Jokowi Pushes Asset Forfeiture Bill
President Joko Widodo has submitted a Presidential Letter (Supres) on the Asset Forfeiture Bill to the House of Representatives (DPR), signaling a push for the approval of the bill. DPR Secretary General Indra Iskandar said the letter was received on May 4, but as the DPR is in recess, it will be discussed at the beginning of the House session on May 16. The letter will first be discussed through theleadership meeting mechanism, before being brought up at a Deliberative Body (Bamus) meeting, Indra said.
The bill has been discussed for the past decade and was included in this year's Priority National Legislation Program (Prolegnas). Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has previously asked for support from the DPR to quickly ratify the bill.
The bill aims to pursue assets resulting from crime, not criminals. Under the bill, confiscation of criminal assets can be done without waiting for a criminal verdict nor imposition of punishment for perpetrators, also known as non-conviction based (NCD) asset forfeiture.
CSIS Report: Economic Impacts of Local Content Requirements in Indonesia
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) launched its research report on the economic impacts of local content requirements (LCR) in Indonesia on May 9. The report was conducted to re-examine and see whether the implementation of LCR had achieved the government's objectives, and found improvements needed to be made.
The launch was kicked off with opening remarks from CSIS, followed by a panel featuring representatives from the Ministry of Industry, the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF), research institute Prospera, and the private sector. In line with the results of the study, the speakers and panelists agreed steps must be taken to minimize the LCR policy’s negative effects on the economy, including industrial mapping prior to policy making processes; building a clear, transparent, and performance linked policy assessment and review; and prioritizing strengthening and developing local industrial ecosystems.
AmCham Indonesia has been actively advocating on problems with the LCR policy for the past few years, and believes the study has comprehensively accommodated industry’s points of view. We hope there will be positive developments on the issue going forward.
AmCham Cares: Pfizer
Pfizer Biotech Fellowship 2022 invited three Indonesian lecturers to join its HigherHeight capacity building program. They visited the Pfizer Manufacturing Facility in Puurs, Belgium to enhance their medical biotechnology knowledge, and learn more about Pfizer’s manufacturing practices and global supply chain. The lecturers also engaged in several discussions, including on intellectual property protection in the world of scientific research and development.
The three researchers and lecturers were: Dr Listya Utami Karmawan (Chairwoman of Association of Indonesian Biotechnology Study Program and lecturer and Head of the Biotechnology Program at Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia); Dra Dwi Listyorini, MSi DSc (lecturer at the State University of Malang’s Biotechnology Program); and Dr Ir Irvan Faizal, MEng (Senior Researcher at the National and Research and Innovation Agency – BRIN – and lecturer in the Biotechnology Program at Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia).
HigherHeight – Pfizer Biotech Fellowship, is a program aimed to accelerate the transformation of national health talent through training and capacity building for medical biotechnology educators and students in Indonesia. Last year, the theme of the program was “Turbocharging Indonesia’s Medical Biotech Education,” focusing on strengthening the capacity of medical biotechnology lecturers and researchers from 16 participating universities.
"We hope that the visit will be a platform to exchange knowledge between the educators and the experts that can inspire the lecturers to further advance medical biotechnology education in Indonesia," said President Director of Pfizer Indonesia, Nora T Siagian.
During the capacity building program last year, researchers and lecturers received training and the opportunity to exchange ideas on topics ranging from advanced genomics, real-world data to vaccine supply chains with research institutes and the world-class health biotechnology industry.
The Fellowship was first held in 2021, attended by 125 students and teaching staff from 11 universities with biotechnology programs nationwide. In 2022, the program focused on the training of trainers for educators, and was attended by 30 researchers and lecturers from 16 universities.
Building Stronger ASEAN Foundations
Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said topics to strengthen ASEAN's foundations will be covered at the 42nd ASEAN Summit, which will start on May 10 in Labuan Bajo, following a dinner between ASEAN foreign ministers on May 9.
The topics include the implementation of the theme of Indonesia's leadership of ASEAN this year, particularly in relation to ASEAN community building; ratification of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC); implementation of the 5 Point Consensus (5PC), and implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
Director of ASEAN Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sidharto Suryodipuro said Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Spain are among the countries interested in becoming ASEAN partners this year.
Consumer Confidence High After Idul Fitri
April’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) was 126.1, the highest since July 2022, rising sharply by 2.8 points from March. The aftermath of Idul Fitri, with the disbursement of the religious holiday allowance, was the main factor influencing the high CCI.
Piter Abdullah, Segara Institute Executive Director, said the high CCI was no fluke, but merely a seasonal occurrence after a big holiday, disagreeing with analysts who said it was a result of controlled inflation and the upcoming political year.
Director of Center of Economic and Law Studies (Celios) Bhima Yidhistira said consumer confidence in the coming months will not be as high as April.
QRIS Finally Expands to Malaysia
The QR Code Indonesian Standard (QRIS) is finally available for payments in Malaysia, as the two countries further integrate their digital transaction systems. Launched during the annual Digital Economy and Finance Festival Indonesia (FEKDI) in Jakarta on May 7-10, the project also includes a Malaysian payment system made available in Indonesia.
The local currency settlement (LCS) mechanism will be used to carry out the settlement procedure through an appointed cross currency dealer (ACCD).
Aside from the rise in the number of cross-border transactions, the ASEAN nations' commitment to cross-border payments is demonstrated by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Regional Payment Connectivity (RPC) in 2022 by the central banks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.
RPC now includes the connection of cross-border QR payments to promote convenience for MSMEs, give users of cross-border payment transaction services more options, and expand the use of local currency for bilateral transactions within the context of local currency transactions.
Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia will continue to expand the cross-border QR Code payment system during 2023, and is also exploring cooperation with Singapore and the Philippines. There will be at least 10 payment service providers under discussion. Aside from the ASEAN 5 nations, other countries targeted for QRIS cross border payments are India, Japan, and South Korea.
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AmCham Update is AmCham's regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis and other issues in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard