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The Indonesian economy: “as delicate as walking on eggshells”

Anthony Budiawan Managing Director of Political Economy and Policy Studies (PEPS)

IO – Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik – “BPS”) has just announced Indonesia’s import-export data for September 2019. It is a disappointment, as expected, but it is still a disappointment nonetheless: Indonesia’s economy is still so vulnerable. Our condition is like walking on eggshells – it can shatter at any moment. We are really helpless.

Trade balance in September 2019 remains in a USD 160.5 million deficit. Exports in September 2019 went down 5.74% from those of September 2018. Exports in the January-September 2019 term fell 8%. Data on non-petroleum and natural gas exports is also disappointing: these exports in September 2019 went down 2.7% from those of the same month in 2018. Overall, non-petroleum and natural gas exports January-September 2019 dipped 6.22% from those over the same period the previous year, i.e. from USD 134.96 billion to USD 124.17 billion. That’s a big drop.

Trade balance this year seems to be continuing along last year’s deficit trend: until the end of September 2019 it recorded a deficit of USD 1.9 billion. This deficit rate did decrease from that of the same period in 2018, but it was only caused by petroleum prices being below those of the previous year. Therefore, petroleum and natural gas deficit until the end of September 2019 went down USD 3.01 billion against that over the same period in 2018. In other words, deficit went down from USD 9.45 billion to USD 6.44 billion. This trade balance deficit increases the current transaction balance liability, which has been in deficit for 8 consecutive years so far. Current transaction deficit in Quarter II of 2019 has again exceeded the deficit psychological threshold of 3% of the GDP. This deficit strongly presses down the Rupiah exchange rate, which is currently being desperately saved using excessive State debt taken simply to offset the exchange rate. 

Gloomy economic news comes not just from exports and imports. Actual sales data of several other sectors have also shown a disappointing result, indicating that our economy is still vulnerable. Wholesale car sales until August 2019 dropped 13.4%, a major crash from 763,444 units (2018) to 660,286 units (2019). Furthermore, domestic cement sales (January-September 2019) also dropped, by 2.2%. This data implies that our infrastructure development is stagnant. The Government has run out of fuel (i.e. cash) to prime economic growth by spending on infrastructure. This is because Government tax income has dropped: actual tax income until the end of August 2019 was only 51.51% of the target – which is a horrifying shortfall that is big enough to trigger a State Budget crisis.

The above condition shows that our Government no longer has the strength to support economic growth and prevent our economy from going into a downward spiral. There is nothing to do but endure and wait until the economic cycle goes back up, and we do not know when or if that will happen. On the contrary, we must face a bitter reality in a short time: one where our economy sinks even deeper. The threat of global economic recession is not an illusion, but a reality that hits several advanced countries already. For example, Germany is officially in recession, and England is at a high risk for it. We can only hope that the European Union can be strong enough to handle the progress of recession and support global economic growth.

Other data showing the stagnation of Indonesia’s economy is related to electricity consumption. The growth of electricity consumption in the industrial sector until the end of September 2019 was only 1.13%, i.e. from 56.26 TWh (Terawatt hour) to 56.9 TWh. This increase already includes the amount of electricity used by new industrial customers. In other words, electricity consumption by old industrial clients is stagnant, or even negative.

Any economic policy we take in the future will be critical for our survival and growth. Unfortunately, current economic policies are moving in the wrong direction. They do not support the interest of the common people and are highly unprofessional: the focus is to cutting deficits and increasing State income by cranking up levies and tariffs – a tactic that makes it hard for the people to spend, especially the lower classes. These include cigarette taxes, health social security fees, 900 VA electricity fees, and toll fees. Depressed spending of the people will negatively impact economic growth, making it slower and causing recession and crisis to come faster.

