TEMPO
Tempo is an Indonesian magazine published in Jakarta. Founded in 1971, it was banned under the Suharto regime for its political coverage. It now publishes a weekly magazine with a circulation of around 300,000.
Geopolitics
Giacomo Tognini

Indonesia 'Deradicalization': Turning Terrorists Into Business Owners

JAKARTA — While Western countries grapple with the question of what to do with militants returning after fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Indonesia has launched a deradicalization program that helps former fighters open their own businesses, according to the Indonesian magazine Tempo.

The program aims to help returning militants and their families, including those who are not themselves terror suspects, become financially independent and reintegrate into society. It was launched by Indonesia's National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) in collaboration with 32 ministries and institutions.

"If they want to learn sewing, they will be sent to tailor shops. If they want to open an online shop selling clothes, they will be coached," BNPT deradicalization director Irfan Idris told Tempo. "They will no longer have to go abroad to commit terrorist acts if the country is taking care of them."

The agency has provided deradicalization training for a 600 militants in the program. A recent group included 15 returning Indonesian citizens, several of whom had spent time in Raqqa, the Islamic State's former capital in Syria.

In June, the BNPT began requiring all Indonesians returning from Syria to enroll in the de-radicalization program. The training includes attending one month of sermons by Muslim religious scholars to counter the Islamic State's ideology, according to Indonesian daily The Jakarta Post.

"The Indonesian government helped us come home," said Nur, a woman who attended the entrepreneurship training. "We will be able to open a business, we can seize this second chance to live normally."

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Indonesian Taxi Company Wants To Beat Uber At Its Own Game

JAKARTA â€" Amid violent anti-Uber protests by taxi drivers in the Indonesian capital, the country’s largest taxi company is trying to defeat its app-based American competitor with an innovative approach: uberize itself. Leading Indonesian magazine Tempo reports that the Blue Bird taxi company is seeking to shift its business model to a car-sharing service, competing directly on the terrain of Uber and other local digital upstarts.

Founded in 1965, Blue Bird has more than 32,500 vehicles in its nationwide fleet. Thousands of taxi drivers from Blue Bird and rival taxi services took to the streets last week to protest against Uber, shutting down the Jakarta's main thoroughfares, adding to the capital's infamous traffic jams.

But unlike other legacy taxi companies, Blue Bird management has been swift in reacting to the new kind of competition, becoming one of the first taxi companies in the world to launch its own smartphone app in 2011, which allowed users to order rides immediately or by appointment.

Photo: Blue Bird Group Facebook page

The app since migrated to Android and Apple iOS, but the company wants to go further: building in cashless payment and GPS-based ride sharing to compete against Uber and Grab, a popular Malaysia-based taxi app.

For now, however, Blue Bird is up against government regulations that require cab companies to operate using a meter, whereas sharing apps charge prices based on real-time demand and supply. Taxi companies must also pay expensive business license fees and other assorted taxes.

But if Blue Bird gets its way, it could be a model for taxi companies around the world looking to move into the fast lane of the digital revolution.