Thursday, March 5, 2009

Indonesian President to inaugurate Indonesia’s first defense university

President to inaugurate Indonesia’s first defense university

The Jakarta Post

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to inaugurate
the Defense University of Indonesia, the first of its kind in
the country, on March 11, 2009.

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said in Jakarta on Thursday
the idea to establish the university was first raised by the
defense ministry in January 2007 to meet the urgent need to
improve the state's strategic defense capability.

"The institute will transform Indonesia's military and defense
education with the long-term objective of developing a modern
TNI (Indonesian Defense Forces) military culture," the minister
said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Changes of national, regional and global scopes had created new
challenges to the country's strategic defense capability, he

Citing an example, Sudarsono said Indonesian territorial waters
which were being used as maritime routes for 40 percent of the
world's trade, needed more than security measures in the
traditional sense. They needed a TNI capable of making more
modern political, economic, social and cultural approaches, he

Therefore, Indonesia was now trying to meet that need by
establishing an education institute capable of producing leaders
with military and civilian backgrounds who had strategic defense
capabilities and competence as well as wide perspectives and the
ability to adapt to global conditions, he said.

Meanwhile, Major General Syarifuddin Tippe, the defense
ministry's director general of defense strategy, said 47 other
countries already had a defense university.

In ASEAN, Singapore had established a defense university in 2005
and Malaysia in 2007.

"In the current era, there is a need for thinkers among military
officers, who not only have combat or military operation skills
but also have perspectives and master scientific disciplines
needed to comprehend the security environment and the rapidly
changing world," he said.

The inauguration of Indonesia's Defense University would also be
marked by a seminar themed "Indonesia 2025: Geopolitical and
Defense Challenges" to be attended also by world-class defense
strategy experts.



  1. Thai Military Deny Secret US Jail

    Thailand's army commander has denied allegations that Washington
    had a secret jail in Thailand where al-Qaeda suspects were

    It follows confirmation by the Central intelligence Agency that
    it destroyed 92 tapes of interviews with suspects.

    The tapes - destroyed four years ago - were held in a safe in

    The footage is believed to have documented the interrogation and
    mistreatment of two leading al-Qaeda suspects at a Thai military

    Allegations that Thailand was used to detain and torture
    al-Qaeda suspects have been around for years and they have
    always been emphatically denied, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in

    But the campaign by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    against the CIA to expose the treatment of those suspects has
    put Thailand back in the spotlight.

    Strained relations

    As the ACLU's case proceeds against the CIA, more details of
    Thailand's involvement in its so-called extraordinary rendition
    programme are likely to emerge, our correspondent says.

    The Thai army commander, Gen Anupong Paochinda, has responded by
    stating that there are no secret interrogation centres in Udon
    Thani - an airbase from the Vietnam War era thought to have been
    used by the CIA.

    But our Bangkok correspondent says there are other bases that
    could also have been used.

    Another senior military officer told the BBC he could neither
    confirm nor deny the existence of the centres.

    Thailand offered the use of its bases to the US in its campaign
    against al-Qaeda following the 9/11 attacks in New York.

    In 2003 it helped capture Hambali, the head of al-Qaeda's
    regional affiliate, and was rewarded with the status of a major
    non-Nato ally.

    But relations have been strained since the military coup in 2006
    and friction over trade, says our correspondent.

    If the allegations that al-Qaeda suspects were tortured here are
    confirmed, that will surely test that traditionally robust
    alliance, he adds.


  2. Officials Ask US to Keep Hambali

    Indonesian government officials have requested that the Obama
    administration continue to detain Indonesian-born Al Qaeda
    terror suspect Riduan “Hambali” Isamuddin after the United
    States closes the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

    A well-placed government official confirmed the request, telling
    the Jakarta Globe that there was widespread consensus at all
    levels of government, including the law enforcement,
    counterterrorism, military and intelligence communities, that
    Hambali should remain in US custody.

    “We don’t want him back,” the official said, speaking on
    condition of anonymity. “If he comes back here, he’ll start
    using his mobile phone to reconnect with his old network. This
    would be contradictory to our security interests.”

    The official said there were concerns that Hambali, who also is
    believed to be a senior member of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist
    network, would attempt to “re-energize his old movement” if he
    was returned to Indonesia.

    The government also wants to avoid a repeat of the media
    circuses that surrounded the release of Abu Bakar Bashir, the
    reputed leader of JI, from prison in 2006, and the execution of
    the three Bali bombers last November.

    “Bringing him back would not serve any purpose,” the official
    said, noting that the country was facing an economic crisis and
    had other pressing domestic issues.

