Local News

Bali’s Ngurah Rai among most on-time airports in Southeast Asia

I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport was one of the most on-time airports in Southeast Asia for the month of April, according to United Kingdom-based air travel intelligence company OAG Aviation. The only commercial airport in Bali placed sixth on OAG’s top 10 list with a 76.5 percent on-time-performance (OTP), leaving behind other well-known airports in Southeast Asia, such as Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia and Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand. Other than Ngurah Rai, two other airports operated by state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I) were also included in the list, namely Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, and Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Ngurah Rai’s general manager, Haruman Sulaksono, warmly welcomed the achievement. “We are thankful that our attempt to provide the best service for our passengers has received such recognition and acknowledges us as one of the best on-time airports in Southeast Asia. It means that our on-time performance is good enough,” he said on Wednesday. Haruman expressed his appreciation to all airport stakeholders that contributed to the achievement, namely airlines, ground-handling services and state-owned air navigation firm AirNav Indonesia. In its report, OAG also named three domestic airlines as the most on-time domestic flights, namely AirAsia, Garuda Indonesia and Citilink. Meanwhile, the most on-time international flights are Korean Air, Cathay Dragon and Royal Brunei Airlines. [Thejakartapost.com May, 25, 2019]


Indonesia to execute French drug trafficker

An Indonesian court in West Nusa Tenggara province on Monday sentenced a Frenchman to death for smuggling a huge amount of drug into the country. Dorfin was arrested carrying a suitcase filled with about 3kg of drugs, including ecstasy and amphetamines, after flying into the airport from Singapore. Indonesia has not executed anyone since 2016, but a number of foreigners are still on death row including Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Lindsay Sandiford, a cocaine-smuggling British grandmother, who have been on death row since 2007 and 2013 respectively.

He had arrived from Singapore with, according to the authorities, almost four kilograms of cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines hidden in a double-bottomed suitcase. A female police officer was arrested for allegedly helping Dorfin escape from jail in exchange for money. He was recaptured near a forested mountain on Lombok island, next to Bali, after spending 10 days on the run. He plans to appeal against the sentence, his lawyer said. They said that they were shocked by the verdict after the prosecution had recommended a prison sentence of 20 years. The judges found Dorfin guilty of violating Article 113 on drug smuggling in the 2009 law on drugs Dorfin was arrested by customs officers on September 21 a year ago at Lombok International Airport in Mataram, where he had just landed from Changi Airport in Singapore.

After the sentencing, he said little as he walked past reporters to a holding cell. The lawyer Deny Only Indra spoke of a “shocking ruling”. “He didn’t expect this at all because prosecutors only asked for 20 years”. The Bali Nine gang’s only female member was released from jail previous year, while some others remain in prison. Last year, eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court after being caught with around a tonne of crystal methamphetamine. [mjportal.com May 23, 2019]


Indonesian election exposes divide between Muslims, non-Muslims – Analysis

Indonesia’s 2019 presidential election, whose official results on Tuesday sealed a second term for the incumbent, exposed social and religious divides in Southeast Asia’s largest country that reflect its growing pains as a maturing democracy, analysts told BenarNews. The Election Commission released its official tally showing that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was reelected with 55.5 percent of the vote against 44.5 percent   for his rival, retired Gen. Prabowo Subianto, in the April 17 election. “The election exposed divides in Indonesian society, not only between Muslims and non-Muslims, but also between Muslims who are tolerant and rooted in local values such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), and those who follow more Middle Eastern-oriented clerics,” said Achmad Sukarsono, a senior analyst at Control Risks, a Singapore-based consultancy. “Basically it’s 50-50 and non-Muslims tipped the balance in favor of Jokowi,” he added.

Jokowi won in Central and East Java, the stronghold for NU, the country’s largest Muslim organization to which his running mate belongs. The incumbent also won in provinces where non-Muslims are the majority, such as mainly Hindu Bali and predominantly Christian East Nusa Tenggara. Jokowi picked as his running mate Ma’ruf Amin, a cleric known for his conservative views on issues such as gay and minority rights, to fend off accusations from hardline Islamic groups that he was not sufficiently Muslim, but the move failed to curb the polarization, according to analysts. “Ma’ruf only succeeded in solidifying support within NU for Jokowi,” said Wasisto Raharjo Jati, a political researcher with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

Challenger Prabowo and his running mate, wealthy businessman Sandiaga Uno, dominated in West Java – the country’s most populous province – most of Sumatra island as well as in the Aceh region, where Islamic law is enforced. Jayadi Hanan, an analyst at Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, said strong polarization meant that most voters had made up their minds before the election. “Some voters were determined to vote for Prabowo, even though they saw that Jokowi’s performance was good enough,” he said.


