Islam and MNC

by Asep Setiawan



This essay assesses whether Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to multinational business. Two variables are applied for the assessment : the Islamic way of thinking and the impact of the manifestation Islamic system on international business particularly banking dan finance sectors. It seems those fields are more affected than, for instance, in extracting or manufacturing sectors. Based on those variables this essay will analyse whether Islamic militant is a hazard to transnational business. In this paper Islamic fundamentalism refers to a search for fundamentals of faith, the foundations of Islamic polity and the bases of legitimate authority.1  While multinational business is defined as a group of corporation that is operating in different countries but is controlled by its headquarters in a given country.2  In this essay, the first section deal with Islamic world-view and then, the second part, to assess the Islamic fundamentalism’s impact to multinational business.


          To begin with, it is useful to consider the origins of the fundamentalism. Islamic fundamentalism as the movement back to the basic value is not a new phenomenon throughout the Islamic history.  Generally speaking the emergence of fundamentalism has been closely associated to the spiritual, social and political crises. In other words, when the  existence of the Islamic polity and moral integrity were under threat the forms of a fundamentalism could be appeared.3 A major crises in Islamic history and in muslim identity was precipitated by the advent of the combining the Western colonialism and the Christian missionaries. The Arab-Israel conflict also generates radicalism. Other factors that contribute to the emergence militants are  a class conflict, modernization, an corrupt pro-Western regime, communism and   the military impotence particularly when the Arab countries  were defeated by Israel. To some extent, the presence of Western firms from the point of view of some fundamentalist is perceived as a tool American-European power to maintain colonialism in the new forms. Gilpin notes that the dominating presence of  foreign corporations in the host country is characterized as constituting  for of cultural imperialism.4


Since fundamentalism is the effort to establish Islamic system in a society, it is important to explore briefly what Islam is. The name “Islam” is the key to understanding the nature of the religion. Islam means “to submit”. Therefore, a muslim is one who accepts and submits to the will of Allah. According to Sardar, “Islam is perceived not as a religion with set of rituals nor as body of law with catalogue of dos and don’ts, but as a total, systemic holistic world-view.”5 Because Islam is the detailed way of live, it brings about the implications to various activities such as economics and politics even international relations.6 Thus, it seems that all muslims activities can not be separated from the religion. The shari’a which contains Qur’an and Sunnah is the foundation of an Islamic society.


As mentioned above, Islam covered all muslims activities including the economics matters. Khan argues that the basic economics concept in Islam is that the ownership of everything belong to God alone. Man is God’s vicegerent on earth. God has subjected to man’s service.7 Legal ownership of the individual, that is to say, the right of possession, enjoyment and transfer of property, is recognized and safeguard in Islam. But all ownership, as Khan explains, subject to the moral obligation that in all wealth all sections of society have right to share.8 As a consequence, the Islamic economic should be based on shari’a and merely to implement Allah’s will.


Moreover Islam constitutes the special framework in the finance and banking issues. Above of all Qur’an ordains the prohibition of interest (riba) by which is meant the receipt and payment of interest.9  This can be considered that an Islamic business cannot deal in any negotiable instrument that would entail the receipt or payment of interest. It is because of the Muslim’s believe that an interest is prohibited for all purposes and in all its form. From the Islamic view point of view, riba is prohibited because it tends to draw wealth into the hands of small circle. In the case of loans which bear interest, the lender in effect takes advantages of and makes a profit from the need or distress another.10 However, Watt states that the precise meaning of riba is uncertain and there have been divergent views.11


In practice, it is useful to underline here that within Islam exists two sects, Sunni and Shi’a. Although Sunni is majority within Islamic community, Shi’a is often  associated with fundamentalism. Revolution in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini’s leadership has made the fundamentalism become popular in the world. Both of the Sunni and the Shi’a’s fundamentalists have the similar voices : they call  for the emergence of Islam as a social, political and economic movement which seek to go back to the original message of Islam and  to rebuild the society and its institutions in the light of Islamic milieu.12



          The explanation above shows that Islam has an unique world-view to which seems different from the Western conception. As a consequence, the fundamentalists is or will not accept the Western values. In contrast, the West particularly the US Government consider  fundamentalism as a threat to their interests. Hadar notes that there are some voices to consult Bill Clinton’s administration that radical Islam would replace communism as a global threat.13 He calls the threat as “Green Peril” to replace “Red Peril” or communism. Miller also mentions that some of the Western observers see Islam as a potential replacement for the Soviet Union in East-West confrontation.14 Other analyst such as Martin Kramer argues that militant Islam groups by nature cannot be democratic, pluralistic or pro Western. Moreover, Bernard Lewis explains that Islam refuse any legal recognition of corporate person which is at the heart of representative institutions embodied in Roman Law. Thus, the fundamentalists are often perceived as the threat to the Western politics, economics and strategic interest.15 The confrontation between multinational business and the host countries in Vernon’s words the so-called “a clash of national cultures”.16 However, Hadar argues that the impact of fundamentalists’ threat too simplified because in fact the radical movements are not monolith.


International banking and finance can be considered as the representative Western interest in a muslim society. Their expansion seem as a part of multinational corporations operation.17 Indeed their operations have been seen not only provide financial services for the multinational business or the domestic customers, but they also carry the Western value. In Alvin Toffler’s term, banking is the central institution of the modern money system.  Accept the banks, Sardar argues, it means  to accept the entire exploitative and theoretical framework that comes with it.18 So, the presence of the foreign banks touches one of the Islamic fundamental values: the prohibition of riba. More than that financial institutions deal with money, one of the cores of the modern economy. In this field fundamentalist strictly follow shari’a or as Watt explains they interpret Qura’n literally.19 Therefore, those businesses have much more attention than non-bank multinational enterprises.


The manifestation of fundamentalist movement is not only into a group but also a state. 20 A state, a Hassan Turabi argues, is only the political expression of an Islamic society. 21 In implementing shari’a, the militants seem to impose banking and finance sector both domestic and foreign owner bank with free-interest system. This change, in term Tschoegl, is  political philosophy risk which involving changes in attitude toward private ownership. 22  In a case fundamentalist articulation is a group the threats could be different.  They are possibly  operated in a secular state such as in Indonesia or Egypt or within orthodox muslim countries such as Kuwait.  Indeed the radical groups  might be operated within Western countries as its happened in the case of the World Trade building’s sabotage  in New York. The executives of multinational business could be target of some fundamentalist groups. In this circumstance, kidnapping or killing may be occurred.

