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Freeport Fiasco
Freeport mine in Papua, Indonesia.
Thursday, 23 February, 2017 | 12:16 WIB
Freeport Fiasco

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta  It has come to a point when the ‘who will blink first’ contest between the Government and Freeport may have reached the point of no return.  Sadly, the high-stake bluffing game was preventable, had there been foresight and wisdom on both sides.  Freeport, which managed to wrest an almost untouchable contract from the New Order regime, should have seen the writing on the wall in 2000, at the onset of reforms. Then and there, Freeport should have anticipated the resurgent nationalist sentiments – a ‘disease’ going around the world, by the way. It should have initiated changes and adapted, instead of relying purely on the legal ‘sanctity’ of its flawed (in the Government’s view) contract of work. Instead, it prevailed, did nothing and 17 years later, it is paying dearly.  In the attempt to right the wrongs of the New Order regime and start anew, the Government failed to see the changing needs of nation-building. And why did it take 10 years to enact a new yet problematic mining law in 2009? Today, Freeport still sits on its high horse and the Government still doesn’t see the need to play by rules beyond its borders, yet it wants to join the global market.  As Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati wisely counselled, as reported in Koran Tempo, “The best thing now is to ensure common benefits for  Indonesia, for Papua and for Freeport.” Pray for a win-win way out.

 

YULI ISMARTONO

 



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