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Indonesia, is one of the founder of ASEAN and the official house of ASEAN Secretariat, has more potential for ASEAN Community. If we could look closer, Indonesia is the largest country, most populous, strategic position, highest demand on consumer products, and high potential of large market with high-consumptive culture in ASEAN. There is no doubt that foreign investment is getting higher both in number of money and investor. Everyone wants to feed these “hungry customer” that live in Indonesia. Although the circle of economic has rounding endlessly but the capacity building, distribution of economic and infrastructure development are not doing that well, making progress but not that good. Why this is happened? Why there is “leek” in building ASEAN Economic Community although there were lots of great blueprints? It is because there are threats outside ASEAN that will impact the growth of AEC.
In the governance of President Jokowi (Joko Widodo), President of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia has good growing in economic sector. A new business and trade agreements goes higher and the national debt decrease as the national economic, especially small and middle business was supported and distribution of infrastructure and economic in villages was covered by the government. As the inner circle of economic growth getting better the outside of Indonesia territory was attacked by potential threat. Government has defend the inner-state by hunting corruptions and criminals (drug-dealer, arms smuggled, people smuggled, etc) and sent to jails with the right judgement and punishment. It was a good year until the refugees from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka came (and some of them was sent back or hand over from Australia) and the abduction of Indonesian ships and its crew also become a hot topic across Southeast Asia region. The refugees came from nowhere and were saved by the local fisherman that was passed by the sea of western region of Aceh (western part of Indonesia province in Sumatra Island). Indonesia worked with the UNHCR and IOM to help them by providing temporary shelter and food until they can send back to its origin. That was the plan but the reality is the refugees refuse to come back to its country because of the conflict. Ok, we got that but then they want to stay in Aceh, Indonesia, and want to continue their live in Aceh region. The protests from the local community arise and they had very good reason. There are 3 reasons why the refugees cannot stay in Aceh or other parts of Indonesia:
1. The local community has very low earning and buying power. They don’t want to compete with foreigners that try to take over their jobs which is only fisherman and farmers of palm oil and some of them just vegetables farmer.
2. The local community is very low in food storage and supply. They can survive because they plant their food. But the foreigners will make another food shortage and has potential to become a conflict.
3. The local community already live in there since years ago, land of their fathers, and now they had to give (in) to the foreigners who claimed had no land and nothing with them except the clothes they wear.
The refugees came with nothing except forcing the government of Indonesia to help them in the name of humanity and international community. Indonesia does help them with the cooperation of UNHCR and IOM but it didn’t meant that Indonesia can afford for their future in Indonesia and the refugees refuse to leave Indonesia and want to stay, work, and continue living which that means another people to feed, increasing citizen, food shortage, local insecurity, potential of local conflict, new competition to get a job for local people as the foreigners are wishing to had job at factory with salary lower than the local people. Indonesia is now facing a new challenge and that also happened in Malaysia and Thailand. Refugees came and bombarded the new land with high hopes of living in well-life although it means they had to compete or even had to force to local people to move out from their homeland just like in primitive life. If Indonesia didn’t help them, Indonesia violated the law of refugees they signed with UNHCR and IOM. Indonesia cannot ignore them as Indonesia is democratic state that respect humanity and believe in people-oriented and people-centred. As for the business industry, especially a large production factory, will take advantage to cut the expenses of employer salary by taking the foreigners or refugees who is offer lower payment rather than the local.
But there is opportunity with the refugees, although it needs to be re-think and re-planned as this is just a small possibility. If the Indonesia can taken contract or at least made a Government or President Regulation or Policy that discuss on how to handle the refugees that-don’t-want-to-come-back-to-their-homeland-but-also-don’t-want-to-change-their-nationality but still can be useful for the country they live on now for the good sake of humanity. A lot of refuges try to escape and choose the ASEAN country for their sweet escape. It was sweet for them but extremely painful for Indonesia and other country that was trying hard to upgrade and develop their country but the refugees were there to take over the local people places. If it is possible, it will be better if Indonesia can make agreement on a government policy that every refugees that wish to continue their live in Indonesia, should agree to signed a contract of working for Indonesian company (maybe mostly in business that needs much people such as factory) for at least two consecutive years, provided with temporary shelter, agree to be deported to region that need hard-skill workers to help the local government to build their region, allowed to get education with 50% discounts, can join the local activity such as local cultural event and local women activity but not allowed to handle strategic position in government or company, permanent residence, and if they were willing to be an Indonesian, they had to go on “Naturalization” process. This might be change as ASEAN member countries have different regulations and culture but the refugees will be useful. They cannot just expect the state they choose to help them without do nothing to get everything they want. They need to work on it and they cannot just arrived and take over the economics of the local people and business. Refugees are one of the outside threats that become a potential crisis for the economic growth in ASEAN in Political-Security and Social-Cultural that will impact Economic issues, especially Indonesia as most favourite country for refugees to flee.
The refugees issue was hard and the conflict over South China Sea is getting hotter as the Indonesian Police and Military were upgraded and recorded great performance and acknowledgement from the global community. The “Trans-National Borders” need to be protected as not just the South China Sea but also the abduction of Indonesian ships and its crew member. Three times of the abduction of Indonesian ships and its crew were taken to Jolo Island in Philippines. The militia and rebels was part of ISIS and close relations with Al-Qaeda. The trans-national organised crime, especially in terrorism has arisen to the ASEAN country member and global government as the number one of international threats. It cannot be denied that the activity of Jihadist Movement has becoming threats that will impact on economic sector. Foreign investment will not investing their money on the country that has so much risk because of terrorism and robbery. The threats of trans-national terrorism have scared business industry to continue their business as they were insecure with the future of their business. No one wants to risk their future in such country that cannot protect their business. ASEAN country member consist of member country that has many island such Indonesia and Philippines. Without good political-security, the trans-national threats such as terrorism, people smuggled, drug-dealer, corruption and its corruptor that flee to Singapore as there is no extradition agreement will make any criminals to had freedom and of course will give disadvantages for the country that had the lost of their corruptors. ASEAN has ASEANAPOL, an Interpol in ASEAN that headquarters in Malaysia. It will be helpful if ASEAN can integrate with organization such as ASEANAPOL and other international organization that can help to secure the trans-national border. Indonesia has the experience with terrorism and securing national borders as there are lots of outer island to be protected of being claimed by neighbour country. Other ASEAN country member could learn and study or trained together to securing not just Indonesia but also ASEAN as one.
When people of ASEAN had the feeling of being protected, being saved not just by their country but also by the whole region of ASEAN, they will willing to do more business and of course will invite other foreign investor and businessmen to had business and help the economics of ASEAN to get better. Securing the free-trade of goods, services, investments, modals, etc should be on the highest of integrated priority scale of ASEAN. Indonesia has strategic position to secure the whole ASEAN as the position of its country is the key or main road of trading and transits points as well as travelling destination. Indonesia is the biggest back-up for ASEAN in the matter of Political-Security, Social-Cultural and Economic Integration.
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