Saturday, April 23, 2011

Indonesia Cannot Afford Another Terror Attack

A new wave of terror seems to have been unleashed onto the nation. The arrest of 19 terror suspects and the subsequent discovery of a Good Friday bomb plot appears to signal the fact that security is still the most pressing challenge facing the country.

Nineteen young men, most of them university graduates, were arrested in various parts of the country in relation to the series of book bombs that were sent to a number of prominent figures in Jakarta last month.

The arrests on Thursday also led police to five bombs meant to blow up a Catholic church and an army weapons warehouse in Serpong, Tangerang, on Good Friday.

These arrests and bomb threat come on the eve of a major diplomatic visit to the country. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to make a state visit to Indonesia from Thursday to Sunday to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and discuss the countries’ bilateral relationship.

Teuku Faizasyah, the presidential spokesman for international relations, has said the heads of state plan to sign several Memoranda of Understanding on trade, industry and enhanced collaboration between both countries’ foreign ministries.

The visit illustrates once again that Indonesia is playing an increasingly important role on the global stage. Our economy has done well these past few years, and the country is now very close to obtaining an investment-grade rating from international ratings agencies. It has been a long, hard road for the country to get where it is today.

Unless Indonesia can get on top of its security issues once and for all, though, this hard work will have been wasted. Without security, we have no certainty and no future. Indonesia has been a victim of a number of terrorism attacks over the past decade, but it cannot afford another major attack on its soil.

Our economic and political future depends on how the relevant authorities are able to tackle this menace. We are grateful that no innocent lives were lost this Good Friday, but we simply cannot take any more chances. Next time, we may not be so lucky. Editorial Jakarta Globe

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