JAKARTA, April 29 -- The Indonesian government decided Monday to relocate the nation's capital from Jakarta to somewhere outside the densely populated Java Island, a Cabinet minister said.
National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the capital will be moved somewhere in central Indonesia within five to 10 years but declined to reveal its location out of concern announcing it now would spark speculative land buying and a spike in land prices in the area.
The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Bambang said at a press conference. "This is an important decision...that will be followed by a series of Cabinet meetings" where more technical issues, such as the design of the city, will be discussed, he added.
While its location is being withheld, the new capital is believed to be built in an existing city that already has an airport, harbor and other pieces of infrastructure.
THE HAGUE, April 2 -- Party of the Unity politician Arnold van Doorn demands that the Dutch government opens a beach area which should be “halal”.
According to Van Doorn the Dutch beach needs to have a non-degenerative area for Muslims where people are not allowed to walk naked, since Muslims feel “unpleasant with scantily clad, ugly people”. Muslims don’t feel at home on most beaches, he says. “Not only Muslims, but also many other residents feel uncomfortable with the appearance of very scantily dressed and often anesthetically designed beachgoers”, he writes to the city council of The Hague.
“In addition, women in particular indicate that they are increasingly confronted with unwanted allusions and advances by people of the opposite sex during beach visits.” He believes that The Hague should therefore consider whether it is possible to designate part of the beach for Muslims. After all, there is also a nudist beach for a small group of enthusiasts, so why not design a part of the beach for the Muslim community, Van Doorn argues. Halal beach resorts already exist in seaside resorts in Turkey and Indonesia, among others. On halal beaches, Muslims could enjoy the sun according to their religious regulations. For example, men and women sunbathe separately on Lombok.
Van Doorn came to the Party for Freedom (Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam party) in 2010 in the city council of The Hague, and in 2013 – after coverting to Islam – he switched to the Islamic Party for Unity. In 2016 he received a work sentence for selling drugs to minors and the possession of a prohibited alarm gun. Halal refers to what is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law. In the Quran, the word halal is contrasted with haram (forbidden).
JAKARTA, April 17 -- Voting in Indonesia’s general elections ended on Wednesday afternoon, with incumbent president Joko Widodo and his challenger Prabowo Subianto both claiming they were optimistic about the outcome.
Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was expected to go to the home of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, his political patron and chairwoman of the party backing him to await quick count results expected from 3pm local time. Prabowo, his running mate Sandiaga Uno and their campaign staff hunkered down at the former’s home in south Jakarta. Over six hours, tens of millions of Indonesians headed to 809,000 polling stations across the archipelago to cast their ballot for their next president and new legislators. Voting for the 192 million registered voters proceeded smoothly despite complaints of delays at some polling stations. In two districts in restive Papua province, voting was postponed to Thursday as ballot slips were not ready in time.
About 2 million overseas voters cast their ballots over the weekend, but Indonesia’s independent election watchdog ordered a redo in Malaysia after a vote-stuffing scandal. About 320,000 Indonesians living in Malaysia will have to cast their ballots again.
"SET drops ahead of Thai Raksa Chart ruling"
BANGKOK, March 6 -- Thai stocks dropped ahead of the Constitutional Court' ruling on the Thai Raksa Chart Party, while Philippine shares jumped 2% on Wednesday, led by real estate and consumer stocks.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand main index fell 13.49 points or 0.82%, in turnover of 44 billion baht, with all sectors except energy in the negative territory. The court will give its ruling on Thursday whether to ban Thak Raksa Chart for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its candidate for prime minister in the March 24 general election. The Election Commission had asked the court to dissolve the party after it nominated the princess. "Tomorrow's ruling will be worth closely monitoring as it may trigger a start of heightened political risks that could derail the Thai economy," OCBC Bank said in a note.
The Philippine benchmark stock index, which was Southeast Asia's worst performer last month, gained the most among regional markets as a selloff last week made valuations more attractive. Foreign investors bought net 273 million pesos (US$5.23 million) in equities on Wednesday, exchange data shows. SM Prime Holdings, the country's second-largest firm by market value, advanced 3.6%, while real estate conglomerate Ayala Land Inc gained 2.3%.
Singapore stocks closed lower for a second session in three, dragged by industrial and consumer stocks. Index heavyweight Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd dipped 2.1%, while food retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd weakened 4%.
Meanwhile, Indonesian shares snapped two consecutive sessions of losses, helped by consumer and financial stocks. Clove cigarette maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT rose 2.1%, while lender PT Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk added 11.4%.
"SET ends flat, Malaysia stocks lead losses in Asean"
BANGKOK, February 8 -- Thai shares lost slightly on Friday, while Malaysia stocks led losses, as investors were rattled after the United States dismissed the likelihood of a quick resolution to the long drawn Sino-US trade war.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would not be meeting China's Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, sparking fears that two economies would not be able to clinch a pivotal trade deal.
The negative sentiment dampened regional markets and pushed broader Asian shares lower, though trading remained thin as China was closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index eased 1.43 points or 0.09% to 1,651.68, in turnover worth 56.86 billion baht. The SET index dropped 16 points shortly after the open before it rebounded to end flat.
