Activist alliance calls on government to pull out of ACFTA

Source – January 25, 2010
Indonesian People's Opposition Front protest action (PRP Makasar)
Indonesian People's Opposition Front protest action (PRP Makasar)

Sepudin Zuhri, Jakarta – The Indonesian People’s Opposition Front (FOR Indonesia) is calling on the government to immediately stop trade liberalisation and pull out of all existing free trade cooperation agreements.

Working People’s Association (PRP) chairperson and FOR Indonesia Coordinator Anwar Ma’ruf said that pulling out of the ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) would not harm Indonesia nor would it be ostracised from other ASIAN countries in the region because Indonesian products exported to China are still dominated by raw materials.

“If we pull out of the agreement [ACFTA], Indonesia will not be isolated. It is precisely the ASIAN countries that see Indonesia as being too willing to open up its markets. What is needed instead is to protect domestic markets”, said Ma’ruf during an event held today titled A Critical Evaluation of Five Years and 100 Days of the SBY Regime.

According to Ma’ruf, Indonesia will not gain any benefits from the ACFTA because it will only become a market for Chinese products. If this cooperative agreement is implemented, the public will continue to fight until the Yudhoyono regime is replaced with a regime that sides with the ordinary people. “Like it or not we must start preparing now to resist and cultivate the opposition [movement].”

Ma’ruf said that local businesspeople may well shift their activities and become importers of Chinese products. FOR Indonesia, he went on, will continue to highlight issues related to free trade cooperating, because as long as there is no government opposition the public must act to respond to the first 100 days of the cabinet’s program. (tw)

[Translated by James Balowski.]