Indonesia Highlights: Tobacco Excise Tax Hike by 12.5 Percent Next Year | New Name for State-Owned Islamic Bank Revealed after Three-Way Merger | Cleric Rizieq Shihab Will Turn Himself In, Say His Lawyers

December 12, 2020, 03.38 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian government has decided to raise the excise tax on tobacco products by an average of 12.5 percent next year.

This was announced by the country’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati in a virtual press conference on Thursday.

Critics said that the move will destroy the industry. Azami Mohammad, coordinator of the National Kretek Preservation Committee (KNPK), argued that currently the business is not going well due to the economic slowdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The increase in excise tax on tobacco products will only make it worse, he said.

Meanwhile, as the three state-owned Islamic banks will soon be merged, a new name for the new entity has been revealed by an official. However, it needs approval from the relevant regulator before its official launch.

More details on these and other stories from Indonesia:

1. Indonesia to Increase Tobacco Excise by 12.5 Percent Next Year

An illustration of clove cigarettes. SHUTTERSTOCK/Maren Winter An illustration of clove cigarettes.

The Indonesian government has decided to raise the excise tax on tobacco products by 12.5 percent in 2021, said the finance minister on Thursday.

“We will increase the tobacco excise by 12.5 percent,” said Sri Mulyani Indrawati in a virtual press conference on December 10.

The media reported that the discussion about the excise tax on tobacco products was quite tough this year. The increase in tobacco excise will usually be announced at the end of October. But this year it has been delayed to December.

The delay happened as this year’s discussion was held amid the Covid-19 pandemic, during which the government needs to balance the need for maintaining the health aspects and supporting the industry that employs many workers and farmers.

“So in this case we try to balance the health aspect with the economic condition that is affected by the Covid-19, especially for workers and farmers,” said Sri Mulyani.

The minister said, however, the tax hike will not affect the hand-rolled clove cigarette producers because they are a labor-intensive industry that employs 158,552 workers.

Source: https://go.kompas.com/read/2020/12/11/204510974/indonesia-to-increase-tobacco-excise-by-125-percent-next-year.

2. New Name for State-Owned Islamic Bank in Indonesia Revealed after Three-Way Merger

A file photo of Bank Syariah Mandiri branch office.  Dok. 3C Wireless A file photo of Bank Syariah Mandiri branch office.

A new name for a full-fledged Islamic bank in Indonesia has been revealed Friday by the three state-owned Islamic banks that will soon be merged.

The three banks are PT Bank BRI Syariah, PT Bank Syariah Mandiri, and PT Bank BNI Syariah. Each is an unlisted unit of state-owned Bank BRI, Bank Mandiri, and Bank BNI.

If it is approved by the relevant regulators, the new identity of the merged banks will be called PT Bank Syariah Indonesia Tbk.

Alhamdulillah [praise be to God], now we have a new name that will become the identity of the merged banks. This new identity has fueled our enthusiasm to complete the merger process and integration the best we can,” said BRI Syariah president director Ngatari in a statement on December 11.

The new name will also be followed by a new logo soon.

After the merger, the institution would be the biggest Islamic lender in the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The combined assets of the three banks would reach 207 trillion rupiahs ($14.08 billion).

Source: https://money.kompas.com/read/2020/12/11/093636126/ini-nama-baru-hasil-merger-3-bank-syariah-bumn.

3. Indonesian Cleric Rizieq Shihab Will Turn Himself In After Being Named as Suspect

Leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Rizieq Shihab delivers a lecture on the occasion of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Dokumentasi YouTube Front TV Leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Rizieq Shihab delivers a lecture on the occasion of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on Saturday, November 14, 2020.

A day after Rizieq Shihab, leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), and five of his followers were named as suspects in holding a mass gathering amid the pandemic, the legal team for the organization Aziz Yanuar came to the Jakarta Police headquarters on Friday, December 11.

Aziz said that Rizieq and five other people will come to the Jakarta Police headquarters for undergoing further investigations.

“We are here to collect this arrest warrant. There should be an official document when someone is arrested. When the time is set, hopefully, we will fulfill it,” said Aziz at the Jakarta Police headquarters.

“We came here before the summons was even sent. So we want to be proactive,” he said.

Previously, Rizieq was named as a suspect along with five others in an investigation into a mass gathering that breached the Covid-19 health protocols on November 14 in Petamburan, Central Jakarta.

Source: https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2020/12/11/11011341/datangi-mapolda-metro-fpi-sebut-rizieq-shihab-dan-5-tersangka-lain-akan.

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