The wRap Indonesia: Sept. 4, 2014

JAKARTA, Indonesia - The latest cabinet minister named graft suspect and Indonesia's improving competitiveness ranking lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day. 

1. Indonesia's energy minister named graft suspect

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik has been named a graft suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), officials announced on Wednesday, September 3. KPK said they have found evidence Jero was involved in extortion activities – including ordering his staff to bill for fictitious meetings and obtain kickbacks from procurement and consulting services – that generated about IDR9.9 billion ($840,000) in illicit funds. Jero is the third minister from the current cabinet and the latest high-profile member of the ruling Democratic Party to be named a suspect by KPK, which has a 100% conviction rate in Jakarta. Read the full story on Rappler in English or Bahasa Indonesia.

2. Indonesia improves overall competitiveness, new WEF rankings show

Indonesia was ranked 34th among 144 countries in the 2014 Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, up from 38th place in 2013 and 50th in 2012. The report said the quality of public and private governance is strengthening in Indonesia, and noted how the country ranked a "remarkable 36th place for government efficiency". Despite the improvement, Southeast Asia’s largest economy still trailed behind neighbors Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Read the full Rappler report. 

3.  Hefty fines await illegal parkers in Jakarta starting Monday

Starting Monday, September 8, Jakarta's traffic enforcers will begin towing illegally parked vehicles and slapping its owners with hefty Rp 500,000 ($42.50) fines per day, this Rappler story reports. The operation will focus on 5 pilot areas – Jatinegara (East Jakarta), Kota Station (West Jakarta), Marunda (North Jakarta), Kalibata City (South Jakarta), and Tanah Abang (Central Jakarta) – before being expanded. 

4. Newmont reaches deal to resume shipments in Indonesia

US mining giant Newmont has reached a tentative agreement with the Indonesian government that should allow it to resume exports after they were halted due to controversial restrictions on mineral shipments. The company stopped exporting copper from its huge Batu Hijau mine in central Indonesia in January when Indonesia introduced the new regulations. Read the full story on Rappler.

5. VP Boediono takes a page from Jokowi's book, conducts surprise visits 

Outgoing Vice President Boediono dropped by unannounced on Wednesday on a number of government offices that provide public services in order to check whether there have been improvements in the bureaucracy, according to his office's official website. He inspected passport applications at the immigration office in Central Jakarta, the issuance of land certificates at the National Land Agency, electronic ID cards at a village office in Menteng, and driver's license applications in West Jakarta. Aside from a police officer in charge of medical tests for driver's license applicants who was missing when the vice president visited, and criticisms of payment procedures, Boediono said he believes there have been improvements overall.