    While the US hasn’t yet responded to the government’s request,
    the official said “they don’t want to send him back and we don’t
    want him here.”

    Two Indonesian officials made the request in person in early
    February during a meeting in Washington, DC, with members of the
    US State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, a
    national security official in Jakarta said.

    Around the same time, an Indonesian government team traveled to
    Guantanamo Bay and were given access to Hambali for the first
    time since his capture in Thailand in 2003.

    Hambali, 42, from West Java Province, is considered to be a
    “high value” detainee, and US intelligence officials have linked
    him to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings
    and other planned operations in Asia and the United States.

    Aside from being the only non-Arab member of Osama bin Laden’s
    inner circle, Hambali was believed to be the operations chief
    for JI. The Bush administration had rebuffed numerous earlier
    requests by the Indonesian government to interrogate him or send
    him home due to his importance in unraveling future attacks.

    However, in the wake of Obama’s presidential order shortly after
    taking office to close Guantanamo within a year, Indonesian
    authorities also agreed there was scant evidence to ensure
    Hambali’s conviction for Bali or any terrorist attacks here if
    the US sent him home, the national security official told the

    “If you ask them, there’s no case. And if he comes back to
    Indonesia, he’s a hero,” the official said. “He served in
    Guantanamo. He’ll be a rock star. That’s why it’s preferable for
    the government that he be kept in the United States.”

    The prospect of Hambali walking free after landing in Jakarta,
    or on the other hand being put on trial, is particularly
    sensitive in an election year. Hambali’s prosecution or release
    would be a rallying point for extremist groups and could be used
    as political ammunition against President Susilo Bambang
    Yudhoyono, said a Jakarta-based Western security analyst.

    “It’s possible some hard-line elements and political parties
    could criticize Yudhoyono and say he’s kowtowing to the West
    during an election year,” the analyst said.

    Added Sidney Jones, a leading authority on Jemaah Islamiyah: “If
    you think Abu Bakar Bashir was treated as a celebrity, multiply
    that by a factor of 10 for Hambali.”

    Government and private terrorism analysts say the best case for
    prosecuting Hambali here would be for murder charges over the
    2000 Christmas Eve bombings that killed 18 nationwide.

    But the case would rest solely on testimony from JI members Ali
    Imron and Mubarok, both of whom were involved in the first Bali

    They said Hambali couldn’t be prosecuted retroactively under the
    2002 terrorism law, and no physical or forensic evidence linked
    him to other terrorist plots.

    Hambali was sentenced to death in absentia in Cambodia for
    financing radical Islamic groups, and is wanted in the
    Philippines in connection with a train bombing and planning
    other operations.

  3. Australia and South Korea announce security pact


    Australia and South Korea have a new joint security cooperation
    pact - as North Korea moves ahead with reported plans to
    test-fire a long-range missile.

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Australian Prime
    Minister Kevin Rudd announced the new statement on closer
    defense and security relations on Thursday in a joint press
    conference in the national capital, Canberra.

    Last month, South Korea's Defense Ministry said North Korea had
    recently deployed a new type of medium-range ballistic missile
    capable of reaching northern Australia and the U.S. territory of

    The report comes amid speculation that the isolated regime also
    is preparing to test-fire another, longer-range missile capable
    of hitting Alaska.

  4. China to boost defence spending by 14.9%

    BEIJING, March 5 - China announced its latest double-digit rise in defence spending on Wednesday but sought to soothe concerns in Asia and the United States by insisting its
    expanding military posed no threat.

    The defence budget will grow 14.9 percent for 2009, maintaining a string of double-figure annual increases, despite a punishing slowdown in the Chinese economy as worldwide demand for its exports sags.

    The defence budget has been set at 480.7 billion yuan (70.2 billion dollars), up 62.5 billion yuan from the previous year.

    Although the rise is slightly smaller than last year's increaseof 17.9 percent, it marks a doubling of the Chinese government 's stated defence spending since 2006.

    The United States, Japan and their allies have long expressedconcern about China's military build-up and what they see as alack of transparency about the intent behind the expansion.

    Many experts also say China's official figure vastly downplays actual spending.

    The Pentagon in recent years has raised concerns about China'sdevelopment of cruise and ballistic missiles, its 2007 test of a
    satellite-killing weapon, an apparent rise in cyber-espionage by China's military, and other issues.

    The general in charge of China's strategic missile force saidlast month China would accelerate the build-up of its nuclear
    and conventional arsenal to form a credible deterrent capable of "winning a war."

    The declaration by Jing Zhiyuan appeared in an article published in a Communist Party journal.

