Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bigger Fish Yet to Fry

Vincent is being tried for money laundering and forgery. This may make people afraid of being whistle blowers.

Vincentius Amin Sutanto knew with whom he was dealing. To his lawyer, the former financial controller of Asian Agri Group, born in Singkawang on January 21, 1963, requested that the case he was mired in not be tried yet. “To assist the investigation into the case that he reported,” said Petrus Bala Pattyona, Vincentius’s lawyer.

Vincent, his nickname, reported suspicions of tax evasion committed by Asian Agri Group, one of the major companies belonging to Raja Garuda Mas owned by Sukanto Tanoto, to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Afterwards, on December 14, 2006, he surrendered himself to the Jakarta Police, after being hunted down for embezzling company money. However, his request was denied. His case was handed over to the West Jakarta District Court. On Monday of last week, the agenda entered the witness examination phase.

Vincent is being tried for suspicions of embezzling funds belonging to PT Asian Agri Oil & Fats Ltd, one of Asian Agri Group’s subsidiaries. In his accusation, prosecutor Supardi stated that Vincent and his two friends, Hendry Susilo, 48, and Agustinus Ferry Sutanto, 32, embezzled their company’s money. Vincent is alleged to have forged the signature of a high official of PT Asian Agri Oil, and funneled the money which he stated to be “ownerless” to two companies’ accounts.

Previously, charged Supardi, Vincent had asked the two colleagues to establish two companies, PT Asian Agri Jaya and PT Asian Agri Utama, and open accounts in Bank Panin in West Jakarta. He also asked for stamps for the two companies PT to be made.

Afterwards, he transferred Sukanto’s company money to the new companies’ accounts. On November 13, 2006, Vincent prepared two transfer applications from PT Asian Agri Oil & Fats Ltd, in Fortis Bank in Singapore to US$1.2 million to PT Asian Agri Utama and US$1.9 million to PT Asian Agri Jaya. The applications were made and signed by Vincent by forging the signature of a high official at PT Asian Agri Oil.

So went the money amounting to approximately US$3.1 million. On November 16, Hendry withdrew Rp200 million, Rp150 million of which was given to Vincent. Hendry had also planned to withdraw the same amount, but cancelled it because Vincent said that the money was problematical. Vincent then fled to Singapore before returning to Jakarta and reporting to the KPK.

The prosecutor charged Vincent under the Money Laundering Law. “Vincentius received money that came from a crime,” said prosecutor Supardi. The prosecutor also charged him with fraud under the Criminal Code for forging signatures.

Petrus deems the charges premature. Vincent is being charged with a money-laundering clause for stealing money that was allegedly from tax evasion, while the tax evasion case itself hasn’t been tried yet. “The main case should be tried first to prove whether the money was a result of a crime or not,” said Petrus.

In Petrus’s opinion, his client’s good service by revealing suspicions of tax manipulations at his company should be recognized. “Because this helps save state money,” he said. According to Petrus, Vincent asked to be given the opportunity to prove his report. “With his being tried and detained in Salemba Prison, he can’t assist in revealing the case,” added Petrus.

According to Eva Kusumandari, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR), who also drew up the Witness Protection law (UU No.13/2006), although he leaked his company’s treachery, Vincent still can’t escape the law. The Witness Protection Law, said Eva, only provides protection to whistle blowers from the case that they reveal. “If they have another criminal case, they can’t escape,” said Eva.

In the eye of the Witness Protection Coalition’s spokesperson, Supriyadi, this is one of the weaknesses of Law No. 13/2006. “The protection is still partial,” he said. According to Supriyadi, in several developed countries such as the United States, regulations on witness protection make it possible for whistle blowers to negotiate their testimonies with acquittal or reduction of punishment on other criminal acts. “The principle is to let the small fry go to catch the sharks,” he said.

A similar opinion was voiced by criminal law expert Indriyanto Seno Adji. According to Indriyanto, those who report corruption cases should receive legal protection. In a case such as Vincent’s, Indriyanto said, protection can be given by prioritizing bringing to trial the tax evasion first. Not by trying Vincent first. “If this is what happens, no one will want to be whistle blowers,” said the lecturer at the School of Law, University of Indonesia.

Abdul Manan, Muhammad Nafi (Jakarta)

Tempo Magazine, No. 38/VII/May 22 - 28, 2007

Economy & Business

Monday, May 21, 2007

Teri Masuk, Hiu Belum Dapat

Vincent diadili dengan dakwaan melakukan pencucian uang dan memalsu tanda tangan. Bisa membuat orang takut menjadi whistle blower.

Vincentius Amin Sutanto tahu siapa yang dihadapinya. Kepada pengacaranya, bekas financial controller Asian Agri Group kelahiran Singkawang 21 Januari 1963 itu minta kasus yang membelitnya tak diadili lebih dulu. ”Biar bisa membantu pengusutan kasus yang dilaporkannya,” kata Petrus Bala Pattyona, pengacara Vincentius.

Vincent, panggilan akrab Vincentius, melaporkan dugaan penggelapan pajak Asian Agri Group, salah satu perusahaan induk Raja Garuda Mas milik Sukanto Tanoto, ke Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi. Kemudian, pada 14 Desember 2006, ia menyerahkan diri ke Polda Metro Jaya, setelah diburu karena menggelapkan uang perusahaan. Tapi permintaan agar dirinya tidak diadili dulu tak dikabulkan. Kasusnya telah dilimpahkan ke Pengadilan Negeri Jakarta Barat. Pada Senin pekan lalu, agendanya menginjak pemeriksaan saksi.

