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After three years at the helm of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Laksana Tri Handoko is entrusted with a new job: to lead the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN). The Japan-educated scientist is given a mandate by President Joko Widodo to integrate five major national research institutes. He is tasked to catch up lags in science and technology, to create technological independence and to focus on exploring the digital economy as well as green and blue economy. He would also continue his efforts which he initiated in LIPI to bring back a diaspora of Indonesian researchers to strengthen BRIN. Handoko said BRIN also needed political support to realize research as one of the main pillars of the national economy.
Malaysian political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, and non-profit organization Hujah Ehsan are holding an online exhibition of the ASEAN Human Rights Cartoon Exhibition from May 3 to 30. The exhibition, titled Human Rights at the Homeland, features 100 critical cartoons by 37 cartoonists from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar. Tempo interviewed Zunar to understand the road and the importance of the exhibition, also the development of political cartoons in Southeast Asia.
If nothing else, the Covid-19 pandemic has not managed to disrupt Nur Rofiah’s Qur’anic Recitation Session on Gender Justice in Islam. Through the da’wah forum she initiated in the Ramadan two years ago, the professor in Qur’anic studies and interpretation fights for gender justice for Muslim women by raising awareness that women’s humanity is equal to men’s. She first got acquainted with the gender justice issue when she was studying at the Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic Institute in Yogyakarta in the 90s when the gender issue was a hot topic and people were associating it with Islam. Her interest in the issue grew stronger as she immersed herself in the world of activism. Apart from being active as a lecturer and an activist, Nur Rofiah also helped launch the country’s first female Muslim clerics’ congress in 2017.
Seasoned musician Candra Darusman was again at the center of efforts to fight for the welfare of musicians and songwriters. As the chair of Indonesian Musician Union Federation (Fesmi), his input was solicited for the formulation of Government Regulation No. 56/2021 regarding the management of music royalties. The regulation inked by President Joko Widodo on March 30 not only governs parties responsible to pay royalties but also lays down the basis for the establishment of a data center as well as a music information system. Before he headed Fesmi in 2019, Candra represented Indonesia at World Intellectual Property Organization for 18 years, nine years respectively at the organization’s offices in Switzerland and Singapore. After decades of being active in intellectual property rights protection, Candra is determined to improve the lives of musicians and songwriters by, among others, improving royalty management amid new challenges in the digital era.
Mukti Fajar Nur Dewata was elected as Judicial Commission Chairman amid its declining image and questions about its existence. He must clear the backlog he inherited including the agency’s sour relation with the Supreme Court. Intersecting supervisory jurisdiction of the Commission and the Supreme Court’s supervisory agency has rendered the Judicial Commission unable to perform its duties optimally. The Commission is currently in the process of reviewing the plan to revise the Judicial Commission Law to delineate the boundaries of its jurisdiction.
The Indonesian Ombudsman finally intervened in the rice import polemic last March. Agency Chair Mokhammad Najih said the government’s planned rice import ahead of the prime harvest season had discomposed the public, particularly farmers, while in fact the import would not become necessary until May. Moreover, the agency also found maladministration in the policy making process. Najih added that the Ombudsman had strengthened its role in helping improve the public service quality. In addition to following through with public reports and complaints, it will continue to enhance oversight of the ministries and state agencies. The focus of the watchdogs’ new board will be on economic development issues and their impact on public services. Najih also highlighted the need to expand his agency’s authority.
State Health Care and Social Security Agency’s (BPJS Kesehatan) CEO Ali Ghufron Mukti revealed that his agency was still in the red with a deficit of Rp6.3 trillion as of December 2020. The increased premiums starting last January coupled with the decline in the use of BPJS services during the pandemic are expected to help reduce the deficit. Given the pandemic as a non-natural disaster, the government has borne coronavirus treatment costs. Ghufron said that to increase public’s participation, BPJS Kesehatan was exploring an innovative funding mechanism via cooperation with philanthropic institutions with the hope to help fund prospective National Health Insurance-Healthy Indonesia Card (JKN-KIS) holders or even assist settle arrears. This way, the entire population will eventually have access to health care.
Independent journalism needs public support. By subscribing to Tempo, you will contribute to our ongoing efforts to produce accurate, in-depth and reliable information. We believe that you and everyone else can make all the right decisions if you receive correct and complete information. For this reason, since its establishment on March 6, 1971, Tempo has been and will always be committed to hard-hitting investigative journalism. For the public and the Republic.