Social media play a crucial role in Indonesian and Hong Kong protests

Ramadha Valentine & Dimas Permadi, Students of University of Islam Indonesia

IO – Recently, Hong Kong people gathered in public to protest the attitude of the Chinese government, which seeks to usurp their rights by interfering in the judicial process, through the Hong Kong Extradition Bill. The Chinese government is considered to have violated the agreed right of autonomy and disturbed the stability of Hong Kong. The background to the Extradition Bill is the historical surrender of Hong Kong  from the British government to the PRC, as the present Chinese government considers itself entitled to Hong Kong territory.

The recent protests were also motivated by economic motives, seeing how China’s attitude was aggressive in resolving this problem. Then there was also major support from the US government for US investment in Hong Kong. The Extradition Bill has triggered an escalation in demonstrations and disrupted all activities of the Hong Kong government and also the daily activities of civil society.

The demonstrators sought support from various parties, both internal and external. They are active in providing information to outside parties through social media so that various parties know about the problems at stake. The aim is to get support and participation from a variety of parties, as did pro-democracy activists seeking support from Germany for democratic rights in Hong Kong.

The same phenomenon also took place in Indonesia, where people gather to protest the revision of the Indonesian Criminal Code Bill on September 23, 2019. Previously, many state legal experts in Indonesia said that the revision of the Criminal Code Bill would weaken several laws in Indonesia and at the same time have a negative impact on Indonesian democracy. This perception is reinforced by the assumption that government efforts as a way to weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). This drives Indonesian people (especially students) to organize demonstrations in various areas such as Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Purwokerto, Malang, Bandung, Samarinda, Balikpapan, Palembang, Semarang, Solo, Medan, Lampung, Aceh, and Makassar.

The government’s response was considered slow and undemocratic, where it does not provide any clear response to the demands and questions of the public regarding the revision of the Criminal Code Bill. Rather, the Joko Widodo administration took repressive action, such as shooting demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets.

While the two demonstrators in Indonesia and Hong Kong may have different aspirations, both protests have similarities when it comes to the role social media play in them.

How social media plays a role in both protests
Demonstrations that have taken place in Hong Kong and Indonesia had some commonalities, especially in the role of social media, which has a strong influence in building a common perspective on the issues at hand so that much support was injected into the ongoing issue. Social media users, both domestically and internationally, have their respective roles in providing information and full support in gaining international attention. Social media has also become one of the platforms for the community to play an active role in forming an alliance in carrying out its mission.

For example, the use of hashtags on social media that shows support for demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong. On Twitter, it can be found several hashtags such as “Occupy Hong Kong”, “Occupy Central”, and “Umbrella Movement” which succeeded in gaining the attention of the people.

According to data obtained from twitter, as many as 1.3 million tweets were about issues related to demonstrations in Hong Kong. This certainly strengthens the attention and support provided by people. Moreover, social media is also used as a medium for information for people who want to know the situation that has just occurred with the demonstrators.

However, the government’s response to the role of social media in Hong Kong can be said to be quite repressive, by banning social media like Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the Chinese government also removed all forms of posts related to the issue.

Similarly in Indonesia, people also used social media as a forum to express the  issues at hand. One example was a movement called “Gejayan Memanggil” (Gejayan is Calling), which aims to call people to gather for demonstrations in the city of Yogyakarta. Judging by the choice of words on social media, it can be seen that the movement is persuasive. The goal is to call as many students and the public as possible to take part in demonstrations.

Some people also enliven the hashtag with information, opinions, and photos that are posted into various social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

Democracy is leading the way
In a recent piece on SCMP, Derwin Pereira writes how the protests in Indonesia and Hong Kong were carried out around similar issues. What is also similar between the two protests  is the role social media playedin these demonstrations.

The phenomenon speaks volumes about how the human quest for freedom or any other aspiration towards reclaiming power from the government can’t be snuffed out, even by the most powerful autocratic system or by state’s repressive actions. Social media has also made hard to turn a quest into change as today everyone is a leader, a critic, and a writer.

Stories lately coming from Indonesia and Hong Kong provide additional examples of how democracy is now leading the way. Common people now have more weapons to communicate and take on the powerful, while previously these examples were coming from countries of Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring, where social media helped people topple dictatorial regimes; now they are becoming apparent in Asia.

