What is your opinion on Indonesia


After the inauguration in 2004, SBY announced a comprehensive package of reforms, with the fight against corruption at the center. Nepotism and corruption are still strong obstacles to the implementation of democratic rights. For example, in early 2011 the Ministry of the Interior suspected a total of 17 out of 34 provincial governors of corruption, most of whom were subsequently convicted. In October 2013, the President of the Indonesian Constitutional Court was even arrested on charges of corruption. He received a life sentence. Four ministers in Susilo Bambang Yudoyono's cabinet have also been convicted of corruption.

The fact that so many high-ranking officials have been convicted of corruption in recent years is due in particular to the work of a very independently operating anti-corruption authority. Many Indonesians consider this authority to be one of the most important achievements of the post-Suharto period. In Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index from 2019, Indonesia ranks 85th out of 180 countries examined.

An acid attack was carried out on a prominent representative of the authority in April 2014.

In March 2017, the anti-corruption authority brought a case to light that goes well beyond previous cases. An all-party coalition including justice ministers and parliamentary spokesman is said to have embezzled a total of around 178 million euros in connection with the introduction of the new identity card, together with a network of lawyers, company representatives and ministerial officials. Parliament speaker Setya Novanto was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April 2018.

Since 2004 (as of the end of 2017), 131 ministerial officials, 124 parliamentarians, 56 mayors, 17 governors, 14 judges, 6 ministers, 4 ambassadors, 4 central bank deputy chiefs, 3 public prosecutors and a head of the central bank have been convicted on charges brought by the anti-corruption authority. Most of them received several years' imprisonment. In March 2019, shortly before the elections, the minister of religion, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, was targeted by the anti-corruption agency.

In 2020, according to investigations by the anti-corruption authority, the ministers for social affairs and fisheries ministers were arrested on charges of corruption.

Corruption in the judiciary not only results in judgments in the sense of wealthy accused, but also, in the event of their conviction, in sometimes quite luxurious accommodation for wealthy criminals. You will also be granted clearance in some cases against a corresponding payment. Corruption in the police force has also repeatedly made inglorious headlines in the Indonesian media. According to Transparency International, the police and parliament are among the most corrupt institutions in the state. Corruption is also widespread in the ranks of the military. Attempts to limit the military's influence on economics and politics have always proved difficult.

There are currently increasing signs that the Indonesian military is regaining a more prominent role in politics. This applies in particular to the navy, which played a marginal role before Jokowi. Among other things, there are more frequent sinkings of foreign fishing trawlers operating illegally in Indonesian waters by the navy (see foreign policy). The stronger influence of the military in politics is also reflected in the prominent role that Suharto's chief of staff Wiranto has played as defense minister since the cabinet reshuffle in July 2016. Jokowi's decision was heavily criticized nationally and internationally.

The military's budget is difficult to control. It is financed through foundations and military cooperatives, among others. The military also finances income outside of the legal framework. The official military budget makes up only 0.82% of the state budget (as of 2017). A prosecution of violations of the law with the participation of the military hardly takes place due to the strong position of the military.

Despite positive economic data, the number of people living in poverty is increasing. Hundreds of thousands of children live on the streets and some of them are exposed to extreme forms of exploitation. Another consequence of increasing poverty is the increasing labor migration of mostly female workers. The Indonesian public is increasingly concerned with the exploitation of migrant workers.

Other current domestic political issues are the policy of decentralization, the role of the military and its businesses, some of which are outside the legal framework, environmental sins and the lack of the rule of law.

The anti-pornography law passed in October 2008 caused long and bitter controversy. The law's definition of pornography is very broad and leaves a lot of room for restrictive applications. Overall, the law is linked to an increasingly stronger role for Islam in Indonesian politics.

Religious tolerance, both in politics and among large parts of the population, is decreasing. The increasing threat to religious freedom for members of the Islamic Ahmadiyah sect should also be seen in this context. Your situation is becoming increasingly dangerous. For example, in March 2011, four members of this group were lynched by a mob. The perpetrators received very mild sentences from the judiciary.

The Ahmadiya was also branded a heretical sect by the Ministry of Religions until 2013 and was therefore subjected to restrictions. The current minister of religion, Joko Widodos, is not continuing this course.

The discussion about the controversial blasphemy law, which provoked one of the most violent domestic political conflicts since the overthrow of Suharto, was also to be understood in connection with the Ahmadiyah. This law was upheld by the Constitutional Court in 2010 after serious threats from supporters of Islamist organizations.

Opinions that deviate from the current interpretation of the Islamic faith, such as those of the Ahmadiyah, come under pressure due to this law. Publicly expressed atheism can result in prison terms.

In 2012, extremist Islamists also used violence against the Shiite minority. Two Shiites were killed in an attack in August 2012.

Religious minorities are coming under increasing political pressure. In particular, the building of new churches is meeting with increasing resistance from the influential minority of Islamic hardliners.

Islamist intolerance is increasing, also because public criticism of Islamist developments can easily lead to charges of blasphemy.

Dealing with Islamic extremist and violent groups such as the "Islamic Defense Front" (FPI) is an extremely controversial issue. With their high-profile campaigns, groups like the FPI have, measured by the number of their members, a strongly disproportionate influence on domestic politics. Some Islamist groups are also openly anti-constitutional, but have not yet been prosecuted for doing so. It is not uncommon for Islamist, violent groups to be instrumentalized by political interest groups.

