Overview- Good news on Transmission
COVID-19 case detections reached a four-month law, but in recent days there has been an increase. The seven-day moving average for Jakarta fell 21% week-on-week. A marker for COVID transmission has been the isolation facility at an athlete’s dormitory in Jakarta that now is only one-third occupied.
Indonesia is scheduled to receive another 10 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine in April 2021, according to Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, spokesperson of the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Vaccination. Of the existing stock of 28 million doses, five million have been distributed to several provinces while 11 million doses will be distributed early this month. The remaining 12 million doses are still under the process of vaccine production by state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma which has established cooperation with Sinovac.
The Indonesian government opens access for foreigners married to Indonesians to enter the country with tight health protocols, an official said on Monday (04/05). Arya Pradhana Anggakara, the spokesman for the Directorate General of Immigration of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said that foreigners and their children can apply for limited stay visas for family reunifications. The same access is also provided for foreigners with passports or diplomatic visas, holders of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) business travel cards and limited or permanent residency permits. However, Indonesia has not yet opened access for visa-on-arrival and visa-free during the COVID-19 pandemic, except for foreigners with essential purposes such as businesses, works, or humanitarian reasons. Visit Indonesian Immigration (https://www.imigrasi.go.id) and the Indonesian Embassy (https://kemlu.go.id/washington/en) for updated visa and entry requirements as regulations may change frequently.
· Manufacturing Activity At a 10 Year High: Indonesia’s manufacturing activity rose to its highest level in nearly 10 years in March as businesses felt a surge in new orders and output amid an economic recovery. Business consultancy IHS Markit wrote in a Thursday statement that Indonesia’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 53.2 in March, the highest reading since the company started measuring Indonesia’s PMI in April 2011. The March figure marked a rebound by 2.3 points after a slowdown in February. The second-highest PMI score Indonesia achieved was in June and July 2014.
· Bets on EV Industry: DBS Bank, the largest lender in Southeast Asia by market capitalization, has made a bet in Indonesia’s electric vehicle (EV) battery initiative, marking growing confidence in the country’s ambition to use the industry for transforming its economy. The lender announced last week that it has jointly led a consortium of nine banks that provide US$625 million in project financing to Halmahera Persada Lygend, Indonesia’s first high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) smelter that produces nickel compounds for electric car battery manufacturing. Royal Dutch Shell has opened an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Jakarta, the oil major’s first in Indonesia, to test the waters of the local EV market.
· Weaker Demand for GOI Bonds: Government bond auctions faced weak demand, no doubt a consequence of rising yields in the US. Of the seven times the government issued bonds since the beginning of the year, 4 required supplemental offerings. GOI has raised yield rates in response.
· Infrastructure Projects Postponed: The Ministry of Public Works has postponed 337 construction projects including induistrial estates in Subang, Banten, as well as projects to upgrade 5 national strategic tourism regions. The cutbacks represent approximately 17% of the total projects planned for this year.
ASEAN Summit on Myanmar: Brunei and Malaysia agreed Monday that ASEAN will hold a special summit in Jakarta to address the Myanmar situation, as harsh crackdowns on anti-coup protesters continue in the member country. Brunei currently chairs ASEAN. President Jokowi called for the summit last week. A date has not yet been set.
Defense Secretary Austin Call with His Counterpart:
March 31, 2021 Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby provided the following readout:
“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto on the phone today to reaffirm the importance of the bilateral defense relationship. Minister Prabowo congratulated Secretary Austin on his appointment as Secretary of Defense, and Secretary Austin expressed his condolences for the recent terrorist attacks in Makassar and Jakarta.
Secretary Austin and Minister Prabowo discussed the regional security environment, including the challenging situation in the South China Sea, as well as bilateral defense cooperation.
Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of further developing defense relations between the two countries and highlighted the capstone Army-to-Army exercise, Garuda Shield, scheduled to take place in August as an opportunity to build greater interoperability between our armed forces.”
Conviction: The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday (04/05) convicted property magnate Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra of corruption and handed four and a half years’ imprisonment in a bribery scandal that dragged top law enforcement officials through the mud. Djoko, who is already serving a jail term for another corruption case related to the Bank Bali debt scandal, was found guilty of bribing two police generals and a female prosecutor in return for assistance that allowed him to enter and travel in Indonesia last year while he was a graft fugitive.
Moeldoko Claim Rejected: The Law Minister rejected the claims of a group of Partai Demokrat (PD) members to recognize their recent Special Congress which elected President Jokowi’s Chief-of-Staff Moeldoko, a retired Armed Forces Commander, as the party’s chairman to replace the son of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The fight among party elites could continue and possibly lead to Moeldoko’s departure. PD is one of two parties not currently in the Parliamentary coalition supporting the Jokowi administration.
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)