Indonesia. According to countryaah, the current population of Indonesia is 273,523,626. 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 financial crisis.
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 terrorism.
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 sharia laws.
The world’s appeals did not stop the executions in July by four drug convicted criminals, including three from Nigeria.
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.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the 3-letter abbreviation of INA stands for the nation of Indonesia in geography.
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. According to thereligionfaqs, 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.