Petugas Basarnas mengumpulkan jenazah korban tsunami di pesisir Cinangka, Serang, Banten, Minggu (23/12). ANTARA FOTO/Basarnas/pras.

Major Events That Have Marked 2018 in Indonesia


DECEMBER 31, 2018

Jakarta. The past year has been an eventful one for Indonesia – from major international sporting events and global conferences to economic woes and devastating natural disasters.

As 2018 is about to conclude, the Jakarta Globe looks back at some of these that have impacted the country and its people.

Outbreak of Preventable Diseases

In January, hundreds of children were affected by malnutrition and a devastating measles epidemic that broke out in Asmat, Papua, due to incomplete vaccination and the region's challenging geographical conditions.

The incident prompted a swift response from the Indonesian Military (TNI), which deployed a medical task force to vaccinate more than 13,000 children.

Setya Novanto Jailed

The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Setya Novanto, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, to 15 years' imprisonment on April 24 for his role in massive graft in the procurement of electronic national identity cards, or e-KTP, which resulted in about $170 million in state losses.

The former chairman of Golkar, the country's second-largest political party, faced several previous accusations related to corruption, none of which could be proven.

Prison Riot and Suicide Bombings

A riot broke out inside a prison run by the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) in Depok, West Java, on May 8, claiming the lives of five police officers and one inmate. The incident was followed by a series of suicide bombings at churches in Surabaya, East Java, on May 13.

The bombings carried out by a family of six at three churches claimed the lives of 13 people, including the perpetrators. Police said the Islamic State-affiliated group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah was responsible for the attacks.

The church attacks were followed by another suicide bombing by a family of five at the Surabaya Police headquarters a day later. The parents and two sons died in the attack, while an 8-year-old daughter survived.

Regional Elections

Voters in 17 provinces went to the polls on June 27 to vote in simultaneous regional elections, which saw the government spending nearly $1.1 billion on logistics and deploying more than 171,000 security personnel to secure polling stations.

Lombok Earthquakes

Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara was struck by a series of deadly earthquakes, the first of which a magnitude-6.4 on July 29, followed by two more, of magnitudes 6.8 and 7.0, respectively, on Aug. 5.

Nearly 500 people died, more than 1,000 were injured and about 400,000 were displaced.

Asian Games and Asian Para Games

Indonesia hosted the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, in August. The country's athletes won 31 gold, 24 silver and 43 bronze medals, which saw it finishing in fourth place overall in the medal count.

The international multisport event was followed by the 2018 Asian Para Games in October, where Indonesia again finished in fourth place overall with 37 gold, 47 silver and 51 bronze medals.

Selection of Vice-Presidential Running Mates

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo officially announced on Aug. 10 that he would be seeking a second term in the 2019 presidential election with Ma'ruf Amin, former chairman of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his running mate.

Prabowo Subianto, chairman of the opposition Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), also announced his candidacy on the same day, picking as his running mate businessman and fellow party member Sandiaga Uno, who subsequently resigned from his position as Jakarta deputy governor.

Palu Earthquake and Tsunami

A magnitude-7.4 earthquake followed by a tsunami hit Palu, Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong districts in Central Sulawesi on Sept. 28.

More than 2,000 people died, while 650 are still missing, 150 of whom believed to have been buried under thick mud due to soil liquefaction. The devastating disaster caused nearly $1 billion in damage.

IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings

The 2018 International Monetary Fund and World Bank Annual Meetings took place in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Oct. 8-14.

More than 36,000 people, including heads of state, economists, academics, bankers, journalists and representative of more than 189 countries, attended the meetings.

Indonesia secured numerous deals in infrastructure investment, disaster relief and monetary cooperation during the event.

Our Ocean Conference

Indonesia hosted the fifth Our Ocean Conference in Bali at the end of October.

The conference saw 287 new commitments worth $10.7 billion, adding to 663 previous pledges made between 2014 and 2017.

Indonesia, which made 23 pledges worth $500 million this year, pushed for the conference to establish a review mechanism that would eliminate commitments made in name only.

Lion Air Crash

Lion Air flight JT-610 crashed into the Java Sea near Jakarta shortly after takeoff on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.

Investigators are still trying to locate the voice cockpit recorder of the nearly new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet to accurately determine the cause of the crash.

World Conference on Creative Economy

Indonesia initiated and hosted in early November the first World Conference on Creative Economy, which concluded with the Bali Agenda for Creative Economy, a document outlining the goal of creating an enabling environment to support the growth of this industry.

The forum, which was attended by about 1,500 participants from 30 countries, outlined the way forward to further develop the global creative economy by fostering international cooperation and creating a level playing field.

Dubai will host the next conference in 2020.

Weakening Rupiah

The rupiah has been under pressure since early this year due to Indonesia's widening current-account deficit, exacerbated by the ongoing trade war between China and the United States and US monetary tightening.

The rupiah lost about 12 percent of its value against the US greenback, reaching its lowest level since 1998, before rebounding slightly in November.

'212 Reunion' Rally

A sizable crowd gathered at the National Monument in Central Jakarta on Dec. 2 for a second "reunion" of the 2016 protest rally, which saw thousands of hardline Muslims take to the streets to demand the arrest of then-Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on blasphemy charges related to him referencing a Koranic verse during a political campaign speech.

Presidential hopeful Prabowo attended this year's event, accompanied by several of his close aides, which observers say made the gathering seem more like a political rally than a religious gathering.

Freeport Divestment

Indonesia closed the long-awaited $3.85 billion deal for a controlling stake in Freeport Indonesia, the local arm of US-based mining giant Freeport-McMoran, which operates the Grasberg copper mine – the world's largest – in Papua.

The deal concluded a long and tough negotiation process and gave state-owned mining holding company Inalum a 51.23 percent stake in Freeport Indonesia.

Sunda Strait Tsunami

A tsunami hit the coasts of Banten and Lampung on Dec. 22, killing more than 400 people.

Although the cause of the tsunami has yet to be confirmed, the authorities believe it may have been the result of an undersea landslide resulting from an eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano, located in the Sunda Strait, roughly halfway between Java and Sumatra.

The search for victims continues.