The Hizbut Tahrir movement, which seeks to establish a caliphate in Indonesia, was banned in July 2017.

The fight against Islamist extremism and the fight against Islamist terror are important domestic political issues. Great successes have been achieved in the fight against terrorism, also with the help of international support. The terrorists are increasingly losing their base. The bomb attacks aimed at foreigners in Jakarta in July 2009 and January 2016 were therefore rather unexpected for observers. They show that even after the arrest of Abu Bakar Basyir, who was considered a "spiritual leader", and the killing of terrorists by executions and special forces, Islamist terrorism continues to pose a great danger.

President Joko Widodo was expected to remain determined to oppose religious intolerance and violent sectarian extremism. As mayor of Solo and governor of Jakarta, he had already clearly demonstrated that he is ready to do so. So far, however, he has not yet set clear signals. However, as resistance on the streets increases, the influence of Islamist forces on the level of government under Joko Widodo has waned. Since his election, Joko Widodo's management style has become increasingly authoritarian. The Islamic conservative "Council of Indonesian Muslims" (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) has also gained political influence in recent years. The vast majority of Indonesian Muslims, however, continue to resist radical tendencies. The number of Indonesian Muslims who fight or fought for the so-called "Islamic State" is probably lower than the number of Muslims who have come from Germany.

In October and November 2016, violent mass protests broke out against the Chinese-born Christian governor of the capital Jakarta (Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok). The occasion was the reference to a Koranic verse in a speech. This was interpreted as blasphemy by the Christian governor. However, the speech was published in a deliberately falsified form.

The mass protests were largely reduced to a Christian-Muslim conflict in the German press. However, they were very much related to the upcoming re-election of Ahok. His targeted discrediting, also for electoral reasons, helped the (Muslim) rival candidate Anies Baswedan, who was supported by Prabowo Subianto, the rival of President Joko Widodo. On April 19, 2017, Anies Baswedan won the runoff elections.

The defeated Ahok is a close companion of President Joko Widodo, whose authority has also been weakened. In connection with this, it was expected that his chances of future re-election would be reduced. Ultimately, Joko Widodo's opponents in the conflict over Ahok already positioned themselves for the 2019 election campaign. He also instrumentalized Islamist forces.

Widespread anti-Chinese resentment helped Ahok's opponents. In November 2016, the mass protests reached the point where Ahok was officially charged with blasphemy. It was considered by many political observers to be a priori likely that the question of conviction would also be influenced by Ahok losing in the runoff elections.

In the first ballot, Ahok achieved the best result of the three candidates with 43% of the vote - despite 85% Muslims in Jakarta. This was seen by many observers as a sign that many voters consider the determined, successful work of Ahok to be more important than religious issues. Both opposing candidates did not come from the Islamist spectrum, but they instrumentalized the Islamists in the hope of reducing Ahok's chances of being elected. In some cases, anti-Chinese resentments were also specifically aroused. At the beginning of May 2017, Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison, which the judges even exceeded the demands of the prosecutor. In January 2019, he was fired for good conduct.

Overall, the political climate has become increasingly poisoned in recent years. Nationalists are now increasingly suing Islamists for disparaging remarks about the state philosophy Pancasila - Islamists, on the other hand, are suing for alleged blasphemy against statements by members of secular parties who contradict those of "real" Islam. The number of lawsuits for alleged blasphemy has therefore increased in recent years.

Coming to terms with the past also plays an important role in the political discussion, especially with regard to the unrest of 1965/66, the human rights violations under Suharto and the treatment of former political prisoners.

Initiated by the film "The Act of Killing", in which up to now unpunished mass murderers re-enact what they did at the time, more and more Indonesians are beginning to clearly question the official version of history, after which a coup was put down by communist groups in 1965. However, it is not to be expected that the victims of the violence of 1965/1966 will be officially rehabilitated in the next few years.

In large parts of the population, the Suharto regime is not critically questioned. This also applies to the design of school lessons and museum exhibitions. The time of the Suharto dictatorship is even glorified by ever larger sections of the population.

There are currently even attempts to declare Suharto an official Indonesian national hero, but these are met with considerable resistance, especially from human rights activists. His son Tommy Suharto, who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for murder in 2004 but only had to serve 4 years of that due to "good conduct", is now active again in politics and campaigned in 2019 as chairman of his Berkarya party, where his party could not win seats in parliament. Suharto's daughter Siti Hardijanti Rukmana (called Mbak Tutut) also tried her hand at the political arena - albeit with rather moderate success.

The same applies to the processing of human rights violations by the military in East Timor. All attempts to bring Suharto to justice failed. After Suharto died a free man in January 2008, the chances of a profound reappraisal of the serious human rights violations committed under his rule decreased. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, who was a 3-star army general under Suharto, proclaimed seven days of national mourning on the occasion of Suharto's death.

Domestic political controversies also occur again and again about how to deal with the influence of business people of Chinese origin, who play a dominant role in many areas of business. Reservations about the Chinese are widespread among the population. In the Republic of Indonesia there have been more or less severe attacks against the Chinese since 1945. It was therefore seen as a good sign that Jokowi's former lieutenant governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (called Ahok) was able to take the position of governor in Jakarta, even though he is both Chinese and Christian. Ahok found himself on an increasing course of confrontation with violent Islamist groups such as the "Front of the Defenders of Islam" (FPI) and ended up in prison in 2017 on charges of "blasphemy".

Nevertheless, today - for the first time since Suharto came to power - there is lively Chinese life in the public again.