A scan of international media reporting on Indonesia reveals a somewhat downbeat picture of the country. Last week’s violent protests against parliamentary approval of the “Omnibus” reform bill were reported prominently with ominous connections made to religious extremists who might be behind the agitation. Other reports reminded readers of the persistently high levels of the Covid-19 infections in Indonesia and there were some uncomplimentary references to Indonesia’s substantial palm oil industry.

For sure, there are reasons to be concerned but we believe that, taking the good with the bad, Indonesia is getting some important things right with this Omnibus bill. If it is implemented well, and if other remaining weaknesses are also tackled, this reform could even prove to be transformational.

Why does Indonesia need these reforms so badly?

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