While it is difficult to measure precisely, social media has increasingly played an important role in uplifting the state of democracy in many parts of the world. In Indonesia, Jokowi has begun to reconsider his policy by inviting a number of experts to rework the planned unpopular legislation. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam is thinking of resigning.

Sautama Suites enter topping-off stage

(photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Tangerang – After its success with Sautama Apartment, PT Sutera Agung Properti (SAP) as a pioneer of high-end apartments for the Serpong Tangerang area, held a Topping-Off procession for its second project, “Sautama Suites” Thursday (17/10). It was attended by PT SAP’s Board of Directors and Management, suppliers, supporting banks, residents of Sautama, Property Agent Partners and prospective buyers. Topping off Sautama Suites further strengthens the commitment of PT SAP as a trusted developer.

Sautama Suites was designed by Aboday Architects and is located in Alam Sutera, next to Sautama Apartment. It certainly embodies more value by taking into account the expectations and desires of customers in the first project of the Sautama Apartment. Sautama Suites is expected to be the new High-End Apartment Icon for the Serpong & Tangerang area.

According to General Marketing Manager of PT Sutera Agung Properti, Agung Nugroho, Sautama Suites has 30 floors, 28 of which contain 4 units of 3BR type measuring 167m2 and 2 top floors containing 2 penthouse units each measuring 350m2. To provide privacy and exclusivity for residents, a private elevator is provided for each unit. Even 2 private elevator units for the penthouse.

“Sautama Suites, with its strategic location, luxury concept, and complete facilities, has a very limited number of units, only 104, making Sautama Suites a new icon of luxury apartments in Tangerang. The key handover is targeted to be carried out in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.

Sautama Suites, apart from being a comfortable, safe, prestige residence or a symbol of success, are also profitable investments, both increasing in property value (Capital Gain) and periodic income (Yield).

“For comfort and prestige, Sautama Suites has a floor to ceiling height (net) of 3.2 meters that distinguishes it from surrounding competitors. Another unique thing that attracts is the elegant lobby, double security system with access cards, and 2 dedicated parking lots for each unit as a symbol of true luxury. Besides, there are also premium facilities such as a fitness center, sauna and semi-indoor swimming pool, complete with pool lounge and reading pavilion,” added Agung.

Alam Sutera as the location of Sautama Suites is a developing area (Sunrise Property) that has good accessibility as an International-Standard City. One aspect is the development of the Toll JORR II so that later access to the airport will only take 15 minutes. It is believed to be one of the factors that will increase Capital Gain for Sautama Suites. As for yields, Sautama Apartment’s track record ranges from 6% to 10%. Further, the Sautama Suites environment is also surrounded by various facilities, such as hospitals, offices, modern markets, shopping centers, as well as internationally-renowned schools and universities.

“Marking the Topping-Off Sautama Suites phase, we are working with 5 well-known banks, such as BCA Bank, Permata Bank, CIMB Niaga Bank, OCBC NISP Bank, and UOB Bank. The promo offered is “KPA Fee FREE” which includes, Free provision fees, notary public, administration, and insurance. Of course, terms and conditions apply “, concluded Agung Nugroho.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China: Chinese ambassador visits Ministry of Defense

(photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Indonesia HE Xiao Qian visits the Indonesian Ministry of Defense, in order to establish closer relations between the two countries, the Republic of Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China, on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

Accompanied by Army chief of staff (KASAD) General TNI Andika Perkasa, Defense Minister HE Prabowo Subianto received the ambassador’s work visit in his office in the Ministry of Defense, Jalan Merdeka Barat Jakarta.

In his remarks, Ambassador HE Xiao Qian extended his congratulations on the appointment of HE Prabowo Subianto as the Minister of Defense in the Indonesian Onward Cabinet. Furthermore, His Excellency expressed his gratitude that the bilateral relations between the two countries have been going well and expressed his hope that bilateral relations would continue to run smoothly.

