BATAM NEWS

Below is a list of the latest Batam news. It will help to keep you informed of all the latest happenings and events in Batam. It covers a broad range of information and I hope it is helpful.

Batam News Articles

Former Riau governor gets two years in prison for graft

September 10 2010
The Corruption Court sentenced former Riau Islands governor Ismeth Abdullah to two years in prison, two years less than prosecutors asked, for graft committed when he was Batam Authority chief.

The court ordered Ismeth to pay a Rp 100 million (US$11,200) fine or serve an additional three months in prison. Prosecutors previously requested that Ismeth be sentenced to a four-year prison term and pay a Rp 200 million fine.

Ismeth’s abuse was estimated to have cost the state Rp 5.4 billion.

“We hereby declare that Ismeth Abdullah is legally guilty of committing corruption as stated in the indictment,” lead judge Tjokorda Rae Suamba said

.Tjokorda said that Ismeth was guilty because he directly authorized PT Satal Nusantara to procure the trucks, which created an “unhealthy competition” by allowing the company to set the prices on its own.

The judges said they levied a lighter sentence than requested because Ismeth did not benefit from the corruption.

The incident began in 2004 when Ismeth, then Batam Authority chief, directly authorized Satal Nusantara, owned by late businessman Hengky Samuel Daud, to provide four fire trucks at a cost Rp 7.9 billion.

A contract between Hengky and project leader Indra Sakti on behalf of the Batam Authority was signed on Jan. 18, 2004.

However, the revision of the local budget for an additional Rp 10 billion to cover the purchase of the trucks had not yet been approved by the Finance Ministry.

A second purchase of fire trucks and ladder trucks valued at Rp 11.9 billion from the same company took place in 2005.

Hengky sent Ismeth a letter on March 1, 2005, saying that the two trucks had been delivered.

However, as in the 2004 procurement, the budget for the purchase had not been allocated on the date of the purchase.

Ismeth’s attorney Luhut MP Pangaribuan said that his client and legal team would take a week to consider whether to appeal or to accept the sentence.

“The team of judges did not consider the facts we explained in the defense plea,” said Luhut.

“They charged our client on the basis of his approval and disposition. However, they did not mention any details as to where the approval went, whether to the project leaders, procurement committee or his subordinates,” he added.

Indonesia Corruption Watch activist Febridiansyah said that the prosecutors should appeal the verdict because the light sentence would be a source of problems later.

Febridiansyah said Ismeth might be released before he served his two year sentence because the government could grant him a sentence reduction on Independence Day or on religious holidays after he serves one-third of his sentence.

“One-third of two years means eight months. So after two-thirds of his term, or 16 months, he could be released,” he said. (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

Singapore No 1 Investor in Indonesia

September 6 2010
The United States is the third top country that makes investment in Indonesia at a total of US$0.3 billion worth of contribution in 33 projects.

However, up until the second quarter of 2010, Singaporean investors are listed as number one with a total investment of US$1.6 billion in 156 projects.

The realized investment up until the first semester of 2010 is recorded Rp 71 trillion, 46.1 percent higher compared to the same period of 2009 at Rp 48.6 trillion.

"During the crisis, investment from developed countries may be lower," said Chief of the Capital Investment Coordinating Agency (BKPM) Gita Wirjawan.

Data of BKPM revealed that in addition to the US and Singapore, Hong Kong investors have put in US$0.8 billion worth of money, Japan invests US$0.2 billion, and the Netherlands supplied US$0.2 billion.

Gita said the government's supports in developing Bintan, Batam, and Karimun (BKK) has caused Singapore to invest more in Indonesia. (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

Seven Malaysian fishermen held by Indonesians

August 30 2010
Seven Malaysian fishermen were detained by Indonesians claiming to be officers of the Indonesian Fisheries Depart¬ment during a fishing trip in the waters off Pengerang.

Kota Tinggi OCPD Supt Osman Mohamed Sebot said it is believed that the seven have been taken to Batam in Indonesia.

Initial investigations revealed that the men were fishing within Malaysian waters, he said, adding that he had no idea why they were detained.

A total of 15 fishermen aged between 29 and 50 were fishing in Pengerang waters at about 9.30pm on Friday when the Indonesian authorities detained them and took them away in several boats.

However, a marine police patrol saw the Indonesian group and ordered them to stop the boat. The order was not heeded.

