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Weekly NewsLetter
25 April 2011
    Vol.1 No.11

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The Editor's Corner


Terrorism’s challenge to Indonesia
          News reports coming out of Indonesia following the discovery of a large 150-kilogram bomb placed beneath a gas line 50 meters from a Catholic church and not too far from a military weapons depot indicate the severity of the terrorism threat in Indonesia.

As it turns out, the alleged mastermind of the plot was the husband of a civil servant employed by Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency. Pepe Fernando, 30, was among the 19 arrested in the plot.

Indonesian police say that it was extremely fortunate that the bomb plot was thwarted. An ongoing investigation over the mailing of book bombs resulted in the arrest of five persons and forced police to move on the 19 other suspects, who had been under investigation. The 19 suspects were arrested in seven different places in Indonesia, including three that had fled to Aceh. The plan was to use the explosives to create a much larger explosion with the gas line and videotape the whole incident to be viewed on the Internet.

Police are saying that this group of terrorists had no links to known terrorist groups and were motivated by radical clerics on the Internet. Terrorism analysts say that they were inspired by the arrests of senior leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah.

The incident seems to point out the challenges facing Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country as this foiled plot underlines the emergence of “lone wolf” terrorist groups. Indonesian experts say there are radical terrorist and non-terrorist groups, however, of whatever camp they fall into, officials say they all meet in Aceh.

With a professed moderate Muslim stance and a position of religious tolerance, present and future Indonesian governments will be put to the test on the terrorism front, as underlined by the current episode.


Top News from Southeast Asia

April 24, 2011


These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of April 16-22.

New city near Singapore moves forward
A new metropolis three times the size of neighboring Singapore is taking shape in the foothills of southern Malaysia, where officials and investors have equally huge ambitions for the city.

Emerging economies reject IMF plan  
Representatives of emerging nations rebuffed an International Monetary Fund (IMF) plan to guide them on managing huge flows of capital into their economies, viewing it as a way to constrain their actions rather than help.

Indonesia’s economic development plan  
Indonesia expects to become the world’s 12th-largest economy by 2025 through stimulating domestic growth with its planned economic corridor scheme and programs to improve regional connectivity.

Oil drilling starts in Leyte  
A group led by Australia’s Otto Energy Ltd. has begun drilling operations in onshore Northwest Leyte.

Vietnam’s IT industry languishes  
Despite its huge potential, Vietnam’s software industry has failed to develop as rapidly as it could have.

Cambodia to launch first satellite  
The Royal Group received a concession to launch Cambodia’s first satellite into orbit, creating what the company sees as another integral step forward for the Asean economy, officials said.

Malaysia wants foreign investments  
Malaysia announced $3.7 billion in new investments on Tuesday, hoping to jump-start foreign interest in its economy even as other Asian countries try to stem speculative inflows in search of higher-yielding markets.

Asean countries short on Internet freedom  
A report from the US-based Freedom House titled “Freedom in the Net 2011” gives poor grades to some Asean countries for the degree of free expression they allow on the Internet.

Mekong dam decision deferred to ministerial level  
The intergovernmental panel of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has deferred the final decision on the construction of the Xayaburi dam in Laos to the ministerial level, following concerns raised by Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Thai interest rate raised  
The Bank of Thailand has sent a firm signal that interest rates will continue to rise in the near future in light of higher commodity prices and the temporary impact of Japan's disaster.

Indonesia FDI jumps 12 percent  
Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board has announced that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia rose 11.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Dollar rises above Vietnamese black market rate  
The official exchange rate for the US dollar rose above the black market rate yesterday for the first time, following recent moves by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) to fix the forex market.

Indo bomb targeted church  
A massive 150-kilogram bomb buried beneath a gas pipeline in Serpong, Tangerang, on Thursday morning was targeting the nearby Catholic Church in a Good Friday attack, Indonesian officials said.

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