Outlook Indonesia

/Outlook Indonesia

Where’s the Transformation ?

Commentary by Wayne Forrest It keeps happening over successive Indonesian presidencies: a transformational figure is elected (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Joko Widodo) who appoints transformational ministers, who propose reforms. But, then things bog down. Frustration sets in, or the person leaves the Cabinet. Growth atrophies and the language of discourse remains in the pluperfect tense. [...]

MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES

The principals of 5 US-Indonesia organizations with Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Ambassador Joseph Donovan Commentary by Wayne Forrest Indonesia seemed to be exhibiting multiple personalities during my visit last week as it simultaneously hosted a major athletic event(Asian Para Olympic Games) and banking event (World bank/IMF Annual Meetings) while organizing [...]

Which Way

Which Way is the Wind Blowing by Wayne Forrest Recently Moody’s and Fitch curiously upgraded their Indonesia sovereign rating while the government fixed energy and electricity prices for two years, placing the large obligations of state-owned Pertamina and PLN at risk. Meanwhile the rupiah and stock market indexes are trending south but Bank Indonesia [...]

Subsidies Return

Commentary by Wayne Forrest  When President Jokowi took office in 2014 he opened his arms wide to foreign investment, ended the costly energy subsidies, announced that building critically needed infrastructure would be his priority, and set 7% GDP growth as his 5-year goal.   A key part of the plan was to build an additional [...]

2017 Highlights

Accountability Commentary by Wayne Forrest According to recent news reports underpasses in downtown Jakarta were recently flooded causing worse-than-normal gridlock.  Pumps were not checked and maintained regularly, apparently. All of Indonesia’s tsunami buoys are inoperable due to vandalism and lack of maintenance, an official from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency recently said.  The new [...]

New Beginnings

It’s the end of August, people are preparing to return to the grindstone after holidays and new beginnings are in the offing. After months of back and forth, Indonesia and Freeport announced a new way forward that –at least for the moment—appears satisfactory; it’s an agreement to move ahead towards an agreement without either side [...]

A Positive Narrative

If I look back over the past year, the story lines surrounding Indonesia have mostly been negative. Of course, part of the reason is that the main principle of the media is that “bad news sells”. On Indonesia’s side there have been natural disasters (flooding, mudslides, eruptions etc.), commercial concerns (halal import restrictions, local content [...]

Is Barbie Guilty ?

I will be visiting Indonesia next week and will likely be asked about President Trump's trade policy, articulated in his recent executive orders.  Will Indonesia, one of 16 countries under review with a large trade deficit, be penalized.  Is it really a trade "cheater" ? The US runs a congenital deficit with Indonesia mostly because [...]

Regret

There’s a lot of regret going around these days. Democrats, who lost a close election, no doubt regret they didn’t do more to convince Midwest rust belt voters worried about their future that they had a viable jobs plan. President Trump regrets he didn’t win the popular vote — although he seems to actually think [...]

Honking in the Free World

Commentary by Wayne Forrest Their signs read  “Om Telolet Om”.  It simply means, “sir, honk your horn, sir”.  Young girls and boys, especially in Jakarta, hold them up for passing bus drivers, hoping to prompt them to play their musical horns as they drive by.  It’s a fun, clean game with instant rewards, especially given [...]