  5. 18 Indonesian Business updates (Courtesy of Joyo News)
    - Garuda's Unaudited 08 Net Pft IDR683B Vs IDR259B - Official

    - Indonesia says to buy Thai sugar, delay cut in import duty

    - JG: Matahari to Issue $42m of Bonds

    - Bank Negara Indonesia Postpones Issuing $300 Mln Bond

    - Indofood Names Six Underwriters For $90 Mln Bond

    - Al Baraka Banking Group Postpones Investment Plan In Indonesia

    - ICD Allocates $50 Mln For SME Development In Indonesia

    - Indonesia Hopes For Increased Trade Among OIC Member Countries

    - Indonesian Aircraft Co To Complete 3 Super Pumas For Air Force

    - Russia's Reshetnev To Build Satellite For Indonesian Telco

    - Russian Entrepreneurs Keen To Invest In Indonesia

    - Indonesia's Exports Of Manufactured Products Down 35%

    - Indonesia's Plywood Industry Exports To Shrink Further This

    - Indonesian Toy Imports Begin To Decline After New Measure

    - Indonesia Attracts More Visitors In January

    - Number Of Air Passengers In Indonesia Down In January

    - Indonesia's Soybean Production Estimated To Reach 850,230 Tons

    - Indonesia's 2009 Unhusked Rice Production Estimated At 61 Mln


    Garuda's Unaudited 08 Net Pft IDR683B Vs IDR259B - Official

    JAKARTA, March 3 (Dow Jones)--PT Garuda Indonesia's unaudited
    net profit surged to IDR683 billion in 2008 from IDR259 billion
    the previous year as a result of various efforts the flag
    carrier has been taking to improve its performance, its
    spokesman Pudjobroto said Tuesday.

    The company is projecting a 15% growth in net profit this year
    as the effects of ongoing route restructuring, operations of new
    aircraft and energy conservation are expected to linger this
    year, said Pudjobroto, speaking on the sidelines of a business

    Meanwhile, the number of domestic passengers is expected to
    increase ahead of legislative and presidential elections later
    this year, Pudjobroto said.

    Pudjobroto said that Garuda's revenue rose to IDR18 trillion in
    2008 from IDR13 trillion in 2007 as the number of passengers
    increased to 10.1 million from 9.2 million.

    The unlisted state-owned company will likely report its audited
    2008 results next month, he said.


    Indonesia says to buy Thai sugar, delay cut in import duty

    JAKARTA, March 3 (Reuters) - Indonesia's purchases of Thai sugar
    will be in the same range as in the previous three years, a
    trade ministry official said on Tuesday, but did not give the
    actual amounts involved.

    The intention to buy Thai sugar is part of an agreement signed
    by the two countries on Feb. 28, in Bangkok, said Gusamardi
    Bustami, director general for international trade cooperation at
    the ministry.

    As part of that agreement he said Indonesia will postpone a cut
    in the sugar import duty from 2010 to 2014, when the tariff will
    be reduced from 30 percent to 5-10 percent.

    Indonesia has traditionally been one of Asia's biggest sugar
    importers, but is scaling back in the face of a glut arising
    from the combination of a bumper cane crop and a build-up in
    stocks. (Reporting by Yayat Supriatna, Writing by Aloysius Bhui;
    Editing by Sara Webb)


    The Jakarta Globe
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Matahari to Issue $42m of Bonds

    Aditya Wikrama

    PT Matahari Putra Prima Tbk, the nation’s largest retailer, said
    on Tuesday it would issue Rp 500 billion ($42 million) in bonds
    on April 15 with yields of 15 percent to 17 percent at the end
    of March to refinance existing bonds worth Rp 450 billion plus

    The new bonds will be issued in two tranches with terms of three
    and five years. The yields on the existing bonds are 15.2
    percent and 16.25 percent above the benchmark FR 023 government
    bond, against a yield of 16.12 percent to 17.37 percent above
    the benchmark government FR 051 bond, Matahari said.

    It also has $150 million of bonds due to mature in September.
    Danny Kojongian, Matahari’s director, said the company would not
    struggle to make the payment. “We had cash of about Rp 2.8 to
    2.9 trillion at the end of last year,” Kojongian said on Tuesday.

    The company has yet to disclose its 2008 financial results, but
    Hendra Sidin, Matahari’s finance director, said gross revenue
    had grown by more than 20 percent to Rp 11.977 trillion by

    Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or
    EBITDA, reached more than Rp 1 trillion, up by 8.2 percent from

    Matahari plans to limit its expansion plans to its core
    department-store and hypermarket businesses, Kojongian said,
    adding that it would add up to four department stores, seven
    hypermarkets and 30 new Times Bookstores this year. It now
    operates 82 department stores, 39 hypermarkets and eight Times

    Seto Wardono, an analyst at PT Indo Premier Securities, said
    several local firms have issued bonds in the domestic market,
    which has thus far been relatively isolated from the impact of
    the global economic slump.

