Tue, 29 Jul 2003


Economic subversion

Smuggling has become one of the biggest enemies of the Indonesian economy.

Viewed as a kind of economic crime, smuggling has become rampant. The authorities, however, have tended to ignore it.

It rapidly undermines the country's economy by distorting prices and stifling the market for domestic products.

Indeed, it is such a serious crime in our country that it should be classified an act of subversion, because it can ruin a country without warning.

The smuggling of a variety of commodities into this country continues to rise inexorably and conspicuously.

Take, for instance, sugar smuggling. Sugar is no longer something sweet for Indonesia. Its sweetness has turned into bitterness, all the more so because Indonesia has been sustaining an annual loss of more than Rp 700 billion (US$700 million) due to sugar smuggling.

Sugar is not the only example.

The illegal flow of garments and electronic goods through Indonesia's major seaports has continued.

To be sure, our major seaports have customs officers and tight security, but why does smuggling continue to thrive?

The answer is, of course, painful. However, it is something our country has to face up to because smuggling can only happen within a corrupt country, whose law enforcement is weak and whose security and officials could be bought.

-- Media Indonesia, Jakarta