Meanwhile HE Prabowo Subianto in his welcoming remarks expressed his gratitude for the congratulations on his appointment as the Minister of Defense. His Excellency also expressed his hope that the bilateral relations between the two countries could continue to increase. In addition, HE Prabowo Subianto revealed that acknowledgement of the sovereignty between the two countries is the main thing. In addition, the stability of a country is also very important and can be measured if the people feel safe and do not live with threats, either from within or from outside. “We must stand as tall and sit as low as any nation. 1000 friends are too few, while 1 enemy is too many,” HE Prabowo Subianto added. (ohw)

A Competent Cabinet

Dahlan Iskan Former Minister of State Owned Enterprises

IO – I must praise the composition of this new cabinet. That means I have to praise the compiler: President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo.

Certainly, its makeup does not satisfy everyone. Especially all the political parties. But it looks like President Jokowi can evade the pres­sure of many around him.

Indeed, Luhut Panjaitan still looks dominant. His old position has remained: Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs. In charge of Ener­gy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) and Maritime Affairs. Even added investment fields to that. But – from the President’s point of view – that’s the correct choice. Luhut can be a bumper for various pressures. From individuals and politicians. Including from Parliament.

He is the type of person who vol­unteered to be a fortress. For the sake of a President.

The Minister of Religion is also Luhut Panjaitan’s. Although official­ly a Hanura Party member. The ap­pointment of Fachrul Razi as Minis­ter of Religion can eliminate pressure from the right and left – Muhammad­iyah or NU.

He is a general. Kopassus. Re­tired. Religious. Also, from Aceh.Now the Minister of Religion is back in the hands of the Army. General Fachrul Razi is the third soldier to become the Minister of Religion. After Alamsyah Ratu Perwiranegara and Tarmizi Tahir.

The President also managed to keep the Ministry of Energy and Min­eral Resources (ESDM) in profession­al hands.

Of course, ESDM has become the target of many politicians. But the choice of Arifin Tasrif was quite ap­propriate.

His relationship with Japan is very good. He is currently still the In­donesian Ambassador to Japan. His managerial ability is extraordinary. He is Managing Director of Petro­chemical Gresik, and later became Managing Director of Indonesian Fertilizer Holding.

In his post, he purchased a for­eign company in order for it to be­come a national company. Without much fanfare. He excels in human­ izing humans. He knows the issue of national energy.

The magic is Sofyan Jalil. The old and new Minister of Agrarian Affairs. This Acehnese was twice a Minister in the days of President SBY. Twice also became a Minister in President Jokowi’s era.

What about the Minister of State-owned Companies (BUMN)?

Erick Thohir is the right choice. Young and meritorious – for Jokowi. He sacrificed his friendship with San­diaga Uno to become the leader of the Jokowi winning team.

At first, I doubted that Erick would become a Minister. He is not lacking in anything. From such a large group of companies: Adaro.

I pray that Erick will be safe. From bureaucratic traps. And from any­one’s revenge.

Erick who is good at leaving peo­ple unharmed. He is very good at em­bracing people. If he becomes a bu­reaucratic victim it would be a shame: we will lose a great businessman. One whose intentions are to serve but un­reciprocated.

Mahfud MD finally got a place as the Coordinating Minister for Poli­tics and Security. After failing to be a running mate. This is the first time the Coordinating Minister for Politi­cal, Legal and Security Affairs is not a soldier.

President Gus Dur has provided provisions in Mahfud MD’s curricu­lum vitae. So it is considered to have a suitable track record for his new position.

Gus Dur once appointed him Min­ister of Defense. The first civilian De­fense Minister. In the era of democra­cy, the Army must indeed be under civilian control. That is the dream of Gus Dur’s democracy.

And again the security challenges ahead are civilians. Extremists, eth­nicity, rich-poor inequality, non-en­forcement of the law.

That is the field controlled by Mah­fud.After all, his Defense Minister was already a ‘strong man’: Prabowo Subianto. The Coordinating Minister could focus more on the non-military security issues and the legal reform.

