Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Articles on Asia-Europe Meeting, last year in Beijing

NEWSPAPERS
http://korantempo.com/korantempo/koran/2008/10/24/headline/krn.20081024.145879.id.html

ASIA-EUROPE MEETING
Yudhoyono Usulkan Dana Siaga

Indeks bursa di Asia kemarin jeblok lagi.

BEIJING --Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono kemarin meminta organisasi regional menyiapkan sistem pinjaman siaga. Dalam sistem ini, katanya, dana bisa digunakan negara-negara yang membutuhkan dalam situasi darurat.

Menurut Yudhoyono, organisasi regional--seperti ASEAN, ASEAN+3, ataupun Asia-Europe Meeting--perlu bekerja sama menyiapkan mekanisme dana pinjaman siaga itu.

"Semua organisasi menyiapkan pinjaman siaga ini di bawah pimpinan Bank Dunia," kata Yudhoyono saat berpidato pada Forum Bisnis Asia-Europe Meeting di Beijing kemarin.

Presiden juga mengusulkan mekanisme pengumpulan sumber keuangan mandiri yang dikelola negara-negara anggota ASEAN+3. Tiga negara tambahan dalam ASEAN adalah Cina, Korea Selatan, dan Jepang.
Untuk mengurangi dampak krisis di Asia, menurut Yudhoyono, setiap negara perlu tetap mendukung rezim pasar bebas. Kebijakan pasar yang tertutup justru akan memperparah krisis finansial saat ini.

Pertemuan kepala negara Asia-Eropa dibuka hari ini di Balai Agung Rakyat, pusat Kota Beijing. Sesi pertama Asia-Europe Meeting ke-7 ini akan didahului pertemuan kepala negara ASEAN+3.
ASEAN+3 akan menindaklanjuti Inisiatif Chiang Mai, yang dalam pertemuan sebelumnya menyepakati pertukaran mata uang di antara dua negara. Tujuannya, menghindari serangan spekulan terhadap mata uang di kawasan ini seperti yang terjadi pada waktu krisis ekonomi 1997.

Sementara pertemuan berlangsung, sebagian besar indeks bursa dan mata uang di Asia kemarin jeblok lagi, termasuk indeks harga saham gabungan (IHSG) di Bursa Efek Indonesia.

Akhirnya IHSG ditutup pada posisi 1.337,204 atau turun 42,539 poin (3,08 persen). Sedangkan rupiah juga merosot lagi ke level 9.950 per dolar AS atau turun 55 poin (0,56 persen) dari penutupan Rabu, yang berada di 9.895 per dolar AS.

Indeks bursa di Asia kemarin kembali turun tajam. Indeks Nikkei 225 ditutup turun 2,5 persen ke 8.460,98, level terendah selama lima tahun terakhir.

Di Wall Street, indeks Standard & Poor's 500 pada penutupan perdagangan Rabu turun 6,1 persen, terendah sejak April 2003. Sedangkan bursa-bursa di Eropa kemarin dibuka turun, mengikuti bursa Asia yang ditutup melemah.

Pada pertemuan Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa ke-11 kemarin, kalangan bisnis Eropa mengajak mitra kerjanya di Asia bersama-sama membangun arsitektur sistem finansial global yang lebih baik.

"Krisis ini tidak datang dari Asia, tidak juga dari Eropa, tapi kita bersama-sama merasakan akibatnya," kata Jacques Gravereau, Presiden Institut Eurasia. Dia juga mewakili kalangan pengusaha Prancis.

Menurut dia, inilah kesempatan untuk mengubah arsitektur sistem finansial global yang sudah berusia enam dekade.

Presiden Amerika Serikat George Bush melakukan komunikasi pribadi dengan Presiden Yudhoyono, Selasa lalu. "Presiden Bush meminta pandangan Presiden Yudhoyono soal penanganan krisis keuangan global," kata juru bicara Presiden, Dino Pati Jalal, di Beijing kemarin.

Menurut Dino, dalam pembicaraan itu Yudhoyono menyampaikan tentang perlunya segera dilakukan pertemuan tingkat tinggi G-20 untuk membahas antisipasi krisis keuangan global. Dalam pembicaraan itu, Bush menyatakan sepakat. Pertemuan G-20 akan dilakukan pada 20 November di Amerika Serikat.Wahyu Dhyatmika | Setri Yasra (Beijing)
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http://korantempo.com/korantempo/koran/2008/10/23/Ekonomi_dan_Bisnis/krn.20081023.145750.id.html

THURSDAY
Ekonomi dan Bisnis

Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa Bahas Krisis

"Perlu disiapkan bantuan finansial untuk negara yang dilanda krisis."

BEIJING -- Sebanyak 800 pengusaha dan perwakilan pemerintah dari 43 negara anggota Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) kemarin mulai membahas krisis keuangan global dan bagaimana mengantisipasi krisis itu.

Forum Bisnis Asia-Europe Meeting ini merupakan pertemuan ke-11, sebelum dimulainya konferensi tingkat tinggi ketujuh Asem yang akan dihadiri para kepala negara.

Wakil Presiden Republik Rakyat Cina Xi Jinping menegaskan, antisipasi terhadap krisis finansial global hanya bisa dilakukan dengan kerja sama semua elemen pemerintah dan masyarakat di kedua benua.

"Reformasi pada sistem finansial membutuhkan kerja sama internasional," kata Jinping saat membuka Forum Bisnis Asia-Europe Meeting di Beijing kemarin.

Sugihono Kadarisman, peserta forum dari Kamar Dagang dan Industri Indonesia, menjelaskan, rekomendasi yang dihasilkan pertemuan ini akan disampaikan kepada kepala negara yang akan menghadiri KTT ketujuh Asem pada 24-25 Oktober nanti.

Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dijadwalkan akan memberikan pidato hari ini. Selain Yudhoyono, Perdana Menteri Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung; Duta Besar India untuk Cina, Nirupama Rao; dan Masahito Kawai, Dekan Institut Bank Pembangunan Asia; dijadwalkan berbicara dalam forum ini.

"Sebagai mitra dialog dari para pengambil kebijakan, kami berharap rekomendasi ini diperhatikan," kata Sugihono.

Ahdi Jumhari Luddin, Direktur Kepatuhan dan Manajemen Resiko PT Bank Negara Indonesia Tbk, menegaskan pentingnya mekanisme regional yang berfungsi sebagai sistem deteksi dini untuk setiap kemungkinan krisis.

