Jakarta. Indonesia’s Irfan Bachdim has become an overnight football sensation after scoring in his national team debut, the 5-1 destruction of bitter rival Malaysia on Wednesday night.

The handsome 22-year-old, born to an Indonesian father and Dutch mother, delighted 30,000 diehard fans at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta and millions of others huddled around televisions throughout the country with his gutsy performance and the side’s final goal of the match.

By midday, Irfan had attracted more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, up from around 7,000 the previous day. His name is being mentioned on the micro-blogging site about 1,000 times per hour.

And among Irfan’s most vocal supporters is his girlfriend, Jennifer Kurniawan, who models lingerie in Germany under the name Jennifer Jasmin.


Most Sabahans view Indonesians as just labourers or household servants, oblivious to the fact that its Borneo neighbour is one of Indonesia’s richest provinces.

I COMPLAIN about our politicians talking too much, but I’m becoming just as much a culprit. I seem to be delivering speeches all the time. So, first off, my apologies for being a rank hypocrite.

Anyhow, last week, I was in Kota Kinabalu chairing a session on the business opportunities that exist between Sabah and the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan.

I had been invited (along with some Indonesian guests) by the government agency Sedia, which runs the Sabah Development Corri­dor.

While the talk was lively, I was struck once again by how little Malaysians know about Indonesia. Whereas all the Indonesians present had visited Kota Kinabalu, very few of the Sabahans had any idea about Indonesian locales like the East Kalimantan oil and gas hub of Balikpapan or the provincial capital of Samarinda.

INDONESIAN billionaires are ready to make Malaysia their prime investment destination after being assured by the Government they will not face any obstacles.

The billionaires, led by the influential entrepreneur Chairul Tanjung, indicated they were ready to come to Malaysia as early as next year.

“Funds are not an issue to us. All we need are the opportunities and commitment from Malaysia which I am very happy to say we are seeing now,” he said in joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin here yesterday.

Muhyiddin had earlier met Chairul and a group of Indonesian billionaires at Chairul’s office at Bank Mega tower.
By Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: The poor in Sabah may have just got a little poorer following the nationwide hike in petrol and sugar prices. But the state government is in denial and claims that "all is well."

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee, however, is demanding that the government “show us the real numbers” to substantiate its claims that poverty is not a serious problem in Sabah.

Yong said that if the government used real facts and figures ,the truth would be out.

“Chief Minister (Musa Aman), like other ministers recently, again cited the so-called e-Kasih data to put the number of hardcore poor household heads (KIRMT) at only 7,455.

“In fact, on the ground, 'e-Kasih' has already been discredited as being 'p-Kasih' meaning 'pilih kasih' (favouritism) because e-Kasih involves cash handouts to selected persons.

"Not all poor people are registered under e-Kasih. Any grassroots leader who walks around a poor village will come across many hardcore poor villagers who say they have been excluded from the e-Kasih programme,” said Yong, a former chief minister.
Dinesweri Puspanadan, Malaysia Chronicle

It's amusing to see UMNO is barking about 'Ketuanan Raja'. Don't you think UMNO should flip through history. Who was the one who withdrew the Sultan's power? Welcome to Malaysia!

MIC is busy bashing Selangor state government for being racist for denying Indian students rights for Selangor state scholarship. Ironically, what MIC has been doing for past 52 years when every year UMNO denies PSD scholarship for many excellent Indian students?-Welcome to Malaysia!

UMNO has been championing 'Ketuanan Melayu' for ages, yet 96 percent of poor are Malays- Welcome to Malaysia.

Police force is indulging in 'trigger-happy acts'. Fatal shootings involving minors and innocent civilians is rampant, yet Home Minister claims that we are 'safe' - again, Welcome to Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR — A renowned Islamic scholar silenced arguments today over the controversial “Malay supremacy” concept, charging that it was un-Islamic and akin to the Jewish’s “ chosen race” claim.

Former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin wrote today that the act of placing the Malay race as more supreme than the others was against the teachings of Islam, which preaches tolerance and the equality of all races.

“If someone considers himself more noble simply because of race or ethnicity factors, or considers others lower than himself because they are not of the same race, such belief is wrong and goes against the teachings of Islam.