    Four firms, including Matahari, have announced plans to issue
    bonds worth Rp 1.9 trillion this year.

    Several others said they would issue bonds totaling another Rp 3
    trillion later this year.


    Bank Negara Indonesia Postpones Issuing $300 Mln Bond

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - PT Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI)
    indicated it has decided to postpone issuing a US$300 million
    bond this year on high interest rate demanded by the market.

    A BNI Director Bien Subiantoro, said the state lender will be
    burdened with high interest rate on the bond if it is to be
    issued this year.

    Based on the prevailing condition in the market, BNI has to
    offer higher rate than 11 per cent on state bond issued
    recently, Bien was quoted as saying by the newspaper Bisnis

    The bank has decided to rely only on its internal fund for
    credit expansion, he said.

    The bank planned to issue the bond to finance its credit
    expansion and maintain a safe level for its capital adequacy
    ratio (CAR) now at 14 per cent.


    Indofood Names Six Underwriters For $90 Mln Bond

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's PT Indofood Suklses
    Makmur (JSX:INDF) has named six underwriters for a bond valued
    at Rp1 trillion (US$90 million) to be issued by the food giant.

    The six underwriters include PT DBS Vickers Securities
    Indonesia, PT Danareksa Sekuritas, PT ING Securities, PT Mandiri
    Sekuritas and PT OSK Nusadana Securities Indonesia.

    Corporate secretary Werianty Setiawan said the company need the
    bond funds to repay a debt in bond issued in 2004 maturing and
    debts to banks and for working capital.

    Earlier the largest producer of instant noodle in this region
    indicated it had a debt of Rp976 billion (US$81 million) in bond
    maturing in July this year, the newspaper Investor Daily said.

    The company has also said it was seeking bank loans to finance
    its acquisition of a milk processing company PT Indolakto from
    Dryaton Pte in December, 2008.


    Al Baraka Banking Group Postpones Investment Plan In Indonesia

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Al Baraka Banking Group has
    decided to shelve plan for investment in Indonesia until the
    third quarter of 2009 on global financial woes.

    The Middle East bank was earlier reported planning to acquire a
    small bank, Bank Kesawan, to be converted into sharia bank.

    Al Baraka is recalculating the plan to avoid repeating the same
    investment mistake it has made in the United States and Europe,
    a bank Indonesia official said.

    Al Baraka has suffered heavily in its investment in the United
    States and European banks as a result of the global financial
    crisis, sharia banking director Ramzi A Zuhdi said.

    Albarakah earlier pledged to invest around US$5 billion in
    various projects in the country including in sharia banking, and
    trading investment.


    ICD Allocates $50 Mln For SME Development In Indonesia

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - The Islamic Corporation for
    Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has allocated US$50
    million in funds for the development of small-and medium-scale
    enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia.

    The funds were part of the global funds of ICD for the private
    sector in various countries, ICD's CEO and general manager,
    Khaleed Al-Aboodi, said after signing an agreement on financing
    the SME Program with Mandala Finance on the sidelines of the
    World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) here on Tuesday.

    The purpose of the cooperation between ICD, an arm of the
    Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and several other
    countries, was to introduce the Islamic financial system to ICD
    member countries, including Indonesia, he said.

    "Indonesia is one of the important markets, where the government
    supports and continues to strengthen the infrastructure of
    Islamic economic principles," he said.

    Islamic economic principles had received a positive response
    from the private sector amid the current financial economic
    crisis, including from private business circles in non-Muslim
    countries, such as Russia, France and the United States,
    according to Al-Aboodi.

    However, in Indonesia, he said, the percentage of Islamic banks'
    assets was still relatively small compared to those in Malaysia
    and Middle Eastern countries. ICD was also conducting a
    financial study on programs to be offered to selected companies
    in Indonesia with projects worth a total of US$82 million, he

    The ICD was also exploring cooperation with state-owned Bank BNI
    to set up a sharia-based bank in Indonesia with a capital outlay
    of US$500 million. Al-Aboodi, accompanied by IDB (Islamic
    Development Bank) Group President Ahmad Mohammed Ali, on the
    occasion signed an agreement on a project worth US$8 million
    with Mandala Finance for SME program and a capital asset hike.

    He hoped that the cooperation between ICD and private companies
    in Indonesia would help stimulate investment in the country.