"Saat ini setiap negara sudah punya sistemnya sendiri, tapi di tingkat regional Asia-Eropa, kita belum siap," kata Ahdi, panelis dalam salah satu kelompok kerja di forum bisnis ini.

Yang juga penting, dia menambahkan, adalah menyiapkan bantuan finansial untuk negara yang dilanda krisis moneter. Fasilitas semacam itu saat ini baru tersedia secara bilateral. Indonesia, misalnya, memiliki fasilitas pengaturan pertukaran mata uang model itu (bilateral swap arrangements) dengan Singapura.

"Di masa depan, sebagai antisipasi krisis, bantuan finansial seperti itu sebaiknya juga tersedia secara regional," kata Ahdi.

ASEM saat ini sudah memiliki fasilitas trust fund, tapi penggunaannya lebih ditujukan untuk memajukan usaha kecil dan menengah di negara-negara anggotanya.

Indonesia juga mengusulkan perlunya sebuah wadah berbagi pengalaman di antara negara-negara Asia-Eropa, soal bagaimana mengatasi krisis finansial. "Saya membayangkannya seperti Forum Stabilitas Sistem Keuangan yang ada di Indonesia," kata Ahdi.

Jika usul itu disetujui, krisis finansial global saat ini justru menyediakan kesempatan untuk mempererat mekanisme integrasi ekonomi negara-negara di kawasan Asia.
Chen Haosu, Ketua Asosiasi Cina-Uni Eropa, optimistis integrasi ekonomi Asia akan segera terealisasi. "Pada saatnya Asia akan menempuh jalan yang sudah dilalui negara-negara Eropa," katanya.

Asia-Europe Meeting, yang didirikan di Bangkok, Thailand, pada 1996, merupakan forum dialog Asia-Eropa. Sampai saat ini Asem adalah satu-satunya forum besar di dunia yang tidak melibatkan Amerika Serikat. Pendiriannya 12 tahun lalu memang untuk memperkuat hubungan Asia-Eropa, yang sempat tertinggal dibanding kedekatan Amerika Serikat-Eropa atau Amerika Serikat-Asia.

Pertemuan di tengah krisis global ini menjadi penting karena akan dihadiri semua pemain besar di kawasan Asia: Cina, Jepang, Korea Selatan, dan India serta negara-negara anggota ASEAN.

Presiden Yudhoyono dan rombongan bertolak ke Beijing kemarin pagi dari Pangkalan Udara Halim Perdanakusuma, Jakarta.

Presiden ditemani sejumlah pejabat negara, antara lain, Menteri Koordinator Politik, Hukum, dan Keamanan Widodo A.S., Menteri Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Menteri Kesehatan Siti Fadilah Supari, Menteri Negara BUMN Sofyan Djalil, Kepala Badan Kebijakan Fiskal Departemen Keuangan Anggito Abimanyu, dan Ketua Kadin M.S. Hidayat.

Pertemuan para pemimpin negara Asia dan Eropa itu akan dimanfaatkan Presiden Yudhoyono untuk membahas sejumlah agenda penting. "Salah satunya larangan maskapai Indonesia terbang ke Eropa," kata Dino Patti Djalal, juru bicara kepresidenan.

Presiden, menurut juru bicara kepresidenan Andi Mallarangeng, juga akan bertemu pemimpin negara ASEAN plus Cina, Korea Selatan, dan Jepang untuk membahas soal krisis.WAHYU DHYATMIKA | SETRI YASRA (BEIJING)
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ONLINE EDITION

http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/ekbis/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141806,id.html

Hubungan Asia-Eropa Masih Sebatas Ekonomi
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 20:13 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing: Sebagian besar warga Asia masih memandang Eropa sebagai kekuatan ekonomi belaka. Uni Eropa belum dinilai sebagai entitas politik regional yang berpengaruh.

Setidaknya begitulah hasil survei opini publik, analisa media dan wawancara dengan elite masyarakat di empat negara Asia: Cina –termasuk Hongkong, Jepang, Korea Selatan, Singapura, dan Thailand bertema “Eropa di mata Asia” yang hasilnya dirilis Asia-Europe Foundation, di News Plaza Hotel, Beijing, Cina, kemarin malam.

“Bahkan profil Uni Eropa sebagai kekuatan pendorong utama kegiatan konservasi lingkungan dalam isu pemanasan global atau perubahan iklim misalnya, juga tidak terlalu menonjol dalam persepsi masyarakat Asia,” kata Ketua Tim Peneliti, Martin Holland, yang juga Direktur Pusat Riset Nasional tentang Eropa di Universitas Canterbury, Inggris.

Martin menjelaskan kurang kompletnya persepsi Asia tentang Uni Eropa bisa jadi didorong oleh masih minimnya interaksi sosial dan politik antar kedua region. “Mekanisme yang ada, termasuk forum regional seperti Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) dinilai tidak relevan dan jarang sekali dilaporkan di media massa,” katanya.

Jika Eropa ingin memiliki peran yang lebih besar di Asia dengan tetap dinilai dari kacamata positif, Martin menyarankan Uni Eropa mulai memperkuat posisi tawarnya dengan Asia. “Uni Eropa harus bisa membuktikan dengan hasil nyata, semua komitmen dan prinsipnya,” katanya. “Europe has to deliver,” katanya lagi.

Riset yang dilakukan Asef ini adalah tahap pertama dari serangkaian penelitian mengenai hubungan Asia-Eropa. Tahun ini, riset yang sama dilakukan di Indonesia, Filipina dan Beijing. “Kami berharap pada akhirnya opini dari warga semua negara Asia anggota Asem, dapat terangkum dalam penelitian ini,” kata Martin.

Asia-Europe Foundation (Asef) adalah satu-satunya organisasi permanen yang bernaung di bawah Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem). Yayasan ini didirikan pada 1997, setahun setelah deklarasi pendirian Asem di Bangkok, Thailand, dan sampai sekarang memiliki sekretariat tetap di Singapura. Asef menyelenggarakan berbagai kegiatan sosial untuk mendekatkan hubungan antar-individu (people to people) di kawasan Asia dan Eropa.

Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

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http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/perbankan_keuangan/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141638,id.html

Lembaga Swadaya Asia-Eropa Bahas Krisis Finansial
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 09:05 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing: Forum Masyarakat Sipil Asia-Eropa (Asia-Europe People’s Forum) mendesak Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Asia-Eropa untuk menerapkan kebijakan yang berpihak pada rakyat dalam mengatasi krisis finansial global. “Perhatian terbesar justru harus diberikan pada kaum miskin yang terpinggirkan,” kata Klaus Fritsche, salahsatu panitia pelaksana forum tersebut.
Klaus yang juga Direktur Asienhaus, sebuah lembaga swadaya masyarakat di Jerman yang memusatkan perhatiannya pada isu hak asasi manusia di Asia, menjelaskan forum sepakat krisis moneter tidak bisa dilepaskan dari rangkaian krisis sebelumnya seperti krisis pangan, krisis energi dan kerusakan lingkungan. “Ini semua akibat kebijakan pasar bebas yang tidak diregulasi ketat, atau sebuah paham yang kita kenal dengan nama ‘neoliberal’,” katanya.

Dia mendesak para kepala negara yang hadir dalam KTT Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) yang akan dibuka besok, Jumat (24/10), memanfaatkan kondisi ini sebagai landasan arah kebijakan baru menuju tatanan dunia yang lebih adil. “Kesempatan seperti ini mungkin tidak akan pernah terjadi lagi,” kata Klaus.

Selain membahas krisis finansial global, forum masyarakat sipil Asia-Eropa juga membahas isu Myanmaar, pendudukan Irak, isu perubahan iklim, dan masih belum dilindunginya hak buruh di kawasan Asia. Klaus Fritsche menjelaskan bahwa tuntutan kemerdekaan Tibet, masalah nuklir Korea Utara dan krisis Cina-Taiwan tidak dibahas dalam forum ini atas permintaan otoritas Cina. “Kami menghormati keinginan negara tuan rumah,” katanya. Meski begitu, kritik atas penegakan hukum dan hak asasi manusia di Cina tetap muncul dalam forum. “Bahkan kritik itu datang dari negara-negara Asia sendiri, terutama di Asia Tenggara,” katanya.

Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

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http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/bisnis/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141674,id.html

Untuk Atasi Krisis, Presiden Minta Dunia Bentuk Sistem Dana Pinjaman
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 11:58 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing:Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meminta sejumlah organisasi regional mulai memikirkan arsitektur sistem keuangan global yang baru, menyusul krisis keuangan yang melanda dunia, sejak dua pekan terakhir.

"Saya mengusulkan semua organisasi regional yang ada, di bawah pimpinan Bank Dunia, menyiapkan sebuah sistem dana pinjaman darurat (standby financing system) untuk negara yang membutuhkan," katanya saat memberikan pidato kunci pada pertemuan Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa, di Beijing, Cina, Kamis (23/10) siang ini.

Yudhoyono menyebut sejumlah organisasi regional seperti ASEAN, ASEAN+3, ASEM, dan WTO untuk bekerjasama menyiapkan mekanisme dana pinjaman darurat itu. "Selain itu, kita juga perlu mengurangi overlaps, dan memperbaiki mekanisme follow up dari keputusan-keputusan yang sudah ada," katanya.

Mekanisme ini sendiri tengah dibicarakan di antara negara-negara anggota ASEAN+3 yang akan bertemu pada sessi pertama pembukaan Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM) VII di Balai Agung Rakyat (The Great Hall of People), di pusat kota Beijing, Jumat (24/10) besok.

"Mekanisme yang kami siapkan adalah kelanjutan dari inisiatif Chiangmai, yang dulu sudah disepakati pasca krisis moneter yang melanda Asia Timur, pada 1997-1998 lalu," kata Yudhoyono lagi. Presiden mengusulkan ada pengumpulan sumber daya keuangan mandiri (self-managed resource pooling mechanism) yang dikelola sendiri oleh negara-negara anggota ASEAN+3.

Untuk mengurangi dampak krisis pada negara-negara di Asia, Yudhoyono meminta negara-negara di kawasan ini tetap mendukung rejim pasar bebas. "Perdagangan dan investasi harus terus mengalir," katanya. Yudhoyono menyebut pentingnya open regionalism yang tidak mengarah pada kebijakan pasar tertutup yang justru akan memperparah krisis finansial saat ini.

Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

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http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/ekbis/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141682,id.html

Eropa Ajak Asia Bangun Sistem Finansial Global Baru
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 12:16 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing:Kalangan pelaku bisnis Eropa mengajak mitra kerjanya di Asia untuk bersama-sama membangun arsitektur sistem finansial global yang lebih baik, pasca krisis finansial global yang melanda dunia, sejak dua pekan terakhir. Permintaan itu disampaikan oleh Jacques Gravereau, Presiden Institut Eurasia yang juga wakil kalangan usaha Perancis.

“Krisis ini tidak datang dari Asia, tidak juga dari Eropa, tapi kita bersama-sama merasakan akibatnya,” kata Gravereau pada pertemuan Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa ke-11 di Beijing, Cina, Kamis (23/10) siang ini. Dia lalu mengutip pepatah Cina yang menyebut bahwa dalam setiap krisis selalu ada kesempatan. “Inilah kesempatan untuk mengubah arsitektur sistem finansial global yang sudah berusia enam dekade,” katanya.

Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi dunia yang akan membahas krisis finansial global dijadwalkan akan berlangsung di Washington DC, Amerika Serikat, pada 15 November mendatang. Usul pertemuan itu datang dari Presiden Perancis Nicholas Sarkozi, dan disetujui Presiden Amerika Serikat George W Bush. Cina dan India, dua negara Asia yang perkembangan ekonominya paling cepat, juga diundang untuk hadir dalam pertemuan itu.

Untuk membangun kesamaan pandangan dalam mengatasi krisis ini, Gravereau juga mengusulkan pertemuan Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa diadakan secara berkala sampai Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) berikutnya yang akan diadakan di Brussels, Belgia, dua tahun mendatang.