Vincent diadili karena diduga melakukan pembobolan dana milik PT Asian Agri Oil and Fats Ltd., salah satu anak perusahaan Asian Agri Group. Dalam dakwaannya, jaksa Supardi menyatakan Vincent bersama dua kawannya, Hendry Susilo, 48 tahun, dan Agustinus Ferry Sutanto, 32 tahun, menggangsir uang milik perusahaan. Modusnya, Vincent memalsu tanda tangan petinggi PT Asian Agri Oil, lalu mengalirkan duit yang disebutnya ”tak bertuan” ke rekening dua perusahaan.

Sebelumnya, kata Supardi, Vincent meminta dua koleganya itu membuat dua perusahaan, yakni PT Asian Agri Jaya dan PT Asian Agri Utama, sekaligus membuka rekeningnya di Bank Panin Jakarta Barat. Ia juga minta dibuatkan stempel untuk dua perusahaan itu plus PT Asian Agri Oil and Fats Ltd.

Setelah itu, barulah ia mengalirkan uang milik perusahaan Sukanto ke rekening perusahaan barunya. Pada 13 November 2006, Vincent membuat dua lembar aplikasi pengiriman uang PT Asian Agri Oil and Fats Ltd., di Bank Fortis Singapura. Isinya, perintah mentransfer US$ 1,2 juta ke rekening PT Asian Agri Utama dan US$ 1,9 juta ke PT Asian Agri Jaya. Aplikasi dibuat dan ditandatangani Vincent dengan memalsu tanda tangan petinggi PT Asian Agri Oil.

Lantas duit senilai sekitar US$ 3,1 juta pun mengucur. Pada 16 November, Hendry menarik Rp 200 juta dan yang Rp 150 juta diberikan ke Vincent. Hendry sempat berencana mencairkan jumlah yang sama, tapi urung karena Vincent mengatakan uang itu bermasalah. Vincent pun kabur ke Singapura sebelum pulang ke Jakarta dan mengadu ke KPK.

Jaksa menjerat Vincent melanggar Undang-Undang Pencucian Uang. ”Vincentius telah menerima uang hasil kejahatan,” kata jaksa Supardi. Jaksa juga menjeratnya dengan pasal penipuan dalam Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana karena memalsu tanda tangan.

Petrus menilai dakwaan ini prematur. Alasannya, Vincent dijerat dengan pasal pencucian uang karena membobol uang yang diduga hasil penggelapan pajak, sementara kasus penggelapan pajak itu sendiri belum diadili. ”Seharusnya kasus induknya dulu yang diadili untuk membuktikan uang itu hasil tindak kejahatan atau bukan,” kata Petrus.

Menurut Petrus, jasa baik kliennya yang membongkar dugaan manipulasi pajak perusahaannya mestinya dihargai. ”Karena ini membantu menyelamatkan uang negara,” ujarnya. Menurut Petrus, Vincent minta diberi kesempatan membuktikan laporannya. ”Dengan posisi dia diadili seperti ini dan ditahan di penjara Salemba, dia tak bisa membantu pengungkapan kasus ini,” kata Petrus lagi.

Menurut Eva Kusumandari, anggota DPR yang juga penyusun Undang-Undang Perlindungan Saksi (UU No.13/2006), kendati membocorkan kecurangan perusahaannya, Vincent tetap tak bisa lolos dari hukum. UU Perlindungan Saksi, kata Eva, hanya memberikan perlindungan kepada pelapor (whistle blower) dari kasus yang diungkapkannya. ”Kalau dia punya kasus pidana lain, dia tak bisa menghindar,” kata Eva.

Di mata juru bicara Koalisi Perlindungan Saksi, Supriyadi, inilah salah satu kelemahan UU No. 13/2006 tersebut. ”Perlindungannya masih parsial,” kata dia. Menurut Supriyadi, di beberapa negara maju seperti Amerika Serikat, aturan tentang perlindungan saksi memungkinkan whistle blower menegosiasikan kesaksiannya dengan pembebasan atau pengurangan hukuman atas tindak pidana lainnya. ”Prinsipnya, teri dilepas untuk mendapatkan hiu,” katanya.

Pendapat senada disampaikan pakar hukum pidana Indriyanto Seno Adji. Menurut Indriyanto, seharusnya pelapor kasus korupsi mendapat perlindungan hukum. Dalam kasus Vincent ini, ujar Indriyanto, perlindungan bisa diberikan dengan memprioritaskan pengadilan kasus penggelapan pajaknya lebih dulu. Jadi, bukan Vincent masuk pengadilan terlebih dulu. ”Kalau seperti ini yang terjadi, tidak akan ada yang mau jadi whistle blower,” kata dosen Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia ini.

Abdul Manan, Muhammad Nafi (Jakarta)

Rubrik: Ekonomi dan Bisnis

Majalah Tempo, Edisi. 13/XXXIIIIII/21 - 27 Mei 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Surat Rahasia Orang Dalam

Kwik Kian Gie diperiksa kejaksaan berkaitan dengan dugaan korupsi program Jaring Pengaman Sosial. Pemerintah terpaksa mengembalikan dana yang sebelumnya dikucurkan Bank Dunia.

ADA pekerjaan rumah yang kini sedang dikebut Kejaksaan Tinggi Jakarta, yaitu kasus dugaan korupsi dana hibah Proyek Penguatan dan Pengaman Program Jaring Pengaman Sosial. Sedikitnya sudah 15 saksi yang diperiksa tim penyidik kejaksaan untuk memastikan siapa yang layak diajukan ke meja hijau dalam kasus ini. “Sampai kini kami masih mendalami dokumen dan hasil pemeriksaan,” kata Kepala Kejaksaan Tinggi DKI Jakarta, Darmono, Jumat pekan lalu.

