Indonesia. In January, Indonesia criticized the new US
President Donald Trump's proposed entry ban on people from
seven Muslim-dominated countries. People-rich Indonesia, the
world's largest Muslim-majority country, however, was not
included in the ban. The Jakarta government felt that the
decision made the fight against terrorism more difficult. US
Vice President Mike Pence praised Indonesia's moderate form
of Islam when he visited the country in April.
But the issue of reduced tolerance for Indonesia's
minorities continued to be debated. The pressure was on the
country's LGBT minority. Two young men convicted of having
sex with six were publicly seen in May in the province of
Aceh in northern Sumatra, which has Sharia law. Several
incidents were also reported in other parts of Indonesia
against gay clubs and venues popular with gays. The arrested
were allowed to run in front of journalists.
Countryaah.com, another case involved Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja
Purnama, who is an ethnic Chinese and Christian. He was
running for re-election in the capital, despite a legal
process for having blasphemed Islam during his election
campaign. In April, Purnama, better known as Ahok, conceded
in a second, decisive round. Challenger and former Education
Minister Anies Baswedan mobilized among conservative Muslim
groups. There, the Front of Islam's defense and Hizb
ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement with branches in 40
countries, wanted to introduce Sharia law and a caliphate.
Ahok was sentenced in May to two years in prison.
In July, President Joko Widodo signed a decree banning
Hezb ut-Tahrir, citing that the movement threatened the
state ideology, Pancasila, intended to keep the country
together despite many ethnic and religious groups.
Three police officers were killed in May in a suicide
attack against a bus terminal in the capital, Jakarta. The
Islamic State (IS) took on the deed, believed to have been
carried out by a local support group. At the beginning of
the year, 17 Indonesians expelled from Turkey were arrested
on suspicion of attempting to join IS. The arrest was also
reported on the island of Bali. Indonesia intervened with
the popular, encrypted Telegram messaging service used by IS
and other groups to recruit followers.
Widodo went out in July and urged police to shoot foreign
drug dealers as part of the fight against drugs. The
statement was seen as a way to strengthen his image among
dubious voters ahead of the 2019 presidential election, but
received criticism from human rights groups.
Several corruption cases created headlines. In September,
a judge in the Constitutional Court was sentenced to eight
years in prison for bribery. At the end of the year, a
bribery investigation was launched against Parliament
Speaker Setya Novanto, leader of Golkar. The former
government party has been a member of Widodo's government
coalition since 2016. The bribes would have been given in
connection with the purchase of electronic ID cards in 2010.
Indonesia's economy was expected to grow by 5.1% in 2017
and slightly more in 2018, according to forecasts from the
International Monetary Fund. The government Widodo's target
is 7% 2018.
The government must also continue to widen the tax base,
which is narrow compared to Thailand and the Philippines,
for example, according to the credit rating agency Moody's.
A tax amnesty that expired in March withdrew about $ 350
billion. But only a third of the working population of 118
million adults is believed to pay taxes.
China sent two giant pandas to Jakarta in September as
part of its so-called panda diplomacy. The countries have
cooperated for 60 years. But they disagree about borderlines
in the South China Sea that Indonesia chose in July to call
the North Natuna Sea to bolster its claim in an area outside
the Natuna Islands.
In September, preparedness was increased on the island of
Bali following warnings of increased activity in the volcano
Gunung Agung. Nearly 140,000 people were temporarily
evacuated. At the end of November, activity increased again,
which contributed to the cancellation of air traffic and new
During the year, the discovery of a new species of
orangutan, the Tapanuliorangutang, was reported in the
northern Sumatra Highlands. But with only 800 specimens,
there is a great risk that it will be eradicated in pace
with deforestation to give way to, among other things, oil