Selain itu, dia juga mengusulkan agar kerja sama perdagangan Asia dan Eropa ditingkatkan untuk mengatasi kemungkinan resesi meluas dari Amerika Serikat ke negara lainnya. Dia menyebut kekuatan produksi Asia yang mencapai 26 persen dari output dunia dan Eropa yang mencapai 31 persen output dunia, harus dikombinasikan. “Karena itulah, hambatan non-tarif yang selama ini ada harus dihilangkan,” katanya seraya menyebut defisit perdagangan Eropa dari Cina saja saat ini sudah 20 miliar US$ per tahun. Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

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http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/ekbis/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141780,id.html

Forum Bisnis Desak KTT Asem Bentuk Mekanisme Dana Talangan
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 19:00 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing: Forum Bisnis Asia-Eropa hari ini menyepakati sejumlah rekomendasi yang akan disampaikan kepada para kepala negara anggota Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) ke-7 yang akan dibuka besok.

Satu rekomendasi utama yang dihasilkan dari pertemuan 800 pengusaha dari dua benua ini adalah perlunya segera dibentuk mekanisme dana talangan darurat (emergency funding mechanism) untuk negara-negara yang menghadapi risiko sistemik dalam sistem keuangannya.

"Prosedur persetujuan untuk permintaan dana talangan ini sebaiknya dibuat singkat dan jelas," kata ketua kelompok kerja pembahasan isu keamanan finansial, Lyn Kok. Ketua Komite Keuangan Kamar Dagang dan Industri Eropa di Cina ini juga menekankan pentingnya kerja sama Asia-Eropa untuk mewujudkan mekanisme ini.

"Semua pembicaraan untuk membentuk kerangka aturan baru dalam sistem finansial global harus melibatkan India dan Cina sebagai dua kekuatan ekonomi baru di dunia," katanya.

Tak hanya itu, Forum juga meminta pemerintah di negara-negara Asia Eropa untuk melakukan intervensi secara proaktif menggunakan kebijakan fiskal dan moneter untuk mendorong sektor ekonomi riil.

Selain rekomendasi di bidang keamanan finansial, Forum juga menyepakati sejumlah rekomendasi di empat wilayah kerja lain, yakni kerja sama energi, pemberdayaan usaha kecil dan menengah, dukungan fasilitas untuk perdagangan dan investasi, serta isu lingkungan dan perubahan iklim.

Di bidang perdagangan dan investasi, Forum mendesak pemimpin 43 negara yang tergabung dalam Asem untuk segara merumuskan dan mengimplementasikan rencana kerja yang konkret untuk mendorong pasar bebas di antara dua kawasan ini.

Ketua Kelompok Kerja di bidang ini, Walter Koren, Direktur Jenderal Kamar Dagang dan Industri Austria, mendorong Asem meniru Asia Pacific Economy Cooperation (Apec) yang sudah memiliki rencana kerja serupa.

Apec sendiri adalah forum kerja sama ekonomi Asia Pasifik yang melibatkan negara-negara Asia dan Amerika Serikat sebagai jangkarnya. Sedangkan Asem adalah satu-satunya forum regional besar di kawasan Asia, yang tidak melibatkan Amerika Serikat. Pendirian Asem pada awalnya bertujuan untuk mengimbangi peran dan pengaruh Amerika Serikat di kawasan Asia.

Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

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http://www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/ekbis/2008/10/23/brk,20081023-141789,id.html

Pelaku Usaha Asia Beda Pendapat Soal Dampak Krisis
Kamis, 23 Oktober 2008 | 19:06 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Beijing : Para pelaku usaha Asia punya pendapat berbeda soal dampak krisis finansial global di kawasan ini. Sebagian yakin resesi yang melanda Amerika Serikat dan mulai mempengaruhi Eropa, tak akan menulari Asia.

Sebagian lain berpandangan kecil kemungkinan Asia bisa lolos dari resesi berkepanjangan karena begitu bergantungnya ekonomi Asia pada pasar dan modal dari Amerika Serikat dan Eropa.

Thanakorn Seriburi, Wakil Komisaris Utama Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand, menilai krisis finansial saat ini mengakibatkan terjadinya krisis likuiditas. Tak tersedianya dana segar yang amat dibutuhkan kalangan usaha untuk berekspansi dan berproduksi itulah yang pada akhirnya menyebabkan resesi.

“Artinya, pada dasarnya, fundamental ekonomi kita tidak terganggu. Yang terjadi hanyalah koreksi dari nilai-nilai produk yang sebelumnya menggelembung,” kata Thanakorn.

Dengan koreksi ini, kata dia, harga asli produk itulah yang kini muncul. “Justru di saat inilah, ada kepastian investasi dan kepastian pasar,” katanya. “Ini saatnya bagi pelaku bisnis Asia untuk berinvestasi,” kata Thanakorn lagi.

Dia bahkan menilai Cina bisa memainkan peran sentral dalam menyelesaikan krisis finansial ini. “Cina berbeda dengan Amerika Serikat. Di Cina, pemerintah mengawasi pasar modal, ekspor dan sektor properti dengan ketat,” katanya.

Pandangan berbeda muncul dari Zhu Min, Wakil Presiden Bank of China, bank komersial terbesar di Tiongkok. Menurutnya, Cina sebaiknya mengatasi masalahnya sendiri terlebih dahulu.
Dia mengungkapkan, pemerintah Cina baru saja mengumumkan sejumlah inisiatif untuk mengatasi krisis finansial seperti menurunkan suku bunga perbankan, memberikan fasilitas pengembalian pajak dan pengurangan pajak pertambahan nilai produk ekspor, menstabilisasi nilai yuan, dan melaksanakan proyek raksasa pembangunan infrastruktur pedesaan.

Zhu sendiri menilai Asia tidaklah kebal dari dampak krisis finansial global. “Ekonomi Asia amat tergantung pada modal asing di pasar saham dan investasi. Begitu terjadi capital flight dan mandegnya investasi, maka Asia akan menderita,” katanya.
Wahyu Dhyatmika (Beijing)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lapindo Mudflow

I was invited to speak in a discussion about Lapindo mudflow victims, a couple of weeks ago. It was held in Goethe Haus, Menteng, Central Jakarta. My colleague, Heru Margianto, the editor of Kompas.com was also invited to speak, along with Alif Nurlambang, former 68H Radio journalist and a victim of the mudflow, flew all the way from Sidoarjo, East Java.

The main topic was how media portray Lapindo mudflow case, three years after. I was given a chance to speak after the guy from Sidoarjo. He lambasted media for being ignorance of their plight and misery. The first thing I said was that I felt like a defendant in that forum. Everybody was there to grill and question the media role, and I felt like I was put under a spotlight. However, I then said that this is a good thing. "Press freedom, media freedom, is your freedom, the public freedom," I said. Forum like this should be held more often, so that the public can say what they think about press reporting, and complaint about things they dont like to read or watch in the media.