Some cases shows that international banking and finance have been forced to adopt shari’a, otherwise they withdraw from Islamic areas. Sudan is one example where the  fundamentalism manifests into the  state’s form and it becomes the threat to  international banking. In 1984, as part of move to Islamize the country’s banking system, the government of Sudan has ordered all banks operating in the country to stop paying or charging interest. Muslim law forbids interest of payments; instead, banks are expected to invest their clients’s funds and share profits or losses with them. Sudanese government’s action will affect 27 banks, including nine foreign banks operating in that country.23 In Iran’s case many American companies and its allies had been forced to abandon their operations after Islamic’s revolutionaries seized power in 1979.


The incident in Iran and Sudan have the same root : Islamic fundamentalism. The two cases also explain that either the militant groups or the states can be seen as the threat to the finance industries. The threat , however, seems  same as common threat in business risk literature such as expropriation, transfer risk or nationalization.  However, banks are exposed to other risks. They lend money to foreign governments, government-owned or controlled companies and private borrowers.24 The international banks have showed a certain respond to the threat. Chase and Citibank lost assets  in Iran during  the revolution and then approached US Government to freeze Iranian assets in American bank.25

More than that it can be argued that a hazard from a fundamentalist movement arise because it confronts  the basic value of financial or banking business. As Dunn points out that all economic transaction take place in real social settings.26 The operating interest system can be one of the reason. However, the prohibition riba it self comes from the Islamic system which seems the meaning of money, capital, ownership  differ with the Western model.  Indeed,  such firms are themselves product of culture as evidence by the fact that their organizational forms, management philosophies and main objectives different with Islamic concept on business.


In fact, however, not all Islamic community which refuse riba at the same time reject the presence the un-Islamic banking and finance. Saudi Arabia can be seen as an appropriate example of this case. Some say Saudi Arabia is the fundamentalist state because it implements shari’a. Another view put the country as an orthodox Islamic state. But in practice, Saudi administration prohibit riba in the whole economic system. It seems that the need for Western technology particularly for oil exploitation, may bring the multinational business come to this country. At the same time, the wealth from oil brings about Saudi to contact with the Western financial institutions for business reason. To bridge the difference between free-interest system and Western banking and finance institutions, Saudi and some countries establish what the so-called “House”.27  This kind of a compromise could be achieved because some countries adopt a policy that is based on a principle “permission due to necessity”. They recognize contact between Islamic and foreign banks and finance institutions.28  It means that those companies have an opportunity in those areas although they are advised to manage this cultural difference. Moreover, in a country with majority muslim like  Indonesia, foreign banks may have broad opportunities to gain profits. In this case some possible actual threats are transfer risk, expropriation or nationalization.



To sum up, generally the Islamic fundamentalism posses an hostility

attitude toward multinational business particularly banking and  financial services. This is because Islam has its own concept on those fields which is different from the Western notion. This attitude from Islamic militant will become an actual threat if the fundamentalism takes in the form of a state. The experiences in Iran and Sudan are appropriate examples for this case. Indeed, there is small scale of threat posed by the fundamentalist. However, since such a threat usually arises within a secular state, it  can be handled by the host government.


The difficulties  facing foreign companies in encountering actual threat from fundamentalism behaviour lies in their failures to anticipate the emergence of the radicalism which is neither neat nor sudden. So, if transnational business has great interests in Islamic areas, they should  understand the Islamic environment and possible risks posed by such environment.

















Notes and References



1. See R Hrair Dekmejian, Islam in Revolution. New York, SyracuseUniversity Press, 1985, p. 4. In this essay the term of Islamic fundamentalism is same as Islamic resurgence, Islamic revival, Islamic awakening, Islamic militant or Islamic radical.

2. Parviz Asheghian and Bahman Ebrahimi, International Business. New York, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1990, p. 12. This paper also uses multinational corporation, transnational business or multinational enterprises for multinational business.

3. Dekmejian, op.cit. p. 35.

4. Robert Gilpin, The Political Economy of International Relations. Princeton, PrincetonUniversity Press, 1987, p. 248.


5. Ziauddin Sardar, Islamic Future. London, Mansell Publishing Limited, 1985, p. 11.

6. See Verna Terpstra, The Cultural Environment of International Business. Cincinnati, South Western Publishing Co., 1978, p. 49.

7. Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Islam. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980, p. 150.

8. Khan, Ibid.

9. See Habib Shirazi, Islamic Banking. London, Butterworths, 1990, p. 5.

10. Khan, op.cit., p 153.

11. William Montgomery Watt, Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity. London, Routledge, 1988, p. 108.

12. Khurshid Ahmad, “The Nature of the Islamic Resurgence”, in Voices of Resurgence Islam edited by John L Espito, New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, p 220. Choueiri suggests some common characteristics fundamentalist are the return to original Islam as the religion of oneness of God, the advocacy of independent reasoning in matters of legal judgements (ijtihad), and the necessity of fleeing (hijra) the territories dominated by unbelievers. See Youssef M Choueiri, Islamic Fundamentalism. London, Pinter Publishers,1990, pp. 23-24.

13. Leon T Hadar, “What Green Peril?” in Foreign Affairs, Spring 1993, Vol. 72, No. 2. See also Ghasam Salame, “Islam and the West” in Foreign Policy, No. 90, Spring 1982.

14. Judith Miller, “The Challenge of Radical Islam”, in Foreign Affairs, Spring 1993, Vol. 72, No.2.

15. Miller, op.cit., in Foreign Affairs, Spring 1993, Vol. 72 No.2.

16. Raymond Vernon, Sovereign at Bay. New York, Basic Books Inc., 1971, p. 204.

18. Alvin Toffler’s view is quoted by Ziauddin Sardar from The Third Wave. See Sardar, op.cit., p.204.

19. Watt, op.,cit., p. 2.

21. Hassan al-Turabi, “The Islamic State”, in Esposito, op.cit., p. 241.

22. Adrian E Tschoegl, “Ideology and Changes in Regulations: The Case of Foreign Bank Branches Over period 1920-80″ in Political Risks in International Business edited by Thomas L Brewer, New York, Praeger, 1985, p. 87.

