Indonesia. Several natural disasters hit Indonesia during the year and killed many lives. The deadliest was an earthquake of magnitude 7.5, which struck the island of Sulawesi on September 28. The quake triggered a devastating tsunami and landslides. At least 2,000 people died, several thousand were seriously injured and up to 5,000 were reported missing. The city of Palu and neighboring villages in central Sulawesi suffered extensive destruction. Many are believed to have been swept out to sea or buried under masses. Destroyed roads and bridges made it difficult to obtain emergency relief. The tourist island of Lombok, east of Bali, was shaken at the turn of the month July-August by a series of earthquakes in which over 500 people died and nearly 1,500 were injured. Indonesia was assisted by several neighboring countries, the EU and international aid organizations.
According to Countryaah.com, Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, a country located in Southeastern Asia. UN head Ant車nio Guterres pledged UN support during a visit to Sulawesi together with Indonesia’s Vice President Yusuf Kalla in connection with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in October in Bali, neighboring island with Lombok.
A stronger US dollar caused concern for Indonesia. The country’s central bank made support purchases in September after the currency, rupiah, fell to its lowest level against the dollar in 20 years. The central bank raised the interest rate several times during the year to curb capital outflows. The increases were expected to weaken domestic demand, which could slow growth. Lower prices of coal and palm oil were also noted.
The economy was expected to grow by 5.1% in 2018 and 2019, slightly lower than previous calculations, according to forecasts from the IMF. The government’s target is 7%. As 2019 is election year – both president and parliament are to be elected – this can be an argument for the opposition.
President Joko Widodo is challenged, just like 2014, by former General Prabowo Subianto. Widodo announced in August that his vice presidential candidate will be Maruf Amin. He is a Muslim jurist and leader of the country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). It is referred to as moderate. However, human rights groups have criticized the movement for intolerance against minority groups such as the Muslim sect Ahmadiya and LGBT people. Maruf Amin also testified in the process against Jakarta’s former Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese and Christian, known as Ahok – who was sentenced in 2017 for blaspheming Islam.
Indonesia was elected to the UN Security Council for the period 2019-20. Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said it wants to push the issue of a global effort to fight terrorism and extremism.
In January, the government launched a cyber security authority to fight religious extremism and fake news. The counter-terrorism force Densus 88 got more employees. An extremely Islamic network supporting Islamic State, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), was banned in July. The group was singled out for suicide attacks in May against several churches and the police house in Surabaya, the country’s second largest city. Members of two families, including underage children, participated in some of the deaths that claimed about 30 lives and were the bloodiest since 2005. In June, JAD leader and pastor Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death for planning a 2016 suicide bombing in Jakarta.
In the eastern part of Papua, several casualties were reported during the year in clashes between rebels from separatist OPM (Organization for a Free Papua) and security forces. At least 17 road workers were kidnapped and killed in the mountainous Nduga area in early December in what was reported to be OPM’s bloodiest attack in several years.
In July, the government secured majority control in the large Grasberg mine in Papua, which produces gold and copper. US-based Freeport-McMoRan will continue to operate. The deal went for just over $ 3.8 billion and was seen as part of the Widodo government’s attempt to secure control over its natural resources. Residents of Papua have criticized mining for environmental degradation and that workers’ rights are being restricted.
In October, the country suffered its second worst airplane crash in 20 years. 189 died when one of the low-cost company Lion Airs Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in Lake Java just after takeoff.