What about the election of National Police Chief Tito Kar­navian as the Interior Minister?The President can get around this post. Exempt it from political pres­sure. The PDI-Perjuangan must be very interested in this position. I also felt that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-Perjuangan) felt it had a ‘right’ for the Ministry of Home Affairs. As the party that wins the election.

But the PDI-Perjuangan should not be disappointed either. Police General Tito has proven his political loyalty. Proven during the last elec­tion. PDI-Perjuangan should be able to hold Tito for the upcoming elec­tions. He can be a bulldozer. Even in the age of democracy, bulldozers were still needed

What about the Attorney General?

The president was also able to avoid the left-right pressure. Espe­cially from the two main figures in the coalition: Megawati and Surya Paloh.

Through social media we know: there was a kind of struggle for the position. So far, the Attorney Gen­eral is Surya Paloh’s person. Then the right is also his to maintain that position.

Megawati, on the contrary, did not want the Attorney General to return to Nasdem. Too many PDI-Perjuan­gan cadres moved parties. For fear of being a suspect.

The President managed to get out from under that pressure. Chose the third person: ST Burhanuddin. He was forced to return home to his alma mater.

What’s interesting is the post of Minister of Education. Mil­lennial held: Nadiem Makarim.His ability with a decacorn has proven extraordinary. The best in Indonesia. Now Nadiem is entering the bureau­cracy. The Minister of National Ed­ucation is the biggest bureaucracy. With the biggest budget. Even the range of control. Very broad.

In the hands of Nadiem maybe so much can be simplified. At least that’s the expectation of many people.We pray for Nadiem. To remain able to move swiftly. Amid bureaucratic barbed wire.

Of course, the field of education is new to him. But the Coordinating Minister for this was Muhajir Effendy. Who has been serving as Minister of Education and Culture.

There are indeed many ques­tions: why was the popular Susi Pujiastuti not appointed again? Of course, many people already know: she is considered difficult by the Coordinating Minister. The ru­mor was so strong: she would not come when invited to a meeting. Susi is known to be very principled. Nationalist. Also very accomplished. It can be said that fishing by foreign boats in Indonesia waters no longer exists. Fish have become plentiful in the sea.

But the fish center in Bitung screamed. They can’t get fish. Like­wise, other fish centers. Fish have indeed become plentiful. But what if they are not captured? Such was once a joke that spread.

What about the economic team? The Coordinating Minister is not an economist-technocrat: Airlangga Har­tarto from Golkar. His Trade Minister: Agus Suparmanto from PKB. Minis­ter of the industry: Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita from Golkar. Minister of Labor Ida Fauziah from PKB. The Agriculture Minister is Syahrul Yasin Limpo from Nasdem.

Only the technocrat Finance Min­ister: Sri Mulyani. But this is indeed not a year of economic expansion. These are years of consolidation.

Limpo, for example, is a hard worker. Also a breakthrough. He is re­sourceful. What also becomes a ques­tion: why is the idea of combining the positions of Foreign Minister and the Minister of Trade not being realized. The idea is very modern.

Also, why were the Research and Technology separated again with Higher Education? Did the experi­ment fail?

Higher Education is returned to the Ministry of Education. In terms of togetherness, this cabinet is like an even rain. Cohesiveness seems more important.

Is there any opposition left? PKS is certain. Will the oth­er parties – those not in the cab­inet – stand in opposition? Even if they are in opposition, it seems that they will walk on their own.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical supports Indonesian bio-regeneration

(photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, JAKARTA – Daewoong Pharmaceutical, a pioneer in the Korean pharmaceutical business, displayed its vision at the Pullman Hotel, Jakarta on October 23, 2019. Daewoong Pharmaceutical is committed to being at the forefront in supporting the field of bio-regenerative medicine in Indonesia, such as providing the best treatment solutions for Indonesian doctors in the field of regenerative medicine and contributing to improve digital health services in the forms of sophisticated telemedicine systems, social services, and human resource development. Regenerative medicine is a technology that can accelerate the regeneration of damaged body parts by using various medications, materials, medical devices and others.

