Asia Shipping Correspondent
Randolph's Feed
Jul 1, 2015

Frustrated Indonesian leader launches charm offensive with investors

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Exasperated by the performance of his economics team, Indonesia’s president has personally taken on the job of promoting Southeast Asia’s largest economy to skeptical investors, said palace officials and economists.

Joko Widodo’s unusual intervention in a closed-door meeting with fund managers and economists has so far failed to turn the tide of disappointment in his policies, less than a year after his election was hailed as a new era for a country plagued by corruption, red tape and rickety infrastructure.

Jun 22, 2015

In ‘jihad’ for nationalism, Islamic group plans an Indonesian car

PALEMBANG, Indonesia, June 23 (Reuters) – Fed up with
capitalists plundering Indonesia’s riches, members of the
country’s second-largest Islamic group have drawn up plans to
launch a “people’s power” movement.

On top of their list: build a national car.

If realised, the Muhammadiyah group’s ambition would revive
a project launched by autocratic leader Suharto’s son, Tommy, in
1996 but halted during the Asian financial crisis just two years
later. As yet, though, its plans for the car are sketchy.

Jun 13, 2015

Australia stoops to ‘new low’ if boat payment confirmed: Indonesia

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Australia would have stooped to a “new low” if reports that its navy paid people-smugglers bound for Australia thousands of dollars to turn back their boat are true, an Indonesian government official said on Saturday.

Australia has vowed to stop asylum-seekers reaching its shores, turning boats back to Indonesia when it can and sending asylum-seekers to camps in impoverished Papua New Guinea and Nauru for long-term detention.

Jun 11, 2015

Indonesian president looks to open up neglected Papua region

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants to open up the remote and impoverished region of Papua after decades of conflict and neglect, but will first need the backing of the military, parliament and separatists.

Palace officials said the president plans to free dozens of political prisoners, launch a slew of infrastructure projects, and confront the serious unemployment problem in the easternmost province of the Indonesian archipelago.

Jun 8, 2015

Indonesian group plans challenge to bid to scrap $20 bln in fuel subsidies

PALEMBANG, Indonesia, June 8 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s
second-largest Muslim group plans to file a lawsuit challenging
a decision by President Joko Widodo to scrap $20 billion worth
of government fuel subsidies in his most radical reform since
taking office last October.

The action by Muhammadiyah, a nationalist movement with
about 30 million members, is the next step in what it calls a
“constitutional jihad” that has successfully dealt legal blows
to private participation in the oil, gas and water sectors.

Jun 3, 2015

Myanmar lands 700 migrants, U.S. says Rohingya should be citizens

JAKARTA/MAUNGDAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar brought ashore more than 700 “boat people” it had kept at sea for days aboard a seized vessel, as the United States on Wednesday called on the country to help solve a migrant crisis by recognising the rights of its Muslim Rohingya minority.

U.S. President Barack Obama has sought to make Myanmar’s transition to democracy a legacy of his presidency, and Washington is stepping up pressure on the Southeast Asian nation to tackle what it sees as the root causes of an exodus of migrants across the Bay of Bengal that the region has struggled to cope with.

Jun 3, 2015

Myanmar needs to treat Rohingya as citizens – U.S.

JAKARTA, June 3 (Reuters) – The United States said Myanmar’s
government should treat minority Rohingya Muslims as citizens to
solve the root cause of the migrant crisis in Southeast Asia,
and called on Wednesday on all Myanmar’s leaders to speak up on
human rights issues.

U.S. President Barack Obama has sought to make Myanmar’s
transition to democracy a legacy of his presidency, and
Washington is stepping up pressure on the country to tackle what
it sees as the underlying causes of an exodus of “boat people”
across the Bay of Bengal that the region has struggled to cope
with.

May 24, 2015

Indonesia’s military creeps back into civilian affairs

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Nearly two decades after Indonesia’s military was squeezed out of civilian affairs with the downfall of strongman leader Suharto, President Joko Widodo is drawing the army more closely into his wars on drugs, terrorism, and corruption.

Palace and military officials say Widodo’s move is partly designed to counterbalance senior police officers who have crossed swords with him and who, critics say, are trying to undermine the agency leading the campaign against graft.

May 18, 2015

Staffing firm Manpower to expand into Indonesia amid skilled-labour shortage

JAKARTA, May 18 (Reuters) – ManpowerGroup Inc, one
of the world’s biggest staffing firms, plans to expand into
Indonesia as early as September, seeing an opportunity to tap
companies that are struggling to find skilled labour in the
Southeast Asian nation.

Strong growth in Indonesia’s foreign direct investment has
been a rare bright spot for President Joko Widodo, but could
just as easily falter if firms can’t find the engineers,
accountants, and executives to run their businesses.

May 6, 2015

Indonesia to speed up spending, tweak monetary policies to revive growth

JAKARTA, May 6 (Reuters) – Indonesia is taking coordinated
steps to revive the worst domestic slowdown since 2009, with the
finance ministry promising to speed up infrastructure spending
and the central bank preparing a mixture of monetary policy
changes.

The economic offensive comes a day after data showed
Southeast Asia’s largest economy grew at a slower-than-expected
pace of 4.71 percent in the January-March quarter from a year
earlier. The slowdown was mainly due to a collapse in
commodities and weak government spending.