23. See James K Weekly and Raj Aggarwal, International Business. Chicago, The Dryden Press, 1987, p. 41.

24. See Wendell H McCulloch, Jr., “Country Risk Assessment by Banks” in Global Risk Assessments edited by Jerry Rogers, California, Global Risk Assessments, Inc, 1986, p 121.

25. Anthony Sampson, The Money Lender. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981, pp. 244-246. In 1981, under Algiers agreement, an accord was signet by Iran and the US which allowed the release or Iranian assets than had been frozen the Federal Bank of new York in return for the release of US hostages in Iran. See  Frederict Stapenhurst, Political Risk Analysis Around the North Atlantic. London, St Martin’s Press, 1992,  p.141.

26. John Dunn, “Country risk: social and cultural aspects”, in Managing International Risk, edited by Richard J. Herring. Cambridge, CambridgeUniversity Press, 1983, p. 163.


27. The establishment of the Islamic Development Bank at Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) followed by the formation of Islamic banks at Dubai (The United Arab Emirates), Cairo (Egypt), Khartoum (Sudan) and Jordan. Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi, Issues in Islamic Banking. Leicester, The Islamic Foundation, 1983, p. 35.

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South China Sea Conflict

The International Crisis Group, a think tank, released a comprehensive report on the China South Sea. China claims virtually all of the waters with its 9-line map. At stake are fishing and purported vast energy reserves. Several nations claim rights to the same area, resulting in ongoing spats.


  • China refuses to clarify its territorial claims on the South China Sea
  • It’s behaving aggressively with neighbors, while building up its military
  • While voicing a willingness to compromise, actual behavior is aggressive and suggests enforcement of the entire jurisdiction.
  • China’s inability to speak with one voice is a risk, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PLA, Energy Companies, local governments and more, could all pose disruptions.


  • Foreign ministry, behind close doors, has begun to say their claims are limited to the island features and their territorial waters, within the 9-dashed line.

At Stake:

A U.S. geological survey in 1993-1994 suggested 28 billion barrels of oil within the entire sea, whereas some Chinese estimates have claimed around 105 billion barrels of oil within the Spratlys and Paracels, but both of these figures remain unproven due to the lack of exploratory drilling. Estimated reserves will likely change as further exploration continues. Natural gas may be more abundant. There have been various estimates but proven reserves have already been found. In 2006, the Canadian company Husky Energy working with the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) announced a find of proven natural gas reserves of 4 to 6 trillion cubic feet. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “South China Sea”,

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Segera terbit: Politik Luar Negeri Indonesia

Prinsip ideal politik luar negeri Indonesia telah dinyatakan sebagai “bebas dan aktif”. Prinsip ini dikemukakan pertama kali pada bulan September 1948 oleh Almarhum Mohammad Hatta, Wakil Presiden yang pertama kali merangkap Perdana Menteri. Prinsip bebas dan aktif ini dipilih untuk menolak tuntutan sayap kiri agar Republik berpihak pada Uni Soviet, dengan demikian juga untuk menghindarkan diri dari tuduhan Belanda, dan juga untuk membuat jarak dengan Amerika Serikat. Disamping itu juga dimaksudkan sebagai upaya mendefinisikan peranan yang tepat bagi Indonesia dalam konflik antara dua negara besar.

Pada masa Soekarno terdapat tiga sasaran utama politik luar negeri Indonesia, yaitu: 1) mencari pengakuan internasional kemerdekaan Indonesia;                2) mempertahankan kemerdekaan dari usaha Belanda yang ingin kembali ke Indonesia dalam memaksakan pemerintahan kolonialnya berdasarkan pada Deklarasi Ratu Wilhemnia tanggal 7 Desember 1942; 3) mencari penyelesaian sengketa dengan Belanda melalui negara ketiga sebagai mediator (penengah) atau melalui forum PBB.

Pada periode itu pula (1945 – 1965) terjadi pergeseran-pergeseran penting pada pelaksanaan politik luar negeri antara condong ke pihak Barat atau sebaliknya ke Timur. Hal ini tampak misalnya pada awal desa warsa 1950-an politik luar negeri Indonesia dikatakan sangat pro-Barat, khususnya di bawah pemerintahan Kabinet Hatta, Natsir, Sukiman dan Wilopo. Kemudian di bawah Kabinet Ali yang pertama, politik luar negeri Indonesia menjadi kurang pro-Barat.

Selanjutnya di bawah pemerintahan Kabinet Burhanudin, politik luar negeri Indonesia kembali pro-Barat, namun semenjak Kabinet Ali kedua politik luar negeri Indonesia menjadi semakin anti Barat dan pro-Timur, khususnya Blok Uni Soviet hingga awal dasawarsa 1960-an, bersamaan dengan perjuangan memperoleh kembali Irian Jaya. Dengan dilancarkannya politik konfrontasi terhadap Malaysia, politik luar negeri Indonesia tetap anti Barat, tetapi bersamaan dengan itu makin renggang pula hubungan Indonesia dengan Blok Uni Soviet dan semakin dekat dengan Republik Indonesia Cina (RRC), sampai jatuhnya Orde Lama pada pertengahan dasawarsa 1960-an.

Munculnya Orde Baru menandai era baru dalam pelaksanaan politik luar negeri Indonesia. Perubahan-perubahan domestik ini banyak mempengaruhi format politik luar negeri RI yang berbeda dari masa-masa sebelumnya. Asas bebas dan aktif masih tetap dipertahankan namun politik poros-porosan yang pernah dianut Indonesia ditinggalkan. Disamping itu Orde Baru meninggalkan politik luar negeri “mercu suar” yang juga banyak menyita perhatian para pengambil keputusan.

