Indonesia Highlights: Indonesian Rock Star Abdee Slank Appointed As Telkom Commissioner | Indonesia Reissues Controversial AstraZeneca Vaccine Batch | Indonesian Counterterrorist Police Nab 10 Suspect

May 30, 2021, 08.05 AM

JAKARTA, – Indonesian President Joko Widodo is courting controversy, after he authorized Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir to name one of his closest allies in the arts as a Commissioner in state-owned telecommunications company Telkom.

The government also put AstraZeneca’s CTMAV 547 Covid-19 vaccine batch back in circulation, less than two weeks after the vaccine consignment was implicated in four deaths.

And Indonesia’s Densus 88 counterterrorist police have arrested 10 suspected terrorists in Papua Province’s Merauke Regency, before the militants can attack houses of worship in the area. This and more on Indonesia Highlights:

Abdee Slank at a launch for the CD album Asian Games: Energy Of Asia (20/7/2018) SUSANTO SETIAWAN Abdee Slank at a launch for the CD album Asian Games: Energy Of Asia (20/7/2018).

Indonesian Rock Star Abdee Slank Appointed As Telkom Commissioner

Indonesian Minister for State Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir might win kudos for overhauling state-owned companies.

Yet the former Inter Milan boss raised eyebrows when he appointed Abdi Negara Nurdin aka Abdee Negara or Abdee Slank, the lead guitarist of Indonesian rock band Slank, as an Independent Commissioner of state-owned telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia.

Erick slated the 52 year-old into Telkom’s board to serve under former Minister of Research and Technology Bambang Brodjonegoro, who was named Telkom’s President-Director.

Abdee will serve alongside fellow Independent Commissioner Bono Daru Adji, as well as new Telkom Commissioner Isa Rachmatarwata and Arya Sinulingga.

The backlash against the musical outsider came immediately, including from opposition parliamentarian Amin Ak from the opposition Social Justice Party or PKS.

“[Erick Thohir’s] consideration in appointing [Abdee] was more about his contribution to President Jokowi’s successful presidential runs [in 2014 and 2019],” he said.

“It had nothing to do with [Abdee’s] actual competence or fitness for office,” added the House of Representatives member of Commission VI on trade, industry, investment, cooperatives, small and medium businesses and state-owned companies.

Amin noted that Jokowi supporters like Abdee, Fadjroel Rachman, Andi Gani Nena Wea and Ulin Yusron “run counter to the principles of Good Corporate Governance,” he lamented.

“The disregard of these principles caused many Indonesian state run companies to incur financial losses and keep them from making any meaning full progress.”

Trisakti University Public Policy observer Trubus Rahadiansyah is just as scathing, particularly of Abdee’s inexperience. “[Abdee’s] appointment is nothing more than giving away political spoils. He will only hinder his fellow commissioners.”

Abdee and the rest of Slank are known high-profile supporters of Jokowi, since the former Jakarta Governor took Indonesian politics by storm during his 2014 presidential run before winning reelection in 2019.


An example of AstraZeneca's AZD1222 vaccine. The pharmaceutical company jointly developed the vaccine with Oxford UniversitySHUTTERSTOCK/rafapress An example of AstraZeneca's AZD1222 vaccine. The pharmaceutical company jointly developed the vaccine with Oxford University

Indonesia Reissues Controversial AstraZeneca Vaccine Batch

The Indonesian Ministry of Health has reissued AstraZeneca’s CTMAV 547 Covid-19 vaccine batch, less than two weeks after it was withdrawn from circulation on Sunday, May 16 following the death of a number of the vaccine’s recipients.

“The tests are part of investigations to determine if there are any connections between the vaccine’s and side effects such as blood clots, fevers or headaches,” said BPOM in a press release on May 29.

“The CTMAV 547 vaccine batch are shown to have normal toxicity and sterility levels, and there are no connections between the vaccine and any post immunization incidents.”

BPOM’s findings determined that the CTMAV 547 vaccine batch, which came to Indonesia on April 26 via the Covax Facility and World Health Organization [WHO], can be used to immunize the Indonesian public.

The National Commission for Post Immunization Incidents or Komnas KIPI also ruled that Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca have not killed anyone in Indonesia.

“Those who died after they received a Covid-19 vaccination did not die of the vaccine, but from other [health] factors,” said the Commission.

The World Health Organization [WHO] and EMA or European Medical Association review also dispelled concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine causing blood clots.

“Blood clots occurred in in 222 cases out of 34 million doses [of the AstraZeneca vaccine] or 0.00065 percent,” the report said. “On the other hand, blood clots from Covid-19 occurred in 165 thousand cases out of every one million people [who were infected], or 16.5 percent.”

Indonesia received the CTMAV 547 batch on April 26, 2021 through the Covax Program/WHO initiative. The batch, which numbered 448,480 doses, is part of the 3,852,000 that Indonesia is set to receive in stages.


Densus 88 officers seal off a crime scenePERSDA NETWORK/BINA HARNANSA Densus 88 officers seal off a crime scene

Indonesian Counterterrorist Police Nab 10 Suspected Terrorists in Papua

The Indonesian National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorist unit has arrested ten suspected terrorists at various locales in Papua’s Merauke regency.

Merauke Police Department chief Grand Police Attendant Commissioner Untung Sangaji confirmed the news to on Saturday, May 29. “We nabbed the men during sweeps the day before,” he said.

“We believe that the terror suspects were targeting churches and other houses of worship, based on evidence we confiscated. But we managed to keep them from planting bombs by guarding the buildings.” Untung did not specify the weapons or other contraband that the police seized.

The operation is a first in Papua, as the province is better known for a separatist insurgency against Indonesian police and military forces by the Free Papua Movement [OPM] and its affiliates, instead of sectarian militants such as Jamaah Islamiyah and its offshoots in other parts of Indonesia.


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