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Terror, Corruption on New Indonesian President's Agenda


Indonesia's new president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is outlining policies on his government's two biggest challenges: terrorism and corruption.

Less than a week after being sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is taking on the fight against terrorism.

In an interview with Time magazine, Mr. Yudhoyono says he is considering outlawing the Islamic militant organization Jemaah Islamiyah. JI - listed as a terrorist group by the United States - has carried out attacks on western targets Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali bombing and the 2003 attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta.

Despite its bloody actions, a ban on JI is politically controversial because of the name the gang adopted. Jemaah Islamiyah means simply 'Islamic congregation' - something all Muslims would consider themselves members of. Critics fear a ban would be an indictment of Islam, leading to a backlash against Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim nation.

President Yudhoyono is also pressing ahead with his electoral promise to crack down on Indonesia's endemic corruption.

Addressing prosecutors at the Attorney General's Office Tuesday, the president said corruption, particularly in the legal system, is strangling the flow of foreign investment into Indonesia.

Analysts say this is a daunting problem for Indonesia.

"Legal uncertainty has to be tackled through various institutions, so it is an institutional drive," said Fauzi Ichsan, a vice president of Global Research at Standard Chartered Bank in Jakarta. "It's something that has to be coordinated among the government institutions and it's not going to be easy, it is not going to take 100 days."

President Yudhoyono says he wants to send politicians and local government officials found guilty of graft to the notorious Nusakambangan Island - where only the worst criminals are imprisoned.

Mr. Yudhoyono was elected last month as someone who would deliver on the unfulfilled promises of reform. Political analysts say the former general and security minister has only a limited time to enjoy his popularity and deliver policies before the public gets impatient.

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