Politik Luar Negeri Indonesia pada zaman Orde Baru ditegaskan untuk “mengabdi kepentingan nasional dan Amanat Penderitaan Rakyat”. Politik luar negeri RI ditandai pula oleh pandangan realistis dan pragmatis. Realistis berarti memperhatikan kenyataan-kenyataan yang ada dalam konstelasi dunia serta penentuan-penentuan kebijaksanaan sesuai dengan kenyataan-kenyataan itu. Dalam pada itu pragmatis berarti penentuan kebijaksanaan yang berguna dan bermanfaat bagi kepentingan nasional.

Asas-asas anti-imperialisme dan kolonialisme, bebas dan aktif, serta persepsi mengenai kepentingan nasional diberi isi dan dilaksanakan atas dasar realisme dan pragmatisme. Atas dasar hal tersebut pula politik yang aktif dalam bentuk konfrontasi dibalik menjadi politik yang aktif dalam bertetangga baik. Persepsi tentang ancaman dari luar terhadap keamanan dan stabilitas nasional maupun regional sangat berkaitan bukan saja dengan stabilitas dalam negeri tetapi juga dengan ada atau tidak adanya konflik dengan negara tetangga.

Kepentingan nasional Indonesia yang pokok dicanangkan pada masa Orde Baru adalah pembangunan nasional dengan inti perhatian di bidang ekonomi. Untuk mencapai tahap-tahap pembangunan dalam negeri yang telah digariskan. Indonesia otomatis membutuhkan lingkungan eksternal yang mendukung. Maka dipilihlah kawasan Asia Tenggara yang karena keterkaitannya menjadi prioritas utama dalam politik luar negeri.

Hal ini misalnya tampak dari petunjuk Presiden Soeharto mengenai pelaksanaan Ketetapan MPR No. IV/MPR/1973 pada tanggal 11 April 1973 yang antara lain menyatakan: 1) memperkuat dan mempererat kerjasama antara  negara-negara dalam lingkungan ASEAN; 2) memperkuat persahabatan dan memberi isi yang lebih nyata terhadap hubungan bertetangga baik dengan tetangga Indonesia; 3) mengembangkan setiap unsur dan kesempatan untuk memperoleh perdamaian dan stabilitas di wilayah Asia Tenggara. Selanjutnya dalam GBHN tahun 1978 – 1983 dan GBHN tahun 1983 – 1988 fokus terhadap Asia Tenggara senantiasa dicantumkan.

Sebenarnya perhatian terhadap wilayah Asia Tenggara telah muncul sejak masa Soekarno. Namun demikian terdapat perbedaan dalam memandang kawasan ini, politik konfrontasi yang muncul memperlihatkan nuansa tersebut. Lagi pula implementasinya pada masa Orde Lama masih kurang menonjol.

Pada bulan Agustus 1966 Soeharto telah mengemukakan suatu pandangan mengenai suatu kerjasama Asia Tenggara yang akan merupakan wadah membina persahabatan dan kerjasama. Setahun kemudian, dengan pembentukan ASEAN, Indonesia berhasil mewujudkan kehendaknya untuk menjamin stabilitas politik dan keamanan di Asia Tenggara. Peran serta Indonesia  yang aktif dan tak pernah terjadi sebelumnya dalam kerjasama kawasan merupakan upaya untuk mencapai tujuan lama dengan cara-cara baru.

Situasi internasional turut mendorong Indonesia untuk mengutamakan kawasan Asia Tenggara dalam pembinaan stabilitas politik dan keamanan. Dua dasawarsa terakhir situasi internasional masih diwarnai oleh persaingan Amerika Serikat dan Uni Soviet di bidang politik-militer. Keadaan ini banyak mempengaruhi kondisi wilayah Asia Tenggara yang dipandang dari sudut geografis saja bernilai strategis. Untuk mempertahankan keseimbangan kekuatan di Asia Tenggara khususnya dan Asia Pasifik umumnya kedua negara adidaya membangun beberapa pangkalan militer. Amerika Serikat menempatkan pasukannya di pangkalan laut Subic dan pangkalan udara Clark di Filipina. Sementara itu Uni Soviet juga memiliki pangkalan militer yang sangat besar di Cim Ranh dan Da Nang, Vietnam.

Pada awal tahun 1970-an timbul perkembangan baru yakni pendekatan Amerika Serikat ke Republik Rakyat Cina. RRC juga mulai membuka hubungan dengan Jepang dan negara-negara Barat lainnya sebagai akibat program modernisasinya. Pada saat yang bersamaan hubungan RRC dan Uni Soviet memburuk, khususnya sejak insiden Ussuri 1969 dan pertentangan ideologi. Adanya hubungan baru ini turut mempengaruhi pada situasi Asia Tenggara, misalnya makin kuatnya permusuhan antara Vietnam – RRC. Vietnam sendiri banyak meminta bantuan ekonomi dan militer kepada Uni Soviet.

Pengelolaan tertib kawasan Asia Tenggara seperti yang dikehendaki Indonesia diikuti pula dengan pendekatan baru terhadap wilayah-wilayah lain, isyu-isyu internasional dan lembaga-lembaga internasional. Prinsip Lingkaran Konsentris (concentric circle) merupakan salah satu faktor yang turut mempengaruhi politik luar negeri Indonesia

Prinsip Lingkaran Konsentris mencerminkan pola penyusunan prioritas dalam praktek politik luar negeri sehingga mampu memberikan kontribusi optimal terhadap pembangunan nasional. Di dalam Lingkaran Konsentris inilah Asia Tenggara dan Pasifik Barat Daya menempati lingkaran terdalam yang bermakna kawasan Asia Tenggara menjadi prioritas utama dalam pelaksanaan politik luar negeri RI semenjak Orde Baru Berkuasa.

Berdasarkan Prinsip Lingkaran Konsentris inilah Indonesia berusaha mewujudkan stabilitas politik dan keamanan serta kerjasama antar negara-negara di wilayah Asia Tenggara khususnya dalam kerangka ASEAN. Dalam hal menciptakan stabilitas politik dan keamanan, masalah yang dihadapi Indonesia adalah konflik Kamboja. Konflik ini tidak hanya melibatkan pihak-pihak yang bersengketa yakni Pemerintah Koalisi Demokratik Kamboja (PKDK) yang dipimpim Norodom Sihanouk, Pemerintah Heng Samrin di Kamboja dan Vietnam. RRC dan Uni Soviet turut berkepentingan dengan konflik Kamboja sebagai realisasi kebijaksanaan luar negerinya terhadap Asia Tenggara.

