US Election Weirdness, More Omnibus Law Changes, NGO Networking
Oct 04, 2020 | AmCham Indonesia
AmCham Hosts US Election Preview with McLarty Associates
Former US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake helped host a McLarty Associates Zoom presentation to AmCham and Kadin on the US Presidential Election on Sept 30, just hours after the deeply divisive first Presidential Debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
Amb Blake brought with him two sides of the political divide: Nelson Cunningham, McLarty President and longtime Biden insider; and Amb Richard Burt, McLarty Managing Partner and well-known Republican foreign affairs strategist and an advisor to the Trump 2016 campaign.
The Debate loomed large, with Cunningham referring to it as “contentious, with no issues discussed,” and Burt, now a “disaffected [with the President] Republican,” saying it showed “how polarized and emotional this election is.”
Cunningham said the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the rush by Republicans to replace her on the US Supreme Court was potentially a game-changer that could be advantageous to the Democrats and Biden.
Burt said it could also be a net plus for Trump as he is seen as “going up against the establishment as a populist politician,” and any attempt to block his nominee could play in his favor.
While Burt called the Presidential Debate a “national embarrassment,” he said Trump’s widely criticized behavior during the debate for his supporters shows the man “they know and love. A big TV personality, someone who does not back down.”
Burt said it is way too soon to write off Trump despite Biden’s lead in the polls, noting that Trump’s courting of his large base of religious and evangelical groups would see confirmation of his Supreme Court candidate as a massive plus.
Both men noted the highly unusual nature of the campaign due to COVID-19, with Cunningham calling it “the strangest election I’ve ever been involved in.” And both spoke of the contrast between Biden mounting a virtual campaign and Trump relying on rallies and the personal touch.
All this was before Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, making a strange political year far stranger.
Burt and Hamilton also touched on fears that Trump may not concede the election if he loses, which could lead to uncertainty and instability. Constitutionally what would happen if he refused to leave the White House is far from clear.
Burt summed it up in this manner: “The question is, what if in this election the American people … choose to re-elect him? What does this show [the world] about us, the American people? Are we a different society to what we thought we were?”
BKPM Makes Groundbreaking Top-Tier Appointments
Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia inaugurated nine new Echelon I and expert staff yesterday, Oct 1, marking the first time in the organization’s history it will have expert staff to fill specialized positions.
The new positions stem from Presidential Regulation No.24/2020, which outlines additional structures within the BKPM, including positions for expert appointments. The new officials will focus on the Key Performance Indicators for BKPM outlined by President Joko Widodo. These include increasing Indonesia’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, investment realization and investment incentives. The new officials and their roles are:
Nurul Ichwan: Deputy for Investment Planning
Yuliot: Deputy of Investment Climate Development
Riyatno: Deputy of Investment Cooperation
Achman Idrus: Deputy of Investment Services
Imam Soejoedi: Deputy for Controlling Implementation of Investment
Heldy Satrya Putera: Expert Staff for Increasing Investment Competitiveness
Indra Darmawan: Expert Staff for Macroeconomics
Aries Indanarto: Expert Staff for Priority Investment Sector Development
Robert Leonard Marbun: Expert Staff for Institutional Relations.
With West Java's economic growth falling to minus 5.98 percent in the first semester of 2020, the West Java Provincial Government is targeting the development of the Rebana Golden Triangle economic zone to increase economic growth to 10.91 percent in 2023.
Deputy Governor of West Java Uu Ruzhanul Ulum said the development of the Rebana Triangle, Indonesia’s largest economic zone with 11 industrial areas, covers Subang, Indramayu, Majalengka, Cirebon and Sumedang. It has a number of advantages, such as regional connectivity supported by the Cipali and Cisundawu toll roads, and the planned Patimban toll road. It is also supported by the West Java International Airport, Patimban Port, and planned train access with the addition of the Tanjung Sari-BIJB-Aryawinangun route and Patimban access.
The deputy governor also hopes renewable energy sector investors will be interested in the Rebana Triangle.
The Ministry of Finance has announced that the Bill on Tax Provisions and Facilities for Strengthening the Economy will not continue, with key points already ratified under Law No.2/2020 and the rest to be merged into the tax cluster of the Omnibus Job Creation Bill. The reduction of the corporate income tax rate (PPh) from 25 percent to 22 percent will be contained in Law No.2/2020, with further plans to reduce PPh to 20 percent by 2022 contained in the Job Creation Bill.
The head of the Ministry of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Agency, Febrio Kacaribu, said combining the two will save energy and time, with both bills looking to improve Indonesia’s investment climate. He also hopes tax reform efforts will continue even without the Omnibus Tax Bill.
President Joko Widodo said he believes a COVID-19 vaccine will be available by the end of 2020 or early 2021, but acknowledged that the rollout may be limited in quantity due to the need to vaccinate 170-180 million people. He has asked for a detailed vaccine production plan to be prepared within the next two weeks to ensure the vaccination program does not encounter any major problems.
