Indonesia’s President To Receive Country’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot


Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Wednesday he would be the first person in the country to be vaccinated for Covid-19 as he unveiled a campaign promising free inoculations for everyone in world’s fourth most-populous nation.

Widodo’s announcement comes as Indonesia battles misinformation over the virus in order to stave off a fresh wave of infections, with some 630,000 recorded by Wednesday and more than 19,000 deaths.

“The Covid-19 vaccine for all citizens will be FREE,” Widodo said in a video on his Twitter account.

The government originally said only health workers, the elderly and other key personnel would be given the vaccine for free.

Widodo did not say when he would take the vaccine, or when the national inoculation program would start.

But said he was happy to be the first to be inoculated in order to prove it was safe.

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“There’s no reason people shouldn’t get the vaccine or doubt its safety,” he added.

Indonesia has signed deals for more than 350 million vaccine doses from various international pharmaceutical companies — including British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Chinese suppliers Sinovac.

The current vaccine deals do not, however, provide enough doses for the required two per person that would cover Indonesia’s entire 270-million population.

The country received its first delivery of 1.2 million Sinovac doses this month, with another 1.8 million to arrive in January.

Indonesia President Urges Delay In Law Banning Sex Outside Marriage

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday called for a delay in passing a new law that would outlaw gay and pre-marital sex after the controversial plan sparked a public outcry.

The proposed criminal code overhaul should get a closer look given the backlash, Widodo said, as he asked that parliament scrap a planned vote on the revisions before its session ends next week.

The mooted changes could affect millions in the world’s biggest Muslim majority country, including gay and heterosexual couples who might face jail for having sex outside wedlock or having an affair.

On Friday, the Australian embassy in Jakarta issued a fresh travel advisory for Indonesia, warning that the legislation could put unmarried foreign tourists in the crosshairs.

“After hearing from various groups with objections to aspects of the law, I’ve decided that some of it need further deliberation,” the recently re-elected Widodo said in a televised press briefing.

“The justice minister has been told to convey my views to parliament and that ratification of the criminal code should be postponed and not passed” in the current session, he added.

Updating Indonesia’s criminal code — which stretches back to the Dutch colonial era — has been debated for decades and appeared set to pass in 2018 before it fizzled.

A renewed push this year, backed by conservative Islamic groups, was met with a tidal wave of criticism from rights groups and ordinary citizens furious over what many saw as a draconian law that invaded the bedrooms of a nation with some 260 million people — the fourth most populous on Earth.

An online petition calling for the bill to be scrapped garnered half a million signatures while hundreds of thousands took to social media to vent their frustration.

“It’s crazy if this bill is passed, crazy! What is this country turning into?” movie director Joko Anwar tweeted to his 1.7 million followers.

The sweeping proposals call for a wider interpretation of Indonesia’s blasphemy law, which has seen members of religious minority groups, including Christians and Buddhists, prosecuted in the past.

They also sought to criminalise “insulting” the president or vice president, which critics said would be a blow to free speech.

People who have pre-marital or extramarital sex could face between six months and one year in jail, as well as fines, under the mooted changes.

There were also penalties for anyone “showing or offering” contraception to minors under 18.

The revisions appeared to bar parents from teaching their children about sex or contraception in favour of authorised government workers.

“Sex education is important. Period,” one woman wrote on Twitter.

“I’d rather go to jail than see my daughter raped by her boyfriend just because she doesn’t know that sex has to be consensual.”


Indonesia’s Widodo Pledges Capital Move, Economic Boost


Indonesian leader Joko Widodo said Friday he would press on with plans to move the nation’s capital and roll out measures to kickstart Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as it feels the sting of slowing global growth.

In a sweeping state-of-the-nation address, Widodo asked parliament to sign off on a plan to move the capital to Borneo, shifting Indonesia’s political heart from traffic-clogged megacity Jakarta — one of the fastest-sinking cities on the planet.

“I’m asking for your permission to relocate our capital to the island of Kalimantan,” Widodo told lawmakers, referring to Indonesia’s portion of Borneo.

“A capital is not only a symbol of a nation’s identity, it also represents its progress,” he added.

Widodo did not reveal a specific location for the country’s new capital or new details about when the move could happen.

Speaking a day before the 74th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence, the recently re-elected leader said his second term would focus on cutting red tape and luring more foreign investment.

He pledged to boost lagging productivity, turn Indonesia into an electric-vehicle hub and focus on improving worker skills in the sprawling country of some 260 million people.

“We have to be faster and better than our neighbours,” he said.

“We’re facing a tumultuous global economy and geopolitical change.”

Indonesia’s president is expected to unveil next year’s budget later Friday.

