INDONESIA PROJECT NEWS No. 13 January-June 2012

There were several highlights in the Indonesia Project calendar for the period January–June 2012. The Project, in collaboration with the Fiscal Policy Office of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance and Australian Treasury, conducted the 7th High Level Policy Dialogue Meeting on 21– 22 March 2012 at the Pullman Hotel, Jakarta. The purpose of this meeting was to facilitate informed discussion on major economic policy issues facing Indonesia, as identified by senior officials at the Fiscal Policy Office of the Ministry of Finance (FPO – MoF).

H E Mahendra Siregar, Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Finance, and Jacqui de Lacy, Head of AusAID in Indonesia, gave welcoming addresses to an audience of approximately 40 people on the first day.

On the second day, a small team representing participants of the previous day’s dialogue meeting, led by Hal Hill and Bambang Brodjonegoro, Head of FPO, presented a draft communiqué from the first day of the meeting to the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Agus Martowardojo.

Participants during the High Level Policy Dialogue in March 2012


Another highlight was the 2012 Sadli Lecture, the sixth in the series to date, held on 24 April at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinsky. The lecture was delivered by Michael T Rock, Professor of Economic History at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, and Fellow at Resources for the Future, Washington DC, and was entitled What Can Indonesia Learn from China’s Industrial Energy Saving Programs: The Case of the Cement Industry.  Eighty participants attended the event, including Indonesian and Australian government officials, academics and members of the private sector. The event was organised jointly by the Institute for Economic and Social Research of the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia (LPEM-FEUI), and the Indonesia Project. As in previous years, the address was based on the comparative development paper published in the Bulletin of Indonesia Economic Studies in the same year. The event was opened by H E Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and the Creative Economy, followed by the Keynote Speech by Professor Emil Salim (Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia). Professor Saparinah Sadli, wife of the late Professor Mohammad Sadli attended the event. Dr Thee Kian Wie from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Associate Professor Budy Resosudarmo from the Australian National University were discussants.

As has been the tradition in recent years, the Sadli lecturer Michael T Rock presented some of the same ideas at a major university on the day after the Sadli Lecture, this time at Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra. Approximately 50 people attended. Dr Hefrizal Handra (Program Studi Magister Perencanaan Pembangunan, Fakultas Ekonomi, Universitas Andalas) acted as moderator and Professors Firwan Tan and Syafruddin Karimi were the discussants.The former head of Research and Development, Cement Padang, also attended. Many questions were raised, from the general, such as, “Can we reduce carbon emissions if economic growth continues?”  to technical and detailed questions about new technology in the cement industry.

The abstract of Michael T Rock’s Lecture is available here.

High-ranking members of the Golkar Party visited Canberra from 22 to 24 May 2012. The delegation was led by the party chairman, Aburizal Bakrie. On 23 May, the delegates held a meeting with ANU Indonesia specialists to introduce Bakrie to the group, as most had never met him in person. The meeting was especially important, as Bakrie had announced his plan to run in the 2014 presidential elections. He mentioned that such a meeting between Golkar and Indonesianists at ANU was long overdue, and Golkar is looking forward to a fruitful long-term relationship with ANU.

Bakrie and the academics engaged in a surprisingly frank discussion about current issues in Indonesian economics and politics, such as ways to accelerate economic growth, infrastructure problems, challenges to pluralism, and the ongoing effort in Indonesia’s national parliament to scale back the appointment of governors from being directly elected by the constituents to the previous model of being appointed by the provincial parliament. The meeting lasted for about an hour.