Sengho Jeon as CEO of Daewoong Pharmaceutical said that after today’s vision declaration, Daewoong will present the best medicines, infrastructure, and human resources to become the leading bio-renewal company in Indonesia. “We will do our best to be the first to improve the quality of life of the Indonesian people,” he said.

The vision declaration was also attended by Changbum Kim as Ambassador of Korea, Hari Wibowo as Head of the Bureau of International Cooperation, Dr. H. Subejo, S.H, M.Sc., as Temporary Head of Jakarta Province Fire and Rescue Service, and several VIP guests from Indonesia and Korea.

In 2012, Daewoong Pharmaceutical collaborated with PT Infion to establish Daewoong Infion, which then established the first bio-pharmaceutical factory in Indonesia in 2015, and sold an erythropoietin drug called ‘Epodion’ in 2017 which was able to reach the top market share in the Indonesian EPO market in the 6 months following the launch; the medicine has since received clearance from the Food and Drug Licensing Agency (BPOM).

Sengho added that Daewoong is currently performing many clinical trials for its biopharmaceutical products, such as treatment for refractory wounds, growth hormones, botulinum toxins and vaccines. It has plans to expand expansion into Moslem countries by obtaining “Halal” certification.

The company, which is in the top 5 in the Korean pharmaceutical sector, will also build a research and development center in Indonesia, and conduct bio-research and development for health technology that uses biopharmaceuticals and stem cells. In the field of regenerative medicine, Daewoong is collaborating with one of its affiliated companies, CGBio, to supply medical equipment for scar treatment, skin regeneration procedures, scoliosis repair and bone formation proteins. It has plans to make Indonesia the best center for stem cell medical technology in the world.

CGBio, a research company in the field of regenerative medicine, provides not only bio-regenerative medical devices such as ‘Novosis’ and ‘Lumfix’ in the form of bone formation proteins and scoliosis repair, but also provides aging prevention solutions in a variety of stem cell-based aesthetic fields. Both of these medical devices have licenses from the Ministry of Health.

To improve the quality of Indonesian public health, Daewoong introduced a health care system such as that found in Korea, through its affiliated groups. The system allows Daewoong to provide services that can streamline proactive health management and increase productivity and efficiency in developing the latest medicines, by using big data and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, Daewoong’s affiliated company, EZ Medicom will introduce a sophisticated hospital logistics system that makes it easy to track logistics from the manufacturer to the end-user.

To show Daewoong’s seriousness in providing the best for the people of Indonesia, Daewoong Pharmaceutical, together with Daewoong Foundation and CGBio, a Daewoong affiliated company, will host medical charity activities, as a form of collaboration between Daewoong and the Jakarta Fire Department involving collaboration of doctors from Indonesia to treat burns and spine injuries, on 24-25 October 2019. It is a form of Daewoong support to ensure Jakarta firefighters can do their job as best as they can.

This medical volunteer group has 40 members, including Dr. Lutfi Gatam from Premier Bintaro Hospital, Dr. Sandy from Yarsi Hospital, Professor Ahn Jae-sung from Chungnam National University Hospital, Director Chun Wook from Hallym Univ. Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, and Professor Park Myong-Chul from Ajou University Hospital. At present, Daewoong continues to support research and academic activities for Indonesian medical doctors, and works closely with major universities to foster talent in the Indonesian health sector.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical plans to release a combination drug for people with hypertension and hyperlipidemia, namely ‘Oloduo’, the best class of hypertension drug and hyperlipidemic complex in 2020. ‘Gliabrain’ is the No. 1 sales product in the Korean pharmaceutical market for drugs with choline alfoscerate.

