Monday, April 6, 2015
JAKARTA (April 2, 2015) ‑ AmCham Indonesia wishes to express its deep concern about the potential negative impact on the foreign investment environment of the April 2 guilty verdicts against two teachers, Ferdinand Tjiong, an Indonesian and Neil Bantleman, a Canadian at the Jakarta Intercultural School – formerly the Jakarta International School.
The initial accusations of child abuse are obviously troubling and are of great concern to parents and educators everywhere. However, so many significant doubts have been raised concerning the investigation of this case, and the related cases of the ISS cleaners, by the police, the evidence put forward (and not put forward by the prosecution), and the handling of these cases by the Indonesian courts, that AmCham Indonesia feels obliged to give voice to its concerns whether the rule of law and due process of law have been followed.
AmCham Indonesia’s concerns are not just because a foreign teacher has been convicted. Of the seven individuals convicted in the two cases, six of them are Indonesian. AmCham’s concern is that the reported irregularities and abuses referenced above have a negative impact on the perception of potential and actual investors concerning the rule of law, due process and legal certainty in particular and the investment climate in general. Indonesians and foreigners alike are entitled to these fundamental rights. Even a perceived lack of fairness in these cases could have a serious impact on Indonesia’s ability to attract future value-added investment needed to advance the country’s GDP growth aspirations.
Fundamental to the ability to attract quality foreign investment and know-how is the availability of high quality international schools to serve the families of both diplomats and foreign business experts relocated to Indonesia, in addition to the Indonesian community. JIS is one of the best and most prestigious educational institutions in Indonesia and indeed the world. Established in 1951, JIS is a crucial Indonesian institution and asset that has historically contributed positively to the investment climate in the country. Beyond that, the relationships that have been built among its Indonesian and foreign students have greatly benefitted each and have lead to greater understanding and mutual respect for one another’s cultures and values.
Fearing unjust accusations and related outcomes, the highly qualified expatriate teachers who have together with their Indonesian colleagues made JIS what it is today may choose to work in other countries rather than Indonesia, resulting in a lack of qualified educational options to properly serve JIS’ students and the diplomatic and expatriate business communities in Indonesia.
As such, at a time when the Government of Indonesia is seeking to promote quality economic growth and increased foreign and domestic investment in targeted areas, these cases have captured the world’s attention and we urge the courts to proceed with the utmost care to address the expected and current appeals in a robust and transparent manner to ensure outcomes that are evidence-based and consistent with the rule of law to achieve justice and fairness for all concerned.
About Amcham Indonesia
Formed in 1971, AmCham Indonesia is a voluntary organization of professionals representing American companies operating in Indonesia. AmCham Indonesia promotes the business interests of the members by identifying and focusing on critical issues that improve the business climate, actively engaging stakeholders to achieve mutual understanding, serving as a key resource for business information, and delivering forums for U.S. business networks. Since its inception, AmCham has grown to more than 550 members and represents over 250 companies.
Mary Silaban: 0812-1919 7773
Read statement at Amcham Indonesia