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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   1 March  2013  

Jakarta's businesspeople seek more say in minimum wage


 Businesspeople in Jakarta have demanded that Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo involve them more in creating public policies and programmes related to their businesses.

Deputy chairman of the Jakarta office of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Sarman Simanjorang, said on Wednesday that the new administration paid little attention to them.

Sarman said on the sidelines of Kadin’s annual provincial leadership meeting that the organisation hoped the governor, who had been in office since October, would be more “open” with businesses.

“It is good for Jokowi to pay a lot of attention to under-privileged communities, but he should remember that we [businesspeople] are also Jakarta residents,” he said.

Sarman said Jokowi should pay more attention to them as businesspeople who gave job opportunities to workers, who then paid taxes that contributed to the city’s income.

Sarman took the example of the new provincial minimum wage, which employers considered too high.

“We cannot change the decision. We only hope that the administration will ease the process of postponement,” he said.

At the beginning of his tenure as governor, Jokowi significantly raised the minimum wage to 2.2 million Indonesian rupiah (US$226.69) for 2013 from 1.5 million. The policy pleased labour unions but left businesspeople concerned that the 44 per cent increase would affect their operational costs.

According to Kadin chairman Suryo B Sulisto, at least 900 companies had proposed a postponement of the policy because they were unable to comply with it.

Suryo said during his welcoming speech in the meeting that the increase might force employers to distribute their business and investment to other areas.

“The central and provincial governments and businesspeople need to sit down together to discuss the effects of the policy in the long term,” he said.

Responding to the matter, the administration’s assistant for economic and administrative affairs, Hasan Basri Saleh, said determining the minimum wage was a dilemma for the administration because it had to please both sides - workers and employers.

Hasan said the administration, through the Manpower and Transmigration Agency, had facilitated a dialogue between workers and their employers regarding the implementation of the minimum wage.

“At least 21 proposals of postponement have arrived on the governor’s desk. We will respond to them soon, based on the result of the dialogue between workers and employers,” he said.

The proposals intended for the governor come from companies that have at least 1,000 workers, while companies with less employees have proposed the postponement to the Manpower and Transmigration Agency.

Sarman said that besides the provincial minimum wage, businesspeople were also concerned about the delayed implementation of a one-stop service for issuing business permits.

“The administration must implement the project soon,” he said.

“If the regulation says the process takes one week, one week it is. Don’t prolong it to three months,” he added, implying difficulties in processing business permits.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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