Dana hibah bank dunia ini menjadi pembicaraan setelah kejaksaan mulai memeriksa para pejabat Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional (Bappenas), termasuk bekas kepalanya, Kwik Kian Gie. Dalam proyek senilai Rp 5,1 miliar tersebut, Bank Dunia menaksir Rp 1,8 miliar yang dikorupsi. Bank Dunia menuntut dana itu dikembalikan dan pemerintah akhirnya memenuhinya.

Kasus ini mulai diusut setelah ada surat tak dikenal masuk ke kantor Bank Dunia pada Oktober 2002. Surat itu membeberkan fakta: beberapa pejabat Bappenas terlibat kecurangan dan korupsi dalam proyek yang dimulai 26 November 2001 dan berakhir 31 Agustus 2002 itu.

Agustus 2003, Bank Dunia pun melakukan investigasi dan melakukan pelacakan dokumen. Hasilnya, sebuah laporan setebal 200 halaman. Di situ disebutkan bahwa memang terjadi kecurangan dan korupsi dalam proyek yang didanai Bank Dunia itu.

Kendati dana hibah itu senilai Rp 5,1 miliar, tapi dana yang sudah dicairkan sebenarnya baru Rp 1,8 miliar. Dalam rancangan proyek itu disebutkan, sebesar Rp 1,07 miliar untuk jasa konsultan, Rp 320 juta untuk pelaksanaan lokakarya dan pelatihan, serta Rp 584 juta untuk pembelian serta penyewaan peralatan.

Nah, dari hasil pelacakan Bank Dunia ternyata penyelewengan itu terjadi dalam bentuk proyek fiktif dan manipulasi harga. Soal jasa konsultan, misalnya, honor yang diberikan ternyata tak sesuai. Di kuitansi ditulis Rp 9,5 juta, tapi yang diberikan cuma Rp 8 juta. Bank Dunia juga mengecek sampai ke pengeluaran untuk hotel. Dalam salah satu lokakarya di Bandung, tertulis pengeluaran di kuitansi Rp 18 juta. Setelah dicek, ternyata pihak hotel hanya menerima Rp 8 juta.

Bappenas tentu saja kelimpungan mendapat serangan dari Bank Dunia ini. Badan ini lantas meminta audit dari Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan dan Pembangunan (BPKP) dan Inspektur Utama Bappenas. Dalam laporan 26 Juni 2003, BPKP memberikan penilaian wajar tanpa pengecualian atas laporan keuangan proyek. Tapi, temuan inspektur utama sedikit beda, yakni terjadi inefisiensi Rp 58 juta. Kwik Kian Gie yang saat itu masih menjabat Kepala Bappenas tak sudi mengembalikan dana hibah tersebut. “Kalaupun dikembalikan, harusnya yang diduga dikorupsi itu saja,” kata Kwik.

Menurut Kwik, dugaan penyelewengan yang dibuat Bank Dunia itu tak disertai bukti cukup. Walau begitu, World Bank tak bergeming. Lembaga ini tetap menuntut semua dana hibah dikembalikan. Alasannya, soal ini sudah diatur dalam panduan pemberian hibah. “Memang ada dalam panduan, tapi penafsirannya suka-suka mereka,” kata Kwik kepada Tempo, Rabu pekan lalu.

Sikap keras Kwik tak melunakkan sikap Bank Dunia. Pada 26 Juli 2004, Pejabat Bank Dunia di Indonesia berkirim surat kepada Menteri Keuangan Boediono. Mereka minta seluruh dana tetap dikembalikan. Pemerintah akhirnya menyerah, mengembalikan dana itu.

Sekretaris Utama Bappenas, Syahrial Loethan, mengaku tak tahu pasti mengapa akhirnya pemerintah mengembalikan dana hibah itu. “Mungkin ada tekanan dari Bank Dunia,” kata Syahrial. Saat proyek dilaksanakan, Syahrial menjabat inspektur di Bappenas. Perwakilan Bank Dunia di Jakarta tak mau memberikan komentar untuk soal ini.

Syahrial menilai penilaian Bank Dunia tidak adil. “Hasil laporan itu berdasarkan sampel yang terbatas,” ujarnya. Menurut dia, perbedaan nilai dugaan korupsi itu karena terjadi perbedaan tafsir yang disebut korupsi. “Kami mengecek bukti laporan dengan barangnya,” kata dia. “Kalau barang ada, tentu tak bisa dibilang korupsi.” Karena itulah, Inspektorat Bappenas hanya menyebut ada inefisiensi yang nilainya Rp 58 juta. Syahrial juga mengaku sudah mengklarifikasi semua temuan dan dugaan kecurangan yang dilaporkan Bank Dunia ini kepada para pelaksana proyek. “Tak ada indikasi mereka memperkaya diri.”

Menurut Darmono, kasus ini membuat negara rugi Rp 1,8 miliar. Dugaan korupsinya macam-macam, dari soal lokakarya fiktif hingga kuitansi yang diduga direkayasa. Darmono tak mempermasalahkan perbedaan dugaan korupsi yang berbeda antara Bank Dunia, BPKP, dan Inspektur Bappenas. “Dalam kasus korupsi, jumlah tak begitu penting,” kata dia.

Walau sudah memeriksa Kwik, Darmono belum bisa memastikan apakah pengurus PDI Perjuangan ini bakal jadi tersangka. “Dari segi pertanggungjawaban masih jauh,” ujarnya. Dalam tindak pidana, kata dia, pertanggungjawabannya ada pada yang melakukan. “Ini murni yuridis, tak ada kepentingan politik,” kata Darmono.

Abdul Manan, Fanny Febriana

Bukti Korupsi Dua Versi
Nilai Hibah:US$ 573.025 (Rp 5,1 miliar).
Dicairkan:US$ 203,636 (Rp 1,8 miliar)
Masa Hibah:26 November 2001–31 Agustus 2002

Pengeluaran Pos Individual Konsultan Rp 594 Juta

* Bank Dunia (BD): Dari 20 konsultan, cuma tiga yang bisa ditemui dan bekerja di proyek. Honor lebih besar dan tak sesuai dengan kuitansi. Tertulis Rp 9,5 juta, diterima Rp 8 juta.
* Inspektur Bappenas (IB): Konsultan lain yang bekerja belum dihubungi oleh Bank Dunia.


Biaya Perjalanan Konsultan Rp 409 Juta

* BD: Perjalanan dinas konsultan tumpang-tindih dan direkayasa. Ada konsultan yang tiba di Jakarta pukul 09.30, tapi pada hari yang sama berangkat dari Jakarta pukul 08.30.
* IB: Perjalanan dinas dilaksanakan, tapi konsultan pulang tak sesuai dengan jadwal. Kerugian Rp 1 juta.


Lokakarya dan Pelatihan Rp 320 Juta

* BD: Pemenang tender tidak melaksanakan kegiatan. Hanya menerima fee yang besarnya 6–10 persen. Juga ditemukan bahwa di kuitansi tercatat Rp 18 juta, tapi hotel cuma menerima Rp 8 juta.
* IB: Nama rekanan dipakai untuk pencairan anggaran. Soal perbedaan biaya riil dengan kuitansi hotel karena ada biaya lain yang tak ada anggarannya, seperti honor panitia daerah. Inefisiensi Rp 32 juta.


Sewa Kendaraan Rp 55 Juta

* BD: Tidak dilaksanakan dengan benar alias fiktif.
* IB: Bank Dunia meminta konfirmasi penghuni rumah yang tak tahu mobilnya pernah disewakan.


Sewa Komputer dan Printer Rp 110 Juta

* BD: Fiktif. Rekanan hanya menerima fee yang besarnya 10 persen. Selebihnya uang kembali ke staf Bappenas.
* IB: Penyewaan dilakukan, tapi bukti pertanggungjawaban direkayasa. Inefisiensi Rp 11 juta.


Sewa Rumah Rp 158 Juta

* BD: Penyewaan rumah diragukan.
* IB: Rumah disewa, tapi dokumentasi pengadaan dan perjanjian direkayasa.


Sewa Furniture Rp 25 Juta

* BD: Tidak dilaksanakan dengan benar alias fiktif.
* IB: Furniturnya ada, tapi proses pertanggungjawabannya direkayasa. Inefisiensi Rp 2,5 juta.


Pembuatan Buku Panduan Rp 114 Juta

* BD: Tidak dilaksanakan dengan benar alias fiktif. Rekanan hanya menerima fee yang sebesar 10 persen. Selebihnya kembali ke staf Bappenas.
* IB: Buku benar dicetak, proses pengadaan dan bukti pertanggungjawabannya direkayasa. Inefisiensi Rp 11,4 juta.


Komunikasi dan Lain-lain Rp 108 Miliar

* BD: Fiktif. Sebagian bukti berupa fotokopi.
* IB: Bukti asli hilang saat pemeriksaan. Pengeluaran seperti konsumsi rapat tanpa kuitansi sehingga dibuat bukti administrasi yang direkayasa.


Majalah Tempo, Edisi. 10/XXXIIIIIII/07 - 13 Mei 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Double Trouble

Temasek is suspected to have violated the ban on monopoly over double ownership of shares in Indosat and Telkomsel.

IN the coming weeks Nawir Messi will be very busy. This member of the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) will start questioning a number of individuals suspected of unsound business practices in the cellular telephone industry. “We’ve decided to summons them,” he said Wednesday last week.

Those mentioned are names familiar to businessmen in communications, specifically cellphones—Temasek, Telkomsel and Indosat. Nawir Messi himself is appointed as the head of the team examining the monopoly case of the giant communications business.

The KPPU is indeed looking into the suspected violation of Law No. 5/1999 (banning monopoly and unhealthy business competition) by Temasek Holdings for double ownership of shares in Telkomsel and Indosat. Meanwhile, Telkomsel is under investigation because of its dominance over the market.

The case surfaced after the United State-Owned Enterprises Labor Union on October 18 last year lodged a complaint about a possible bidding conspiracy in the Indosat network development project in 2004 and 2005.

To verify the report, the Labor Union submitted additional data a month later. In the document submitted on November 17, 2006, the Union also questioned the monopoly practices of Telkomsel and Indosat. Instead of competing, both, according to the Union, made a deal on tariff uniformity.

To strengthen the argument, they submitted additional data on the origin of Temasek’s stock ownership in Indosat and Telkomsel. Temasek holds 41.9 percent of shares in Indosat through the subsidiary of STT Communication, i.e. Indonesian Communication Ltd. One hundred percent of STT Communication shares is held by Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT). So, Temasek holds 100 percent of the shares in STT.

In Telkomsel, Temasek possesses 35 percent of the shares through Singapore Telecom Mobil Pte Ltd. This company belongs 100 percent to Singapore Telecommunication Limited (Singtel). In Singtel, Temasek holds majority stock, 56 percent. Under such a composition of ownership, the Union views Temasek as being the virtual king of the cellphone business in Indonesia, since Indosat and Telkomsel control some 80 percent of the cellular markets.

The Labor Union reinforced the report by subsequent submission of additional documents on December 22, 2006. However, the year 2006 having passed, the process of its investigation was not clear. Finally the Union revoked the report on April 2, 2007. According to the Union’s attorney, Habiburrohman, a final decision over the report should have been made last February. “The team was formed last April 9,” said Habiburrohman. Another reason: “Following our scrutiny, our suspicion is not proven,” said Union head Arief Poyuono.