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China Bor Minyak di Wilayah Sengketa

CHINA ditengarai melakukan pengeboran minyak di Laut China Selatan. Untuk mewujudkan ambisi tersebut, China menganggarkan biaya hingga US$1 miliar (sekitar Rp9,4 triliun) guna menjelajahi potensi minyak di perairan Laut China Selatan.

Bahkan perusahaan minyak China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) telah membangun anjungan minyak di lepas pantai Haiyang Shiyou 981, di perairan selatan Hong Kong. Kantor berita Xinhua melaporkan anjungan itu telah beroperasi.

Direktur CNOOC Wang Yilin mengatakan anjungan tersebut telah mengebor hingga kedalaman 320 km di selatan Hong Kong, sejak bulan lalu. Namun, ia menolak CNOOC akan terus mengeksplorasi ke wilayah perairan konflik.

Mengenai hal tersebut, Direktur China Center for Energy Economics Research di Universitas Xiamen, Profesor Lin Boqiang, justru menyatakan CNOOC akan masuk ke wilayah Laut China Selatan. “Jika CNOOC tidak melakukannya, negara-negara lain yang akan melakukan itu. Jadi, mengapa CNOOC tidak melakukan itu?”

Pendapat Boqiang diamini peneliti senior Institut Nasional untuk Kajian Laut China Selatan, Liu Feng. “Dengan pengembangan teknologi pengeboran lepas pantai China, hal itu akan menjadi pertanda bahwa mereka memasuki bagian tengah dan selatan Laut China Selatan,” paparnya.

China sangat berambisi meningkatkan produksi energi untuk mendukung peningkatan perekonomian mereka. Pada Maret 2008, laporan Badan Informasi Energi Amerika Serikat (AS) memprediksi sebanyak 28 miliar hingga 213 miliar barel minyak bumi terkandung di bawah perairan tersebut.

Para ahli geologi menyatakan kandungan minyak dan gas paling banyak terdapat pada kedalaman 3.000 meter hingga 4.700 meter di bawah dasar laut. Dengan anjungan 981, CNOOC memiliki kemampuan menggali minyak dari kedalaman 3.000 meter.

Sementara itu, juru bicara Kementerian Luar Negeri Vietnam, Luong Thang Nghi, meminta China menghormati hukum internasional yang mengatur eksplorasi di Laut China Selatan. (Reuters/DK/I-3)

Media Indonesia online

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Keynote Address – Dr H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at The 11th IISS Asia Security Summit

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr John Chipman, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured for the opportunity to address this distinguished forum. I congratulate you as you mark the first decade of the Shangri‑La Dialogue. Over the years, this forum has been instrumental in bringing together officials and stakeholders in the defence community. As such, the Shangri‑La Dialogue has made a significant contribution to the strengthening of peace and cooperation in our region and beyond.

Today, I wish to speak to you about how we can seize strategic opportunities to build a durable architecture for peace in our region. That durable architecture can only happen if we work together to evolve a new geopolitics: the geopolitics of cooperation.


Let me begin with this point: our geopolitical landscape is being transformed. Five decades ago, if you drew a matrix of countries in the region and tried to map out bilateral partnerships between them, you would see lots of empty boxes. Beyond Cold War alliances, and beyond normal bilateral relations, there was not much else. However, today that same matrix is full of checked boxes, showing one important fact: that almost every country in the region has established an elaborate web of diplomatic, security or economic partnerships with other countries.


The same is true for regional organisations. Several decades ago, not only were there only a few regional organisations in our region, but membership in those organisations was also very limited. Today, we see a matrix that is much more elaborate, with many more member countries, and also full of checked boxes. Indonesia too has moved from membership in only one regional organisation in late 1960s, to becoming member of at least eight regional forums today: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Plus Three, the Asia‑Europe Meeting (ASEM), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia‑Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, and the Bali Democracy Forum. That is a fundamental reflection of how our region has changed.


As we look around the region, we can feel gratified with where we are today, and with our future prospects. Southeast Asia, once sharply divided, is now home to ‘ASEAN 10’, all bound to achieve an ASEAN Community by 2015. There is no war in Southeast Asia and, in contrast with the past, ASEAN states are in charge of regional affairs. Trade barriers between ASEAN states are down, and connectivity is increasing. We have decisively moved on from a region of conflict and division, to a region of peace, progress and cooperation.


Overall, Asia too is changing. Relations across the board have long been de‑ideologised. Emerging powers are rising. The strategic and economic weight of the world is shifting towards this region. There is talk about this being the Asian century, though I am more inclined to call it the Asia‑Pacific century.


For the first time in history, the relationships among the major powers are peaceful, stable and cooperative. From New Delhi, to Jakarta, to Beijing and Seoul, the region is brimming with optimism and dynamism. Goodwill is becoming more abundant in inter‑state relations. Cross‑border linkages between our citizens are at their peak and globalism is increasingly embraced. Compare this with just a few decades ago, when we lived under the threat of nuclear holocaust, major wars, proxy wars, polarisation and conflict.


Today, geopolitical relationships in Asia remain fluid. Countries are changing, and relationships are changing. The geopolitical ramifications of the political changes in the Arab Spring countries for the rest of Asia remain to be seen. It is worth reminding them of Indonesia’s case, where, in the early years of democratic transition, things got worse before they got better, and for a short period we became inward‑looking. But once democracy settled down, we resumed our outward‑looking posture and became a stronger force for ASEAN. We have since pursued a ‘million friends and zero enemies’ diplomatic strategy.


Perhaps Indonesia’s lessons would be relevant to Myanmar. Recent political developments in Myanmar, which we welcome, are opening up new diplomatic and economic opportunities, have led to the easing of sanctions from the US and European Union, and also to the strengthening of ASEAN as a political and security community. We urge the international community to continue to support Myanmar’s democratic transition and reforms – with all its expected ups and downs – and we look forward to Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.