The book from the 2011 Update conference, entitled Indonesia Rising: The Repositioning of Asia’s Third Giant (edited by Anthony J S Reid), was published in May 2012 by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. Comprising ten chapters, the book discusses whether this is at last Indonesia’s moment on the world stage. Contributors weigh the economic evidence (Ross Garnaut and M. Chatib Basri); the political equation between democracy and the massive obstacles to progress in corruption, inefficiency and legal inadequacies (Rizal Sukma and Donald K. Emmerson); and Indonesia’s unrealised potential as a leader in matters environmental (Frank Jotzo) and Islamic (Martin van Bruinessen). The volume is rounded out by Scott Guggenheim’s analysis of the potential for better performance in education, and by the longer-term considerations of Anthony Reid and R E Elson. Overall, the conclusion is one of cautious optimism, bearing in mind past disappointments.

Indonesia Rising: The Repositioning of Asia's Third Giant, edited by Anthony Reid, ISEAS 2012


The 2012 Mini Update and Book Launch was held on 27 June at the Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The event commenced with a Mini Update on politics, economics and poverty. Bahtiar Effendi (State Islamic University, Jakarta) delivered the Politics Update and Titik Anas (CSIS) the Economics Update.

Hassan Wirajuda launched Indonesia Rising

Indonesia Rising: The Repositioning of Asia’s Third Giant was launched by Indonesia’s Former Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, to a packed audience of academics, policy makers, national and international policy advisors, students and the general public. A panel discussion of the book followed with presenting authors Rizal Sukma (CSIS, Jakarta) and Mohammad Chatib Basri (Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)).

The following day (June 28), the book was also launched by the Chancellor of Gadjah Mada University.  Anthony Reid and Ross McLeod presented the book and a panel discussion with discussants A. Tony Prasetiantono and Bambang Purwanto followed.

An account of both events by Ross McLeod is available here.

These events were also covered by Jakarta Post, Antara, Republika, and Tempo Interactive.

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Our regular Core Activities include the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) the Indonesia Study Group seminars and The Jakarta Seminar Series.

The April 2012 Issue of the Bulletin of Indonesia Economic Studies is now available online.

In this issue, the survey of recent developments, by Raksaka Mahi and Suahasil Nazara, argues that although the global financial crisis had an impact on the growth of exports and imports, GDP growth was sustained in conditions of high consumer confidence and lower inflation.

The survey turns the spotlight on the failure of four decades of economic development to make headway on inter-regional inequality, with GDP per capita falling behind in some regions.

In the 2012 contribution to the ‘Indonesia in comparative perspective’ series, Michael Rock argues that Indonesia has a great deal to learn from China’s industrial energy saving programs, particularly as Indonesia’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuels overtake those from deforestation.

In the context of growing reliance on preferential trading arrangements, and of the steps Indonesia has taken to reduce its protectionist policies, Stephen Marks and Sjamsu Rahardja present measures of nominal and effective rates of protection for Indonesian tradables sectors in early 2008, and compare these with measures taken in 1987 and 1995.

Daniel Suryadarma examines the influence of corruption on the effectiveness of public education spending in Indonesia.

The regular set of abstracts of recently completed PhD dissertations on the Indonesian economy and related subjects and book reviews are also included in this issue.

Click here to read a fuller preview of the contents of the April issue of the BIES. It is also available online.

The Indonesia Study Group (ISG) program remains a dynamic on-campus activity with 20–30 people regularly attending the fortnightly and sometimes weekly seminar presentations and wide ranging discussions. While sessions tend to focus on political and economic issues, a wide range of other topics were covered in the January–June 2012 period, including Lessons from the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership;  National Heroes from 1959 to 2011; the Indonesian Development Experience; Health Equity and Financial Protection in Indonesia; The Poverty Reduction Program in Fifteen Districts/Cities in Indonesia; The Provincial Boy Band, Kangen (Longing) Band; Internal Migration in Indonesia; Indonesian Exiles, Soldiers and Scribes in Sri Lanka, How to Manage Islamic Pluralism in Indonesia?; and presentations of the Surveys of Recent Developments for the April and August BIES issues. Seminars continue to be attended by academics and students, as well as government officials from AusAID, DFAT and ONA, the Indonesian Embassy, and members of the general public.