    The WIEF taking place in Jakarta from March 2 to 3, 2009, is
    being attended by around 1,500 participants from 135 countries.


    Indonesia Hopes For Increased Trade Among OIC Member Countries

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia expressed hope here on
    Monday that trade among members of the Organization of the
    Islamic Conference (OIC) could be increased in 2010.

    Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono voiced the wish
    during a meeting with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
    at the palace, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said.

    He said President Yudhoyono had emphasized the importance of
    trade among OIC members with regard to facing the current global
    economic challenges.

    President Yudhoyono also emphasized the importance for the OIC
    to conduct institutional reform, he said.

    "The President said the move was important with regard to
    continuing the implementation of the 10-year Action Plan that
    had been agreed upon in Senegal," he said.

    President Yudhoyono at the meeting also suggested the use of
    soft power so that the organization's role would remain relevant.

    Ekmeleddin meanwhile expressed his appreciation to President
    Yudhoyono for his active role in efforts to reform the OIC.

    He hoped Indonesia as the world's largest Moslem populated
    country continued to play a role in the organization.

    "The OIC secretary general praised Indonesia for its important
    role in developing Islam and democracy in the country," Djalal

    President Yudhoyono on the occasion also expressed the country's
    gratitude for the OIC's role in assisting orphan children of
    tsunami victims in Aceh.

    Djalal said the OIC remained committed to continuing the program
    and was now seeking donors for it.

    In the meeting that lasted 30 minutes Ekmeleddin also asked
    Indonesia to continue playing a role in helping settle the
    conflict between the Philippine government and the MLNF in Moro.

    Ekemeleddin was here to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum
    which was opened by President Yudhoyono and the visit was the
    second for him.

    President Yudhoyono also received Morrocan Prime Minister Abbas
    El Fassi and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.


    Indonesian Aircraft Co To Complete 3 Super Pumas For Air Force

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's state-owned aircraft
    manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) will soon complete
    production of three Super Puma helicopters ordered by the Air
    Force, a spokesman said.

    PT DI had previously finished the production of seven out of 16
    Super Puma helicopters ordered by the Air Force, said Budi
    Santoso, PT DI president director, here Monday.

    "Of the remaining nine units, three are in the process of
    completion, one is 90 per cent completed and is expected to fly
    in the next two months, and two units are 60-70 per cent
    completed," Santoso said.

    The orders for 16 Super Puma NAS 332 helicopters and their
    spareparts were formlaized in purchase contract No. 1010 made in
    1998. The completed seven helicopters had been delivered to the
    Air Force but production of the remaining nine units had been
    hampered by a shortage of funds.

    With the planned completion of three Super Puma NAS 332
    helicopters, the Indonesian Air Force would get 10 units of its
    16 orders. "The remaining (6 helicopters), will be modified into
    Super Puma II or Cougars which have newer technologies," the PT
    DI chief said.

    The modifications, to be made in cooperation with Eurocopter of
    France, would enable the Super Puma II to dominate the military
    helicopter market in the Asian region, he said.


    Russia's Reshetnev To Build Satellite For Indonesian Telco

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's largest
    telecommunication company PT Telkom (JSX:TLKM) has signed a
    US$200 million contract with Russia's ISS-Reshetnev for the
    procurement of a telecommunication satellite.

    Under the contract signed here yesterday, ISS Reshetnev will
    build Telkom 3 telecommunication satellite, provide satellite
    control equipment and training and internship for Telkom

    The satellite, which will have 42 transponders, is expected to
    be ready for the launch in August 2011, Rinaldi Firmansyah, the
    president of the state company said.

    Around 45 per cent of the transponders will be leased out
    commercially and the rest will be used by the Telkom Group. The
    of the state company, Rinaldi was quoted as saying by the
    newspaper Investor Daily.


    Russian Entrepreneurs Keen To Invest In Indonesia

    LONDON, March 3 Asia Pulse - Russian entrepreneurs were reported
    to have an interest to invest in the sector of infrastructure,
    real estate and production of health instrument in Indonesia.

    The report on this was exactly the conclusion of a visit by some
    Russian entrepreneurs grouping in the Russian Academy of
    Business to Indonesia on February 20 to March 2, a spokesman of
    the Indonesian embassy in Moscow, M. Aji Surya, told Indonesian
    correspondent in London on Monday.

    I Oleg Gorbulin, the Director of the Russian National Investment
    Board who acted as the leader of Russian delegation, said his
    side would be serious to learn the possibility to invest in the
    sector of infrastructures as already offered by the Indonesian
    coordinating investment board.