The geopolitical fluidity of our region reveals some shortcomings and vulnerabilities. For one, the overall security architecture of our region still needs to catch up with the much more refined economic architecture in the Asia‑Pacific. Some strategic distrust still persists. In the past, threats to geopolitical stability came from military invasion and occupation. Today, most geopolitical risks come not so much from the threat of military attack, but from conditions of mistrust, miscalculation and miscommunication, which give rise to occasional eruptions of incidents. This is why we are seeing an escalation of disputes, border clashes, naval stand‑offs, brinkmanship and the like.


As we enter the 21st century, we have the opportunity to build a durable architecture for peace in our region. This architecture can be more durable, and more peaceful, than at any regional order in previous decades or centuries. How do we achieve durable architecture for peace in our region? What conditions must be achieved to attain it? Let me offer some thoughts.


To begin with, a durable architecture must be built on a strong and dynamic regionalism. Regionalism, of course, is a tricky thing to build. It is about cultivating among governments and peoples a real sense of belonging to a region, and a willingness to work together for it. It is not just a diplomatic undertaking; it is an economic, political and psychological phenomenon.


This is what we are trying to achieve in Southeast Asia, a strong regionalism driven by a robust commitment to the common vision of an ASEAN community. ASEAN itself took time to build: before joining ASEAN, there was a time when Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar perceived ASEAN with much suspicion, and kept a distance from the Association. However, today they are all equal stakeholders in the big ASEAN family. In this way, regionalism has created strategic opportunities that have fundamentally altered geopolitical relationships in Southeast Asia.


Wherever it grows, it is important that such regionalism connects with nationalism. In other words, countries must see their regional identity as complementary with their national identity. In the larger Asia‑Pacific region, it is true that a sense of Asia‑Pacific community does not yet exist, despite numerous efforts to promote it. However, even in the absence of a clear‑cut community, we do have layer after layer of regional schemes and platforms. Perhaps someday they will naturally bring the Asia‑Pacific into a deeper sense of community, but make no mistake: a sense of loose regionalism is already in the making.


There are those who say that the regional architecture is still messy, like an alphabet soup or spaghetti bowl. I do not dispute that. For now, though, we can live with it. The proliferation of these regional undertakings – from APEC and ARF to EAS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and others, whatever their acronyms – is a positive trend. I do believe that such regionalism should eventually include all countries in the region. Presently, this has not been totally attained in our region. North Korea, for a variety of reasons, is still isolated. Timor Leste is still not part of ASEAN.


A durable architecture must also be built on a dynamic equilibrium. Keeping this dynamic equilibrium is important in view of the evolving power relationships, a process that will continue well into the coming decades. This dynamic equilibrium consists of at least two major challenges: first, ensuring that the state of relations among the major powers will remain peaceful, stable and cooperative well into the long future.


If a new pattern of polarisation and rivalry among the major powers emerges, that will be a step backward and will lead regional affairs in the wrong direction. In this connection, we are encouraged that the United States and China are attempting to evolve a positive, cooperative relationship. Given their combined strategic, diplomatic, economic and demographic weight, US‑China relations will have impacts far beyond their bilateral relations. With their enormous economic potential, it is natural that many countries want to build good relations with both China and the United States. Both the US and China have an obligation not just to themselves, but to the rest of the region to develop peaceful cooperation.


Keep in mind that the relations of major powers are not entirely up to them. Middle and smaller powers too can help lock the major powers into this durable architecture, through a variety of instruments. For example, in Bali last year, 18 leaders taking part in the EAS agreed to a set of morally binding principles which, if adhered to, will help foster a more stable and peaceful region.


Furthermore, a dynamic equilibrium must also ensure that the rise of the present and next emerging powers finds their proper accommodation in the regional architecture. The rise of emerging powers should be seen as a positive development: they can provide valuable assets for spreading peace and prosperity. If embraced properly, they would not produce additional strategic tensions nor spark new conflict. Their pursuit for security need not be done at the expense of the insecurity of others. Asia is certainly big enough for all powers – established and emerging – and there is always room for new stakeholders, so long as they invest in common peace and progress.


I am optimistic that we can achieve this dynamic equilibrium, because we are living at a time when nations are experiencing a major realignment of interests. The challenge of new non‑traditional threats – from terrorism, natural disasters, people smuggling, piracy, or economic crisis – are forging common interests that compel nations to work together. In the fight against terror, against drugs and diseases, against natural disasters, we are all partners and allies.


One example comes to mind. After Indonesia was hit by the tragic tsunami in Aceh in December 2004, military contingents from all over the world – from Singapore, Australia, China, the US, and many others – came to take part in the massive humanitarian relief efforts, which became the largest military operation other than war since the Second World War. They did not compete; there was no rivalry. They all worked together with the Indonesian military to save lives.


What happened in Aceh offers us a glimpse to an important possibility on how to build a durable architecture: by evolving a new strategic culture. This new strategic culture must be forward looking, which means being able to overcome historical baggage that has burdened us in the past. We in Southeast Asia, despite our traumatic experience during the Second World War, have been able to relieve ourselves of our traumatic past. To cite another case, Indonesia and Timor Leste, once burdened by bitter relations, now have one of the strongest relations among neighbours in the region.


This new strategic culture must also be driven by a win‑win mindset, rather than a win‑lose predisposition. Where there is a will, there are plenty of ways to deliver a win‑win outcome. A win‑win mindset delivered the joint cooperation schemes in the Mekong River, which affects the livelihood of 70 million people, and avoided what could have easily become an international conflict over sensitive water resources. In Indonesia, we applied this win‑win approach in Aceh, and as a result we achieved permanent peace based on special autonomy which ended three decades of separatist rebellion.