Minority outreach

As he prepares to take office in October for a final five-year term, Jokowi has his work cut out for him, Achmad said, pointing to how the president must address grievances and demands of the Muslim majority. “It’s hard for Jokowi to defend the rights of minorities when the majority feel increasingly insecure,” he said, adding that the schism was part of the growing pains of “a maturing democracy.” Wasisto questioned Jokowi’s efforts toward minorities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, which has been a democracy for only 21 years. “Jokowi has enjoyed support for populist programs that affect ordinary people, but his commitment to resolving human rights issue leaves much to be desired,” Wasisto said.

The president has been praised for his drive to revamp the country’s crumbling infrastructure by building roads, ports, power plants and dams during his first five-year term. But he has also been criticized for his record on human rights, law enforcement and the fight against corruption, despite a campaign promise to address cases of past rights violations, analysts said. Jokowi’s first term saw the jailing of environmental activists and members of ethnic and religious minorities, including an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman who was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year for blasphemy after complaining about noise from a local mosque.

In a high-profile case, then-Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, was sentenced in 2017 to two years in prison over allegations that he had insulted the Quran in off-the-cuff remarks. Ahok, who was the deputy to Jokowi when Jokowi served as governor of Jakarta before first running for president in 2014, was released from prison in January. The events leading to Ahok’s jailing raised concerns about growing intolerance where anti-Chinese sentiment remains high despite the end of official discrimination against the minority group after the downfall of strongman Suharto in 1998.

Meanwhile, opposition figures have accused Jokowi of politicizing law enforcement to muzzle dissent. “It is likely that the human rights situation will continue to slowly deteriorate, as Jokowi has leaned more and more on the police and prosecutors to shut down political opponents who he cannot win over to his agenda or ply with patronage to support it,” said Aaron Connelly, a research fellow in Southeast Asian politics at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). While Jokowi has talked about focusing on people during his second term, a move away from infrastructure seems unlikely, Connelly said. The president has said that he would use his second term to go all out to make Indonesia the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2045. “Without infrastructure, don’t dream about being the fifth- or the fourth-largest economy in the world,” Jokowi said. [Eurasiareview.com May 22, 2019]


Bali’s Mount Agung erupts again and cue the flight cancellations and delays

Mount Agung is at it again, with the volcano’s latest eruption causing thick ash to spread across Indonesia, and forcing airlines to cancel and delay flights in and out of Bali. According to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management, the latest eruption on Friday night had a maximum amplitude of 30 mm and duration of about four minutes 30 seconds. The eruption was accompanied by a loud roar that was heard at the observation post, along with flying stones and lava as far as three kilometres in all directions.

A number of flights to and from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport were cancelled and delayed as a result, with Jetstar and Virgin Australia among the affected airlines. Travel Weekly understands two Jetstar flights which were on the way to Bali from Melbourne and Cairns had to return and were subsequent cancellations. The airline also suffered additional cancellations for a Melbourne flight and Darwin flight to Bali. Furthermore, a Jetstar flight from Adelaide to Bali was diverted to Darwin before continuing to its final destination, while three of the airline’s flights to/from Bali were delayed. A Virgin spokesperson told Travel Weekly that four of its flights were delayed out of Denpasar, but there was no impact on the airline’s operations in Australia over the weekend.

The status of Mount Agung remains alert level three, with the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management warning locals, climbers and tourists against carrying out activities within a radius of four kilometres from the peak. It was only last month that Mount Agung caused a similar amount of chaos for airlines, and the latest eruption is the third one recorded this month alone, according to the disaster management board. [Travelweekly.com.au May 27, 2019]


Indonesia government lifts temporary ban on social media features

The Indonesian government has ceased the temporary ban on social media which was first put in place to stop fake news and hoaxes from circulating post elections, according to news on CNA. Last week, the government put restrictions in place to stop users from uploading videos and photos on social   platforms to tackle unrest caused by post-election count. In a report by Reuters, chief security minister Wiranto said it is an effort to “avoid provocations [and] the spread of fake news through the community”.

The move came after riots ensued post the election count and caused deaths. The Indonesian government imposed restrictions on social platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stop rallies for violent protests as well as spread of hoaxes. Speaking to various media, communications minister Rudiantara had then said the move will help to slow visual content that could inflame emotions. It will be temporary. Residents in Jakarta, Central Java and Bali appear to be impacted, and have taken to social media with hashtags such as #FacebookDown and #WhatsappDown.

Indonesia is said by the news outlet to be Facebook’s third largest market globally with 130 million accounts. In a statement to Marketing Interactive, a Facebook spokeswoman said that it is aware of the ongoing security situation in Jakarta and have been responsive to the government of Indonesia to the best of its ability. “We are committed to maintaining all of our services for people who rely on them to communicate with their loved ones and access vital information,” she added.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson said Facebook said it has taken a number of steps since the protests started to help keep its community safe, including removal of content from Facebook and Instagram that violates its policies. It is also in close contact with the government, law enforcement, its third-party fact-checking partners and other trusted partners on the ground in Indonesia to help it identify potential misinformation and other violating content. Facebook currently has policies against hate speech, extremist content, incitement to violence, and misinformation that could lead to imminent offline harm. [ Marketing-interactive.com May 25, 2019]