“Should this be the case, it can be likened to the Jewish claim that they are the 'chosen race',” he said.

The outspoken scholar added that such “pride” was rejected by Islam.

Dr Mohd Asri's view on the contentious concept is a direct blow to Malay rights group Perkasa, whose leaders have been blaring the “Malay supremacy” rhetoric to push for Malay rights.

Thailand coach Bryan Robson is likely to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up against Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup today.

The match at Gelora Bung Kano stadium kicks off at 5pm and will be televised live on Channel 7 and Star Sports.

In the other Group A match of the Southeast Asian championship, Indonesia meet Laos.

Thailand needed a last-gasp strike to secure a 2-2 draw with Laos in their opening game. Robson rested several key players because they were tired after a long domestic season.

"It is going to be a big game for both sides because it could decide who will reach the semi-finals. The team which wins will surely qualify for the semi-finals," said the English coach.
JAKARTA, Indonesia

The number of billionaires in Indonesia has nearly doubled from a dozen last year to a record 21 today -- thanks largely to booms in coal, palm oil and other commodities.

Forbes Asia also said in its December issue that the collective net of the country's 40 richest people jumped from $42 billion to an all-time high of $71 billion.

Indonesia, home to 237 million people, has one of the fastest growing economies in the region. That's thanks to a strong stock market -- boosted by the wealth of many on the list -- abundant natural resources, and consumers who are eager to spend.

The richest Indonesians were once again brothers Budi and Michael Hartono. Money generated by the Bank Central Asia, clove cigarette giant Djarum and palm oil interests gave them a combined net worth of $11 billion.

That's up from $7 billion last year.

Source: Business Week
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CANCUN, Mexico: Indonesia played an important role in a making changes at the climate summit negotiation table, a diplomat said.

“Many countries appreciate Indonesia for being one of the main catalysts for fundamental change,” Eddy Pratomo, Indonesian ambassador to Germany, who is a senior advisor for the Indonesian delegation at the summit, said in a press release made available Friday.

Indonesia was among a handful of developing countries that agreed on the role of measurable, reportable and verifiable mechanism, known as MRV, to be applied in the emission reduction effort.
Malaysia has plunged 10 notches to 141 in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index - the lowest in nine years - putting it firmly in the bottom quarter of 178 countries.

The country failed to capitalise on last year's improvement where it moved up one notch from 132 to 131.

The issues which have perhaps affected Malaysia's poor ranking include the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission's investigation into Malaysiakini's cow-head video, the arrests of bloggers and the ban on a number of books by cartoonist Zunar.

Interestingly, Singapore (136) outranked Malaysia for the first time since Paris-based press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began releasing its ranking in 2002.
By Luke Rintod

KOTA KINABALU: DAP has blamed Umno-Barisan Nasional's 'corrupt nature' for the regime's inability to meet promises it had made to Sabahans in 1994 and 2007.

Its national disciplinary committee chairman, Tan Kok Wai, said it is this inherent characteristic that had led the Umno-led BN to plunder Sabah's resources.

Tan, who is also MP for Cheras, recalled that in the 1994 general election, BN in its manifesto pledged that there would be zero poverty in Sabah by the year 2000, but today, 10 years later poverty still plagues the state.

"In 2007, the BN state chief minister again promised Sabahans that poverty would be eradicated by the year 2010 and that there would be no more hardcore poor in the state by 2009, but today Sabahans remain the poorest in Malaysia.
Sam Chee Kong

So what our policy makers in this part of the world is doing to protect us from all these ‘lose money’ from entering our shores? Apparently our Governor of Bank Negara Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akthar’s response to the FED’s QE2 seems to contradict with what our neighbors are trying to achieve. Instead of preventing the inflow, rather it is encouraging a greater inflow of foreign capital and declared that we have to manage the increase in volatility of the markets due to QE2.

A country’s Money Supply is basically the total of all notes and coins, loans and credit and other liquid investment. Or put it simply the total Money Supply of a country consist of the following :
By Kenny Gan, Malaysia Chronicle

I started working as a young graduate electrical engineer in 1983 in an engineering firm in Kuala Lumpur. My starting salary was RM1200 which was pretty typical in those days. This may not seem much now but mixed rice was less than RM2.00 with Chinese tea and petrol was RM1.00 a litre. After 6 months and an increment under my belt I plonked down for set of wheels; a cute little Toyota Corolla which I paid off in 3 years. Two years later I put down the deposit for a double storey terrace house in a thriving suburb near the capital.