The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment said the government is simulating procurement of the vaccine, which will see 352 million doses distributed to 70 percent of the population. Abiansemal Health Center in Bali and Tanah Sereal Community Health Center in Bogor City have been prepared as simulation sites.
AmCham NGO Networking Spotlights Education and Health
Our 2020 Partners Networking Evening on Sept 30 – before our US election discussion – gave the stage to six NGOs focusing on health and education in Indonesia; it was held in collaboration with our Education and Workforce Development and Corporate Citizenship Committees.
Nearly 80 attendees heard how the six NGOs work to improve and empower the lives of Indonesian women, children and families through education, financial, social change and healthcare initiatives in the midst of the pandemic.
Jhpiego aims to revolutionize healthcare for the most disadvantaged people in partnership with national governments, health experts and local communities, building health skills, and developing systems that save lives now and guarantee healthier futures. Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jhpiego/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Jhpiego
Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), the Indonesian Red Cross, is Indonesia’s largest humanitarian organization and acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs of vulnerable people. Instagram: @palangmerah_indonesia; @americanredcross; @ifrc. Facebook: Palang Merah Indonesia; American Red Cross; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Prestasi Junior Indonesia, known as Junior Achievement in the US, prepares young people for success in a global economy through workforce readiness, entrepreneurship education, and financial literacy along with its corporate partners Citi, ExxonMobil, Caterpillar and AIG. Instagram: @prestasijunior and Facebook: @prestasijuniorID
MC Shawn Hutchinson, co-chair of our education committee, encouraged all member companies to reach out to these NGOs to offer help.
The event reached a close with a virtual spin the wheel lucky draw with prizes donated by our sponsors. Dudit Triyanto and Scott Hanna won bottles of wine; Derren Joseph a one-night stay for four people at The Kuningan Suites.
The Grand Prize courtesy of AmCham Platinum Partner HP, was an HP Elitebook laptop, which went Suryani of ChildFund.
We would like to express our deepest thanks to our sponsors: HP Indonesia, The Kuningan Suites, and CIGNA Indonesia
AmCham Cares: G4S
While many employees of multinational security company G4S in Indonesia are working from home during this time of PSBB, its security officers are staying at their posts to keep customer business activities safe and secure during the pandemic. Most of these officers have not been able to return to their homes for months due to travel restrictions.
%uFEFFTo show the company’s appreciation, it has launched “G4S Peduli” (G4S Cares) to help its security officers who cannot go back to their homes by distributing packages of food supplies to their families back home. G4S believes that no matter how hard the current situation is, it can be overcome with the commitment to help and support one another.
WeWork, AmCham Indonesia's Platinum member, will be hosting a two-day digital convention titled "That's How Tomorrow' Works" on Oct 13-14, 2020. The convention will focus on changes we should expect and how we can continue to adapt. It involves leaders from various industries who will share their experiences with COVID-19 and their thoughts on what the future holds. Speakers include Christine Wang, Head of Asia, Lufthansa Innovation Hub; Sean (Jae Hyon Ohm), Regional Director, Lotte Hotels and Resorts Singapore, and many more.
The convention is complementary and is open to the public. For further information and RSVP, visit:
Support Independent Journalism: Subscribe to The Jakarta Post
In these difficult times, our hometown English language newspaper, The Jakarta Post, is more important than ever. Given the difficulties of physical circulation and the economic slump, the Post needs to boost its online subscribers – a goal we heartily support at AmCham Indonesia. Quality English language news is vital for our businesses, our home offices and the flow of information out of Indonesia. It is for this reason, that we are urging all of our members and readers to subscribe to JP! Information is what will help get us through this crisis. Below is information about how to sign up.
We Still Need Your Support to Shelter the Front Line
AmCham Indonesia and Habitat for Humanity have joined forces in an initiative called Sheltering Those Who Care for Us, a program to provide temporary quarters in hotels for Indonesian medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our program has helped not only medical workers in Jakarta, but also Tangerang and Surabaya; we are now planning to expand to Sulawesi.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading, medical workers are working a lot harder than before. In these difficult times, they often cannot go back home for fear of infecting family members or being rejected by their local communities. As a result, they are forced to sleep in hospitals without a proper bed, also increasing the possibility of getting infected.
By donating, we will increase the overall capability of Indonesia to treat COVID-19. Habitat will match individual hospitals with hotels on an as-needed basis.
We are continuing with a full slate of meetings, events and information offered to our community online. But we can only do this through the support of our members. If you are not yet an AmCham member, please join now!
AmCham Indonesia is open to all companies with an interest in US business relations and we have many non-American members. We are a community and we welcome you!
The AmCham Office is on work from home status and all face-to-face meetings and events have been postponed. We are having a number of meetings online using the Zoom platform. You will be notified of virtual meetings as they are scheduled.
What is Your Company Doing on COVID-19?
Please let us know what measures your company may be taking in the form of donations and other assistance to help Indonesia during this time of confusion and concern. Contact [email protected] with your news. We would like to publicize the ways that our AmCham companies are pitching in.
Stay safe, call a doctor if you have a high fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Stay healthy above all else.
COVID Update is AmCham’s regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard is the Managing Editor