    "It will not be on the right track if the Indonesian offer is to
    be ignored," he said.

    Largest and medium scale Russian businessmen were reported to be
    currently pondering the line of business or investment they had
    to invest in Indonesia, said Sergey Evdokimov, the manager of
    medical instruments making company "MedEng" especially in the
    sector of medical instrument.

    In the meantime, Elena Chepelnikova, the president of Russian
    Petrobuild holding company, had the interest to make cooperation
    with his Indonesian partners in the sector of real-estate.

    During their visit to Indonesia, the delegation of Russian
    Academy of Business had a series of meetings with the Indonesian
    Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), the Indonesian
    Businesswomen Association (IWAPI), the Indonesian Coordinating
    Investment Board, the Artha Graha Network, Riau Islands Governor
    and the Batam Industrial Development Authority.

    For most of Russian delegates, this year's visit is the second
    one to Indonesia, thus posing a follow up of the last year's.

    The results of the visit are very satisfactory. Even the world
    is still grappling with the financial crisis, Indonesia is
    proven to be able to attract Russian investors, as this world
    largest archipelagic country can expectedly come up as the
    center of Russian investment in the future, A. Agus Sriyono, the
    Indonesian Vice Ambassador in Moscow, said.

    According to a plan, in April of this year, the delegation of
    Russian Academy of Business will reportedly visit Indonesia to
    further discuss more concrete step of cooperation, thus
    indicating that how big the interest of Russian businessmen to
    invest in Indonesia is.


    Indonesia's Exports Of Manufactured Products Down 35%

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's exports of
    manufactured goods shrank 35.52 per cent to US$4.9 billion in
    January from US$7.6 billion in the same period last year.

    The country's total exports plunged 36.06 per cent year-on-year
    to US$7.15 billion in January but the sharpest fall was recorded
    for manufactured goods, data at the Central Bureau of Statistics

    The exports of agricultural commodities declined by 8.24 per
    cent and those of mining products down 1.24 per cent, the agency

    Exports of a number of the country's major commodities have
    declined on weak demand and falling prices in the world market,
    the newspaper Investor Daily said.


    Indonesia's Plywood Industry Exports To Shrink Further This Year

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's exports of plywood are
    forecast to shrink further to US$600 million this year from
    US$1.5 billion last year.

    A chairman of the Indonesian association of wood panel Abbas
    Adhar said the decline in exports was caused not only by weak
    demand in traditional markets such as the United States, Europe
    and Japan, but was also caused by low competitiveness.

    Indonesian plywood is not competitive facing products from
    Brazil, China and Malaysia, Abbas said.

    He said last year the country produced 3 million cubic meters of
    plywood and this year the production is feared to fall.

    In its heyday early 1990s, the country's plywood industry
    produced up to 10 million cubic feet with export averaging 9
    million cubic meters annually, the newspaper Bisnis Indonesia


    Indonesian Toy Imports Begin To Decline After New Measure

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - An Indonesian government measure
    imposing non-tariff barriers on the imports of a number of
    commodities already produced in the country has begun to take
    its effects.

    Imports of toys began to decline after the restrictive
    regulation was imposed on February 1, this year including on
    toys, footwear, electronic goods, finished wear and manufacture
    food products.

    The government will audit surveyor companies to prevent illegal
    practices such as fraud involving officials of the surveyor
    companies, Customs and Excise Director General Anwar Supriyadi

    The association of toys producers said imports are forecast to
    shrink 20 per cent in the first quarter of this year from the
    same period last year.

    The association said 40 per cent of its 25 member companies have
    collapsed as a result of large imports of toys earlier
    especially from China.


    Indonesia Attracts More Visitors In January

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Amid an ailing global economy, the
    number of foreign visitors to Indonesia rose 8.04 per cent to
    473,200 in January, 2009 from 438,000 in the same period last

    Diyak Mulahela, the director of the tourism information agency,
    said Indonesia has succeeded in convincing foreign visitors that
    the security has improved in the country.

    The US government has lifted warning for its citizens that it
    was not safe to travel to Indonesia, Diyak cited.

    The recent visit to the country of US Foreign Secretary Hillary
    Clinton also contributed to improving the image of the country,
    he said.

    Meanwhile, the occupancy rate of start rated hotels in January
    averaged 45.1 per cent down from 49.69 per cent in December,
    2008 but length of stay rose slightly to 2.22 days, the
    newspaper Investor Daily said.


    Number Of Air Passengers In Indonesia Down In January

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - The number of international air
    passengers to and from Indonesia shrank 12.11 per cent to
    544,200 in January, 2009 from the previous month.

