Saturday, April 16, 2005
  Playing catch up

Work and recalcitrant ISPs mean that I've not posted much that is deep and meaningless this week. This is a catch up post.

But first, how come Fair Isle (which) is about three miles long and 1.5 miles wide and lies about 25 miles south-west of Sumburgh, on the Shetland mainland has broadband internet and Jakartass, living in a teeming metropolis, doesn't and can't get it?

Most of the 70 or so islanders - there were almost 400 a century ago - live in crofts on the south of the island. The north is largely uninhabited, rocky moorland. There are no pubs, restaurants or hotels. But there is a single room primary school, which takes pupils aged five to 11.

Back in Blighty, Charlton's blogging fans - here, here, here, here and here - still feel optimistic about being an Addick. That's because we could do worse and support Newcastle, who are 12th compared to our 9th. (It's a good job that Our Man in Hanoi, a Toon man, is doing a good job; otherwise he'll be really upset.)

The above topic is for fellow Addicks who don't want to read any more of my pearls of wisdom. (Just kidding, gang. Let's hope we all have a good day.)

Hit or Myth?

Malicious rumours have been circulating in the blogosphere that Jakartass lacks the courage of his convictions. That is a lie. I don't have any convictions outstanding; the slate has been wiped clean under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974.

Furthermore, it is alleged that I have something to hide in that there isn't a picture of me prominently displayed on my blog nor can my profile be easily accessed. That is also a lie.

I have a UK ID card, my profile is here and this is me ...

So I'm intrigued that I generally get comments from what I feel are frivolous posts, like the popemobile and my cookery corner and very few, if any, when I write about the core issues here in Indonesia.

Thanks Friskodude for making the effort to read my post about the whereabouts of the Tsunami Aid ~ Great article. Must have taken you like forever to dig up and post all that information.
Yes, it did, Carl, but only because of the crap ISPs.
And a friend, a sometime commentator in the Jakarta Post on the nationality laws affecting expats with Indonesian spouses, has written as follows: I've been away for 3 weeks in Lombok/Bali for a much needed holiday. Very nice and did a lot of snorkeling.
Lucky bastard!

Nice too to see that Wimbledon have been promoted again! Three more and we are back in the football league!
(Great news. This is a genuine fan-based club. Something Charlton Athletic FC must never forget.)

I hope your blog is going well.
I think it is with an average of 350 unique visitors a week. And I'm still enjoying the challenge of adding my daily, if possible, twopennerth.

I notice you focus a lot on the tsunami relief effort. One thing that I think is particularly outrageous is that because the event has been deemed a disaster NONE of the infrastructure spending will involve tenders. The scope for malfeasance is therefore huge and Economics Minister Bakrie must be loving it as he will be giving a lot of projects to the companies he owns!. A lot of the projects will also go via the military, who will of course benefit from spectacular markups. Cement will be sold at vastly inflated prices for example. Crazy stuff, but I'm not surprised.

Yet Aceh Governor Abdullah Puteh has been fired and sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail for corruption. Of course, he may yet get off on appeal citing some obscure legal technicality, but this should serve as a warning to others who may have thought themselves above the law and untouchable. Readers may recall that I've noted that Puteh's lawyers are those who serve the Cendana Clan, the Suharto family.

Judge Menon said Puteh was spared a heavier sentence because it was his first offense, he had a family to take care of, he had returned Rp.3.6 billion to the state, and he had behaved politely during his trial.

He also said Puteh must remain in detention, once he is released from hospital, if he appeals the verdict. In the past, courts have allowed numerous convicted public officials and military officers to remain free pending appeal.

This leads me to recommend a new kid on the blog, if you include our neighbour Singapore. Friskodude spotted this one (Hey, that's two plugs in one post. You owe me, Dude.)

Gilbert Koh, a lawyer, former prosecutor, 31 years old, father of two, and currently working in the banking industry aims to demystify Singapore Legal Mumbo Jumbo, providing a legal perspective to bloggers' commentary on the social, economic & political issues of Singapore.

A genuine humanitarian, Gilbert writes extremely well too. Try his post No-one Is Guilty So Everyone Is Guilty for starters.

The laws of Singapore are considered to be harsh by many, including me. But at least you know on which side of the authoritarian line you are, rather as we did in the 'good old days' of Suharto's New Order.

We need someone to do a similar job to Gilbert in this country, to explain where we stand legally, rather than financially, preferably in reasonable English.

My thought immediately turns to Frans Hendra Winarta whose resumé includes the following: American Bar Association (ABA); American Chamber of Commerce (AM-CHAM); council member of the International Bar Association (IBA); the IBA's Human Rights Institute (HRI); member of the user's committee of the Erasmus Law Library; member of IKADIN (Indonesian Bar Association); member of the Governing Board of the National Law Commission (Komisi Hukum Nasional or KHN); appointed as an arbitrator of the Indonesian National Board of Arbitration (BANI); International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); member of the Board of Trustees of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI).

Practice Areas: civil and criminal litigation; corporate law; intellectual property rights; labour and employment law; alternative dispute resolution and arbitration.

Impressive, huh? I've been privileged to read his doctoral thesis, Legal Aid - A Human Right, Not A Favour and had several conversations about the legal system here.

And there are other outspoken lawyers here who wouldn't be seen defending notorious corrupters. I was going to suggest the noted criminologist and human rights activist, Mulyana W. Kusumah but he was arrested on Friday night, last week, by the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) for allegedly attempting to pay a Rp.150 million ($15,800) bribe to a member of the State Audit Board (BPK) at the Hotel Ibis in Slipi, West Jakarta.

This was in his capacity as a member of the General Elections Commission (KPU) member. His arrest could taint the reputation of other KPU members -- Nazaruddin Syamsuddin, Ramlan Surbakti, Chusnul Mar'iyah, Valina Singka Subekti, Anas Urbaningrum, Daan Dimara and Rusadi Kantaprawira as well as Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin, a former member of the KPU.

That's because the body overseeing last year's elections was tainted with rumours of mark-ups and the award of contracts without a transparent tendering process for the supply of ballot papers, which, as there were some 150 million printed, represented a fair-sized forest, and other supplies.

A coalition of five non-government organizations in August 2004, one month before the run-off presidential election, presented KPK with a report alleging that KPU had marked up its budget expenditure for the April 5 general election by more than Rp.600 billion ($63.2 million).

KPU responded to the report by suing the coalition for defamation and urging police to investigate the members of the NGOs. Police suspended their investigation at the request of the KPK.

All these acronyms start getting confusing, especially when trying to work out who the good guys are. That there is a greater public display of nabbing the bad guys is to be applauded, yet this may well have been a setup, or a personal grievance. I can't tell and will follow this story with interest.

As I continue to watch the proceedings of the Munir assassination investigation.

The State Intelligence Agency (BIN) claims to be cooperating with an investigation into the murder of acclaimed human rights campaigner Munir, but one of its former operatives allegedly involved in the crime has been anything but cooperative.

Former BIN secretary Nurhadi Jazuli, who was recently appointed Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, has so far failed to comply with four requests for a meeting with a government-backed fact-finding team investigating the murder case.

Analysts say his persistent refusal to meet with the team lends credence to allegations that BIN was involved in the murder of Munir, who was killed by arsenic poisoning while on a Garuda Indonesia flight to the Netherlands last September.

His refusal also indicates that BIN may only be paying lip service to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono?s instruction that all state agencies give full assistance to the team's investigation.

Finally, as this is a lengthy post, I won't bother with any pictures. However, if you want to view some nice scenery of Mount Galang in West Sumatra, which is currently scaring the hell out of local residents, click here.



4:30 pm
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