Strong Business People vs. State Sovereignty.

Strong Business People vs. State Sovereignty.

Strong Business People Vs State Sovereignty [“Bisnis Orang Kuat Vs Kedaulatan Negara”] is the second book by Ferdy Hasiman, a researcher of the mineral industry at Alpha Research Database. Ferdy has completed a Masters in political science at UI. This no-frills paper back is 350 pages long, and looks at the recent Freeport acquisition by Inalum, in the light of the broader mining industry and those operating around the edges of the industry. The book is written in Bahasa Indonesia, published by Kompas (2019) and available in book shops for Rp. 95,000.

The Introduction by Moh. Mahfud MD sets the bias background for the book, as the right of the state in a positive light to control Freeport, and sets the tone to cast the business people in a negative light as “these strong people who continue to hinder, influence the government, and shout loudly….” The Forward explains that the author compiled this book from research plus the many articles that were submitted and published in Kompas newspaper during the course of these events. One aspect of writing this book is to draw attention to the various links between state institutions (including army, police etc) public officials, politicians and local entrepreneurs who want to seize mining assets.

The 7 chapters are 1) Freeport as a Trans National Company (TNC) giant, 2) Freeport Is victorious in a weak regime, 3) Freeport and business people are strong, 4) Conversion of a work contract to become an IUPK, 5) The winding road divested in Indonesia freeport, 6) The Freeport Smelter and the Multi-business group, 7) Freeport & the Future of Mining SOE’s. These chapters contain a good collection of incidents that reflect much of the books general negative sentiment associated with the mining industry and apparent left political leanings. Not all the fault lies with Freeport, as bought out by one statement “Freeport Indonesia is aware that in order to survive and continue to expand business in this country, they must associate and be friendly with political elites, business elites, and military elites. Conversely, doing business in this country without associating with elites who are close to power will certainly not last long”. The Closing chapter supports the Presidents resolve and good action in having a SOE acquire the Freeport shares.

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