    The sharpest fall of 51.85 per cent was recorded by the
    Hasanuddin airport of Makassar, followed by Polonia airport of
    Medan by 31.43 per cent, Soekarno Hatta airport of Jakarta by 22
    per cent and Juanda airport of Surabaya by 18.91 per cent.

    Almost all major airports recorded a decline with the exception
    of Ngurah Rai airport of Bali, which posted a 23.35 per cent
    increase to 189,100 passengers, the Central Bureau of Statistics

    The Indonesian National Air Carriers Association attributed the
    decline to increase in departure tax and falling value of rupiah
    making cost of travel abroad more expensive, the newspaper
    Bisnis Indonesia said.

    Meanwhile, the number of domestic passengers totaled 2.72
    million in January or down 3.76 per cent from December, 2008 and
    by 5.59 per cent from the same period last year.


    Indonesia's Soybean Production Estimated To Reach 850,230 Tons

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's dried soybean
    production is estimated to reach 850,230 tons this year, the
    Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) said.

    "It rose by 73,740 tons from the 2008 production according to
    temporary figures," BPS Chief Rusman Heriawan said here on

    He said the rise was 9.5 per cent from the previous year's
    production, caused by increasing harvests that reached 46,200
    hectares of land or 7.81 per cent and also productivity that
    rose by 0.2 quintals per hectare or 1.52 per cent.

    He said the production rise was expected in several regions
    mainly Aceh, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi,
    Banten, South Sumatra and Lampung.

    He said according to initial figures dried soybean production in
    2008 reached 776,490 tons.

    Compared to that of 2007 the production in 2008 rose by 183,960
    tons or 31.05 per cent. The hike in production was attributed to
    increasing fields for harvest covering 132,780 hectares or 28.92
    per cent.

    The increasing harvests also made productivity to rise by 0.21
    quintals per hectare or 1.63 per cent.

    The rise in soybean production occurred in Central Java, West
    Nusa Tenggara, East Java, Aceh, West Java, South Sulawesi and
    North Sumatra.


    Indonesia's 2009 Unhusked Rice Production Estimated At 61 Mln

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - The Central Bureau of Statistics
    (BPS) has predicted that Indonesia's unhulled rice production
    this year will reach 60.93 million tons.

    "Our estimate on the country's unhusked rice production this
    year is about 60.93 million tons," BPS head Rusman Heriawan said
    here on Monday.

    He said compared with last year, production this year would
    increase by 1.13 per cent or 0.68 million tons. "Therefore, the
    government's plan to export rice is still feasible ," he added.

    Heriawan said increases in the country's rice production would
    take place in several provinces, including in West Java, West
    Sumatra, South Sumatra, Central Java, North Sumatra and Riau.

    BPS had also put the provisional figure for the country's rice
    production in 2008 at 60.25 million tons or an increase of about
    5.41 per cent from the previous year.

    The increase in rice production was made possible due to an
    increase in the total area of rice fields harvested by 1.33 per
    cent to 161,520 hectares. This increased production by 190 kg
    per hectare or about 4.04 per cent.

    He further said the increase in rice production in 2008 took
    place in the provinces of East Java, Central Java, South
    Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sumatra, West Java and
    Central Sulawesi.


  6. 4 Indonesian Oil, Gas & Mining Reports
    (Courtesy Joyo News Service)
    - Indonesia 2008 Net Oil Imports Dn To 106M Bbls From 131M Bbls

    - Indonesia Balongan refinery runs at 95 pct capacity

    - Indonesia's Pertamina Signs Mou With Star Petro Energy, Itochu

    - Singapore Firm to Put $100m Into Jatropha


    Indonesia 2008 Net Oil Imports Dn To 106M Bbls From 131M Bbls

    JAKARTA, March 3 (Dow Jones)--Indonesia's net oil imports in
    2008 fell to 106 million barrels from 131 million barrels a year

    A government data seen by Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday showed
    that the Southeast Asian country exported 135 million barrels of
    crude oil in 2008, unchanged from a year earlier.

    At the same time, Indonesia imported 86 million barrels of crude
    oil last year, down from 116 million barrels in 2007.

    The data showed that Indonesia's net imports of oil products
    increased to 155 million barrels in 2008 from 150 million
    barrels a year earlier.

    Indonesia voluntarily suspended its OPEC membership this year as
    it became a net oil importer since 2003 with output from its
    aging fields declining.

    A government official told Dow Jones Newswires that Indonesia
    crude oil output dropped 10,000 barrels per day in February to
    841,280 barrels a day from January due to a maintenance shutdown
    at a field operated by Total S.A.