Widodo struggled to lift growth in his first term despite a huge roads-to-railways infrastructure building blitz.

The economy has been expanding around five percent annually, but that is well short of the seven percent Widodo had pledged in his first term.

This week, it posted its slowest rate of quarterly growth in two years.

Resource-rich Indonesia is grappling with weaker prices for commodities like coal and palm oil, as the global economy falters on the back of US President Donald Trump’s intensifying trade war with China.

Joko Widodo Wins Second Term As Indonesia’s President

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (C) and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin (R) gesture while visiting a neighbourhood in Jakarta on May 21, 2019. GOH Chai Hin / AFP


Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has been re-elected as president of the world’s third-biggest democracy, the elections commission said early Tuesday, beating rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general who has vowed to challenge any victory for the incumbent leader.

The commission was expected to announce the official results of the April 17 poll on Wednesday in the Southeast Asian nation of 260 million.

But amid fears about unrest and street demonstrations in response to the final count, the final tally was released early with little advance notice.

Widodo and his vice-presidential running mate Ma’ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5 per cent to 44.5 per cent margin over Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, the elections commission said.

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“This ruling was announced on May 21… and will be effective immediately,” the commission’s chair Arief Budiman said in a live-streamed announcement that was broadcast on major media.

Widodo, 57, had been widely predicted to win according to unofficial results.

His challenger Subianto, 67, has vowed to challenge any victory for Widodo, alleging widespread voter fraud, and warned that it could spark street protests across the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.

Some 32,000 security personnel were being deployed across the capital Jakarta, including in front of the General Elections Commission’s downtown office which has been barricaded with razor wire.

Tensions have also been heightened after police said Friday that they have arrested dozens of Islamic-State linked terror suspects, including some who planned to detonate bombs at political demonstrations when election results were to be announced.

Last month, Indonesia held its biggest-ever election, a massive one day poll featuring more than 190 million registered voters and a record 245,000 candidates vying for the presidency, parliamentary seats and local legislator positions.

This year’s campaign was punctuated by bitter mudslinging and a slew of fake news online — much of it directed at the presidential contenders.

Widodo held off declaring victory after the unofficial results last month as Subianto insisted he was the archipelago’s next leader.

Subianto lost a 2014 presidential bid to Widodo which he unsuccessfully challenged in court.


Indonesian President Condemns Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, leader of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, on Thursday condemned the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In special remarks at the Bogor palace, on the outskirts of capital Jakarta, Widodo requested United States to reconsider the decision and urged the United Nations to step in as the unilateral decision could “disturb world peace”.

President Widodo said,  “Indonesia condemns United States’ unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and requests the U.S. to reconsider the decision.

“This decision has breached various Security Council resolutions and the general assembly of United Nations in which the U.S. is a permanent member. This decision can disturb world peace.”

Middle East nations had also voiced alarm at the U.S. decision and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

Widodo said Indonesia will speak to other members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to hold a special meeting to discuss the decision.

“In the next few days, Indonesian representatives will speak to the other members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to hold a special meeting to discuss the decision. And we urge the United Nations to convene a meeting to respond to the unilateral decision of the U.S.”

Trump announced his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step expected to take years and one that his predecessors opted not to take to avoid inflaming tensions.


Another Nigerian Sentenced To Death In Indonesia For Drug Trafficking

drug traffickingThe media in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia is reporting that another Nigerian, a certain Mr. Simon Ezeaputa, has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

The district court in Tangerang, near Jakarta on Wednesday found Mr. Ezeaputa guilty of controlling a drug transaction from his prison cell, where he was serving a 20-year jail term for drug offences.

The report says the transaction involved 350 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, the Amnesty International says in its annual report on the death penalty worldwide released that “Indonesia stands out for all the wrong reasons”.

Head, Amnesty Researcher, Indonesia, Papang Hidayat, says that there are many issues in Indonesia, in particular fair trial concerns, that make death sentences more complicated.

The Nigerian Government, in March 2015, made frantic efforts to convince the Indonesian authorities to convert the death sentence of three Nigerians accused of drug trafficking to life sentence.

In a meeting between the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni and the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Sheni also appealed that the negotiations on the exchange of prisoners between both countries should be hastened.

Indonesia, however, rejected one of the Nigerians’ plea for clemency with an Indonesian court’s rejection of the Nigerian death row inmate’s legal challenge.

Lawyers for the Nigerian, whose alias is Raheem Agbaje Salami, appealed against President Joko Widodo’s rejection of his clemency plea in the administrative court. The court, again dismissed his appeal on the grounds it did not have jurisdiction over presidential decisions.