated?”

--Editors: Lars Klemming, Carey Sargent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Regina Tan in Singapore +65-6499-2833 or at; Simeon Bennett in Singapore at +65-6212-1574 or

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Indonesian FM praises Vietnam`s ASEAN chairmanship

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Indonesian FM praises Vietnam`s ASEAN chairmanship?

Antara News, Saturday, January 16, 2010 16:53 WIB

Da Nang (ANTARA News/VNA) - Indonesian Foreign Minister M. Natalegawa has praised Vietnam at the start of the year it WILL hold the regional organization`s chair, saying that "Vietnam has started its ASEAN chairmanship very well."

The Indonesian minister told reporters on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Da Nang on January 13-14 that he believed many of the grouping`s issues will be solved in 2010 as the first two weeks of the year have passed and Vietnam has already hosted several meetings.

The association will discuss and speed up a series of security-related issues such as the ASEAN maritime forum and the ASEAN defence ministers` meeting later this year, he said.

According to Natalegawa, cooperating in security matters among ASEAN countries was one of the three ASEAN Community`s pillars. He said that he hoped the issues would see practical outcomes in the year Vietnam holds the chair.

Regarding the relationship between Vietnam and Indonesia over the years, he said that both countries share a close relationship, adding that they have both also had to struggle for independence and understood the value of it.

He emphasised that both countries should enhance relations in the future and that the best days for the two countries lie ahead.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Democracy is best: Mahathir

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Democracy is best: Mahathir?

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar | Thu, 01/14/2010 8:17 PM

Despite its many weaknesses, democracy is the best system a country can adopt to promote people"s welfare, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir said during a visit to Indonesia"s province of South Sulawesi on Thursday.

Mahathir was addressing an audience of around 1,000 at the graduate school of Hasanuddin University in Makassar. His speech concerned democracy following the recent religious turmoil in Malaysia over the use of word Allah by the Christian community.

“Is there any governance system better than that provided by the people, to people and for people?” he said at the seminar that also presented South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo.

Mahathir also warned of the possibility of a decline in democratic values as certain groups could derail it for their own vested interests.

“Even if a democracy goes well there is no guarantee it will bring prosperity to the people. Everything depends on the culture and maturity of the people in carrying out democracy,” Mahathir said.

Malaysia is a country that mixes the governance system of an institutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. It is ruled by a premier elected by the people, and its king has no real power.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Memilih Jilbab Sesuai Syariat

Apakah yang biasanya anda pertimbangkan sebelum membeli jilbab baru ? Pastinya anda melihat dari segi mode, warna, dan kenyamanan. Dan memang untuk urusan BAJU MUSLIM butih telah memiliki banyak sekali pilihan untuk anda. Berbagai BUSANA MUSLIM di sediakan oleh banyak butik, dan tentu saja kualitasnya memang terjamin.

Taukah anda, selain melihat dari aspek di atas, banyak hal yang harus kita perhatikan sebelum membeli jilbab. Dan tentang hal ini telah tertulis di Hadist dan Alquran. Tentu anda penasaran apa saja hal yang saya maksud di atas.

Berikut ini adalah detail tentang hal tersebut, silahkan anda perhatikan dengan baik-baik agar tidak ada yang kita langgar.
Jilbab yang sesuai dengan syariah apabila memenuhi syarat-syarat sebagai berikut :

1. Menutupi seluruh badan
2. Tebal tidak tipis

3. Lebar tidak sempit/ketat

4. Tidak diberi wangi-wangian

5. Tidak menyerupai pakaian laki-laki

6. Tidak menyerupai pakaian wanita kafir

Semua hal di atas merupakan syarat-syarat yang mutlak saat kita membeli Jilbab.

RI seeks `concrete action' for ASEAN Community

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang RI seeks `concrete action' for ASEAN Community?

Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 01/09/2010 11:14 AM

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has called on Southeast Asian nations to work harder to create an ASEAN Community in 2015 amid concern regarding China's rise and renewed initiatives from Japan and Australia for new regional architecture.

Marty said in his first annual foreign policy speech Friday that Indonesia was set to enhance its conciliatory role in a world that remains divided, despite the enormous challenges it now faces: from the financial crisis to the global pandemic and what he called the "unfinished business" of climate change.

But he also stressed that, "Indonesia's preoccupation with various global challenges in 2010 will not be at the expense of its commitment to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of its own region."