    Indonesia Balongan refinery runs at 95 pct capacity

    JAKARTA, March 3 (Reuters) - Indonesian state oil firm
    Pertamina's 125,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Balongan refinery is
    now running at 95 percent capacity after crude oil supplies
    returned to normal, a company official said on Tuesday.

    The Balongan refinery had run at about 70 percent of its
    capacity since Feb. 20, following problems at its single buoy
    mooring (SBM), which is used to offload crude feedstocks from

    The SBM was not in operation since Feb. 13 and the refinery has
    used crude from its own tanks since then.

    "The refinery now runs at 95 percent of capacity. RFCC unit is
    also working normally," said Anang Noor, Pertamina's spokesman.

    Balongan has a 83,000 bpd residual fluid catalytic cracker
    (RFCC), or gasoline-making unit.

    Indonesia is Asia's biggest importer of oil products. Pertamina
    has nine refineries scattered around the archipelago with a
    combined capacity of around 1 million barrels per day (bpd). But
    it only supplies 70 percent of domestic oil product consumption
    and 30 percent comes from imports. (Reporting by Muklis Ali;
    Editing by Sara Webb)


    Indonesia's Pertamina Signs Mou With Star Petro Energy, Itochu

    JAKARTA, March 3 Asia Pulse - Indonesian state-owned oil company
    Pertamina here Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with
    Star Petro Energy (ETA Group) and Itochu Corp (TSE:8001) to
    improve its refinery in Balikpapan.

    "Cooperating with world-class companies is important in our
    efforts to improve ourselves as soon as possible in order to
    increase the performance of our refineries," the company's
    president director, Karen Agustiawan, said.

    She said she was glad her company was given an opportunity to
    explore a partnership with Star Petro Energy and Itochu and
    hoped negotiations could be concluded soon so that the project
    could be started on time.

    State Enterprise Minister Sofyan Djalil meanwhile said on the
    occasion that the cooperation was worth up to US$1.7 billion.
    "It is still a tentative figure. We still have to explore the
    actual price," he said.

    The minister said the cooperation was expected to result in the
    improved performance of the refinery in Balikpapan especially in
    the processing of its residual materials.

    So far 30 per cent of the total volume of oil processed by the
    refinery became residue which was sold very cheap. The minister
    hoped the residue could be reprocessed to become oil so that 100
    per cent of the oil processed would be useable.


    The Jakarta Globe
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Singapore Firm to Put $100m Into Jatropha

    Reva Sasistiya

    Singapore-based Mother Earth Plantations Pte. Ltd., through its
    Indonesian subsidiary PT Buana Ibunda, will invest $100 million
    to develop jatropha plantations and a refinery in West Timor,
    East Nusa Tenggara Province, which it says will be able to
    produce up to 21 million barrels of biodiesel a year by 2013.

    Speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 5th World Islamic
    Economic Forum in Jakarta, Roland A. Jansen, Mother Earth’s
    president, said the investment would take place over four years,
    and include the construction of a refinery with a processing
    capacity of 100,000 tons of jatropha seeds per annum by the end
    of this year.

    Jansen said the company would eventually be able to produce some
    3 million tons of Jatropha curcas seeds on the marginal land in
    Kupang that is to be planted as part of the project.

    Jatropha curcas, known locally as jarak pagar , is an inedible
    oil crop primarily used to produce biodiesel. It is estimated
    that Indonesia has the capacity to produce 2.9 million
    kiloliters of biodiesel a year and 215,000 kiloliters of
    bioethanol per year.

    However, Paulus Tjakrawan, the secretary-general of the
    Indonesian Biofuel Producers Association, or Aprobi, said he was
    no longer so sure about the potential of jatropha-based biofuel,
    saying it was now unattractive to buyers. Biofuel producers have
    repeatedly complained that they suffer losses of an average of
    Rp 610 a liter on sales of biodiesel and bioethanol to Pertamina
    as the prices are set based on the crude oil price, which
    collapsed last year.

    The government started pushing jatropha oil as an alternative
    energy source four years ago, with President Susilo Bambang
    Yudhoyono issuing a decree on the subject in 2006. Under the
    scheme, three state firms were to buy the jatropha seeds for
    processing from farmers, who were encouraged to set aside vast
    areas for growing the feedstock. But the companies never did
    make the anticipated purchases, mainly because they had their
    own jatropha plantations, the output of which already exceeded
    the production capacity of the existing refineries. The jatropha
    project has now ground to a halt, although the government has
    yet to admit as much.

    The energy mix is currently dominated by petroleum, accounting
    for 51.6 percent of the energy consumed in Indonesia.