Many things have already been discussed about how Lapindo use strategic and sophisticated public relation to lull the media into their sides of the story. I did not discuss that issue. "If you want the media to publish your side of the story, you have to do something to grab the media attention, you have to create an issue, engage the media, connect with us, and fight for the newsroom's attention," I said.

During the Soeharto authoritarian regime, the state and the government were the only power in every newsroom in this country. Now, the case is completely different. No one own the newsroom, not even the media owners. Yes, they can try to influence us, but we can refuse and fight back. If they dont like it, and decide to fire us, so be it, lets bring the fight to the street, and see how the credibility of that media will evaporate once everybody know that a news item can be change and shape under the owner's command.

So, press freedom is your freedom. I remember AJI and a couple of donor organisation campaign this theme several years ago. We made posters and stickers and pins, but no one seems to really understand the meaning of that campaign. Now, after several years, it sunk in to people's mind. After they see how their beloved teve news program cover a presidential candidate more favourably compared to the other. After they see their newspapers miss to mention a specific angle of an important issue. After they see their radio hijacked by big companies to air useless commercial programs. Now, they realise that they are the one who will pay the prize if press freedom is used and manipulated by the wealthy and powerfull elites.

Better late than never.

A Journalist' Responsibility

This question haunted me since several weeks ago: how far do we, journalist, are responsible for things happening around us?

It all begin last September. The Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) Jakarta, where I sit as the chairman since last February, was asked to host a discussion to commemorate the fifth year anniversary of Munir's murder. As everybody probably well aware, this prominent human rights campaigner was poisoned to death on a Garuda flight to Amsterdam, September 7th five year ago.

Many journalists attended the discussion. We watched a documentary made by a friend of mine, former RCTI producer, Dhandy Dwi Laksono, and felt closer to Cak Munir. The film was great, it explained why we need to keep asking the question: who was behind this murder and keep pushing the police and attorney general to prosecute the mastermind.

However, the thing that disturbed me came during the discussion. Although it was not openly spoken during the Q and A session, I sense that many human rights activist who were there feel that the media, the journalist, has abandoned them, has forget this cause. "Yes, we got a lot of help and support from you all, but the work is not done yet, please come aboard again, lets do this once more, and push a litle more, so that everybody involve behind the curtain will be brought to justice."

How did we forget about Munir?

Well, we have many things on our plate. If you havent forget, we had the election, we had terrorism, we had corruption, we had other cases, everyday. So we did forget Munir.

How can we forget about Munir?

We can't. We actually can not and should not forget Munir.

But we just had so many other newsworthy issues to cover. We cannot fill our pages, our airwaves, with reports about Munir, if nothing happened just yet, can we? Some of us may ask: do we, journalist, have to also care about shaping an agenda, or do we just go with the flow, report anything that came in our way? Do we have time to reflect and then deliberately steer our reporting to a cause, to an issue, we know is important to the public? Are we free enough to that? Are we smart enough to that?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Indonesia Post Election

Its two days after the presidential election. The official result is not declared yet, but all quick counts shows the same result: the incumbent won. What does this mean to Indonesia? First of all, I think its an indication that Indonesia is eager to part with its dark past. All candidates that has a relation with the authoritarian regime a decade ago are lost. The winner is generally perceived as clean and untainted with Soeharto's sins.

Secondly, this result means Indonesians wants to continue this path: to become a secular democracy, consistently eradicating corruption, and build stronger economy through sound, smart and carefull pro market finance policies. Indonesia wants to be open to the global world, assert its influence and retain itself as a succesful mixture of Islam and democracy, an example of how clash of civilization should not and will not ever occured.

Off course, there are many existing problems that need to be addressed. beaucracy reform that is still far from finished, lack of transparency, weak law enforcement, corrupt judiciary and legislative system, chaotic desentralization, and so on and so forth. But, people sees and feels a sense of direction, that we are in a right path, that it needs time to get to where we want to be. Lets see where we are in five years time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Election: Hope or Threat?

Its almost two months before the presidential election, next July 8, and it is almost certain, we will have a three-horse race between SBY, JK and Megawati. All the polls suggest that SBY will win the race easily, but many still sees there's a possibility that a surprise may occured somehow.

One of the source of surprise is the emergence of Prabowo Subianto. A former three stars general, a former son in law of the late President Soeharto, and a convicted mastermind behind the student kidnappings in 1998. He is known to have great ambition to ascend to power and is willing to work hard and do everything needed to make sure he gets what he wants.

Is he the hope Indonesian is waiting, or the threat that will squash everything this country has so far gained in the last 10 years? Time will tell.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The emergence of Indonesia

Tuesday April 14, 2009

By KARIM RASLAN

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stands poised to lead Indonesia to the forefront of global players alongside Brazil, China and India.

THE global financial crisis is spawning – and exacerbating – an equivalent set of political shocks.

Over the next year or two there will be winners and there will be losers both globally and regionally, and the recent G20 meeting in London was as much about determining which nations would emerge on the right side of history.

For us in South-East Asia, with our trade-dependant economies, the impact has been near disastrous.

Moreover, nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, with their rigid and inflexible political systems, are suffering an added whiplash as their respective peoples’ question the wisdom of age-old social contracts.

At the same time, the economic slowdown has laid bare deep-rooted divisions of class, race and geography that haunt our societies.

That this should be happening to the more stable nations within Asean is testament to the extent to which this crisis is upending the verities of global business.

This in turn is shaking the confidence of their respective elites – especially in Malaysia and Singapore – who’ve long proclaimed the wisdom of their model, namely, a combination of top-down, economic growth and limited civil liberties: in short “work damn hard and don’t ask questions, bro”.

As South-East Asia undergoes this painful transition, the centres of power and influence within our region are also shifting. Singapore will decline and Indonesia will emerge as the next power-house – witness the invitation list to the G20.

The city state’s economy with its extreme dependence on its neighbours’ weaknesses – in terms of regulatory frameworks, law and order and corruption – is undergoing considerable stress especially now, as Indonesia with Sri Mulyani as economic czar struggles to improve its internal governance and tax collection.

Moreover the global mood against off-shore financial havens is biting deep into the republic’s raison d’etre.

