Showing posts with label indonesia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indonesia. Show all posts
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Indonesia - Investment Policy Review – OECD

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2010 OECD Investment Policy Review contains a quite comprehensive assessment of Indonesia’s regulatory and investment policy. For those of you who areinvestment lawyers, Chapter 2 discusses in depth, Indonesia’s  implementation of international investment principles. Other aspects such as competition policy, infrastructure, and corporate governance were also addressed. A sneak peak of the book is available in Google Books . The book dedicate a sub chapter on water infrastructure (ch 5.6) and cited my newspaper Article (Indonesia Needs a Strong Water Services Law). The analysis on water related investment is not really in depth, but it agrees that vague laws and regulations could be a deterring factor for foreign investment in this sector. The book’s executive summary is available for a free download, but the complete hard and soft copy versions are not free.

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A Case Study of Semarang Water Utility (Paper)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UNDIP e-Journal published a paper about Semarang water utility.  Here’s some interesting facts on the paper:

  • In order to obtain the water connection people have to pay installment cost Rp 700.000 (75 US $) and it is equal with minimum wage per month for labor in Semarang.
  • According to the State Auditing Agency, PDAM Semarang had a loss of Rp. 21 billion from customer arrears and mismanagement.
  • Around 10.000 water connections are suspended for 2 months (Suara Merdeka, 03/20/2007) and will not be activated unless customer paid their debt.

Read more.

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e-democracia, Brazil’s Wiki Legislation Forum. What about Indonesia? (Wikislation)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wikislation is the term I used to describe bottom-up law making process using wiki. This has been implemented in one of Philipine’s region. Recently, Brazil came with the more sophiticated Wikislation idea through its website, e-democracia. 



The Techrepublic explains:


The program is a kind of crowdsourcing for legislative purpose. In particular, the e-Democracia website attracts and draws together the diffuse participation of individual citizens and minority groups. The main goal is to permit easier access to the decision-making process by citizens who are not associated with strong interest groups or corporations that usually lobby for access to the center of power in Brasilia where the national government is located.

e-Democracia is driven by a belief that the lawmaking process can benefit from the convergence of political representation and citizen participation in a virtuous cycle in which one model strengthens the other. The backbone of the initiative is its website (, which provides multiple participatory mechanisms with which citizens can:
• Share information about a problem that needs to be addressed by law;
• Identify and discuss possible solutions to the problem; and
• Draft the bill itself.


I argued in my 2006 article that crowdsourcing legislation will benefit from reduced information asymmetry and reduced cost for information interpretation. The concept and methodology for ‘wikislation’ is still far from perfect. But the tools are here. I consider that spending our legislative resources on bottom-up IT will also decrease the cost of deliberation and eventually, the cost of promulgation. To get a complete picture on the concept of wikislation, read and download my 2006 article titled “How Legislative Process Works in the Period of e-democracy”.

Legislation in the Period of e Democracy

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Media Statement: Towards a Case Base Approach to Human Right to Water and Water Quality (World Water Week)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Stockholm, September 09, 2010 (ILR). ACCRA, BothENDS, Swedish Water House, UNESCO Etxea, WaterLex and the UNDP Water Governance Programme convened a seminar at the World Water Week, Stockholm, September 09, 2010. The presenters explains the potentials of Human Rights Based Approach to Integrated Water Resources Management.

On the media statement received by ILR, the conveners stresses the importance of  stakeholders involvement in ensuring the realization of the Human Right to Water.  According to the Press Release:

A key element of the human right to water is the water quality prerequisite that water used for personal or domestic uses should be – among other things - free from micro-organisms and chemical contaminants that constitute a threat to individual health, thus embracing the work of professionals working in the realm of water quality and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). At the same time, even in the context of conflicting and competing demands on water resources, human rights law is clear in determining that water for personal and domestic uses, i.e. for realising the right to water, has priority in relation to other water uses.

In this side event, we will demonstrate the validity of a number of principles. First of all, the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) provides a useful and comprehensive framework from which to analyse water and sanitation issues and holds the potential to support and strengthen the Millennium Development Goal approach. In other words, while the concept of the ’right to water’ requires a focus on law, it is not just an effort to define normative standards (cf. World Health Organization quality standards), it is also about procedural rights, which ought to be clarified and illustrated so as to demonstrate how the realisation of rights should be managed in practice. Furthermore, the actual realisation of these rights is dependent on the governance structure and the quality of interactions between the state and civil society against the background of each particular social, political and economic setting.