Embassy of Turkey: Commemorating the 96th National Day of the Republic of Turkey

(photo: IO/OHW)

IO – Turkish citizens who live and work in Indonesia, together with the Turkish Embassy to Indonesia, celebrate the 96th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey at the Grand Ballroom, Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

In his opening remarks, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey HE Prof. Dr. Mahmut Erol Kilic expressed his gratitude for the presence of invited guests; His Excellency then delivered a brief history of the establishment of Turkey as an independent country. On Oct. 29, 1923, the Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially declared the name of the nation and proclaimed the country’s status as a republic. A vote then took place in the Grand National Assembly, and Atatürk, a revolutionary statesman, was elected to be the first President of the Republic of Turkey by unanimous vote. Since then, Turkey has celebrated its Republic Day every Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, the representative of the Indonesian government in the celebration, HE Rachmat Gobel, the Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives, on behalf of the people and the Indonesian government, extended his warmest congratulations and best wishes to the people and government of Turkey for the 96th anniversary of National Day of the Republic of Turkey. Mr. Gobel also expressed his appreciation because at the time of the proclamation of Indonesian independence in 1945, Turkey was amongst the first nations who recognized the Independence of Indonesia.

Agreeing with the Ambassador HE Mahmut Erol Kilic, HE Rachmat Gobel also hopes that bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in the economic field, will continue to improve.

Finally, guests were invited to enjoy Turkish special cuisine while being entertained by traditional Santur music, played by Mr. Sedad Anar, a famous Turkish musician. (OHW)

ITB Student team develops facial mask from waste

Ilham Octiano, Hening Puji Pangastuti, and Farhandra Ramdhani are with their trophy. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Bandung – Three ITB Material Engineering students took 1st place in Innovative Material Engineering Competition 2019 (IMEC 2019). This national scientific writing competition was held at Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS). 

IMEC 2019 focused on the theme “Material Innovation in Industry 4.0 in Indonesia”. In the competition, a team from ITB with members Ilham Octiano, Hening Puji Pangastuti, and Farhandra Ramdhani were selected for the final and competed with other ITS participants, as well as teams from Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Universitas Brawijaya, Universitas Indonesia, and Universitas Riau. 

In accordance with the designated theme, Ilham and his team conducted research on biomasks, a type of facial mask whose materials originate from waste. “We try to combine the function of sunscreen and a facial mask. Hence, we made a biomask from nanocellulose, originating from banana waste, chitosan from shrimp hulls and biomass of English Ivy. These materials fulfill the function of a facial mask: anti-microbial and anti-UV,” Ilham explained. 

Sunscreen protects skin from UV, while a facial mask holds in the skin’s moisture and is anti-microbial. “In industry, biomasks use materials made from waste so that the production process becomes more efficient. From an environmental aspect, this product is biodegradable and thus does not cause long-term hazards. And from economic aspects, this product is expected to be competitive,” he said. 

Explaining the design and application of the mask, Hening, who is one of the team members, explained “Design of this biomask is like a sheet mask applied before outdoor activities. This mask will keep in moistness and supply nutrition to the skin. It also contains an active agent which enters the skin and functions as anti-UV. Hence, after using the mask, we do not need to apply sunscreen,” she said. 

The team members are all final year students, but that does not discourage them from competing in this type of competition. For them, this opportunity and experience is priceless, especially because some of them have no prior experience in any competition. 

“One of my motivations is to try all things before I graduate. I have never attempted any competition before, so I think this is the time,” Andra said. 

The team also shared a message, that the opportunity to create works and to compete is a definite must for every student before they graduate. For them, this feat is priceless, and every student has the duty to try it. (*/est) 

Unsoed takes two golds and one silver at 2019 Wintex

Three Unsoed teams win two gold and one silver medals in Wintek 2019. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Purwokerto – Three awards, in the form of two gold and one silver medals were snatched by three student teams of Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed), Purwokerto, Central Java, in the second World Invention and Technology Expo (Wintex) 2019, at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) ), Jakarta, last weekend. Wintex is an international innovation competition organized by the Indonesian Invention and Innovation Promotion Association (Innopa). Participants must compete with their peers from state and private campuses in Indonesia, as well as entrants from overseas. 