Marty said the concept of the ASEAN Community was forged to anticipate the recurring debate on the creation of East Asia or Asia Pacific communities, rekindled last year by Tokyo and Canberra respectively.

"For Indonesia, there cannot be an East Asian Community or an Asia Pacific without an ASEAN Community as its core constituent.

"Thus, the ASEAN Community, the various *ASEAN +' processes, the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum), APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and East Asia Summit are to pave the way for the creation of an East Asian Community with ASEAN playing a central role," the minister said.

"The urgency of concrete action to create an ASEAN Community in 2015 cannot be underestimated."

The political and economic discrepancies in Southeast Asia have cast doubts the grouping can achieve its goal in time. Meanwhile, the mounting clout of China in the region has made the ten ASEAN countries apprehensive.

In a move that clearly showcases wariness of China, Indonesia has proposed the regional grouping postpone the full implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Marty, however, made clear that Indonesia would remain committed to the agreement it made with Asia's new powerhouse economy.

The year 2010 is predicted to be a tough year and therefore Indonesia will retain its focus on multilateral diplomacy, Marty said, urging the reform of the UN, especially its Security Council, to "better reflect the contemporary world".

"Indonesia will continue to be at the forefront in promoting the role of the UN in tackling the global crisis and at the same time calling for its reform."

With a tagline of "a thousand friends, zero enemies," Indonesia aims to strengthen the existing ties with countries around the world to a higher level, with renewed and focused efforts to promote economic diplomacy.

"The promotion of trade, investment and tourism is critical to ensure that foreign policy provides a tangible contribution to our development efforts. The foreign policy machinery will be galvanized for this purpose," Marty said.

Calling 2010 as the year for Indonesia to reap its "democratic dividend", he believed Indonesia's diplomacy was now at a crossroads, with a chance to take its international role to another level.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Official: Fourth church attacked in Malaysia

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Official: Fourth church attacked in Malaysia?

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur | Sat, 01/09/2010 3:33 PM

Officials say a fourth church has been hit by firebombs in Malaysia amid a growing dispute in the country over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

Bishop Philip Loke says two firebombs were believed to have been thrown at his Good Shepherd Lutheran Church early Saturday but missed the glass windows, hitting the building wall instead.

He says church members discovered two burned patches on the building wall at midday and found glass splinters on the ground. He said there was no damage to the church in the Petaling Jaya suburb.

The incident occurred a day after three other churches were attacked by firebombs.

Many Muslims are angry about a Dec. 31 court decision overturning a government ban on Roman Catholics using "Allah" for God.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Hedge Fund Chief Warns China Bubble Will Burst

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Hedge Fund Chief Warns China Bubble Will Burst?
Jakarta Globe, David Barboza

A Chinese bank worker counts stacks of 100-yuan notes in eastern China's Anhui province. (AFP Photo)

James Chanos, the contrarian investor who predicted the collapse of Enron, insists that the economic boom in China is headed for a fall.

Chanos built his fortunes predicting the collapse of Enron and other high-flying companies whose stories were too good to be true, and now Chanos is working to bust the myth of the biggest conglomerate of all: China Inc.

Chanos is warning that China"s hyper-stimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most economists predict.

He said that its surging real estate sector, buoyed by a flood of speculative capital, looks like “Dubai times 1,000 â€" or worse.”

He even suspects that Beijing is cooking its books, faking, among other things, its eye-popping growth rates of more than8 percent.

As America"s pre-eminent short-seller he bets big money that companies’ strategies will fail â€" Chanos"s narrative runs counter to the prevailing wisdom on China. Most economists and governments expect Chinese growth momentum to continue this year, buoyed by what remains of a $586 billion government stimulus program that began last year, meant to lift exports and domestic consumption.

Chanos, 51, whose hedge fund, Kynikos Associates, based in New York, has $6 billion under management, is not the only skeptic on China. But he is among the most prominent and vocal.

For all his record of prescience â€" in addition to predicting Enron"s demise, he also spotted the looming problems of Tyco International, the Boston Market restaurant chain and, more recently, home builders and some of the world"s biggest banks â€" his detractors say that he knows little or nothing about China or its economy and that his bearish calls should therefore be ignored.

He has already been spreading the view that the China miracle is blinding investors to the risk that the country is producing far too much. “The Chinese,” he warned in an interview in November with, “are in danger of producing huge quantities of goods and products that they will be unable to sell.”

