Sunday, June 4, 2023 | 13:17 WIB


Rice, wheat, and misplaced diversification

Instant noodle consumption has stunningly hit 121 billion servings per year. China ranks first, with 45.07 billion servings annually, followed by Indonesia (12.26 billion) and Vietnam (8.48 billion). There seem to be no other non-four food products that have sold as spectacularly as instant noodles. 

Rent-seeking behavior and solutions

News about cronyism made headlines on Koran Jakarta on May 12, 2023. The article depicts crony capitalism at national and international levels. Globally, crony capitalists’ wealth has risen from 1% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) 25 years ago to USD 3 trillion or nearly 3% of global GDP now. 

Chance for Indonesia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN to do purposeful works

The ASEAN Summit, hosted by Indonesia, will meet at the Resort town of Labuan Bajo in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), from May 9-11. ASEAN Leaders get together twice a year, hosted by the country holding that year’s Chairmanship, which rotates alphabetically. Indonesia holds the Chairmanship in 2023, followed by India next year. The agenda will cover economic, politics, social and cultural aspects, which has always been the case, with a background of recent developments in each of those fields as issues for discussion.

The meaning behind ASEAN Chairmanship and the frailty of public communication

The year 2023 proudly marks Indonesia’s fifth ASEAN Chairmanship, themed “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. Indonesia aims for ASEAN to remain essential and relevant to the ASEAN community and the world. 

Collaboration to increase productivity of natural rubber plantations

The Indonesian Government is optimistic that ours will become a developed country, one with six to seven percent economic growth, within the next few years. One way to realize this optimism is by focusing on equal investment distribution for downstream national strategic commodities. 

Elections and fair competition

The electoral system is, basically, a mechanism for converting votes in general elections into seats to be won by parties and candidates. It has three key variables. The first is the electoral formula: whether it uses a plurality/majority, proportional, mixed, or other system, and a mathematical formula to calculate the seat allocation. Second is the ballot structure: whether voters vote for a candidate or party, make one choice or select several preferences. Third is the size of the electoral district, which reflects the number of legislative representatives in a given constituency. 


This weekend our Moslem brothers and sisters all over the globe, of course more importantly here in Indonesia, would be celebrating their victory over hunger and thirst, after for the whole month of Ramadhan, fasting from eating and drinking during the day, and only breaking in the early evening, as they “buka puasa” with their evening meal; in the early morning, around 3:30 am they eat a “sahur”, before once again refraining from any meal or drink the whole next day, etc, etc. They end the fasting month with a mass prayer session in the morning end of Ramadhan month (IED prayer). After the prayer, everybody asks for forgiveness for any and all bad behavior and errors they may have committed in the past, with a promise to do better in the future. This is also the day to give alms to the poor.  This is my understanding about Ramadhan fasting and IED prayer and celebration, as a non-Moslem, yet one respectful of Moslems, even more for their dutiful fasting during Ramadhan. So here I would like to apologize for all the mistakes I made to all my Moslem friends everywhere. I do hope you all will forgive me and maintain our friendship in a good spirit, God willing.

President Macron’s surprising comment

Many have taken by surprise, are even shocked, hearing a statement by France President Emmanuel Macron after his three-day visit to Beijing, meeting with President Xi Jinping. He returned home receiving nice words from the host that he would do as President Macron and others had asked him to, regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. This is all right as Spanish PM and EU President also said the same. Earlier, in November last year EU Council President Charles Michel as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz also went to Beijing to meet President Xi for the same purpose. Certainly, there was no lack of good will from the Western Allies to persuade President Xi to act as a peace-maker in the Russia-Ukraine war. 

123 million people hit the road for mudik – tolls should be waived

 “About 123 million people will be traveling for mudik. God willing, there will be no problems because everything has been anticipated,” said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday (Apr 13) in South Jakarta. 

Upgraded protection for Indonesian migrant workers

The Minister of Manpower has signed Ministerial Regulation No. 4/2023 (Permenaker No. 4/2023) on social security for Indonesian Migrant Workers, replacing Ministerial Regulation No. 18/2018 (Permenaker No. 18/2018). In general, the contents of Permenaker No. 4/2023 are more refined than Permenaker No. 18/2018, as protection benefits for migrant workers are upgraded from before they depart to the destination countries, during their employment abroad and until they return to the home country. We should commend the Government for its endeavor to improve protection for migrant workers, particularly work-accident benefits (JKK) and death benefits (JKm). 

Bulog’s two million tons of rice import

A baffling and difficult decision was made by the Indonesian Government. On March 24, 2023, through the National Food Agency (Bapanas), the Government instructed the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to import two million tons of rice, by the end of December 2023. The first 500 thousand tons must be imported immediately to strengthen the government’s rice reserves (CBP). This decision was made at a “Staples Availability and Preparation for the Eid Al-Fitr 1444 H Population Movement” meeting with President Joko Widodo.

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