Secondly, it is therefore of key importance to continue to promote national case studies that serve to highlight the key areas in which the implementation of the right to water and sanitation can be improved in each setting through a HRBA.

Universitas Ibn Khaldun Bogor, Indonesia, endorses the case-base approach to HRBA. It offers support in the form of expertise, networking and grass-root empowerment for the HRBA case studies. In its endorsement letter, the University Rector Prof. Dr.  H. Ramly Hutabarat, SH., MHum pointed that application of IWRM in Indonesia would require tremendous investment in the form of knowledge and financial resources. IWRM has large potentials in improving the quality of Indonesia’s water resources. However, there are always possibilities that those with less capacity and bargaining power to participate in IWRM processes would be left out. The Rector suggests that HRBA would be necessary to empower stakeholders in the decision making process of IWRM.

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Legal Policy and Development. Jakarta's Water Future (World Water Week) - UPDATE

This is the full version of Dr. Riant Nugroho’s Presentation at the World Water Week. The presentation is packed with the latest statistics on Indonesia’s water supply/sanitation and resources. A true reference indeed. Enjoy!

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ADB’s Citarum Project in Aljazeera

Sunday, August 15, 2010



ADB is planning several million dollars project to restore the quality of Citarum river in West Java, the main supplier of bulk water to downstream cities such as the capital, Jakarta. The ICWRMIP will restore riverbanks along the Citarum. The project involves the resettlement of hundreds of households currently residing in the riverbanks. NGOs argued that not enough room for public participation is provided, something which the ADB denied.  NGOs also claim that the project will not likely to change anything as no mechanism for pollution control is included. I am not able to confirm any of these allegation but some documents relating to the project is available in the ADB website.


Read also: Finding a cure for Indonesia’s sick river (CNN)

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Close-up of tap waterImage via Wikipedia
From Manilla Bulettin:
The Indonesian water system is also marked by high system loss, decades of under-investment in the water infrastructure, and a poor regulatory system. Rivera explained that "they are not anchored on cost reflective tariff so... it's very difficult to invite the private sector.
However, he said there is a lot of potential in Indonesia since it has a larger population of 200 million and it is growing faster than the Philippines. Indonesia has an emerging metropolis and its metropolitan areas are much bigger than those in the Philippines.
"The key to sustaining these areas would be water infrastructure," noted Rivera adding that it will take one to two years before a project can start development.
As for cost, it will require investments of $30 million to $50 million if its a bulk water supply project. If it's a distribution project, the cost can be much bigger because there is a need to replace the pipes.

 Another PPP/PSP. What do you think?
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Welcoming the freedom of information law | The Jakarta Post

Monday, April 12, 2010

Welcoming the freedom of information law

Mohamad Mova Al ‘Afghani ,  Dundee, UK   |  Sat, 04/10/2010 9:42 AM  |  Opinion

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” (Justice Louis D Bran-deis, On Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use it, 1933, Chapter V).

Not so many people know that next May, the Freedom of Information (FoI) law will come into effect.

This law will have tremendous implications in increasing transparency in government operations and to a certain extent, the business world.

The central idea of the FoI law is to bring government “into the sunlight”. The “sunlight” will allow the governed to observe clearly government operations that are otherwise performed in secrecy. Because they will be watched, it is expected that the public officials will behave accordingly.

The FoI law provides everyone, irrespective of their motives, a right of access to information held by public bodies.

The understanding of “public bodies” in our FoI law varies from all governmental branches in the executive, judiciaries and the legislative, to political parties, state-owned enterprises, non-governmental organizations and other legal entities receiving funding from the state or regional budget.

Not all information can be disclosed, however. The FoI law provides a restrictive list of information which could be exempted from disclosure.

Compared to FoIs in other countries, the list of exemptions in the Indonesian FoI law is very narrowly constructed.

This means that the exemption to disclosure only applies to very few types of information such as that related to defense, intelligence, law enforcement, intellectual property rights, personal information and diplomatic relations.

Other than the limited and narrowly construed exemption clauses, what makes our FoI more “generous” compared to other countries’ FoI laws is also the fact that there is an obligation to apply public interest testing to each and every exemption clause.