A win‑win approach is not easy. It requires leadership, creativity and courage, especially on occasions when you need to break away from the convention of the past. However, the rewards of a win‑win strategic mindset are always substantially better – and more durable – than a win‑lose one. This win‑win strategic culture will become ever more necessary in dealing with flash points that are still found in parts of our region. The South China Sea comes to mind prominently. We can accept that the overlapping territorial and jurisdictional claims are still a long way from being resolved. However, even without waiting for resolution over territorial disputes, we can still find ways to transform the potential conflicts in the South China Sea into potential cooperation. We need to pick up speed. It took ten years – ten long years – for the Guidelines of the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea to be completed. It should not take another ten years for the ASEAN‑China Working Group to complete the Code of Conduct; we expect them to move on speedily with their task.


Another area is the Indian Ocean. It is a vast strategic area. There are no overlapping territorial claims there. Compared to the Pacific side, the architecture in the Indian Ocean is still minimal, but military and economic activities are bound to rise significantly. There is every likelihood that in the twenty‑first century the Indian Ocean will grow in geostrategic importance. We must make sure that the Indian Ocean does not become an area of new strategic contest and rivalry. Indeed, now is the time to cultivate the seeds for long‑term cooperation, based on common interests in that part of the world. Stable transition in Arab Spring countries; long‑term political stability in Afghanistan; a warming‑up of relations between India and Pakistan, especially if it can be sustained; the growth of the New Asian‑African Strategic Partnership: all of these will be important building blocks in that direction.


Stable transition in Arab‑Spring countries; long‑term political stability in Afghanistan; a warming‑up of relations between India and Pakistan, especially if it can be sustained; the growth of the Asian‑African strategic partnership – all of these will be important building blocks in that direction. This strategic cartel must also be coupled with critical confidence‑building measures. This is pertinent as we anticipate geostrategic condensation that may come from the growing military capabilities of countries in our region. Across Asia, we are seeing a trend of growing military spending and efforts to modernise armed forces. By and large, this is a logical consequence of the fact that Asian economies are growing, and they can afford to spend more on defence.

This is also happening in Indonesia, as we move forward to modernise our military capability. In the last 20 years or so, economic crisis and other factors forced us to allocate only minimal resources for defence expenditure. As a result, our defence posture was kept to a minimum. Now that Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, with GDP growth of around 6.5%, we are in a better position to allocate greater portions of our national budget to defence. The main purpose will be to increase our capacity to protect our borders; to counter transnational threats; to increase our contribution to peace-keeping operations worldwide; to be better prepared for military operations other than war; and to conduct special operations. 

Recently, for example, our armed forces for the first time conducted the farthest military operations to rescue Indonesian seamen held hostage by Somali pirates – a difficult mission that, Alhamdulillah, was carried out successfully. However, I wish to assure you that our military modernisation efforts will be transparent and coupled with intensified efforts at confidence‑building measures, such as joint military exercises and exchanges. We will make sure that our military modernisation will not lead to new strategic tension, but instead lead to stronger cooperative security in the region.

Indeed, we are encouraged by the fact that defence diplomacy has become much more active today, and that, overall, there are better military-to-military relations in the Asia-Pacific. Within ASEAN, for example, there is now an annual meeting of defence chiefs, armed forces chiefs and intelligence chiefs, but there are still gaps that need to be reduced, especially among major powers, where the potential for strategic rivalry is still reasonably high. One way to promote greater confidence‑building to reduce this gap is to hold joint military exercises, which would include countries such as the United States and China. Indonesia is willing to be part of these efforts. 

As we strive to build a durable architecture for peace, we now have before us a strategic opportunity to usher in the geopolitics of cooperation. For centuries, the international system witnessed the prevalence of the geopolitics of conflict, confrontation and rivalry. As we step into the 21st century, we still see signs of it in many parts of the globe. The territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea; on-going security problems in the Korean Peninsula; the continued challenge to stability in Afghanistan; strategic strains in South Asia; the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict; recent tension in the Straits of Hormuz; the turbulence in Syria; sub-regional tensions in Africa – all reveal that, in these areas, geopolitical cooperation is still elusive.

Geopolitics, of course, is traditionally understood as being all about competition and rivalry – for power, resources, territory, access and influence. I admit that the nature of international relations is such that there will always be elements of competition and rivalry among nations, but I also believe that we can always expand the space for win-win cooperation and reduce the space for zero-sum rivalry. There are signs that we are heading in this direction. 

Across the Pacific, there is an important trend in the making: the proliferation of partnerships diplomacy. Let us return to the earlier matrix, and you can see the dramatic increase in the number of countries forging diplomatic, political, security and economic partnerships, and it goes in all directions: the US and India have a strategic partnership, and so do South Korea and China, China and Pakistan, Japan and Australia, Russia and China, and so on. In some cases, they involve nations that previously had adversarial relations. 

For our part, Indonesia has, in recent years, struck comprehensive and strategic partnerships with some 14 countries, including all the major powers. The fact that these partnerships have different substances and forms is less significant than the fact that different sets of countries are redefining and upgrading their relations. These partnerships are important because they reveal positive strategic intention and, in cases where the two parties are involved in a dispute, the partnership opens up possibilities to alter the dynamics of how the disputes are handled.

I predict that, in the 21st century, partnership diplomacy will continue to spread. While the number of countries involved in military alliances will remain more or less the same, the number of countries involved in new bilateral, trilateral or regional partnerships will continue to grow significantly. The overall impact will be a sweeping change to the geopolitical landscape. Geopolitics of cooperation, therefore, are about promoting nations to compete for peace and progress. This is a win-win formula.

There was a time when Southeast Asia was ripped apart by extra-regional powers that fought for ideology, access and influence but, today, extra‑regional powers compete for more trade, investment exchanges and education. It is a good thing – we like it and we welcome it – because the more they compete on these sectors, the more everybody will benefit.

As a final thought, the geopolitics of cooperation are open to every state. As more states participate in this new dynamism, we will have greater chance to create deliverables. The more we promote this geopolitics of cooperation, the closer we will inch to that durable architecture for peace for our region, and for our time. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I therefore have high hopes for the role of the one‑and‑half‑track Shangri-La Dialogue, with all members of the defence community who are here today, in bringing us closer to that game change. I thank you.

Dr John Chipman

Mr President, thank you so much for your definition of the strategic culture of inclusive regionalism; also your words of comfort to some of the countries that are passing through the Arab Spring that sometimes things get worse before they get better; your appeal for increased speed in the discussions between ASEAN and China towards a code of conduct; your call for the Indian Ocean not to become an area of new rivalry; your reassurance about the nature of Indonesian military modernisation; and your strong support for the principle of partnership diplomacy.

