countryaah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo appeared to
have consolidated his grip on power during the year. Two
opposition parties approached the government and he was thus
able to avoid a blocking majority in parliament. In doing
so, he was given more leeway against the leadership of the
PDI-P (Indonesia Democratic Party for Struggle) led by
Megawati Sukarnoputri, the country's first female president.
In July, Widodo completed its second government reform.
The changes were extensive. Most controversial was the
appointment of Exgeneral Wiranto, as Minister of Security.
Wiranto, former ÖB and Minister of Defense, has been
appointed co-responsible for the wave of violence that shook
East Timor in 1999 during the referendum on independence.
However, he has never been convicted.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati made the comeback as Finance
Minister. She was praised for her way of holding the post in
2005-10 before leaving the government for a top position in
the World Bank. However, she has been questioned for a
rescue operation for a crisis-hit bank during the 2008
However, the new minister for the energy and mining
sector - which accounts for about 10% of GDP - was later
replaced after he also proved to be a US citizen.
Two former opposition parties, the Muslim PAN (National
Mandate Party) and the former Golkar government party, each
received their post in the government. Golkar is the second
largest in Parliament.
The government is still being hit by falling commodity
prices that are weighing on growth. But in the second
quarter, growth of just over 5% was reported, the highest
level since the end of 2013.
A tax amnesty was introduced in July to try to get
Indonesians to take back unrecognized assets and income. The
program runs until March 2017. The economic cooperation
organization OECD has also established that the government
needs to broaden the tax base and recovery. According to the
OECD, in 2014, just under 10% of residents were registered
as taxpayers. Similarly, the tax authority investigated
foreign technology and IT companies, such as Google, Apple
and Twitter, to see if they were exempt from tax. The money
is needed to finance the renovation and expansion of roads,
ports and railways.
However, there were clouds of concern during the year. In
January, Jakarta was shaken by blast attacks and gunfire at
a mall in an area with several embassies. Eight people were
killed, including four suspected perpetrators who the police
claimed had links to the Islamic State (IS). Later, other
suspects were arrested. Widodo condemned the attack as
The tone also hardened against the country's LGBTQ
minority, reported the human rights group Human Rights
Watch, which pointed to statements by government members as
well as continued austerity in the province of Aceh with its
The world's appeals did not stop the executions in July
by four drug convicted criminals, including three from
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is an ethnic
Chinese and Christian, ended up in blustery weather accused
of blaspheming Islam during a September election. Although
he later apologized, several large protest meetings with
demands for his departure were held. In early November, as a
result of the tense situation, Widodo decided to postpone a
planned visit to Australia. Purnama, better known as Ahok,
succeeded Widodo in 2014 and is supported by the
presidential party PDI-P. Despite the investigation into
suspected blasphemy, Ahok continued to run his campaign
ahead of the February elections.
Six provinces in Sumatra and Borneo issued emergency
permits in August as a result of major forest fires. The
problem recurs annually when forest is burned to clear land
for agriculture, oil palm plantation and pulp forest. The
state of emergency makes it easier for them to call in
resources from other parts of the country.
According to researchers at the American universities
Harvard and Columbia, the fires in 2015 - which were rated
as among the worst in many years - may have caused 100,000
people's premature deaths, most in Indonesia but also in
Singapore and Malaysia. A major factor was the microscopic
soot particles humans inhale.
The wreckage of three Dutch and three British warships
that dropped during World War II outside Java was reported
to have disappeared in November. Indonesia and the
Netherlands would investigate the mystery. One theory was
that locals looted the ships in search of scrap metal, a
breach of the tomb.