News / Asia

    Indonesian Terrorism Law Reform Still Faces Opposition

    Police officers react near the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14, 2016. Several explosions went off and gunfire broke out in the centre of the Indonesian capital on Thursday and police said they suspected a suicide bomber was responsible f
    Police officers react near the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14, 2016. Several explosions went off and gunfire broke out in the centre of the Indonesian capital on Thursday and police said they suspected a suicide bomber was responsible f
    Brian Padden

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s call for strengthening the country’s national security law could still face resistance in parliament, even after Islamic State-linked militants last week carried out the first serious terrorist attack in Jakarta since 2009.

    On Tuesday Widodo voiced support for amending the country’s 2003 anti-terrorism law to prohibit citizens from joining terrorist groups operating in conflict-ridden Iraq and Syria, and to ban the return of citizens who went there to fight alongside terrorists.

    BNPT, Indonesia’s national counterterrorism agency, estimates that about 800 Indonesians have traveled to Middle East to fight for the Islamic State group (IS.)

    Close to 30 were killed while fighting for IS. And more than 150 are believed to have returned to the Indonesia, some of whom became combat trained and tested.

    Opposition in parliament

    In the last two years Indonesian authorities have become increasingly concerned about the growing terrorist threat from IS militants and supporters, but past efforts to reform the country’s security laws have stalled in the Indonesian parliament.

    “The legislature has been notoriously slow and has a massive backlog on the issues it needs to deal with. So the chances of quickly dealing with this issue are not good,” said Greg Barton, director of the Global Terrorism Research Center at Monash University in Australia.

    After the Jakarta terrorist attack there is a sense of increased urgency in the parliament to act, but there is still opposition from small but influential Islamic parties in Indonesia that say not all Muslims who join IS become terrorists.

    “They were saying you are trying to condemn a bunch of people without sending us strong evidence,” said Indonesia political analyst Alexander Arifianto with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

    FILE - A "Pray for Jakarta" message (top) is displayed on a screen as Indonesians gather outside the damaged Starbucks coffee shop in central Jakarta on Jan. 17, 2016 following the deadly gun and bomb attacks that rocked the city on Jan. 14.
    FILE - A "Pray for Jakarta" message (top) is displayed on a screen as Indonesians gather outside the damaged Starbucks coffee shop in central Jakarta on Jan. 17, 2016 following the deadly gun and bomb attacks that rocked the city on Jan. 14.

    Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher for Human Rights Watch also objects to expanding the power of the police or security forces to detain citizens without showing clear cause or proof of criminal involvement.

    "The concern is they want to have the power to arrest anyone,” Harsono said.

    Critics worry that increasing police powers could undermine Indonesia’s young democracy. During the dictatorship of President Soeharto that ended in 1998, a draconian anti-subversion law was often used to silence political activists and opposition groups.

    On Thursday Detik, an Indonesian news organization reported that officials in the House of Representatives are urging President Widodo to unilaterally revise regulations under the existing 2003 terrorism act to include the reforms he wants.

    Even though parliament would still have to approve the measure, this legislative procedure could accelerate the process.

    Investigation

    Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant based in Syria with the Islamic State movement, remains the police’s prime suspect for organizing the Jakarta attack.

    FILE - Indonesia's President Joko Widodo visits a department store located near Thursday's gun and bomb attack in central Jakarta, Jan. 15, 2016.
    FILE - Indonesia's President Joko Widodo visits a department store located near Thursday's gun and bomb attack in central Jakarta, Jan. 15, 2016.

    Prior to joining IS in Syria in 2014, he served nearly a 2½ years in prison in the central Java city of Solo for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

    Bahrun has reportedly attempted to recruit Indonesians to commit terror attacks in Central Java last year.

    Security officials said Bahrun wants to unite radical groups across Southeast Asia that used to be affiliated with al-Qaida but have splintered and declined in the past decade.

    Indonesian national police said Wednesday they detained 12 suspects related to the Jakarta terrorist attack and currently have sufficient evidence to charge six of them.

    Also, Singapore authorities said Wednesday that in November and December they arrested 27 Bangladeshi construction workers who supported Islamist groups including al-Qaida and Islamic State. Of those arrested, 26 were deported and 12 were subsequently arrested in Bangladesh on terror charges.

    WATCH: Related video

    Indonesia Returns to Normal Despite Threats of New Attacksi
    X
    January 20, 2016 6:04 PM
    In Indonesia authorities are intensifying efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks in the wake of last week’s deadly siege by Islamist militants. VOA’s Brian Padden is in Jakarta and reports that despite warnings of possible future attacks, life in the Indonesian capital is quickly returning to normal.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Extreme Solutions from: Bangladesh
    January 21, 2016 6:46 AM
    Shame For Who Killed Innocent People.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora