Unlike what is happening in Thailand, Indonesia has taken recent steps to tackle the widespread corruption that is believed to plague Asean’s biggest country.
In 2002, in the first flush of Indonesia’s post-Suharto era, then-President Megawati Sukarnoputri pushed a law through the legislature establishing the Corruption Eradication Commission. The agency, a decade later, may actually be altering the political landscape of the country.
Certainly, cleaning up corruption completely in a country as lawless and sprawling as Indonesia may be impossible. Nonetheless, since it began operations in late 2003, the KPK, as it is known by its Indonesian initials, has become a fearsome force with a staff of 750 that has gone after people close enough to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to help cost him his cachet as a reformer and bring his political party to its knees.
It has recently counted coup with important scalps from three of the country’s most prominent political parties including the president’s own ruling Democrats, reducing the party’s political footprint drastically and destroying its image as the party of political rectitude. It has taken on top members of the National Police, arrested the nation’s chief oil and gas regulator and charged the head of the Constitutional Court with accepting bribes.
Already widely praised at home, the KPK was given a Ramon Magsaysay award for 2013, often described as Asia’s Nobel Prize, for its “greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.”
“Given the steady drip-drip-drip of cases [brought by the KPK] I think these guys are on a campaign that is making them the most important political force in this country,” said a veteran political observer in Jakarta. “It has basically destroyed Yudhoyono and his political party. You could argue that it is not just Jokowi’s [Jakarta Gov. Joko Widowo’s] popularity and clean image but public anger with the corruption exposed by the KPK that is redrawing the political map for 2014.”
The Indonesia-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty Comes into Effect
Through the upgraded DTAA, the tax rate on branch profits was reduced from 15 to 10 percent, and the tax rate on royalties for copyrighted works of literature, arts, and film, and eight percent for the use of industrial, scientific, or commercial equipment was lowered from 15 to 10 percent.
Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
– SPACs have become a hot-button topic in global finance
– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly
South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.
SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.
Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.
While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.
Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.
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