Based on the scrutiny, said Arief, it turns out that Temasek cannot be said to have full control of the cellphone markets despite its share ownership in Indosat and Telkomsel. Temasek controls only 30 percent of the cell markets in Indonesia.

In addition, said Arief, the revocation was also due to the fact that the Union felt that some people were taking advantage of this issue. “The aim is to make STT uncomfortable and sell its shares.” The decision to withdraw the complaint, he said, was made by the Union presidium meeting in Bandung on March 29, 2007.

According to Arief, there would be danger if the shares were sold. “They are most likely to fall into foreign hands again, as the government has no funds,” he said, referring to the government’s plan to sell some 15 SOEs. When released to Temasek through Indonesian Communication Ltd, 41.9 percent of the Indosat shares were then worth Rp5.6 trillion.

As for the KPPU, the revocation of the complaint does not stop the case completely. According to Nawir, the process within the KPPU is different from a civil case. “Even without the report, we can still look into the matter,” he said.

It turns out that the KPPU has been monitoring the monopoly over the cell markets over the past five years. Following the process of verification, early in last April, the KPPU held a meeting. “The result is, there’s great suspicion of violation of Law No. 5/1999 committed by Temasek and Telkomsel,” said Nawir. “Therefore, we are doing the probe not purely because of the Labor Union’s report.”

Based on the KPPU’s initial data, Temasek is suspected of having violated the rules on double ownership in Telkomsel and Indosat. Article 27 of the Law on Prohibition of Monopoly forbids businessmen from holding majority shares in several companies engaged in the same line of business.

As for Telkomsel, this company is thought to have violated the clause concerning monopoly and dominance in the cell markets. Articles 17 and 25 are violated. These articles state that entrepreneurs must not control over 50 percent of production or the markets.

According to Dita Wiradiputra, Executive Director of the Institute for Studies of Business Policy and Competition of the University of Indonesia School of Law, the Law on Prohibition of Monopoly does ban double ownership of shares. “So, if the KPPU simply adheres to the articles, the perpetrator of double ownership is bound to be declared guilty,” said Dita.

Nonetheless, Dita is critical. According to her, double ownership should be banned in a sector with a limited number of businessmen. If there are many players, it could be permissible. In addition, there is need for an explanation of possible effects arising from double ownership. “This needs to be taken into consideration by the KPPU so that the investment climate is not disturbed.”

In the case of Temasek, said Di­ta, the KPPU should be able to prove that dual ownership renders Indosat and Telkomsel­ unable to compete sound­ly. According to Dita, there are already indications of monopoly in, among others, the prices set by Indosat and Telkomsel. “Whereas­ both have a dif­ferent cost structure,” she said. “Because, under healthy competition, the tariffs for a phone conversation could be lower.”

For Telkomsel, said Dita, the KPPU should prove that this company uses its dominant position. She said that the prevailing assumption so far was that controlling over 50 percent of the cell market share, Telkomsel is controlling the markets. As a result, its competitors will not dare fix tariffs beyond its tolerance. “Because, as a major operator, the company can drastically lower the prices, thus killing other operators,” said Dita.

The Singapore-based Temasek Holdings refused to comment on the KPPU probe. “That’s the business of Singtel and STT to give a response. Temasek is not directly responsible for the business and operational decisions of the companies,” said Serena Khoo, Director of Temasek Corporate Affairs.

As regards its business on the agenda of the KPPU meetings, Telkomsel chose not to make much comment. However, to Tempo, Telkomsel Corporate Communication head Azis Fuedi affirmed that his company had not practiced monopoly by using its dominant position. “Our aim is not monopoly,” said Azis. Even if his company controls over 50 percent of the cell markets, he said, it is merely because they have a new technology with a more extensive scope. Todung Mulya Lubis, the attorney of Singapore Technologies Telemedia, also chose not to comment on the KPPU probe. “I don’t want to make comments yet,” said Lubis.

Harsh punishment will befall Temasek’s companies if the suspected monopoly is proven. According to KPPU Chairman Mohammad Iqbal, if the KPPU is able to prove the existence of monopolistic practices, it will order Temasek to sell its entire stock in either one of the telecommunications companies. “It’s up to them whether they want to sell the shares of Telkomsel or Indosat,” he said. According to Iqbal, only in this way will healthy competition grow.

Abdul Manan, Riky Ferdianto

Tempo Magazine, No. 35/VII/May 01 - 07, 2007

Stories from the North

NORTH Korea-a land of mystery. Under the leadership of Kim Il-sung the country lived in isolation from the world outside. In 2000, it slowly opened up under the Great Leader's son Kim Yong-il. What is the country like today? Tempo reporter Abdul Manan recently visited North Korea and filed this report.

THE 28-year-old woman is glad that she's not among about 10 million South Koreans separated from their families in the North after the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Kris Shin has no family in the North to miss. "This is my first visit to the North," said Kris, a guide on our current tour of North Korea.
On March 14, we participants of a conference on peace and reconciliation which was jointly organized by the International Federation of Journalists Association, were visiting North Korea or the People's Democratic Republic of Korea as it's officially called. I was among 100 journalists from 70 countries who crossed the border in six buses into Kumgang, a mountain resort in North Korea.

Kumgang is located about 150 kilometers southeast of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, and 250 kilometers north of Seoul, capital of South Korea. Development of Kumgang began as early as 1989. But the first tourists arrived there only 11 years later from a cruise ship anchored offshore. From Seoul the shortest overland route to Kumgang is through Daejin along the eastern coast of Korea on the Sea of Japan. Seoul is located about 200 kilometers from Daejin.