Fast forward to the present and it would be very hard for any graduate to follow my act without substantial help from their parents. No, I wasn’t from the privileged class and I didn’t get a leg-up from my parents, save for the education they gave me. Present day graduates start their working life at RM1800 to RM2000 a month, not a lot of difference from 25 years ago but prices of everything have tripled and quadrupled. A hawker meal now cost RM5 (drinks extra), prices of cars and houses have grossly outpaced income and there are new expenses like toll, hand phones, Astro and internet. Our ringgit has depreciated against foreign currencies making consumer goods and overseas travel more expensive. To put it simply, real income has declined.
Speech made by Ranil Wickremesinghe - leader of the opposition, Sri Lanka at the Rotary International South Asia conference in Bangkok yesterday.

By the 4th century BC, Asia had begun its first cycle of economic growth and power. This was the reason why Alexander the Great decided to travel eastward to establish an empire. At that time there was nothing worthwhile to the west of Greece. On the othr hand, to the east of Greece was Persia, and beyond were rich kingdoms in India and China. A Roman Emperor once complained Rome had to import all its luxuries from India and China; but had nothing to offer these Asian countries. Until the 1820s, Asia was responsible for 60% to 75% of the world’s GDP.

Asia is not a continent that can be brought together like the European Union. Historically, culturally and climatically we fall into five distinct categories: East Asia, Indo-China, Central Asia, West Asia and the Indian Ocean region. In the past these regions were all integrated by the Silk Route. This is why I have titled this speech ‘The Return of the Asians’ - because contrary to common opinion what we are witnessing today is not the rise of Asia but the return of Asian countries to recapture the global economy.
While economists debate whether China or India will dominate the world economy of the 21st century, another rising Asian power is quietly entering the picture. Relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, Indonesia's economy was projected to grow at a healthy 6.1 percent clip in 2010 and 6.3 percent next year, one of the fastest rates in Asia (and the world). What's more, its per capita GDP is projected to increase almost 20 percent in the next two years. Since 2009, Indonesia has had Asia's second-best-performing stock market. A number of analysts are now suggesting that the BRIC grouping might soon need to add another I.

Part of the growth is driven by the country's abundant natural resources -- it is a major exporter of timber, coal, and silver -- but Indonesia's manufacturing sector is growing as well. Chinese clothing and furniture companies, which prospered by making goods for the American market, are now increasingly moving production to Indonesia, taking advantage of a free trade agreement between the two countries, which is just now coming into effect.
Long known as feminine and demure, Indonesia's traditional kebaya is headed for a makeover at the hands of innovative designers.

Growing demand for stylish yet still modest fashions in the world's most populous Islamic nation is helping power efforts to bring Islamic fashion into the modern age, a movement symbolized by changes to the iconic kebaya, a blouse-dress combination.

Fun prints, intricate detailing, colors so bold as to be psychedelic and a mix of delicate lace all graced the catwalk at the recent Jakarta Fashion Week. One designer even paired the kebaya with red-and-yellow striped tights.

"I think it's a good presentation because if you wear Muslim clothing like this, it's not necessarily boring," Jakarta Fashion Week project manager Petty Fatimah told Reuters.

"You can definitely expect to see more Islamic fashion in the future and it is for everybody. If you're not a woman who wears Islamic clothing you can still wear it."
If the holiday shopping continues at the pace set this weekend, area retailers appear likely to have a merry Christmas.

From clothing to electronics to toys, from discount stores to department stores to specialty shops, the turnout of shoppers scooping up bargains at after-Thanksgiving sales gave retailers reason for optimism about the holiday season.

In one big-box store that was open on Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, cheerful stock clerks were topping off the shelves, creating new displays in wide aisles and marking down prices for sales that would begin several hours later. They were working hard and under a deadline, but their demeanor showed excitement rather than stress. What happened over the next two or three days would indicate whether holiday sales this year would be good, mediocre or bad. Clearly, the store workers were expecting and preparing for demand like in the old days before the crash.