Indonesia. Both the government and the business community were shaken when Parliament demanded a judicial inquiry in March against Vice President Boediono and Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati. In 2008, they had approved that the state went into the equivalent of SEK 4.8 billion to save the crisis-hit Bank Century. According to persistent rumors, important bank customers whose investments were saved thanked for the help by donating money to the president’s reelection campaign.
Both President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the designated persons denied that any irregularities had occurred. On the contrary, they argued that the intervention had mitigated the effects of the global financial crisis on Indonesia.
Parliament’s decision was not binding, and the deal was not withdrawn. However, the Minister of Finance soon left the government, not in disgrace but to become CEO of the World Bank. She was succeeded by banker Agus Martowardojo.
President Yudhoyono himself got into legal trouble when he was due to visit the Netherlands in October. At the last moment, he stopped the trip after being told that a Moluccan separatist movement sued him for trial of the Indonesian state’s cruel treatment of separatists. The Dutch government assured that Yudhoyono as head of state had legal immunity, but he motivated his decision to stay at home with any possible police intervention against him that would have violated Indonesia’s dignity.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Indonesia has a population of 267.7 million (2018). One of the country’s most wanted terrorists was killed in a police raid in March. Dulmatine is suspected of planning the bomb attacks in Bali in 2002, when 202 people were killed, including six Swedish tourists. In the days before, police had arrested 14 suspected Islamist extremists during raids in mountain areas in the province of Aceh. Later in the year, another hundred suspected terrorists were arrested in a strike around the country. Among them was the notorious Islamist Abu Bakar Baasyir, who previously served just over two years in prison for involvement in the Bali attacks. He was now accused of funding and giving advice to what the police called al-Qaeda in Aceh, which is supposed to have been founded by Dulmatin with the intention of carrying out terrorist attacks similar to the bombings in Bombay, India in 2008.
In October, Indonesia was hit by two severe natural disasters. An earthquake outside Sumatra triggered a tsunami that was feared to have claimed over 500 lives as the waves hit several smaller islands. In Java, over 200 people were killed when the volcano Merapi suffered several eruptions that forced nearly 400,000 people to flee.
In July 2017, President Joko Widodo declared open war on drug trafficking in the country, saying: ” Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we are indeed in a narcotics emergency position now ». The statement fell a week after Indonesian police had shot and killed a Taiwanese man who resisted arrest. Watchers drew parallels to the Philippines, where President Duterte has executed thousands of drug dealers, drug addicts and random innocents over the past year as part of the fight against drugs. (Indonesia police ordered to shoot drug dealers to tackle ‘narcotics emergency’, Guardian 23/7 2017)
In September 2018, the northern part of Sulawesi was hit by an earthquake of 7.5 on the Richter scale. The quake triggered a tsunami that cost more than 2,000 people. In December, a tsunami hit the Java-Sumatra area. The tsunami was not triggered by an earthquake and therefore came completely unexpected. This was because part of the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano crashed. Several hundred people were killed.
In December 2018, an Australian daily published images of a severely burned Irian Jaya man who was apparently burned by white phosphorus used by the Indonesian military against rebel groups fighting the Indonesian occupation of the country. The Indonesian authorities denied stubbornly the use of white phosphorus, but admitted there had been fierce fighting in the area where the man lived.