The New York Times

Related Articles:

Firms move production back to UK

China Stocks May See ‘Full-Blown’ Bubble in 2010, BofA Says

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Harvard receives $20.5m gift for new Asia studies center

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Harvard receives $20.5m gift for new Asia studies center?
Will fund program on Indonesia, By James F. Smith, Globe Staff / January 7, 2010

Benefactor Peter Sondakh and David T. Ellwood, Harvard Kennedy School dean, at the center"s signing ceremony. (Tony Rinaldo for The Boston Globe)

Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world and the largest Muslim-majority democracy. Yet even at Harvard University, Indonesia has remained among the less studied major Asian nations, overshadowed by China, Japan, and Vietnam.

That is about to change, thanks to a fortuitous connection between an Indonesian business magnate and the Asia expert who heads the Ash Center at Harvard"s Kennedy School of Government. A $20.5 million gift - described as one of the five largest in the school of government"s 74-year history - is funding a new Institute for Asia and a new Indonesia program.

The Kennedy School yesterday announced the gift from the Rajawali Foundation, the charitable arm of PT Rajawali Corp., one of Indonesia"s largest conglomerates. The company, founded in the early 1980s by owner and director Peter Sondakh, is a major player in cement, retailing, palm oil, hotels, and other industries.

Professor Anthony Saich, director of the renamed Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School, said in an interview that the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia and the new Indonesia Program within it would allow an array of education and research initiatives.

“This will give us an opportunity to both bring in a new tranche of master"s degree students, and also to bring in current Indonesian officials into some of our executive programs,’’ Saich said. “We will also be running a fellows program that will bring in some of their good young academics to study with us.’’

Saich said the idea for a new institute flowed from Sondakh"s request for a competitive analysis for Indonesia similar to one that Kennedy School researchers had produced for Vietnam. Saich said he told Sondakh that he was not comfortable producing an in-depth study of Indonesia because the Kennedy School lacked the expertise on Indonesia that it had built up on Vietnam and China, for example.

So Sondakh offered to help strengthen the school"s capacity to produce high-level research on Indonesia and to strengthen its academic ties through collaboration with institutions there. The gift includes $10.5 million as an endowment for the new Asia institute, being paid over five years, and another $10 million, also spread over five years, to fund Indonesia-related activities.

“I think that one of the big advantages of this gift is that Southeast Asia generally has been poorly studied and understood across Harvard, and we have barely one or two students here a year from Indonesia,’’ Saich said. “As a result we have few contacts compared to other important countries, and little ongoing research.’’

With a population of 230 million people and 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a vibrant multiparty democracy and also a bulwark of moderate Muslim governance in Asia, combating extremists who have carried out deadly terror bombings. So the country is important strategically, not only in the region but also for its potential to influence other Muslim nations.

James F. Smith writes about Boston"s global ties. His blog is His e-mail is

Related Article:

Indonesia and US to Launch Joint Ocean Research Expedition

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Police warn of terrorism threat behind illegal immigrant issue

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Police warn of terrorism threat behind illegal immigrant issue?

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 01/05/2010 9:39 PM

The National Police has found early indications that might link the current influx of foreign immigrants, who enter this country illegally, with terrorism, chief detective Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi said Tuesday.

“We received early intelligence information that shows these immigrants might be followed by those who share a relationship with some terrorist organizations,” Ito said.

“As of now, I have to acknowledge we are still in the dark about the backgrounds of these immigrants, especially those from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka,” he said.

“We will immediately follow up the intelligence report by working with our counterparts from other agencies [such as the immigration office] to avoid potential terrorist attacks,” he said.

However, Ito refused to provide a detailed explanation when asked about the police"s strategy to detect terrorism behind the illegal immigration issue.

Currently, there are several groups of foreign refugees from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka who are in the country. These refugees have usually chosen to leave their home countries saying they believed they would not be able to live normal lives there.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

Burma leader Than Shwe gives election warning

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang Burma leader Than Shwe gives election warning?

Than Shwe said his roadmap was "the sole process for transition"

Burma's military leader Than Shwe has urged people to make what he called the "correct choices" when elections are held at some point later this year.

General Than Shwe made his comments in a message to mark Independence Day.

He said his government's seven-stage roadmap was the only way for the country to achieve democracy.

A date for the elections has not been set, but they will be the first since 1990, when the military refused to recognise the opposition's victory.

According to the BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Rachel Harvey, the coming year could prove to be a watershed for Burma, but no-one is making any firm predictions on the outcome.