Podcasts are available for most of the talks. See the Indonesia Project website for the full list. The last three ISG addresses for the first half of 2012 were given by:

  • Erik Olbrei (Development Policy Centre, ANU) A Very Real and Practical Contribution? Lessons from the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership
  • Susan Olivia (Business & Economics, Monash University) Survey of Recent Developments
  • Nadirsyah Hosen (Faculty of Law, University of Wollongong) Hilal and Halal: How to Manage Islamic Pluralism in Indonesia?

Indonesia Study Group seminar: Survey of Recent Developments by Suahasil Nazara & Raksaka Mahi


The Jakarta Seminar Series, Forum Kajian Pembangunan (FKP), organised jointly by the Indonesia Project and various institutions in Indonesia, continued to attract a wide variety of presenters and participants. The FKP has built up a strong institutional and individual network that helps to identify key visiting scholars as potential Forum presenters.

In January, the PPM School of Management in Jakarta hosted Sommarat Chantarat (ANU) and Thomas Pepinsky (Cornell University). The World Bank hosted the event in February, and speakers included Professor John Braden of the University of Illinois, who was in Indonesia for the Congress of the East Asian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI) hosted the FKP in March, and attendance ranged from 40–60 people during the four seminars, on topics as diverse as food security, labour disputes, social capital and infrastructure policy. In April, LPEM-FEUI and ERIA hosted several seminars, including the Sixth Sadli Lecture (jointly organized by LPEM-FEUI and the Indonesia Project).

The SMERU research institute hosted the discussions in May, which attracted a steady number of participants (30–40) for each of the five seminars. SMERU’s own researchers and counterparts participated actively in the discussions, making the SMERU seminars some of the liveliest and most engaging of FKP events. SMERU has also recorded the seminars in audio and video formats, which will soon be available online on the FKP website.

In June 2012, the Indonesia Project hosted the FKP, which included the Mini Update and launch in Jakarta of the 2011 Update book, Indonesia Rising: the Repositioning of Indonesia’s Third Giant (jointly organised with CSIS). The book was also launched in Yogyakarta (hosted by the Institute of International Studies, Gadjah Mada University).

Detailed agenda of these group discussions are available on the website as well as the full seminar papers in most cases.

Times and venues of the forums are on the website and they are free and open to the public. If you would like to subscribe to the email list, please send your contact details (including email address) to

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An Indonesian version of the 2007 Indonesia Update Book, Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia, edited by Greg Fealy and Sally White, was launched on 16 February 2012 at Wisma Proklamasi, Jakarta, in collaboration with Freedom Institute and Komunitas Bambu. The book is entitled Ustadz Seleb, Bisnis Moral & Fatwa Online: Ragam Ekspresi Islam Kontemporer Indonesia.

Greg Fealy signed the book cover during launch in Jakarta


The Project hosted three academic visitors in the first half of 2012. Raksaka Mahi and Suahasil Nazara from the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, visited for two weeks in January/February to write the Survey of Recent Developments for the April issue of the BIES. They also presented their research findings to the ISG on 8 February (a podcast is available on the website). Susan Olivia from Monash University visited in April to write the Survey of Recent Developments for the August issue of the BIES. She gave a talk on her Survey work at the ISG on 1 June, as well as presentations to AusAID in Jakarta and Canberra.

The Indonesia Update Conference 2012, The State of Education, will be held on 21–22 September 2012. Daniel Suryadarma (ANU College of Asia and the Pacific) and Gavin W Jones (National University of Singapore) will be the convenors.

The conference is free of charge.

A provisional program is available on the web.

If you are already on the Indonesia Project mailing List, you will receive an email when the registration form goes up on the website. Please email if you would like to be added to the list.

Contact Details:
Indonesia Project
Arndt-Corden Department of Economics
Crawford School of Public Policy
College of Asia & the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
T: +61 2 6125 3794
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The Indonesia Project wishes to thank ANU and AusAID for their substantial and continuing support.

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