The Malaysian index ended 0.4% lower, falling the most across the region. Index heavyweight Axiata Group Bhd fell 4.4% to an over two-month low, dragging the benchmark. According to local media reports Axiata Group and its unit Ncell are to foot a tax bill of 61 billion Nepalese rupees (US$536.03 million), excluding late fees and fines for the capital gains tax on Ncell buyout deal following a Supreme Court ruling.
Philippine stocks fell 0.4%, hurt by losses in financial and telecom stocks. For the week the Manila benchmark index dropped 0.9%, marking its first weekly loss in 2019. PLDT Inc dropped 3.4%, while shares of Bank of the Philippine Islands slid 1.4%.
The Indonesian benchmark closed down 0.2%, with material and energy stocks leading declines. The index marked its first weekly loss in the new year, snapping a rally of six weeks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT dropped 1.9%, while United Tractors Tbk PT slipped 2.9%.
Vietnam's financial markets remained closed this week for Lunar New Year holidays.
"SET drops 5.60 points, Malaysia shares lead Asean peers"
BANGKOK, February 7 -- The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dipped on Thursday, while Malaysia shares led the gains, as optimism over a trade deal between the United States and China were renewed following indications of further official talks in Beijing next week.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he and other US officials would travel to Beijing to continue trade talks, eyeing a deal before the March 2 deadline. China is the biggest trading partner of the region. With easing trade frictions, a dovish Fed and prospects of increased infrastructure spending, foreign investors are now returning to Southeast Asian markets, propelling these markets to record an upward trend for the most part. So far this year, foreign investors have been net buyers of stocks in markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The SET index eased 5.60 points or 0.34% to 1,653.11, in turnover of 50 billion baht. The index was dragged by consumer and health care stocks. Shares of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc lost 30 satang or 1.27% to 23.30 baht and Siam Makro Plc dropped 1.25 baht or 3.29% to 36.75 baht.
The Malaysian benchmark rose 0.6%, leading gains in the region after thin trading in the region this week due to a two-day closure on account of the Chinese New Year. Utilities and consumer cyclicals boosted the Malaysian benchmark index, with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Maxis Bhd climbing 3.7% and 2.5%, respectively.
The Singapore index gained 0.5% to its highest level since Jan 25, helped by telecom and industrial stocks. "Singapore equities has some catching up to do as the US markets have done well over the last two trading sessions. At the same time, traders are also placing bets ahead of the budget on February 18, 2019," said Liu Jinshu, head of research at Tayrona Financial Pte Ltd. Shares of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd gained 1% while those of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd firmed 1.3%.
The Philippine stock index climbed 0.5%, with gains concentrated in industrial stocks. SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc gained over 2% each. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday, saying inflation risk had fallen on lower crude oil and food prices. Indonesian stocks also ended the session slightly lower, hurt by consumer and financial stocks. Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT slipped 2.8%, while Bank Central Asia Tbk PT slid 0.5%.
Vietnam financial markets remained closed for Chinese New Year holidays.
"Indonesia stocks end at 11-month high, SET adds 5 points"
BANGKOK, February 6 -- Indonesian stocks surged more than 1% to close at an 11-month high on Wednesday, after the country posted a faster-than- expected GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Thai shares added 5.62 points to close above the 1,6500 mark.
Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) in the final quarter of 2018 expanded 5.18% from a year earlier, compared with 5.11% forecast in a Reuters poll, while for the year the economy grew 5.17%, marking its best in five years. The country's benchmark index ended 1.02% higher, its highest level since March 5, 2018. Telecom and material stocks were the biggest boost to the index, with Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Perusahaan Perseroan PT and Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT rising 2.1% and 2%, respectively.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index gained 5.62 points or 0.34% to 1,658.71, in turnover of 38.5 billion baht. The index was driven by financial and material stocks and the Bank of Thailand's decision to hold benchmark interest rates steady. Kasikornbank Plc added 2 baht or 1% to 202 baht and Siam Commercial Bank Plc gained 2.50 baht or 1.89% to 135 baht. Shares of Siam Cement Group Plc firmed 6 baht or 1.29% to 470 baht.
Philippine index reversed course and slipped from 10-and-a-half-month high hit earlier in the session to close marginally lower. Industrial stocks dragged the index, with SM Investment Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc slipping 1.7% and 3.7%, respectively. "I would say it (the reason for the fall) is profit taking for the lack of any news to suggest otherwise," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL financial. He added that good inflation rates had pushed the index earlier in the day. The country's inflation had eased in the month of January, supporting views that the central bank would leave interest rates on hold on at its meeting on Thursday.
Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore stock markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
"Manila leads Asean bourses, SET ends higher"
BANGKOK, February 1 -- Philippine shares rose 1.7%, helped by foreign investor buying and as the latest round of Sino-US trade talks kept hopes of a comprehensive trade deal alive, while Thai stocks closed 0.59% higher on Friday.