Growing divide

In his annual message read out by another military general at a ceremony in the remote new capital Nay Pyi Taw, Senior General Than Shwe said his seven-step "roadmap to democracy" was "the sole process for transition".

Than Shwe did not spell out exactly what he meant by "correct choices", but many in Burma will interpret his comments as an implicit warning, our correspondent says.

The underlying message appears to be that the military government's plan is the only game in town and it will be played according to the generals' rules.

The election will be the first in Burma since the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory in 1990.

It was a result the military leadership refused to recognise - and the NLD was never allowed to take power.

The NLD has not said whether it intends to contest this year's poll, but in its own Independence Day statement, the party appealed for what it called transparent and sincere dialogue towards national reconciliation.

It also referred to the growing divide between rich and poor in Burma, and said that the majority of people were suffering.

There have been unconfirmed reports in some areas of dissent in the lower ranks of the military over pay and conditions.

Some observers believe that deteriorating economic circumstances as much as political manoeuvring could ultimately decide Burma's future.

The US, which recently changed its policy to one of engagement with the military government, used the occasion of Burma's Independence Day to offer support for the country's independence.

But Washington also said it looked forward to the day when people could freely exercise their universal human rights.

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...

FTA with ASEAN comes into force

Gimana neh pendapatnya tentang FTA with ASEAN comes into force?

China Daily, By Wang Qian and Zhang Jin, Updated: 2010-01-02 08:03

The world's largest free-trade area (FTA) came into being on Friday, an initiative that analysts said gives a shot in the arm for global trade troubled by rising protectionism.

From Friday, most goods traded between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) attracted zero or little tariff.

The average tariff on goods from ASEAN countries is cut to 0.1 percent from 9.8 percent. The six original ASEAN members - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand - will slash the average tariffs on Chinese goods from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent.

By 2015, 90 percent of goods are expected to flow without tariffs between China and the four new ASEAN members: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Border traders were happy with the launch of the FTA, the world's largest in terms of population, 1.9 billion, and third largest by GDP, trailing the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area.

Dozens of trucks, mostly carrying dragonfruit from Vietnam, were waiting to be unloaded Friday morning at the Tianyuan Fruit Trade Market, one of China's largest markets for fruit imports, at Pingxiang Customs point in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

"The establishment of the free trade area is really good news," said Liu Yuzhen, who has been trading fruits for 16 years.

She sells more than 10 tons of apples, pears, oranges and other fruits to Southeast Asia everyday, and hopes her business will expand as the FTA will facilitate Customs clearance and reduce logistics costs.

Business leaders said the FTA would definitely liberalize trade.

"This will enable trade to flow more freely between China and ASEAN, it is a very good thing," said Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association.

He said the FTA would also create more opportunities for ASEAN countries to increase regional trade.

"Cambodia can produce more products and export more to China's market," he said.

Experts have predicted the removal of trade duties will prompt China-ASEAN trade to grow 40 to 50 percent.

Trade between China and ASEAN declined 16.7 percent year-on-year to hit $165.7 billion in the first 10 months last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

An ASEAN leader said the FTA is beneficial to all.

"We sincerely hope that all parties will act to ensure that the man on the street will benefit from these reductions in tariffs," ASEAN secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said on ASEAN's website on Thursday.

He added that the lower cost of inputs will allow the business community a wider choice of goods, and in the process, they will move toward becoming more globally competitive.

Beijing-based analysts said the FTA signals China's commitment to free trade although it has fallen victim to a rising number of protectionist measures taken by developed countries.

"China's efforts to establish the FTA is aimed at not only expanding overseas markets, but also promoting trade and investment liberalization, especially amid global trade protectionism," said Zhang Monan, an economist with the State Information Center.

The FTA - which follows similar trade links established between ASEAN and Japan and South Korea - "gives new vim" to world trade at a time when multinational trade talks are stalled, said Fan Ying, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University.

"The move shows China is willing to open its market although it is a victim of rising trade protection measures," she said. "The FTA will help economies recover from the financial crisis."

Deputy Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said last week that other countries launched more than 100 trade cases against China, affecting $12 billion of Chinese exports, last year. Both figures were double the figure from a year earlier.

With the FTA in place, Zhang expects economic integration between China and ASEAN to be strengthened.

She also said she hoped the Chinese currency, the yuan, can be more widely used in Southeast Asia.

Related readings:

Tolong tinggalin komentar ya...