We stopped at Hwajinpo Asan Rest Place in Daejin. Chu Chang, an employee of Hyundai Asan, the South Korean company that built the Kumgang mountain resort, joined us for the rest of the journey. Yu Jin, a tour guide working for the company, distributed visas and entry passes before we entered North Korea.
At the North Korean border immigration officers not only required us to show our passports but also searched our personal effects. Certain goods were not allowed entry into North Korea. We had been forewarned in the South against carrying such goods as binoculars and telescopes with 10-times magnifying power, cameras with lens wider than 160 millimeters and video cameras with a 24-times zoom lens.

Also in the long list of banned articles were radios, tape recorders, MP3 players, global positioning systems, mobile phones, and books, newspapers, magazines and other printed matter from the South. And no less important was that no pictures may be taken of military objects.
All through our journey from Seoul to Daejin, Kris repeatedly warned us of the restrictions. "Why can't we take pictures?" one journalist asked. "You are just not allowed," said Kris. "Why?" Kris tried to explain but in the end she simply said it was for reasons of security. "Yes, this is North Korea," said Kris as a final word of reply.

After 15 minutes' drive from Hwajinpo we stopped at the Donghae Highway Transit Office, a modern steel and glass structure where South Korean immigration, customs and quarantine officers subject in- and outbound visitors to inspection. With six immigration counters in the building, it took no more than five minutes for us to pass through the inspection.

We resumed our journey and entered the demilitarized zone through Tongil Tower, a South Korean military observation post. The zone extends 2 kilometers south and 2 kilometers north of the border over an area stretching 248 kilometers from the western end to the eastern end of Korea. A military demarcation line cuts across the center of the zone.

The zone was built after the armistice on July 27, 1953. The war killed about 1 million people on each side of the border and separated 10 million families. An overland access across the zone was opened to tourism only four years ago.

I saw no houses, no vehicles, and no cattle farms all along the 4 kilometers of the demilitarized zone. Only an expanse of tall coarse grass wilting yellow in the dry season. Korea in the month of March is not as beautiful as pictured in the Korean television series Dejanggem and Winter Sonata popular with Indonesian viewers.

A concrete wall stood on both sides of the road along the demarcation line. We were told it served as the first obstruction an invading army has to break through either side of the border. It would take 15 minutes to clear the debris from a breach of the wall for tanks to get through.

Two kilometers on we arrived at Kusunbong in North Korea. The place looked more like a military camp than an immigration office. No immigration officers, only soldiers standing guard at the entry point. One each side of the road soldiers examined our passports before letting us pass.
In contrast with Donhae, no smiles, no words of welcome at Kusunbong. No cafe, no money changing counters either. The only public facility was a public toilet.

Back on the road we were again warned against taking pictures. Now I understood why. After 15 minutes out of Kusunbong, we saw what we were not supposed to take pictures of. "You see that? That's a rocket launcher," said Michael Yu, a companion, as he pointed to his left.
Although we were 1.5 kilometers away, I could make out three rocket launchers parked at the mouth of a tunnel. "Those rockets have a range out over the hills," said Yu pointing to the hills on both sides of the road. Yu was familiar with such sights as he was drafted for 14 months of military service with the Taiwanese Air Force.

That was not the only military installation I saw. About 1 kilometer from the rocket-launching sites, I saw camouflaged tanks hidden at the foot of the hills. Six guns pointed out from the tank turrets toward the road as if to intimidate anyone coming nearer. I also saw solders standing guard every 500 meters of the way from Kusunbong. Some on the roadside, others out in the middle of a field.

Just before noon we arrived at Onjeonggak from where we could go in all directions to other tourist destinations in Kumgang, including Samilpo Lake, Mamulsang Rockies, and Dongseokdong Valley. At Onjeonggak we went to the Cultural Center after paying a US$30 ticket per person to watch a one-hour performance by the Pyongyang Moranbong Acrobatic troupe.

Other than the Cultural Center, Onjeonggak also boasted three hotels, pavilions, restaurants and shopping centers. But you can't buy things as you like although you have the money to do so. The government sets a limit to the amount you may spend on purchases to take home.

You may buy one bottle of foreign-produced drink, and two bottles of local drink. You may not buy more than five kilograms of agricultural produce. The amount you spend is also limited. You may not spend and take more than US$30 worth of souvenirs. Transactions are done in dollars, not in won, the North Korean currency.

The government not only sets limitation to purchases, but also imposes penalties on errant tourists. A tourist is fined US$5 for losing his entrance card to Hyundai and between US$5 and US$100 for losing his visa. "That's why they call this country a country of penalties," said Kris.
The day's program at Onjeonggak closed with a dinner at Okryukwan, a typical North Korean restaurant, and coffee time later at the bar of the Oekumgang Hotel where we relaxed to the accompaniment of soft melodies provided by two singers.

Inday Espina, a Philippine journalist, instantly knew from the singers' accents where they came from. "They're Filipinos," he told me. Soon he was engrossed in a conversation with the two singers.

* * *

In the morning we went to Samilpo Lake. On the way I saw a seven-story building, the Family Reunion Center, which was still under construction. A similar center was built at Panmunjeom right at the western part of the demarcation line where families separated by the war were reunited.
On the way to Samilpo we passed through several villages. In Yangji Village, for instance, I saw a military post. Soldiers stopped everyone on foot and on bicycle to give way to our six buses as we headed toward Samilpo Lake.

An access road had been built to the lake. One or two soldiers stood guard at every crossing of the road, except on the route we passed through. We stayed only for 30 minutes. But we couldn't leave at once because of a minor incident.

It began when a North Korean offered paintings for sale. I took a picture of him and returned to the bus. But when Pio Demilia, an Italian journalist,
tried to interview the man, soldiers barred him from doing so. Demilia protested as Israeli journalist Menachem Hadar took a picture of the quarrel. Both Demilia and Hadar were taken to the military post.

