World

Year-end review 2013

JANUARY

January 09: Lionel Messi was named the world’s best player for fourth time in a row at the age of 25.

January 11: The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced former beauty queen turned Democratic Party (PD) politician Angelina “Angie” Sondakh to 4.5 years in jail for corruption. She was found guilty of accepting more than Rp 34.9 billion (US$3 million) in kickbacks from the Permai Group, a holding company belonging to convict Muhammad Nazaruddin — formerly a PD lawmaker — in exchange for projects run by the Youth and Sports Ministry (the construction of an athletes’ village for the 2011 SEA Games in Palembang, South Sumatra) and the Education and Culture Ministry (projects in 16 state universities). She was also ordered to pay a fine of Rp 250 million.
Angie’s hopes for a presidential pardon or remission were dashed on Dec. 21, when the Supreme Court handed down a heavier sentence to Angie of 12 years. The court’s panel, presided over by justice Artidjo Alkostar, also ordered her to reimburse Rp 12 billion and $2.35 million to the state.

January 31: The KPK named then Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman, Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, a suspect in a bribery case centering on the government’s procurement of imported beef.

FEBRUARY


February 05: Siti Hartati Tjakra Murdaya, once one of Indonesia’s richest women, was sentenced by the Jakarta Corruption Court to 32 months’ imprisonment for bribing the regent of Buol, Central Sulawesi.

February 12: The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Amran Batalipu, the former regent of Buol in Central Sulawesi, to 7.5 years in jail for bribery, the heaviest punishment given to an official for committing the crime in the last four years.

February 12: The Grammy awards saw Australian singer Gotye, New York indie-pop trio FUN and British folk band Mumford & Sons take home top honors on the music’s industry’s biggest night.

MARCH

March 13: Defending champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who were also 2012 London Olympics gold medalists and 2011 World Champions, won 21-13, 21-17 against fifth-seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China at the All England tournament in Birmingham, England.

March 18: After months of disputes, Indonesian soccer fans finally saw a glimmer of hope in the development of the most popular sport in the country following the unification of the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) and its breakaway group, the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) as a result of the association’s extraordinary congress.

The prolonged dispute had been described by many as a battle between two powerful men: Arifin Panigoro, who supported the newly elected PSSI, and Nirwan Bakrie, whose supporters created the KPSI. The dispute however, was resolved in the congress and it was also agreed to unite the country’s two separate leagues.

Due to the dispute, the PSSI currently runs the Indonesian Premier League (IPL), while the KPSI operates the Indonesian Super League (ISL). Starting next season, there will only be one soccer league, run by the PSSI, with 22 participating clubs.

APRIL

April 06: Around 50 Ahmadis in Bekasi municipality, West Java, sealed themselves in the Al-Misbah Mosque, which the municipal administration closed the day before in a crack down. The Ahmadis refused to leave the mosque, which was surrounded by a corrugated fence put up by the administration.

April 09: Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” who dominated British politics for two decades, died following a stroke. She was 87.

April 15: Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh was in the spotlight for the failure to distribute materials as scheduled for the 2013 high school national exam, prompting exam delays in 11 provinces.

April 25: The Jakarta Post’s 30th anniversary

MAY


May 16: The Papua Police began their investigation of Adj. First Insp. Labora Sitorus, a low-ranking officer at Sorong police precinct in West Papua, for holding a bank account of over Rp 1 trillion, which was allegedly linked to illegal logging and fuel smuggling.

JUNE


June 08: Taufiq Kiemas, then People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker and husband of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, died in Singapore after battling heart problems.

June 20: Members of the Sampang Shia community were evicted from a sports complex where they had sought refuge for the past year, and were forced to relocate to Sidoarjo, East Java, less than a month after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received an international award in recognition of his work to promote pluralism and human rights.

June 21: Students’ protests and the increase of food staple prices as well as transportation fees marred the country following the government’s announcement of the rise of the subsidized fuel price from Rp 4,500 to Rp 6,500 per liter for subsidized Premium gasoline and Rp 5,500 per liter for diesel fuel.

 The increase, which was too close to the Idul Fitri holidays, triggered skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and pushed inflation to hit highs. The price hike also prompted workers to stage protests, demanding wage increases.

Yudhoyono, who floated the idea of raising gas prices in 2010, offered five schemes worth Rp 29.4 trillion ($2.96 billion) to reduce the financial burden on the poor, including direct cash assistance, scholarships and rice.

JULY

July 11: Hundreds of inmates, including a number of terrorists, escaped from Tanjung Gusta Penitentiary in Medan, North Sumatra, after setting the prison ablaze. The number of escaped inmates ranged from 150 to 200.

July 22: The wife of the UK’s Prince William, Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge), gave birth to a baby son who was named Prince George.