Geo-politics and economics are stress-testing the internal resilience of our nations. Countries that change with the times will prosper; those that won’t will get left behind.

In Malaysia, we’ve experienced an underwhelming transition followed by a set of by-elections that have reinforced March 2008’s political equation and the Barisan Nasional’s reversals.

Our new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is a smart, well-read man.

Still we have to ask the following questions: Can he curb the mounting racial exclusivism within Umno long enough to start winning back the non-Malay heartlands?

Or have PAS and PKR already supplanted Umno as the preferred guardians of minority rights?

Can he continue to keep west and east Malaysia on separate political trajectories – especially given Sarawak’s impending state elections?

Will an enthusiastic media championing his “One Malaysia” concept make any difference given the rakyat’s deep distrust of established authority?

Has the Malay elite (my class), like its Thai equivalent (my good friend Abhisit’s class), become so obsessed with retaining power that they (we) no longer see the manifest injustice of what they (we) are doing?

In Singapore, too, a Cabinet reshuffle has taken place but, again, one has to question whether this will improve the flagging fortunes of the ruling PAP.

No one denies that its new ministers, like incoming Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Huan, are capable individuals. Nonetheless, we have to ask: have the resources and ingenuity of the Lee dynasty finally met its match?

Will the city-state’s investment banker-obsessed elite follow Lehman Brothers into perdition? Can they cope with the seething resentment of ordinary people who want to know what has happened to their nation’s wealth.

The situation across the Causeway calls for a radical remaking of the entire politico-economic model. Likewise, the events in Thailand last weekend should be instructive.

The storming of the East Asia Summit by pro-Thaksin “Red Shirt” demonstrators is a fatal blow to Abhisit Vejjajiva’s fledging Government and to Thailand, which once had aspirations of regional leadership.

It also shows how little Asean means to the average South-East Asian.

Abhisit failed to manage the disastrous rural-urban divide in Thai society. Instead he hid behind the fading power of the Thai monarchy and military rather than face the people and seek a legitimate popular mandate.

The one bright spark, on the other hand, is Indonesia, long-despised as a morass of instability. The recently-concluded legislative elections there have been a triumph of democracy.

The vast archipelagic republic is also showing signs of surprising economic resilience buoyed up by the sheer scale of its gargantuan domestic market.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), whose party, the Democrats, look set to win the legislative polls and who is now poised for re-election as President, will inevitably consolidate power and authority.

Genuinely popular, he will have a historic opportunity to lead Indonesia to the forefront of global players alongside Brazil, China and India.

Nonetheless, we need to take a reality check. SBY’s nation still has a long way to go in many regards. Corruption, while on the retreat, remains rife and the emerging scandal over alleged electoral improprieties means that countless issues remain unresolved.

Nevertheless, the freeing of the public sphere via open debate and a free press, as well as the decentralisation of power to the provinces and districts has thrown open a world of possibilities.

Democracy hasn’t destabilised Indonesia, it has made it strong.

SBY may well become a latter-day Suharto, a dominant sultan-like figure towering over the landscape. However, his authority is derived from his popular mandate, and that can quickly be eroded.

Hence these several case-studies. The nations that have been bold in reforming themselves by empowering the people (and dis-empowering the elites) are on the rise.

The ones that cling to the past now stagnate. Like it or not, Indonesia is back on the global map. Jakarta may well become South-East Asia’s dominant centre of power and influence.(*)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Managing Expectation

I wrote several months ago, that most people in Indonesia do not look forward enthusiastically toward the election, next July. I assumed that the reason for this widespread apathy is the old faces'candidates offered to the public. Most of the contestants competing in this election are from old times, with old promises. People --understandably-- are tired.

But then, as the campaign geared up to its final days, I sense a different mood amongst the people. People are starting to pay attention. Gossips spread around the corner, about this candidate and that candidate. On my way to work, people on the train, in foodstalls just across the station, on buses, anywhere, started to compare their judgment about what our future will be, if this candidate or that candidate, win the election. More and more people start to register themselves as voters. In the last legislative election, many people were not eligible to vote because they failed to register themselves in advance at the village/sub-district offices. This time, they didnt repeat that mistake: they want to vote and they want their vote counted.

However, I still think that this election is not everything. Its not the moment where our fate as a nation is at stake. I have stop thinking that election is the answer for everything now. One elected leader cannot do everything, he or she is not superperson, who can singlehandedly change a nation of 220 million people. I simply dont believe it.

Well, people ussualy pointed out at the Obama phenomenon in the US. Obama change alot of things in America, I will not argue against that. But, people tend to forget that all of that didnot come from Obama alone. He's just a symbol of a greater change that is happening in US. A movement where millions of young people involve, and join hands together to change the old ways of how politics is managed there. Obama, smartly capture the essence of this movement's spirit, and place himself in the center of it. He successfuly ride it to the White House. But, once he make a mistake, or deliberately denied the aspiration of his supporters'base, he's finished. And that is what politics should be.

Politics should be a big system where the real power lies with the people. Where people's need and hope, and sometimes fear-- are channeled, negotiated, and find a common resolution, acceptable for all. Politics should be about how to make people's lives better, about how to find a common platform where everybody feels represented, respected and appreciated. Politics is never about election alone.

Thats why, I still find myself, sometime, pessimistic about this election next July. The foundation of Indonesian politics is not yet strong, is not yet accountable. Election can not guarantee everybody's needs, hopes, and fears, is taken into account and considered. Our system mainly depends on our politicians good faith. If they're good people, then the system will work just fine. But, if they're a bunch of yes man, corrupt, dirty people, then there's very little things we can do to prevent it. We dont have a strong check and balances system yet, we dont have a strong democratic institution yet. Everybody can still be bribed and seduced to follow one short term, pragmatic interest of certain parties.

We have to manage our expectation. Yes, election is important, but not that vital. Indonesia is a work in progress, and this is just one step in our long path to reach our end destination, that is a country where everybody can live together in harmony, in a prosperous, just, democratic society. We're still along way from that.

Indonesia re-enters the club of fast growing economies

Riyadi Suparno , The Jakarta Post , Paris | Fri, 03/20/2009 1:10 PM | Headlines

After sinking deep during the financial crisis, Indonesia has now entered the club of the world's fastest growing economies, but it needs further economic reforms and liberalization to gain more from international trade.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in its latest report "Globalization and Emerging Economies" released in Geneva on Thursday, includes Indonesia among the world's best performing large developing economies.