The soldiers erased Hadar's three-minute recording of the quarrel. But when they tried to do the same with Damelia's camera, they couldn't do it because of battery failure. They went from bus to bus asking if anyone had a good Panasonic battery, to no avail. We were delayed for an hour as the two journalists were interrogated by the soldiers.

Another little incident involved myself and Chung Il-yong, head of the Korean Journalists Association. At one corner of the road I asked Yong to take a short cut. On the way we were stopped by a solider with a whistle and a red flag which he flapped from side to side like a linesman finding a soccer player breaking the rules of the game.

This was not the last incident we had with the soldiers during our two days' stay in North Korea. On our way back to Seoul, Bertold Jercy Kittel, a Polish journalist, was herded and interrogated at the immigration office at Kusunbong for taking pictures in the area. The soldiers erased all of his two days' worth of recording just because of one or two shots he took at Kusunbong.

Our two days in North Korea left a very deep impression on me. And on Kris, too. "All these 18 years of my life, I have taken freedom for granted. Now I know what freedom means after this visit to North Korea," said the South Korean woman.

Interlude
TEMPO MAGAZINE, No. 35/VII/May 01 - 07, 2007

The Economic Road to Reunification

North Korea chalked up significant economic growth in recent years thanks to reconciliation with the South. But Pyongyang's nuclear development remains a stumbling block to reunification.

THE Korean Peninsula is a land with many monuments dedicated to peace and reconciliation. At least three such monuments are found in Paju in the northernmost district of South Korea: Bell of Peace, Bridge of Freedom and Reunification Monument. These monuments are an expression of a desire of the citizens in both North and South Korea for peace, freedom and reunification.

The Korean Peninsula was divided into two states by foreign powers at the end of World War II. The northern part, North Korea, was supported by the Soviet Union and the southern part, South Korea, by the United States. The two Koreas fought a bitter war from 1950 to 1953. Since then the Korean Peninsula has been one of the hottest spots in the world.

But the spirit of brotherhood remained alive among the people of the two Koreas. Pressure for reunification mounted in the 1980s. In 1990 the prime ministers of the North and the South began preliminary talks for reunification.

On June 13, leaders of the two Koreas, Kim Dae-jung of the South and Kim Jong-il of the North, met in Pyongyang opening the door to reconciliation. Two months after the historic meeting, 100 families from North Korea and 100 from the South met in a reunion, the second such after the first one earlier in 1989.

Economic cooperation followed with South Korea acting like Santa Claus with billions of dollars to dispense in North Korea, left far behind in economic development. South Korean conglomerates known as chaebol came in droves to invest in the North.

Notable among development projects carried out by South Korean businessmen were the construction of an industrial complex on 300 hectares of land in Gaesong, a railway line that linked the two Koreas, and a mountain resort in Kumgang. "Reunification is being pushed forward by means of economic cooperation," said Whan-bin Jang, Senior Vice President of Hyundai for International Business.

Hyundai, the South Korean business giant, played an important role in promoting economic cooperation between the North and the South. The company built the Gaesong Industrial Complex shortly after it signed a memorandum of cooperation with North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee in August 2000. Gaesong is a city in the southern part of North Korea about 7 kilometers from the demilitarized zone.

According to Jang, three factories are in operation as of April 2007 employing 13,000 people. Most of them, naturally, are North Koreans. The rest are South Koreans. Labor wage ranges on average around US$60 a month. "We'll raise the wage gradually," said Jang. In South Korea, a foreign worker receives about US$740 on average in monthly pay.

Yang said the reopening of a railway between the two Koreas was of vital importance. The 27.3-kilometer-long railway which was opened in 2003 linked Dorosan Station in South Korea with Gaesong in the North. It thus connects the Trans-Korea Railway with Trans-China, Trans-Mongolia and Trans-Siberia. 'This has cut costs sharply," said Jang. Today shipments from South Korea which normally take a month to reach Europe by sea, now take only a week by rail.

Hyundai has also built a mountain resort at Kumgang based on the Protocol for Tourism Development of Mount Kumgang signed in Pyongyang in January 1989, long before the historic meeting of leaders of the two Koreas in 2000. The mountain resort went into full operation only in 1988 with the arrival of tourists on a cruise ship anchored offshore. An overland route from South Korea to Kumgang opened in 2003 across the demilitarized zone.
Since the opening of the Kumgang mountain resort, the numbers of tourists to North Korea jumped sharply from only 1,476,600 in 1989 to 1.4 million in February 2007, most of them Koreans. Only 8,353 were non-Korean.

Also, most of the workers in hotels, restaurants and shopping centers were North Korean. Only a few were South Koreans. Two locations popular with tourists are Okryukwan Restaurant and the Cultural Center. The restaurant was built at a cost of US$4.4 million and the Cultural Center at US$7.9 million. "Both are operated by North Korea," said Jang. But the nearby Oekumgang Hotel, built at a cost of US$14.9 million, is operated by South Koreans.
Another South Korean company which also expanded into North Korea is Daewoo Corporation. In 1996, Daewoo signed an agreement with a North Korean company called Samcholli General Trading Corporation on a joint venture in the construction of three factories in Nampo, South Pyongan, to produce garments, handbags and jackets.

Data issued by the North Korean Ministry of Reunification shows economic cooperation has been growing steadily since it began in 1989 when it amounted to only US$20 million. By the year 2006 the figure shot up to US$1.35 billion. "The economies of the countries should be brought to a more equal level before we push for reunification," said Jang.