Other countries’ FoI laws, such as the English and Scottish laws recognize two types of exemptions: absolute and relative. If the exemption type is absolute, such as that related to security matters, the English FoI law requires no public interest testing.

The Indonesian FoI law, however, recognizes no absolute exemption. This means that a public interest test would be mandatory in any case.

What this means is that the exemptions to defense, intelligence and diplomatic relations as discussed previously are not absolute. If the Information Commission considers that there is a greater interest for transparency rather than keeping the information secret, the information should be disclosed, even though it is a security matter or even if such a disclosure is prohibited in other acts.

Is this a good thing? It depends on where you are standing. Imagine that because there is no absolute exemption clause in the legislation, one can actually submit an information request to the State Intelligence Agency, the financial intelligence unit (PPATK), the Central Bank and even private banks if they are state-funded.

If they fail to provide, one can always appeal to the Information Commission to ask for the application of a public interest test.

That being said, the Information Commissions (central and regional, depending on the case), actually have the discretionary power to decide on the fate of information in all branches of the government.

Their jurisdiction covers all departments, with respect to all types of information, without any exception.

Given that vast responsibility, the Information Commission may face complexities in settling disclosure cases. They will have to decide whether information such as defense contracts to purchase arms, the utilization of foreign funds to finance counter terrorism units, a company’s tax reports, governmental procurement contracts and diplomatic correspondences contain a certain public interest that warrants public disclosure.

Due to the fact that no single governmental department is free of corruption, one could expect that a public interest for disclosure could be found in a great number of cases. The pressures toward nondisclosure from the bureaucrats would be enormous. It is in this respect that civil society’s role is vital.

Although in the preceding paragraphs I have pointed out that our FoI law is “generous”, the vague constructions of the clauses still open gaps for the government to tamper with its enforcement, such as through the creation of nontransparent implementing regulation which may defeat the original object and purpose of the FoI.

It would be the ministry of communication and information that is tasked with the formulation of Peraturan Pemerintah (Government Regulations).

If this tendency toward openness is to be maintained, civil society needs to pay attention so that the enactment of the implementing regulations are transparent themselves and that the public is involved in the decision-making process.

It is possible that the exemption clauses within the FoI law are “further reinterpreted” in the implementing regulation which in practice will allow more constrain to disclose requests.

To anticipate such a maneuver, I consider that for the majority of FoI issues, the implementing rule should be constructed from the ground up based on guidelines and case law, rather than top-down through Peraturan Pemerintah.

Give the information commission its autonomy to formulate guidelines through research, public consultations and discussion groups.

Let the parties argue their case before the information commission and courts and let the law evolve from this.

There are two reasons for this. First, it is because as I have argued above, there is much incentive for the government to be secretive.

The bureaucracy has an inevitable interest toward opacity in the interest of sustaining corruption and

It is not likely that they can be expected to produce what Justice Brandeis termed above as a “disinfectant”. Thus, it is necessary to bring the law down to the people.

Second, learning from abroad, disclosure cases are settled on a case-by-case basis. The general principal only arises after factual cases are presented and argued before a tribunal.

Even up until today, there has been no one set of methodology for information commissions in other countries in balancing public interest in exemption clauses.

The idea of the FoI law is to allow the governed to observe clearly government operations that are otherwise performed in secrecy.

The writer is the founder of the Center for Law Information (CeLI).

My latest op-ed in JP.

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Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments

Saturday, April 10, 2010

After asking permission to the editor, I decided to revise my paper, previously published in a book by Brainbow Press.  The working paper version is available in the SSRN. Abstract is provided below. Do send me email/post some comments. 
Download here, or read this SSRN page
Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments

The Indonesian Constitution is very unique in terms of its relation between religion and the state. It is stated there that that the state is based “…on the belief in the One and Supreme God” but at the same time, it never explicitly mentioned the name of any established religion. Historical interpretation into the constitutional drafting process and revelation from the founding fathers on their understanding of 'God' and religion reveals that the Constitution is neutral with respect to religions and worldviews. However, the Constitution does prefer a theistic worldview over the non theist. The consequences for this is that the state may provide financial and other supports to the followers of religions (provide positive discrimination) but must not interfere with the freedom of followers of any other worldviews to profess their beliefs. Recent amendment to the Constitution reinforces this neutral stance. This would have a significant impact on the constitutionality of blasphemy laws. 
Keywords: indonesia, religion, blasphemy, human rights, constitution 
Working Paper Series