Indonesia now sits alongside Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in a group the OECD calls BRIICS.

"The inclusion of Indonesia into BRIICS is a recognition of the importance and size of the country, the situation relative to OECD member countries, and the desire of OECD countries to engage in it more closely," Douglas Lippoldt, acting head of the Development Division at the Trade and Agricultural Directorate of the OECD.

Des Alwi, an official at the Indonesian embassy in Paris, said the inclusion of Indonesia into BRIICS puts Indonesia back on the global radar as a future economic powerhouse following the financial crisis.

He also said the inclusion acts as recognition of Indonesia's relatively fast recovery from the severe financial crisis of the late 1990s.

The report said while Indonesia had not yet recovered to pre-crisis levels of growth, the national economy had done very admirably considering the sharp depreciation of the rupiah and the rise of oil prices.

The biggest drawback is Indonesia's international trade, which has been declining in proportion to its gross domestic product and global trade, as well as new constraints on business in the country. The increasing rigidity of the labor market, in particular, is of big concern.

Before the crisis, Indonesia's international trade had long been a key catalyst for growth, but since the crisis trade has played a much smaller role. The emergence of new competitors, or the fact the severity of the crisis affected the ability of firms to trade, could be two reasons for this change. Another factor is that Indonesia, which has the lowest tariff levels among the BRIICS nations, has become less open to international trade. The nation has been raising tariff barriers for agriculture, textiles and steel products. Since 2001, new non-tariff barriers have emerged and creeping protectionism has set in.

In addition, the recovery of the economy has not spread equally across sectors. Growth has been strongest in capital-intensive services, while labor intensive primary and manufacturing sectors are experiencing sluggish growth. This results in persistently higher unemployment.

High unemployment has also been attributed to the increasingly rigid labor market, where hiring and firing has become more expensive for businesses.

Indonesia, therefore, needs to continue deeply integrating into the world market and improve the investment climate to boost its attractiveness as a global production base. This way, with the momentum of high growth being sustained, it will remain relevant to the global economy.

As Indonesia becomes significantly more important economically on the world stage, the OECD has adopted an "enhanced engagement" process with the BRIICS countries, with the view being they will eventually become members.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said that engaging Indonesia and other BRIICS countries was important for the OECD to maintain its relevance.

OECD countries' share in global trade has declined for several decades to just 60 percent, while the BRIICS countries' shares has increased to 30 percent.

"If we are not engaging BRIICS nations, we run the danger of becoming less and less relevant," Gurria told journalists from BRIICS countries at his office Thursday.

"Whether you are going to be a member or not, we say we are representing 60 percent *of global trade* and working closely with the other 30 percent, and therefore, we remain a relevant organization."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Thought on The Election

Well, we're advancing fast toward the election now. Almost everybody is ready by now. All parties have geared up their campaign machinery, and now seems like have exhausted everything possible on their effort to win. But, somehow, I dont think this election will really deliver a genuine chance for Indonesian to have a real, elected representatives to fight for their interests.

First of all, there is the question of money. Indonesian politics are expensive. If you want a shoot and try to join the big league --i.e. the national parliament-- you have at least have several hundred millions rupiah at your disposal. A friend of mine said he spent almost 200 million IDR within six months of campaigning. And thats small numbers, compared with what the others has spent.

Because of that, only rich people can compete in this election. To cover their lack of power-base, they hire local people to act as their liason officer in the field. They spread money, arrange public meeting, and mobilize voters to the polling booth. They are paid with good money.

Candidates with no ties to financial sources are left with no hope to win. Another friend, a former journalist, tries his luck competing for a local parliament seat, and he said he has no chance whatsoever. "My competitor is a local bussinesman, he owns a big property company in my city, and he's willing to spend a fortune to win," he said.

I think there is something wrong with this system. Real grass root politician, with good networking, clear vision and a call to serve its community does not stand a chance. Unless, he's good at fundraising, making contacts with bussines people and offer them something in return for financial backing. But, thats not easy either. My friend has tried and failed. "In one case, the bussinesman himself is also running, so obviously he cannot support me. In another case, the bussinesman ask for a big favor in return, which I cant accept because its againsts my constituents' interest," he said.

In the end, after the election, I'm almost certain we'll see a parliament packed of rich, well-connected people, that is out of touch with the real person that live nearby. Half of them will be people who already bought by another group of rich people --who prefer to use someone else and dont want to do the dirty work themselves. Off course, there will be some exception, but they are so small in numbers to hardly trigger something meaningful.

Am I sound too sceptic? Lets see if I'm right or wrong after the election.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Indonesia and The Election Year

This year, Indonesia will face two election: the general election for legislative body's members --from local councillor in district level, to provincial and state parliaments-- and the presidential election. The first one will takes place next April 9th, whilst the second one on July 5th.

Unlike the previous election in 2004, the general mood this time is a little different. In 2004, everyone anticipated the coming election with excitement. Five years ago, we experienced our first ever direct presidential election. Before, our head of state always picked by a handfull members of the People's Representative Assembly, a sort of Indonesian version of the US Congress.

In 2004, we were also eager to end our political landscape's turmoil. We had a very fragmented coalition back then. At first, after the 1999 election, we had Central Axis Coalition, consists of Golkar and a few Islamic parties as the ruling coalition. That coalition collapse halfway, resulting an impeachment of the then presiden Abdurrahman Wahid. Golkar approached PDIP --the winner of 1999 election-- and together they backed Megawati, as the new president.

Maybe the public back then in 2004, was tired to watch all of those political gimmicks. Not to mention, the trial of Akbar Tandjung, that went nowhere, corruption everywhere, incompetence in all level of government. The election came and seen as a rescue, a way out, to break and end this political fiasco, and create a better one out of it.

Today, the mood is different. We're not that excited to welcome the election year. We want to see progress, we want to see improvement, we want to work, work, work, for the better of our country. We tend to see the election as an obstacle, in one way or another, especially when it got nothing to do --or at least so it seems-- to our big project in reinventing Indonesia, making it prosper and excell. The candidates are all old faces who wants to make a comeback to the center stage, and offer nothing new except in rhetoric. No wonder people are complaining, and wishing all of this will end soon.

