Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with more than 250.000.000 people --- There are 316 ethnic groups which speak 670 dialects in Indonesia --- There are 17.508 islands in Indonesia, which is the largest Archipelago in the world and only 6.000 of them have a name with only 1.000 are inhabited --- If you could spend only 1 day on each island of Indonesia, you would need 48 years to see all of them? (Transportation between islands not counted) --- Indonesia has the longest coastline in the world, with 100.000 kms long --- Indonesia is probably the last country in the world, which has still unexplored territories, and is not completly mapped? (specially around Irian Jaya) --- There are about 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, and 150 out of them are active, which represents 75% of all active volcano on the planet

9.10.08

The Affect of America Bailout : Jakarta closes stock exchange for the first time ever

From RNW


It would appear Indonesia is no more immune to the consequences of the economic crisis than any other nation. On Wednesday, trading at the Jakarta stock exchange was suspended until further notice after sustaining losses of more than ten percent. Never before was the Indonesian stock exchange closed down because of unacceptably high losses.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said

"The Indonesian economy is in good shape despite the worldwide financial upheaval".




The president shares his optimism. On Tuesday, he announced a ten-point plan intended to fight the financial crisis. However, the president's plan does not include any concrete steps. He appears to take the crisis not very seriously. He calls on the population to remain optimistic and not to panic. He writes, soothingly, "Don't worry, be happy".

Sjamsu Rahardja, economist at the World Bank in Jakarta, is not nearly as optimistic. He believes that in time Indonesia will also suffer the consequences of the financial crisis, which in his view will affect the export sector most of all:
"The consequences for Indonesian exports may become apparent at the end of this year."
In spite of everything, Mr Rahardja is convinced that the 1997 monetary crisis will not repeat itself. The then crisis led to the fall of president Suharto, for 30 years the most powerful president Indonesia has known so far:
"I am convinced that we will not experience a similar crisis. Today, we have a different government and corporate structure. The financial sector has also changed."
To Indonesia's middle class, the consequences are very real and very apparent. Vera, who wants to remain anonymous, fears that the shares owned by her and her husband will decrease in value:
"The value of our block of shares decreases by the day. Fortunately, it will be several years before we need the money to pay the entrance fee of Jakarta's best secondary school. I fear for the worst. If the stock market stays the way it is now, all our plans will fall through."

Others believe that the US credit crisis is a sign of the impending end of capitalism. Syakir Sula, an expert in the field of Islamic banking, believes the concept of capitalism will eventually be replaced by the concept of Sharia banking. Islamic Sharia laws forbid charging as well as paying interest:
"According to the principles of Sharia banking, profits must be divided. Obviously, if profits are low, there is less to divide. And in case of a loss, all parties involved share the risk."

So Syakir Sula argues for shared responsibility. He says the system would prevent a financial meltdown like the present one in the US.

It remains to be seen whether President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be able to stay optimistic in the coming weeks. On Monday, the shares of Bakrie & Brothers lost 41 percent of their value. Bakrie & Brothers is owned by Aburizal Bakrie, one of Indonesia's richest men, and the current social affairs minister. The crisis is closing in.

Note

The Indonesian Stock Exchange is continuing closing trading today. It has been shut since Wednesday (8/10).

At a press conference this morning, the spokesperson did not mention when it will be open again.

The stock exchange authority decided to close as the stock prices fell more than ten percent in an hour.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a special meeting discussing this issue until past midnight.

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