This Week's Headlines (March 16 - 22, 2024)

22 Mar 2024


Govt announces 14 new strategic projects


The government has announced 14 new National Strategic Projects to be funded by private companies, with construction slated to begin this year. 


Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had approved the 14 infrastructure projects during a PSN evaluation meeting at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday.  


“The new [infrastructure projects] are expected to create jobs and do not require [funding from] the state budget, and they have been approved by the President,” Airlangga said after the meeting, as reported by Bisnis.  


Infrastructure development has been a policy priority from the get-go for the administration of Jokowi, who unveiled numerous projects back in 2015, early in his first term in office.  


The PSN agenda prioritizes infrastructure including toll roads, public transportation, energy, seaports and airports as well as information technology.  


The Pantai Indah Kapuk Tropical Concept property development in North Jakarta, the Wiraraja Industrial Area in Galang Island, Riau, the North Hub Development Project in offshore East Kalimantan, as well as the Neo Energy Parimo Industrial Estate in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi, are among the new strategic projects.  


“Then there is the Patimban Industrial Estate in Subang [in West Java],” Airlangga said, as quoted by Bisnis.  


Galang Island is around 31 kilometers from the 17,000-hectare Rempang Island, which the government plans to turn into an industrial hub housing the world’s second-largest glass factory and a solar panel manufacturing plant.  


The plan required the eviction of 10,000 residents of the island.  


The Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) said that national strategic projects planned by the Jokowi administration had directly contributed to 73 land dispute cases over the past three years, including the Rempang Eco-City project, the Mandalika International Circuit in West Nusa Tenggara, the Bulango Ulu Dam in Gorontalo and the Wadas mining project in Central Java.  


Agrarian Reform and Spatial Planning Minister Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono during the same event said the ministry would check the status of land to ensure legal certainty for the construction of the projects to move forward.   


“So, the status must be clean and clear for the land that will be used. Why? We know that […] we often encounter people who are already there or living, working, farming, gardening, at the PSN location,” Agus said in Jakarta on Monday, as reported by news agency Antara.  


“Therefore, we want to ensure that, before we issue any certificate, the status [of the land] is clear.”  


So far, 195 PSNs have been completed with a total of Rp 1,519 trillion (US$96.63 billion) invested from 2016 to February this year, and 41 PSNs were targeted for completion in 2024, Airlangga was quoted as saying in the Antara report.  


He added that five PSNs were targeted for completion between February and March, 24 between April and September and a further 12 PSNs in October through December. 


Source: The Jakarta Post 



Indonesia Says Nickel Miner Vale to Build Another $2 bln HPAL Plant


Nickel miner PT Vale Indonesia is exploring a potential investment in a high-pressure acid leaching plant in Sulawesi island, with an estimated cost of 30 trillion rupiah ($1.91 billion), its investment ministry said on Monday.  


The plant, named "SOA HPAL", will be the company's third such project to turn nickel ore into mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) - a material used to make electric vehicle batteries, according to presentation material shown by Indonesia's Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia.  


A Vale Indonesia spokesperson declined to comment.  


The plant could have an annual output capacity of 60,000 metric tons of nickel in MHP, the ministry said, adding Vale Indonesia is completing its final stage of exploration and it will partner with automakers.  


Vale Indonesia already has two HPAL plants under construction in Sulawesi Island, in Pomalaa and Sorowako. Both projects are in partnership with Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.  


U.S. carmaker Ford is involved in the $4.5 billion Pomalaa plant.  


Last month, Indonesia's state mining company MIND ID agreed to acquire a 14% stake in Vale Indonesia from Vale Canada and Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining to become a top shareholder. ($1 = 15,685.0000 rupiah) 


Source: Kontan 



Indonesia's president-elect Prabowo urges unity after resounding victory 


Indonesia's Prabowo Subianto pledged on Wednesday to be a president for all Indonesians after official results showed him sweeping last month's election, even as rivals said they would mount legal challenges over the electoral process. 


The former special forces commander and current defence minister won the Feb. 14 contest with nearly 60% of votes, a resounding victory over rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, who received about 25% and 16%, respectively, according to the election body's official tally. It largely confirmed unofficial results released by independent pollsters last month. 


Prabowo, 72, thanked voters and volunteers gathered at his south Jakarta residence, saying the election went smoothly. 


"We invite all Indonesians to look ahead in unity because our challenges are still huge," he said, vowing to eradicate poverty and injustice. 


He thanked the popular outgoing President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, whose tacit backing helped Prabowo win at his third attempt. 


He billed himself to voters and investors alike as the "continuity candidate". On Wednesday he repeated a pledge to use as a guide Jokowi's economic policies, which have modernised infrastructure, cut red tape, and delivered growth and prosperity in the trillion-dollar, G20 economy. 


"We will use the strong foundation he has built, especially in the economic sector, to work faster, harder, to bring results as quickly as possible to the Indonesian people," he said. 


The recently decorated honorary four-star general rose to the top job in the world's third-largest democracy despite past allegations of human rights abuses during his time in the military, which he has denied. His popularity soared with younger voters, especially on social media like TikTok, and especially after he picked Jokowi's son as his running mate. 


Prabowo is expected to take over from Jokowi in October. 


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, congratulated Prabowo on his victory while also applauding the Indonesian people "for their robust turnout and commitment to democracy and the rule of law." 



Prabowo's alliance with Jokowi, to whom he lost in 2014 and 2019, prompted fears of a resurgence of patronage politics in a country that just 25 years ago transitioned from authoritarian rule to democracy. 


Jokowi himself has been accused of election interference, which he and his allies deny. 


Jokowi's 36-year-old son and Prabowo's running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka is set to become the country's youngest ever vice president, owing to a last-minute change of eligibility rules, opens new tab by a court headed by the president's brother-in-law. 


Rival camps led by Ganjar and Anies have three days to lodge complaints with the Constitutional Court, which typically handles election disputes. 


Anies said after the final results that there had been election irregularities and that his legal team would take it to court. 


"A leadership born out of a sullied process, with deviations, fraud, will produce a regime with unjust policies," he said. He did not provide details of the alleged irregularities. 


Ganjar's running mate Mahfud MD also said on Wednesday his camp was ready to go to court over the alleged irregularities. 


Prabowo's campaign team said on Wednesday it was preparing evidence and rebuttals for the legal challenges. 


The election commission also announced on Wednesday that Indonesia's biggest party PDI-P received the most votes in the legislative elections, which were held on the same day, followed by the Golkar Party and Prabowo's Gerindra Party. 


Source: Reuters