Author: yosefardi.com

COVID-19 Situation Report: the Vaksin Nusantara Controversy

Vaksin Nusantara, the dendritic cells (DC) vaccine for COVID-19 developed by PT Rama Emerald Multi Sukses, with American company AIVITA Biomedical Inc, has been causing a stir. The Chief of Indonesia’s Food and Drug Administration (BPOM) Penny Lukito reached out to the press, exposing the questionable process and outcome of the DC vaccine’s first stage clinical trial. On the opposite side are Lawmakers of the House of Representatives (DPR) questioning Chief Penny’s decision.

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Q1 Trade Briefs

Looking stronger! Indonesia recorded export revenues of US$18.4 billion last month, jumped by 30.5% year-on-year, while import grew 25.7% to US$16.8 billion. Both oil & gas and non oil and gas reported strong recovery in volume and average price. Overall, the country reported 17.1% growth year-on-year to US$48.9 billion in the first quarter, while import improved 10.8% to US$43.4 billion.

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Cabinet Reshuffle Rumors (5)

Some speculate that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo might use the opportunity of the upcoming cabinet reshuffle to bring the National Mandate Party (PAN) back into the ruling coalition. Some also wonder whether the President will use the opportunity to make the Military Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who will be entering his mandatory retirement age this year, a minister. Commander Hadi becoming a minister would trigger a succession at the helm of the Indonesian Military (TNI).

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Cabinet Reshuffle Rumors (4)

Some names have been mentioned as potential minister candidates following the rumors of cabinet reshuffle. One of them is Abdul Mu’ti, the secretary general of PP Muhammadiyah. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama a.k.a Ahok, who is known as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s political ally, has also been mentioned as a minister candidate.

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On Corruption in Cimahi: The Trial

Towards the end of 2020, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) held a Sting Operation and arrested dozens of individuals, including the Mayor of Cimahi Ajay Muhammad Priatna (PDIP). Ajay was immediately named a suspect for allegedly accepting Rp1.6 billion in grafts. The operation made news because Ajay is the third Mayor of Cimahi since the municipality was established in 2001, and he is also the third mayor ensnared in a case of corruption. On April 14, 2021, Ajay’s trial started. Apparently, he’s the one who asked for the grafts.

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Mitora v. the Cendana Siblings

In the first week of March 2021, a Singapore-based consultancy firm Mitora Pte Ltd filed a lawsuit against the children of the late President Soeharto. The first hearing of the trial was held on April 5, 2021, but an issue with the defendants’ address got the hearing postponed. The trial resumed on April 13, 2021 but it was again postponed for the same reason. The next hearing is in May 2021.

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Investment Update

China ENFI Engineering Corp., together with local partners PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) and PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (MIND ID), plans to develop a copper smelting project in FakFak, West Papua. The investment plan was marked by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the chairman of the investment coordinating board, Bahlil Lahadalia, and ENFI president Liu Cheng, on Monday (April 12).

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Market Data

Global stock markets were mixed on Wednesday (April 14) as investors remained cautious about the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. Wall Street eased from record levels, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was little changed at 1.63% on Wednesday, close to 3-weeks low, as bond demand continues to be strong. 

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Projection Cut

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered Indonesia’s economic growth to 4.3% this year compared to the February projection at 4.8% and 6.1% projected in October last year. The IMF also estimated that the five largest developing countries in Southeast Asia would collectively grow by 4.9% in 2021, down from the previous projection of 5.2%.

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Cabinet Reshuffle Rumors (3)

Rumors of an upcoming cabinet shake-up concerns the National Research & Innovation Body (BRIN). But many wonder whether President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would also take such an opportunity to completely overhaul his cabinet. Of the ministers whose appointment has been challenged, for one reason or another, are Nadiem Makarim and Bahlil Lahadalia. It so happens that their respective institution will undergo a change of nomenclature. Will they stay or will they go?

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