Supt Osman said the marine police managed to intercept some of the boats rescuing eight fishermen and detaining three of the Indonesian men. Seven other fishermen were taken away in another boat.

“We believe the seven fishermen have been taken to Batam in Indonesia.

“We are also verifying if the Indonesian men are really from the Indonesian Fisheries Depart¬ment,” he said, adding that the three were clad in the department uniform.

“We are still in the dark on why the fishermen were detained. The nets cast by the fishermen are within Malaysian waters,” he said.

Supt Osman said police was working with Wisma Putra to secure the release of the captured fishermen and contacting its counterpart in Indonesia to expedite their release. (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

Batam car importers left in the dark over indecisive policy

August 19 2010
A lack of clarity over the free trade zone policy on Batam, Bintan and Karimun Islands in Riau Islands province has been blamed for causing losses in the tens of billions of rupiah.

Operational manager of luxury car importer PT Ganda Auto, Teddy Julius, said his company had suffered dearly because of the unclear policy.

The Jakarta-based car dealership had decided to invest in Batam after learning the area had been designated as a FTZ by the central government.

He said the areas FTZ status it meant it was exempt from value-added tax and import tax.

In 2008, Ganda Auto built a showroom and workshop worth Rp 20 billion (US$2.2 million) and deposited Rp 3.5 billion as collateral to the FTZ Area Committee.

The cash guarantee is supposed to prevent car importers from misusing the permits issued by the central government.

After being promised a permit from the committee, the company imported in mid February this year 27 luxury cars, such as Toyota Harrier, Prado, Wish and Nissan Terrano from Japan. The number of cars later increased to 68 units.

The cars were displayed at the car dealer’s showroom — but all of them have been barred from sale by the customs office.

“We cannot afford to keep them in the storehouse at the port due to the high monthly rent. The cars were eventually allowed to be kept in the showroom until a permit was issued,” Teddy said. “We were promised a permit would be issued by the central government.”

He said that 30 percent of the 68 cars located at the showroom have been ordered by customers, who had already made payments on the vehicles.

Due to the problem, four customers have already canceled their orders.

“We had to return the deposits to the customers since the customs office has not issued the permit. We have to sell the cars if we fail to get the permit.”

FTZ Area Committee secretary Jon Arizal said his office had repeatedly sent letters to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but had not yet received a response.

He said the flow of imported goods into Batam, Bintan and Karimun Islands faced problems with port authorities, especially the customs office.

“We have reported the issues faced by the importers to the President. Many investments have been impeded by the uncertain FTZ policy,” he said. “Many have also raised doubts over the government’s commitment regarding the FTZ in Batam, Bintan and Karimun.” (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

Illegally imported rice circulating in Batam

August 16 2010
About 1,200 tons of rice illegally imported from Vietnam are now sold at various traditional markets in Batam, a regional trade office said.

"The illegal rice circulating in Batam accounts for about 10 percent of the monthly local rice need," Head of Batam`s Regional Trade, Industry and Energy office Ahmad Hijazi said here on Thursday.

He said that the people in Batam needed some 12,000 tons of rice per month, and about 10 percent of which consisted of illegally imported rice.

However, he said, the amount of illegal rice in Batam was smaller than those in other regions bordering with other countries.

Actually, the entry of illegal rice into Batam was more difficult because of tight control and supervision at Batam`s ports, he said. (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

Riau Islands governor denies graft charges

August 12 2010
Suspended Riau Islands Governor Ismeth Abdullah told the Corruption Court on Monday he did not order a fire-truck procurement project that cost the state Rp 5.4 billion (almost US$600,000) in losses.

Ismeth denied allegations he had ordered the purchase of six fire trucks during his tenure as chief of the Batam Authority Body from 2004 to 2006.

Ismeth presented his defense plea at the Corruption Court. Prosecutors have sought a four-year prison sentence and fines of Rp 200 million (US$ 22,200) for the graft charges.

Ismeth was charged with collaborating with truck supplier PT Satal Nusantara, owned by late businessman Henky Samuel Daud, to inflate the prices of the fire trucks.

“I never communicated either with the project leaders or the procurement committee. Neither did I interfere with the procurement process,” he said.

Ismeth added that he had only approved and signed memos proposed by head of Batam Authorities Body’s general affairs bureau Daniel M. Yunus on Oct. 4, 2004, and deputy M. Prijanto on Feb. 22, 2005. (Batam News Source: Jakarta Post)

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