AUGUST

August 11: Indonesian mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir and men’s doubles duo Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan won titles at the Badminton World Championship (BWF) in Guangzhou, China.

August 22: The rupiah passed 11,000 per US dollar.

SEPTEMBER


September 03: Despite a sentence of 10 years and a Rp 500 million ($4,800) fine handed down to former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo for corruption and money-laundering, the Jakarta Corruption Court was still the subject of a public outcry, which deemed the sentence much too lenient for the two-star general. Djoko was found guilty of accepting Rp 32 billion in bribes, abusing his authority as a public official and laundering more than Rp 100 billion in assets and money.

September 04: The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) handed a key audit report on the graft-tainted Hambalang project to the KPK, allowing the latter to expedite its investigation on the graft scandal that rocked the ruling Democratic Party (PD).

The report outlined state losses due to alleged illegal dealings surrounding the project’s approval. BPK chief Hadi Purnomo said the agency estimated that the project, which was transformed from a modest Rp 125 billion ($11.25 million) single-year project into a multi-year project worth Rp 1.2 trillion, had caused state losses of Rp 463.66 billion.

September 05: The main perpetrator in the killing of four thugs at Cebongan Penitentiary in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, Second Sgt. Ucok Tigor Simbolon, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment and was discharged from military service for his role in the premeditated murder. Ucok was a member of the Army’s Special Forces (Kopassus) Group 2 Kandang Menjangan in Surakarta, Central Java.

September 06: Yudhoyono signed a presidential decree for the establishment of the long-awaited national agency on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which looked set to implement a two-year forest moratorium extension. The establishment of the ministerial-level agency was part of the government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020 or by 41 percent with the help of international entities, as promised by Yudhoyono in 2009.

OCTOBER

October 02: Chinese President Xi Jinping, the leader of the world’s second-largest economy, met with Yudhoyono. It was Xi’s first visit to Southeast Asia since taking office, arriving in Indonesia to boost ties and economic partnerships with the region’s biggest country.

October 02: KPK named then Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar a suspect for allegedly accepting bribes in relation to his alleged role in adjudicating disputes in local elections. Akil was arrested in an intelligence-led operation at his official residence as he accepted cash from Hambit Bintih, the regent of Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan, and a Palangkaraya-based businessman identified as Cornelius Nalau.

A month after Akil’s arrest, the remaining court justices elected Hamdan Zoelva as their new leader.

October 07: The Supreme Court cut the prison sentence handed down to Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto, the convicted murderer of human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib, from 20 years to 14 years.

October 10: Better late than never. After 24 years of delay, the construction for the rail-based mass rapid transit (MRT) system in Jakarta finally began. As traffic in the capital is forecast to reach a standstill next year, the megaproject is expected to help Jakarta deal with its chronic congestion and catch up with neighboring countries in modern urban transportation.

Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo launched the project in a ceremony at Dukuh Atas, Central Jakarta, only a few days before he marked his first anniversary of taking office. He faced critics who said the construction would create gridlock in certain areas, especially in the city’s major thoroughfares of Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin.

The construction of the first phase of the MRT track will be funded by a ¥125 billion ($1.29 billion) soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The central government agreed to repay 49 percent of the loan, while the city administration will pay the rest over a period of 40 years, with a grace period of 10 years at an interest rate of below 1 percent.

The track will have six underground stations, seven elevated stations and the capacity to carry up to 173,000 passengers per day. The first phase of work requires Rp 3.6 trillion ($293 million) in funding. The construction of the first MRT track is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and is set to operate in the first quarter of the following year.

NOVEMBER

November 01: All Inalum assets were returned to the Indonesian government. The company is a new entity under the management of the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry.

November 04: The General Elections Commission (KPU) released the final voter list for the 2014 general election, despite a glitch that affected the data of millions of voters. The total number of voters in the final list is 186,612,255 — comprising of 93,493,610 and 93,172,645 male and female voters, respectively, from 545,778 polling stations in 497 regencies and municipalities.

November 07: The central Philippine city of Tacloban was left in ruins after being ravaged by one of the strongest typhoons on record, Haiyan, as horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees and authorities said they were expecting a “very high number of fatalities”. The Philippines faced an enormous rebuilding task from the storm that killed more than 3,900 people and left 1,186 missing.

November 15: Inter Milan said Indonesian business tycoon Erick Thohir had been appointed as new chairman of the Italian Serie A club, bringing an end to the reign of former owner Massimo Moratti. The club said its shareholders had named a new, slimmer eightmember board of directors headed by Thohir. In October, Moratti signed a deal to sell a 70 percent stake in the club to the International Sports Capital consortium owned by Thohir and his two Indonesian partners Rosan Roeslani and Handy Soetedjo.

Paper Edition | Page: 14

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.

From Our Networks