Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Indonesia 2006: Bomb, floods, and foolish games

We started the year 2005 with tsunami in Aceh and Nias that killed thousands of people, leaving the whole country in a tragedy that needs years of rehabilitation. The year was ended with a bomb with high explosives went off at a traditional pork market on Jalan Pulau Sulawesi, Maesa village, Central Sulawesi at about 07:00 local time on Saturday, December 31.
A police bomb squad also found another bomb in the same location which had not been detonated. The bomb blast killed seven people and injured 54 others.
We also started the year 2006 with missery. Flash floods swept away houses and schools in Jember, East Java, killing at least 57 people. The death toll would rise.
Villages were inundated when overnight rains triggered a landslide on a hill in Panti, a subdistrict of East Java province, and forced a river to break its banks.Hundreds of people sought shelter from the surging waters in mosques and boarding schools.
Heavy tropical downpours cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia. Deforestation in the surrounding of Panti is being blamed for the flash floods. Under the influence of Australia Cyclone, rain comes with high speed wind of 80 km per hour.
But Indonesian rupiah is traded in a stronger value against the greenback yesterday, below the 9,830 level, despite analyst prediction of a weaker rupiah this year at 10,750 on average.
The economy is expected to grow below 6.2% as previously predicted, including when the minister of finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati was the chairwoman of The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas). She retracted her statement though. She said the 6.2% growth target would be difficult to be reached.
House member from National Mandate Party (PAN), Dr Dradjad Wibowo, started the year torpedoing the newly installed coordinating minister for the economy Dr Boediono.
Dradjad told reporters at the House Building here Monday that the government should not sell the state sovereignty by accepting the condition of diplomatic immunity revocation in seeking for foreign debt rescheduling.
Dradjad made the statement responding to the report that Boediono as the Finance Minister sent a letter to the foreign minister on June 30, 2003 informing that he has signed an agreement for debt rescheduling with Paris Club and non-Paris Club countries.
The signing of the debt rescheduling agreement has violated Law No.24 year 2000 on international agreements as the Finance Ministry has never asked the House of Representatives for the ratification of the agreement, according to Dradjad.




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