When dreaming of BRICI is not enough

Lin Che Wei, Jakarta

If everything goes well, in 2050 Indonesia will be the tenth largest
economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). The top
10 largest economies will consist of five of the old G7 economic
powers -- the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and France
-- while the other five will consist of newly emerging economies,
namely China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia. The emerging five
will be cumulatively bigger than the old five (61 percent compared to
39 percent). This means that the emerging market countries will be
playing a much bigger role than the developed economic powers in 2050.

This forecast is, however, based on certain crucial assumptions
regarding macroeconomic, human resource and political conditions. If,
and only if, these assumptions turn out to be valid will this forecast
be realized. Thus, the road to prosperity will most assuredly not be
just a walk in the park. It is bound to be bumpy and hazardous.

Four out of the five emerging countries that are predicted to break
the G7's domination in 2050 are currently known as the BRIC countries.
"BRIC" is the term popularized by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill
in 2001 to represent Brazil, Russia, India and China -- the world's
four most prospective economies. The key features of these four are
their large populations, strong economic growth and political
stability. Most portfolio investors have a tendency to lump these
countries together and invest in these countries as one basket.

So, why is Indonesia not in the group, converting it into BRICI?
Indonesia actually has similar characteristics to the rest of these
countries, as shown in the table below.

We have a big enough population and high enough economic growth
compared to the countries making up BRIC, showing that we have the
same potential for growth as they do.

Based on these features, we should be in the group, making it a group
of five instead of four. So, why aren't we?

First, despite our economic recovery, Goldman Sachs believes that the
fulfillment of the conditions necessary for long-term continuous
growth in Indonesia would be an unrealistic assumption. In almost all
variables of the GES (Growth Environment Score) utilized in the model,
Indonesia scores favorably against the BRICs, but falls short in the
political stability necessary to foster long-term growth. Further
variables within the political stability component include "rule of
law" and "corruption", two measures on which Indonesia clearly needs
to improve.

A stable political regime promotes confidence entailing higher
investment and growth. This requires well-defined property rights,
generally well-functioning institutions and little corruption.
Nevertheless, the BRIC countries were determined during Indonesia's
political transition, when a stable Indonesia seemed uncertain.

Ever since, conditions have improved. Our Corruption Perception Index
shows progress has being made, with our score increasing to 2.4 in
2006 from 2.2 in 2005. Not only that, we have also made significant
improvements in terms of the Rule of Law Index. In 1998, our score was
only -0.97, but now in 2006 we have booked a score of -0.34.

With the holding of successful elections and the succession of
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as Indonesia's first directly
elected President, we can only assume the best is yet to come. BRICs
came under the spotlight at a time when the world was still utterly
dismayed by the proliferation of terrorist attacks.

With the Bali bombings, it is natural that the threat of terrorism has
loomed large over the archipelago. Nonetheless, the results of the
antiterrorism measures taken by the government have been quite
positive. Hence, we should also take a positive view as regards the
terrorism issue in Indonesia.

Second, Southeast Asian countries have been excluded from the
grouping. The BRICs proposition was put forward during a time when the
region was recovering from the Asian economic crisis. This made the
region less attractive than the thriving economies of Latin America,
Eastern Europe, South Asia and North Asia, creating skepticism that
the region could host an economic powerhouse. Yet, ever since then,
the region has been proving that it is now back on track for competing
with other developing regions.

Third, compared to the other BRIC countries, Indonesia's capital
market is relatively small. Its market capitalization only comprises
29.5 percent of GDP, while in the BRIC countries, excluding Russia,
market capitalization is over 70 percent of their respective GDPs.
This fact has deterred some potential investors who might have
otherwise come our way.

Last, but not least, Indonesia suffers from a combination of negative
media exposure and lack of self-promotion, creating a negative
perception in the global world that Indonesia is a dangerous, unstable
country rife with insecurities and natural disasters. Needless to say,
the negative exposure has not helped promote the image of stability,
which the country if it wants to attract more investment.

Based on all of the above, why should Indonesia not be included in the
BRIC countries, and why should we worry? The main benefit that we
would reap from being a member of BRICI is increased investment. Since
the initial BRICs report, its impact on investment has been
substantial; more investment has been going to these countries due to
their expected growth potential. If we could attract investment like
that, a trickle down effect that would increase our prosperity is only
to be expected.

Second, with the potential to become the largest economic bloc in the
world, BRICI will have better leverage in global economic
policymaking, which is currently dominated by the G7, not to mention
the political power that comes with such leverage.

Third, Indonesia would also benefit from the ability to benchmark
ourselves against the most prospective countries -- i.e., the BRICs --
so as to attract more investment.

There are many major steps that need to be taken to turn this dream
into a reality. First of all, Indonesia needs to continue improving
its political stability, uphold the rule of law, reduce corruption
levels and display a commitment to long-term economic growth.

Second, we also need to show our commitment as a leader in Southeast
Asia, as the most obvious representative for the region in BRICI.

Third, the perpetual improvement and development of the capital market
is also required to foster more sustained investment.

Fourth, the quality of stock market governance needs to be improved,
as does the stock market's depth and breadth.

Fifth, the government needs to adopt a proactive role in promoting
Indonesia. A marketing campaign, not unlike Malaysia's "Truly Asia"
campaign, could help bridge the gap between global perceptions and
reality. All these endeavors have to be reinforced by a commitment
from the government and investment community.

Whilst wishing to get into the BRICs circle, we should not overlook
our other competitors that have significant chances of entering the
same group. In Southeast Asia, our most prominent competitor will be
Thailand. Yet, Thailand does not have a big enough population. Its
recent coup d'etat has torn apart its previous political stability.
Outside the Southeast Asia region, our potential competitors for BRICs
will be South Korea and Mexico. South Korea in reality has quite a
small population compared to Indonesia and the BRIC members.

However, its economy is one of the best among the Asian and the
emerging countries, making it an established country on its own.
Mexico, on the other hand, has around 110 million people, comparable
enough to the BRICs and us. However, Mexico is now in political
turmoil after its recent presidential election resulted in protracted
demonstrations that almost paralyzed its capital city.

Noting our own key features and our potential competitors, we believe
that Indonesia deserves to be let into BRICs and change the group to
BRICI. When, realistically, could we join the group? In our opinion, a
target of between two and three years would not be overly ambitious.
---------------------------------
The writer is the chief executive officer of PT Danareksa Sekuritas.