Two works that received gold awards were in the categories of agriculture, livestock, horticulture, aquaculture, and fisheries, as well as textile and chemical industries. The first category, titled “Bios-Ory: Biofertilizer for Saline Paddy Fields” was chaired by Eka Junianti, with members Hamzah Syahid Al-Amjad and Putri Ramadani, all three from the Biology Department. The second category was titled “Naku Spray: Chitosan Nanoparticles of Kencana Ungu Leaf Extract As Antibacterials For Refrigerators” and was chaired by Maulana Nur Ardian (Food Science and Technology) with members Azizah Purwanti (Chemistry), Windasari (Mathematics), Imtiyazul Aghniya (Chemistry), and Resfanesya Kurnia Putri (Food Science and Technology). 

Meanwhile, the silver-winning team from the security system category had an entry entitled “Floodect: Innovation of Flood Detection System Based on Arduino Uno with Ultrasonic Sensor HC-SR04 and GSM SIM 800L module” and was chaired by Nandi Maulani Nashruddin with members Alif Yudha Saputra, Tito Yudatama, Ajeng Cantika Saraswati, Karlina Nursyanti Oktaviani, Putri Suci Ramdani and Cahaya Rizky Sulaeman Putri, all from the Physics Department, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. 

Maulana Nur said the effort of the Unsoed student teams at this event was not easy. First of all, their works were selected in a preliminary stage and judged as to whether they are appropriate and can be presented to the jury. 

“Three Unsoed teams successfully presented their work to an international jury at the final stage. “We have to compete with 15 other countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam,” he told the media. 

He added, “The participation of Unsoed students in this event proves that Unsoed students can compete on an international scale and can motivate other students from various disciplines to continue to innovate and participate.” (*/est) 

Limosim earns 3rd place for IPB students

M. Farhan, Rechsa Amberty, and Kodarusman: helping dairy farmers through the Limosim application. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Bogor – The livestock sector plays an important role in the na­tional economy. Livestock raising by smallholder farmers is still mostly traditional and productivity still relatively low. Among the commod­ities of livestock that has enjoyed booming demand in Indonesia is milk. Unfortunately, domestic milk production is only growing by 2%, far below the soaring 14.01% rise in demand recorded between 2002- 2007.

The gap between growth in con­sumption and production shortfalls translates to happiness for foreign dairy concerns, as Indonesian milk imports continue to rise. But why can we not fulfill our own domestic demand?

This misalignment prompted three students from the Faculty of Animal Husbandry of IPB Universi­ty: M. Farhan, Rechsa Amberty, and Kodarusman, to discuss an applica­tion called Limosim (for “Livestock Monitoring System”) in a compe­tition themed “Millennial Gener­ation Innovation Facing Global Challenges in the Effort to Realize Golden Indonesia 2045”.

Limosim is an application based on digital technology in the field of animal husbandry that is intended to serve as a medium for monitoring farms, especially dairy cows. Limosim comes with a con­cept of monitoring that is precise, accurate, and efficient.

With the use of digital technol­ogy as a tool for data processing, it is expected to create a manage­ment strategy for the development of smallholder farms that is fast and in real-time.

This idea enabled the team to win 3rd place in the Creative Na­tional Economic Management Es­say Competition which was held at Semarang State University last week. “So, the application of Limo­sim is a link between dairy farmers and breeding experts to help in the development of smallholder farm­ing,” said Rechsa.

The Limosim application pro­vides various important data about dairy farming as well as aquacul­ture management such as on how to handle pregnant cows, handle sick cows, ration resources, amass capital and other important live­stock information. The team has equipped it with various features that will support its performance in the form of a homepage, profile, discussion, and monitoring. The main feature that becomes the fo­cus of Limosim is the monitoring feature.

“This feature enables farmers to input data on the development of dairy farming production along with other data, so that business development can be monitored to decide on an appropriate and ac­curate management system,” he added. (*/est)

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