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Suu Kyi dan NLD Menolak Bersumpah

YANGON, Kamis - Anggota Liga Nasional untuk Demokrasi (NLD), termasuk Aung San Suu Kyi, Kamis (12/4), di Yangon, menegaskan penolakan untuk diambil sumpah sebagai anggota parlemen. Ini disebabkan sumpah itu menuntut mereka melindungi undang-undang dasar negara.

”Jika kami menghadiri acara pengambilan sumpah di parlemen, kami harus mengamini isi sumpah yang menuntut kami menjaga UUD,” kata seorang anggota parlemen yang baru terpilih dari NLD.

Bagi NLD, salah satu problem Myanmar sekarang adalah UUD yang cacat. UUD disusun dengan mengagungkan posisi militer.

”Pemerintah memang telah mengubah kalimat di pasal soal pemilu menjadi ’respek pada UUD’ sehingga kami mau ikut berpartisipasi dalam pemilu sela 1 April lalu. Namun, perubahan kalimat itu semata tidak mengubah keseluruhan UUD,” kata anggota NLD yang tidak mau disebutkan namanya itu.

Dia mengatakan, Suu Kyi sudah meminta Presiden Thein Sein mengubah kalimat sumpah dalam pertemuan pekan depan. ”Masalahnya jika kami tidak menghadiri acara pengambilan sumpah di parlemen, bisa saja terjadi krisis konstitusi.”

Suu Kyi dan 42 anggota NLD yang baru terpilih dalam pemilu sela diundang untuk diambil sumpah di parlemen pada 23 April.

Sinyal pencabutan sanksi

Sementara itu, Perdana Menteri Inggris David Cameron memberi sinyal bahwa dia tidak menentang rencana pencabutan sanksi atas Myanmar. Itu jika mereka merasa puas dengan perubahan dan proses reformasi di negeri itu.

Cameron melawat ke Myanmar, Jumat, dan akan bertemu dengan Presiden Thein Sein dan pejuang demokrasi kharismatik Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kepada wartawan saat berkunjung ke Malaysia, Kamis (12/4), Cameron membenarkan selama ini Inggris menjadi negara paling depan di antara negara Barat lainnya dalam menjatuhkan sanksi berat atas Myanmar.

”Namun begitu, jika kami merasa puas dan yakin akan perubahan dan reformasi yang terjadi di Myanmar, kami juga harus menjadi pihak yang paling dulu merespons,” ujar Cameron.

Uni Eropa (UE) diharapkan meninjau ulang kebijakan mereka atas Myanmar pada 23 April. Besar kemungkinan kebijakan baru UE akan melunak. Selama ini sanksi yang dijatuhkan atas Myanmar, yang sejak beberapa dekade terakhir dikuasai rezim militer, telah menyebabkan banyak pengusaha mengurungkan niat menanam investasi.

Tidak hanya itu, sanksi yang dijatuhkan juga mencegah institusi-institusi finansial beroperasi di negeri itu sehingga tidak bisa memberikan pinjaman.

Cameron juga mengajak komunitas internasional untuk ”berdiri di belakang” proses reformasi, yang menurutnya semakin berkembang di Myanmar. Dia juga memuji Presiden Myanmar Thein Sein dan pejuang demokrasi kharismatik, Aung San Suu Kyi, atas keberhasilan yang dicapai.(REUTERS/AFP/DWA)

Kompas 14 April 2012


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Filipina Kirim Kapal Perang, China Membalas

MANILA, KAMIS - Pemerintah Filipina kembali mengirim satu kapal ke perairan tempat insiden di wilayah sengketa di Kepulauan Spratly. Kapal yang dikirim, Kamis (12/4), adalah kapal penjaga pantai kategori keperluan SAR dengan panjang 56 meter.

Kapal SAR itu menggantikan kapal perang Angkatan Laut Filipina, yang akan ditarik setelah dikerahkan di perairan Beting Scarborough, Selasa. Wilayah ini berada sekitar 124 mil laut dari Pulau Luzon, Filipina.

China di sisi lain justru menambah satu kapal lagi untuk dikerahkan ke lokasi serupa, melengkapi dua kapal pemantau yang sudah tiba pada hari Selasa dengan alasan melindungi kapal-kapal nelayan China.

Kapal perang terbesar Filipina, yang sudah ditarik itu, dikerahkan setelah muncul laporan penyusupan wilayah oleh kapal-kapal nelayan China. Tak lama setelah kapal perang Filipina itu tiba, China mengirim dua kapal pemantau.

Mengibarkan bendera

Kedua pemerintahan juga saling memanggil duta besar di masing-masing negara untuk diserahkan nota protes diplomatik terkait insiden itu. Menurut Menteri Luar Negeri Filipina Albert Del Rosario, Kamis (12/4), di Manila, pergantian kapal perang menjadi kapal penjaga pantai itu tidak berarti melemahkan posisi Filipina.

”Kapal (penjaga pantai) itu juga bertugas menjaga kedaulatan wilayah dan juga mengibarkan bendera Filipina di sana,” tegas Rosario.

Kawasan beting tersebut berada di perairan sengketa Laut China Selatan, yang diyakini kaya dengan kandungan sumber daya alam seperti minyak dan gas bumi.

Pada hari yang sama, para diplomat kedua negara berkumpul dan menggelar pertemuan membahas upaya menurunkan ketegangan yang telah telanjur terjadi. Kedua delegasi bertemu di Manila, Filipina, untuk mencari jalan keluar.

Menurut anggota delegasi Filipina, yang meminta namanya dirahasiakan, pihaknya mengajukan sebuah proposal ke China. Pemerintah Filipina enggan merinci isi proposal tersebut. Hanya disebutkan proposal itu bersifat sangat pragmatis untuk mengatasi kebuntuan yang terjadi di Beting Scarborough itu. Kebuntuan terjadi akibat sikap bertahan. (AFP/AP/DWA)

Kompas 13 April 2012

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