The latest round of Sino-US trade talks ended on a positive note, with US President Donald Trump saying he was optimistic that the two nations could reach "the biggest deal ever made." The benchmark Philippine stock index was the biggest gainer in the region, boosted by financials and industrials. BDO Unibank climbed 3.7% and SM Investment Corp added 2.5%. Philippine shares advanced 1.1% this week in their fifth consecutive weekly gain. "Foreign buying in the Philippines has been consistent over the last few weeks, and for today the biggest driver would be foreign inflows towards emerging markets," said Charles William Ang, an analyst with COL Financial Group. Foreign investors bought net 1.02 billion pesos (US$19.54 million) worth shares on Friday and 5.75 billion pesos this week, according to Refinitiv data. Investors now await January inflation data and the central bank's monetary policy review due next week. Inflation had cooled more than expected in December, reinforcing views that the central bank is done raising interest rates.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand index rose 9.67 points or 0.6% to 1,651.40, after data showed January's headline inflation rate was below the Bank of Thailand's target range of 1-4% for a third straight month. The BoT will review borrowing rates next week. The central bank governor had said in January that the country's accommodative monetary policy is still needed to support the economy. PTT Plc gained 1 baht or 2% to 49.50 baht, while Airports of Thailand Plc climbed 75 satang or 1.09% to 69.75 baht.
Indonesian shares closed 0.1% higher after rising as much as 0.8% earlier, as losses in telecom stocks offset gains in financials. Indonesian shares gained 0.9% for the week, marking their sixth straight weekly rise. Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) rose 1.8% to close at a record high, while Charoen Pokphand Indonesia jumped 4.4%. Indonesia's annual consumer inflation in January slowed more than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed.
The Malaysian stock market was closed for a holiday.
JAKARTA, January 5 -- Despite their dependence on plastic bags, Jakartans mostly agree with the city administration’s plan to issue a policy restricting plastic bag use, according to a survey conducted by the Jakarta Environment Agency.
“Nearly 80 percent surveyed agreed with a plastic ban and were also willing to carry their own bags [while shopping],” Waste management division head at the agency, Rahmawati, told tempo.co. on Thursday. The survey on the public’s perception of the plastic ban was conducted door-to-door with most respondents being housewives. However, the agency did not provide details on the number of respondents surveyed. Rahmawati said the survey was launched as part of preparations for the new gubernatorial decree on single-use plastic restrictions expected to be signed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan this month.
The initiative was taken following Jakarta’s constant waste woes that stand at 2.5 million tons per year. From the figure, 357,000 tons is plastic waste. Single-use plastic bags contribute 1,900 to 2,400 tons of waste per year, which equals 300 million plastic bags. Agency head Isnawa Adji said he had submitted the decree draft to Anies. He expressed hope that the draft could be signed as soon as possible to start the plastic ban in the city. Anies said the draft of the decree still needed corrections. He aimed at implementing the ban while designating a substitute for plastic. “Housewives would be troublesome if we don’t prepare the substitute for plastic,” he said on Thursday.
"Philippine shares top gainer, Vietnam stocks sink"
BANGKOK, January 3 -- Philippine shares rallied on Thursday on expectations of positive inflation data, while stocks in technology export reliant Vietnam sank to an over one-year low after iPhone maker Apple Inc cut its sales forecast.
Apple's move to cut its quarterly sales forecast blaming slowing iPhone sales in China sent US stock futures and Asian shares tumbling, with MSCI's broadest gauge of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.6%.
Vietnam's index was the top loser in the region, plunging 1.5% to an over one year closing low.
"Vietnam is tightly caught up in the tech story. We are becoming a very large tech hub for a lot of the outflow from tech companies based in China," said Fiachra Mac Cana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities. Vietnam is the largest smartphone production base for South Korean mobile phone giant Samsung Electronics, while the country's largest earner from exports are smartphones.
"For us, it's like if demand for iPhones are weak, will demand for Samsung phones also be weak then? Yes, very easily. All of that makes the Vietnamese market a complete risk off environment right now," he added.
Singapore's benchmark index also tumbled, with electronic equipment maker Venture Corp among top percentage losers, shedding 1.8%. The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dropped 5.91 points or 0.38% to 1,560.03, in trade worth 39 billion baht. The country's energy-heavy index see-sawed throughout the session to end lower, with energy stocks slumping in tandem with falling oil prices amid worries over lower fuel demand in 2019 and surging crude supplies. However, defying the broader Asian downturn was Philippine's index, which soared 2.6% to close at a near one-month high, ahead of inflation data due on Friday. A Reuters poll shows that the country's inflation is expected to cool to a six-month low in December. "Investors were mainly concerned about inflation during 2018... so now we're seeing some buying in the index stocks as there's better expectation on earnings growth," said Rachelle C Cruz, an analyst at AP Securities. Benchmark heavyweight SM Investments Corp's stock rose 4.6%, while that of conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc added 6.2%.
Malaysia's index also rose, with shares of palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Bhd rising 3.5% and those of lender Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd firming 3.2%.
Indonesia's benchmark edged up with household products maker Unilever Indonesia Tbk's counter notching a 2.4% gain, while animal feed producer Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk rose 4%.