Today there's still a wide economic gap between the two Koreas. North Korea's gross domestic product amounts to only 4 percent of that of the South. This is reflected in the per capita income of the South which stands at US$13,980, almost eight times more than that of the North. But that was quite an improvement from 2000 when the South Koreans earned as much as much as 18 times more than their cousins in the North.

But the good picture is clouded by North Korea's nuclear program. Chung Il-yong, head of the Korean Journalists Association, told a conference on peace and reconciliation on March 11-17 that Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons had been a stumbling block to peace between the two Koreas. "Peace can only be achieved if nuclear weapons are abolished [in North Korea]," he said.

But the economic gap between North and South remains a problem. Marcus Noland from the Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, was quoted by Time (August 25, 2003 edition) as saying that it would take US$600 billion in investment over the next 10 years to bring North Korea's per capita income to 60 percent of that of the South. He said social stability could be achieved between the two states at that level.
Learning from the experience of East and West Germany, a gap in economic and social development is a problem for a country seeking reunification. In Korea, the gap is much wider than in Germany. Accordingly, it's a long road to peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula.
Abdul Manan (Kumgang, North Korea)

Interlude

TEMPO MAGAZINE, No. 35/VII/May 01 - 07, 2007

Tourism in the DMZ

South Korea offers visits to the demilitarized zone, including a tunnel reportedly built by North Korea to infiltrate the South.

DMZ-Panmunjeom. The words appeared yellow and white against a backdrop of red in a brochure published by Grace Travel. I got a copy of the brochure from the Tourist Information Center at the corner of Namdeaemunno Street in Seoul, capital of South Korea. Yes, besides beautiful and exotic scenery, South Korea is also offering a demilitarized zone as a tourist attraction.

The DMZ, short for Demilitarized Zone, came into existence at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Extending 248 kilometers from west to east, the zone is 2 kilometers deep into North Korea and 2 kilometers into South Korea. It's divided along a demarcation line. Three tourist spots are offered: Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory and Panmunjeom.

All three are located on the western side of the demilitarized zone. Paju, located about 40 kilometers from Seoul, is the entry point. I was among 20 journalists who entered the demilitarized zone recently through Paju where we were subject to a security search at a military post at the Tongil border before being allowed into the Third Infiltration Tunnel. I saw many objects of interest, but alas we weren't allowed to take pictures.
A museum and a theater have been built in the tunnel area. A souvenir shop marked the area as a tourist site. Our tour of the DMZ began with the showing of a short documentary on the 1950-1953 Korean War and the history of the zone. The 10-minute film opened with a sad note: a Korean child crying by the side of a barbed-wire fence on one side of the DMZ.

The division of Korea into two separate states, the North and the South, is a tragedy. Despite lingering suspicion, there's a strong desire for reunification. The Third Infiltration Tunnel was built by the North Koreans in 1978. The tunnel, 44 kilometers long, was dug to a depth of 73 meters. North Korea dug a total of 1,600 kilometers of tunnels, claiming it was for the purpose of mineral exploration. The South challenged the claim. It said there were no geological signs of any mineral deposits in the area.

The tunnel is only 2 meters wide. We started our journey down the tunnel in a long, multi-seat lorry. After a long ride we came to a more open part of the tunnel where we disembarked to explore the underground work.

The tunnel ends at the demarcation line where a barbed-wire fence blocks the way. The entrance door was padlocked and a sign on it read: "Restricted Area." According to Atena, our tour guide, North Korea constructed the tunnel using hand grenades to break up the hard granite and open up a passage.
Leaving the tunnel, we went to the Dora Observatory. The name reminded me of Dora the Explorer, the cartoon character loved by Indonesian children. But Dora Observatory had nothing to do with the cartoon. It was a military observation post with a view below of Gaesong, a North Korean city closest to the border with South Korea.

Built in 1986 the observatory provides a visitor with a view of the border separating the two Koreas, like a person looking out from the balcony on the front yard of his house. The demarcation line is located a kilometer away.

We could see with our naked eyes an expanse of land grown over with grass and drying vegetation. Over the side was a hill rising up to the sky. If you want to make out the view in greater detail, you can hire a telescope for 5,000 won (about Rp4,000) per minute. If you are lucky with your telescope, you can see children in military training on the other side of the border.

Sergeant Kim, a South Korean military officer acting as our guide, said North Korean soldiers were frequently seen coming close to the border through a
public road to avoid stepping on land mines in what was once a war zone. "There could be as many as 150 mines in 1 hectare of land over there," Kim said as he pointed beyond the border.

Although you can freely use a telescope, you are not allowed to take pictures from inside the observatory, nor even from outside close to the observatory for that matter. The demilitarized zone covers a wide area. Look at Panmunjeum, a joint security area of the UN and North Korean forces in the demilitarized zone. The 800-square-meter area cuts right through the demarcation line, the sites of the Peace House, Freedom House, and Conference Room.

Built after the Korean War, Panmunjeom is where the two sides have their headquarters and where they used to meet to discuss border security.
The UN and North Korea have their own observation posts located opposite each other in the middle of the demilitarized zone, the North on the northern side, the UN on the southern side. Military personnel from both sides freely moved within the zone until August 18, 1976 when North Korean soldiers axed Captain Auther G. Bonifas of the US Army to death. In memory of the slain officer, the UN headquarters was named Camp Bonifas.

"The DMZ is a fortified border area only Korea can offer," an advertisement in Grace Travel reads. The ad reminded me of tourism tips given by Kris, our tour guide. She said there were three things a visitor to Korea shouldn't forget to do: enjoy its food, take as many pictures as possible, and go shopping. Reading the advertisement, I think Kris forgot one thing. That is, don't forget to visit the tunnel in the DMZ.

Abdul Manan (Panmunjeom)

Interlude

TEMPO MAGAZINE, No. 35/VII/May 01 - 07, 2007