Monday 19 Mar 2018 | 22:12 | SYDNEY
What's happening on


Australia–Indonesia: strangers next door

At the weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the margins of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit. Although Turnbull seems to have built the positive personal relationship with Jokowi that eluded Tony Abbott, managing the bilateral

Countering youth radicalisation in Indonesia

A group of ten Muslim students gathered in the shady courtyard of central Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Cathedral are reluctant to pass through its neo-Gothic doorways. Some argue that entering the cathedral would contravene their devotion to Islam and equate to an abandonment of faith.

Surmounting Indonesia’s education problems

Although the recent Lowy Institute report by Andrew Rosser, “Beyond Access: Making Indonesia’s Education System Work”, reveals an Indonesian education system buckling under its own deficiencies, it can be read largely optimistically. The weaknesses Rosser outlines are all redeemable 

The Timor Trough – two separate shelves

In her article “How Australia crossed a line in the Timor Sea”, Kim McGrath claims that Australia had evidence supporting Indonesia’s claim in maritime boundary negotiations – but buried it. This serious charge is not substantiated by the 1970 report from then Bureau of

Quality over quantity: Indonesia’s education challenge

Two enduring ideological themes have informed Indonesian education policy almost since the Repulic was founded. The first has been an “education for all” approach, and the second has been to use the education system to promote a sense of an “Indonesian identity”. Largely absent from

Shrugging Indonesia’s inferiority complex

Under President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo, Indonesia has been accused of lacking a coherent foreign policy, particularly when compared to the overtly internationalist outlook of previous president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Despite bold early claims to set up Indonesia as a “global maritime fulcrum”,

Indonesia–US relations: sweating the small stuff

The US and Indonesia have declared an overarching “strategic partnership” to meet broader challenges, from regional architecture building to global governance. At least, this was the case under the Barack Obama (2008–16) and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004–14) presidencies. But under

Will Jakarta no longer be Indonesia’s capital?

'There’s no wind, no rain, but Minister for National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) Bambang Brodjonegoro on Monday announced that the government plans to move the capital from Jakarta in 2018.' This was the lead paragraph of an article published by Indonesian newspaper 

Putting Indonesian Papua’s tensions in context

Since August, numerous civilians and security staff have been killed or wounded in the Tembagapura area in Indonesian Papua, host of Freeport McMoRan's vast Grasberg mining complex. The violence is almost entirely ascribed to the armed wing of the Free Papua Organization (Organisasi Papua Merdeka or

The first global supply chain

The city of Ternate in eastern Indonesia seems forgotten by time. Its quiet bustle is confined to the coastal fringes of Mount Gamalama, with its imperious presence. The most prominent building in the low-slung city is a monumental new mosque, minus two of its four minarets that fell down in a

Indonesia's unorthodox toll road debt

In 2016 Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works dramatically underestimated the funds it needed to acquire land for toll road development. To try to keep development on schedule, the government leaned on toll road developers to lend them the difference at well-below-commercial rates. Over a year

Jokowi’s bungled ban of Hizbut Tahrir

On 13 July, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) issued a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) which will allow the banning of the Islamist organisation Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). This follows the government’s announcement on 9 May that it intended to disband HTI on the grounds that its

‘Maphilindo’ cooperation on the Marawi siege

On Monday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano announced that Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is planning a trilateral conference with the Philippines and Malaysia to discuss the situation in Marawi City. Several Malaysian and Indonesian terrorists have been killed in the

Indonesian democracy: Down, but not out

The imprisonment on blasphemy charges of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, has been a blow to hopes that his earlier success in public office represented the emergence of a more pluralist politics in Indonesia. There is little question that the accusation that Ahok had

Refugee detention in Indonesia

It was a morning like any other until Mohammed, the 16-year-old refugee, was arrested by Indonesian immigration officials at a local market. In order to support his family, who had fled Afghanistan to seek asylum in Indonesia, he had taken up work assisting a shopkeeper. Before he had a chance to

Infrastructure: How Indonesia could shift up a gear

Next year Indonesia will host the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Nusa Dua, Bali. This is a big deal: these meetings leave Washington only once every third year and involve thousands of high-level participants. In announcing that Indonesia would host the 2018

Democracy in Indonesia: A cause for celebration

Prior to Indonesia holding 101 local elections across the nation, Islamic leaders and the National Police publicly urged citizens to stay united. National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian asserted that differences 'are common in a democracy'. He said: 'You may have different candidate preferences

The Ahok witch-hunt in Jakarta

While Saturday’s rally in Central Jakarta celebrating the tenet Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (‘Unity in Diversity’) failed to pull a crowd as large as the rally calling for Jakarta’s governor Ahok to be jailed for blasphemy in the same spot just over a fortnight earlier, it was thankfully a calmer

Jakarta rally exposes division among Islamic State loyalists

By Nava Nuraniyah, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), Jakarta. Extremist groups have failed to exploit the 4 November Islamist protest against the Jakarta governor in order to spark sectarian conflict. In fact, the rally has deepened internal

China drives Australia and Indonesia into a closer embrace

Australia holds so-called 2+2 meetings of foreign and defence ministers with a steadily expanding number of nations, Germany having joined the A-list last September. Getting senior defence and foreign affairs officials in the same room at the same time makes perfect sense: many foreign relations

Quick comment: Indonesian students in Egypt and Turkey

In this quick comment, the Lowy Institute's Anthony Bubalo and his co-authors, Sidney Jones and Navhat Nuraniyah from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict,  discuss their recent Lowy Institute Report that examines the effect of the current turmoil in the Middle East on Indonesian

The domestic politics of Jakarta's South China Sea policy

Over the past week, there have been renewed calls for Jakarta to take a tougher stance against Beijing following an incident where a Chinese coast guard vessel rammed one of its own fishing boats to pry it free from Indonesian authorities who had seized it for illegal fishing. Several analysts have