By Romen Bose (AFP)

KUALA LUMPUR — Caning in Malaysia has "hit epidemic proportions" with thousands of people subjected every year to beatings which leave permanent physical and mental scars, Amnesty International said Monday.

The London-based rights group called on the Malaysian government to immediately end the practice of judicial caning, which is meted out for immigration offences as well as more serious crimes like murder and rape.

"Caning in Malaysia has hit epidemic proportions," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International?s Asia-Pacific director.

"In every case that we examined, the punishment amounted to torture, which is absolutely prohibited under any circumstances."
Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said resource-rich Indonesia with a population of 240 million has great potential to become a new global economic power.

"We have great potential to emerge as a new global economic power," he said on the sidelines of a panel discussion held by the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI) here on Sunday.

The panel discussion was part of the ICMI`s 5th congress held at the IPB International Convention Center (IICC) here on Dec 4-7.

Hatta said the great potential could boost the national economy. "The national economy has been performing well all the time. In 2010, it is expected to grow by an average of 7.0 percent."

The average growth of 7.0 percent this year outstripped the government-set target of 6.8 percent, he said.

Given the higher-than-expected average growth this year, he expressed optimism that Indonesia would soon emerge as a new global economic power.

"Looking ahead, we will become the world`s five biggest economic powers," said Hatta who is also chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

"We are optimistic that the national economic growth will continue to increase every year. Even foreign observers have predicted that Indonesia will soon become main part of the global economic powers," he said. 

Source: Kantor Berita Antara
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Forbes Indonesia

Despite recent volcanic activity, Indonesia's star is shining bright. Its stock index has outperformed those of all other major Asian economies, up more than 50 per cent in dollar terms so far this year.

Only Mongolia's and Sri Lanka's markets did better. No surprise then that the country's richest enjoyed big gains. Their total worth surged to $71 billion, up from $42 billion last year, hitting an all-time record.

In another first, more than half of the top 40 are billionaires, up from last year's dozen. The Hartono brothers retain the top spot for the second year in a row with a net worth of $11 billion. They inherited clove cigarette maker Djarum from their father, but these days get the bulk of their wealth from Bank Central Asia, the country's largest bank, which returned to the ranks of the Forbes Fab 50 this year.

Behind them is Susilo Wonowidjojo, the year's biggest dollar gainer, worth $8 billion, up from $2.6 billion. His family still gets the bulk of their wealth from Gudang Garam, the country's largest clove cigarette maker. Sixteen of the 21 billionaires made their fortunes in coal or palm oil.
Wimbo Satwiko

Jakarta. With his first objective in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup achieved, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl plans to rest some of his first-team players for the team’s final group game.

Indonesia dismantled Laos 6-0 at Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday, guaranteeing itself top spot in Group A and a berth in the semifinals.

After thumping Malaysia 5-1 in its opening match, Indonesia entered Saturday’s game wary of a recent improvement in form by a resilient Laos squad.

Against Indonesia’s in-form attack, however, Laos wilted and was a far cry from the team that forced a surprising draw with Thailand last week.

Riedl had coached Laos before moving to Indonesia, and many believe the coach’s first-hand knowledge of the opposition made the difference.
Dominic Menor

Jakarta. Indonesia could be in line for Southeast Asia’s first permanent football academy to develop youngsters’ talent under plans being considered by English Premier League Club Liverpool.

The club is eager to boost its presence in Asia through its youth wing, the Liverpool International Football Academy.

Should the plan take off, Indonesia will be the first country in Asia that the Liverpool Academy will call home, with the prospect of Indonesian students getting a direct line to try out to play in the Premier League.

The Anfield club has already sent its youth coaches twice this year to Jakarta.

After celebrated former Reds striker Ian Rush presided over one clinic in May, the club last Saturday launched eight days of activities to promote football education.

PETALING JAYA: Hosts Indonesia, having already sealed their place in the semi-finals, can decide the fate of the other three teams in Group A of the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) championships.

Coach Alfred Riedl’s side are safely through to the last four after picking up an unassailable lead at the top of the standings in the group with six points from two straight wins. Three-time winners Thailand are next with two points, followed by Malaysia and Laos with one each.

Thailand seem to have the best chance to grab the second semi-final spot from the group because they will be playing Indonesia in their last group match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta tomorrow.

As Indonesia have already qualified for the last four, they may take their foot off the pedal and allow Thailand to get the win they need to go through.

However, should Indonesia field their strongest line-up and hold or beat the Thais, it will open the door for either Malaysia or Laos, who meet at the same time at the Jaka Baring Stadium in Palembang, to sneak into the last four.

National coach K. Rajagopal said that having gone through two absorbing matches “I believe we are in with a chance to make the semi-finals”.
Rangga D. Fadillah, The Jakarta Post

Malaysia has shown signs of perceiving Indonesia as a source of investment that could boost its own economic growth by driving its ambitious economic transformation programs designed to increase its income per capita to US$15,000 by 2020.

Kuala Lumpur invited Indonesian businesspeople to explore investment potentials in Malaysia during the recent visit of Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to Jakarta.

Muhyiddin met with representatives of Indonesian prominent businessmen to affirm his country’s commitment to opening larger opportunities for private business entities to become involved in the country’s development projects.

“I came here to explain about Malaysia’s economic transformation programs, including 131 projects opened for the private sector’s involvement both from Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said at a press conference after the meeting at Bank Mega Tower in Jakarta on Friday evening.

He said the Malaysian government had decided to reduce its involvement in those offered projects, adding that the government would cover no more than 8 percent of all required funds.