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RI to see higher growth

in 2015
Indonesia is estimated to post higher economic growth in 2015 as the global
economy improves, the World Bank says in its latest report on East Asia Pacific
economies.
Titled Enhancing Competitiveness in an Uncertain World, the report, released on
Monday, says growth will most likely surge to 5.6 percent in 2015, up from the 5.2
percent projected this year.
The projection is slightly lower than the 5.8 percent economic growth target set
by the government for 2015.

Sudhir Shetty, the World Bank chief economist of East Asia and the Pacific region,
said Indonesia was among the five large Southeast Asian economies, along with
Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, that would see enhanced
economic growth.
[In ASEAN] we expect growth to slow gradually in 2014, rather than in 2013, but
will then pick up in response to the recovery in rich economies on the back of
increased export demand, particularly from the US and a little less from the
eurozone and Japan, he said during a media briefing on Monday.
Shetty said that increased rapid growth would also be facilitated by the countries
economic adjustments and restructuring after a long period of low global interest
rates, especially in the US.

In Indonesias case, growth drivers are expected to come from stronger


investment and external demand.
The anticipated strengthening of exports depends on both a stabilization in the
prices of key commodity export products notably coal, crude and palm oil
and Indonesias ability to capitalize on global demand, according to the report.
If Indonesia is able to attract higher foreign investment and increase exports,
especially in manufacturing, it will capitalize on strengthening global demand
even more, it reads.

However, similar to its Southeast Asian peers, Indonesia is still largely dependent
on commodity-related exports, such as mining and agriculture, as shown by the
latest Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data.
During January to August, mineral fuels alone made up 15 percent of total non-oil
and gas exports, followed by animal fats and animal and vegetable oils with 14.2
percent, and rubber and rubber-based products with 5.2 percent.
The priorities, Shetty said, were now on infrastructure and investment,
particularly logistics, the investment climate and structural reforms.

Overall, growth in the East Asia Pacific, excluding China, was projected to rise to
5.3 percent in 2015 from 4.8 percent this year.
Economic growth in China, on the other hand, is estimated to suffer another
slowdown, albeit gradually.
For Indonesia, whose largest trading partner is China, Shetty said the situation
would not be too worrisome. It will be a gradual decline, not a dramatic one, he
added.
Indonesian Islam promoted
as moderate, peaceful
A scholar, a poet and a comedian shared their opinions about what constitutes Indonesian Islam and
how it differs from that adhered to by fundamentalists.

During the discussion Understanding Islam at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2014 on Thursday,
the three speakers promoted Islam in Indonesia as moderate, saying hardliners were only a tiny
minority among those who upheld tolerance and peace in this country with its diverse religions.

In the post-9/11 world, Islam has been both accused and staunchly defended across borders.

A prominent Muslim scholar known for his moderate views, Azyumardi Azra, pointed out that
Indonesian Islam was different from elsewhere, including the Middle East.

Indonesian Islam is different from other places, including the Middle East. The absolute majority is
moderate, and has been used to living with adherents of other religions peacefully for centuries without
any bloodshed, said Azra, who is known for his firm opposition to the persecution of the Indonesian
minority Ahmadiyah and Shia groups.

Of course, there are isolated cases of Islamic communal conflicts, but that is usually related to politics,
he added, citing a conflict in Sampang, Madura.

The professor, who strongly opposed the adoption of sharia into Indonesian law, added that
fundamentalists were present in the country as tiny minority groups, like the ones who twice bombed
Bali, but they basically gained their hard-line principles elsewhere, not from Indonesia.
However, he stressed, although Indonesian Islam was colorful and flexible, that did not mean that
Muslims here were less Islamic or not loyal in implementing Islamic practices.

Poet Goenawan Mohamad, who supports the Islamic Liberal Network (JIL), shared his experience on
being a liberal Muslim.

The founder and editor of Tempo magazine said his views, which were similar to some prominent
Muslim figures known for their pluralistic and moderate beliefs, like Nurcholis Madjid and Abdurrahman
Wahid, were that Faith is not like a fortress. That is why I choose to be a liberated Muslim.

Fundamentalists say we should not interpret Islam, but I think Islam is always an interpretation, said
Goenawan, who marked his 70th birthday by republishing several of his works, including Marxisme,
Seni, Pembebasan (Marxism, the Arts, Emancipation), Indonesia/Proses (Indonesia/Process) and Puisi
dan Antipuisi (Poetry and Antipoetry).

Regarding the growing concerns about Islamic State (IS) movement, Azra commented, It is basically a
Middle Eastern Islamic phenomenon, not from Indonesia where Islam is moderate, accommodative and
peaceful.

Meanwhile, Goenawan said that IS was a threat for everyone, not only for Muslims, because they kill
people.

Sacha Stevenson, who is best known for the YouTube series How to Act Indonesian, expressed her
opinions in a wittier way, including talking about how she had been threatened for uploading her videos,
which went viral on the Internet, wearing a jilbab (headscarf).

I wore a hijab for six years, but now Im more Islam KTP, she said wittily referring to a Muslim who
does not really practice Islam in their daily life but is recorded as Muslim on their identity card.

She also talked of her concerns about fundamentalists like the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), which was
using Islam to sell themselves, including in this years presidential election, in which the FPI was
associated with one of the candidates.

Hardliners are a minority here, but they have a loud voice.

She categorized Indonesian Muslim into groups: the liberal Muslim community that was quite educated,
hardliners consisting of two minority groups and the majority, who were those who wore the jilbab
not for religion but more for cultural reasons.