“The market is picking up. Your business must be doing very well now.” I asked a businessman in a gathering.
I saw quite a number of new construction projects going on when I visited Tg. Pinnang recently. Building new houses, I reckoned it was a good indicator for local economy.
Who will build new houses without extra money? If the economy is not growing, what are these new houses for? Furthermore, new construction projects bring in more jobs for local people.
“NOOOO…” A big no and frustration, “Nobody wants to invest after the new labour law.”
The Indonesian new labour law was implemented in 2003. It went too far to protect the workers and was being abused by the workers, according to this businessman. During the time I was in Indonesia, there was some big protests against the revision of the labour law. The Indonesian government expected the revision would bring in more investment into the country.
“Oh, but I find so many new buildings in town this time.” I asked.
“That’s not because of good economic.”
Since the President Wahid (1999-2001), the Indonesian government has started loosing the restrictions on Indonesian Chinese. The Chinese communities in Indonesia are more comfortable to spend now.
This reminded me the horrible and disgusting Jakarta Riots of May 1998. Many Indonesian Chinese were killed; women were mass raped; many shops were looted and burnt. (See some pictures here. Reminder: Some of the pictures were not taken in the roit, but from other incidents of Indonesia.注意：该网上的图并不全是98年印尼暴乱的。)
Tg. Pinnang has a large percentage of ethic-Chinese; it is close to Singapore; it has not experienced any big riot during that time. In fact, it was a safe harbour to many Jakarta Chinese businesspersons.
Still, many Indonesian Chinese there are living in fear.
They have already accustomed to such fear years after years.
They just feel a little bit relief now.