UPH Business Centre for Law Studies

UK Economic Growth Improves

Written by: Bryna Budiman

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), they estimated that UK’s economy grew by 0.7% in the three months to March, from 0.6% in the previous quarter. CBI’s monthly survey consists of 764 private firms from different sectors, the problem they were facing was ongoing Eurozone and Greece’s bailout, in addition the businesses in UK have to be ready to handle the strong pound, where the currency have been pulling down on weak export growth. The survey reads of 18% for the three months to March on the private sector growth indicator, where it shows that performance of businesses was improving. The survey shows that business and consumer services, along with manufacturing sector will strengthen in the near future. CBI’s deputy director general Katja Hall commented lower oil prices now which are felt by consumers, where cheaper petrol causes people’s household income and spending power to increase, and lowering costs for businesses.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32199958

Taxes Hit Hard on Alibaba

Written by: Bryna Budiman

When there is IPO, companies have option to “lock-up” shares from trading for the purpose of preventing major shareholders from flooding the market in the start of a trading period. In Alibaba, two of the company’s “lock-up” agreements has ended, releasing a huge amount of 437 million for trading, where in addition to that, another 1.6 billion shares owned by Jack Ma and Joe Tsai and investors Yahoo and Softbank will hit the market in September.  To add, Alibaba has sold 320 million shares (13% of the company) in its IPO. All of these amount to a representation of 80% of their company, if sold Alibaba would get $165 billion. Due to this huge amount, China tax specialist, partner at Zhong Lun, Clifford Ng said, the more successful the company, the more reason for the government to collect taxes from them.  The taxation in China is concentrated on worldwide income, where it applies progressive tax rate on employment-based income which ranges from 3% to 45% and a capital gains tax with maximum of 20%. IN the past, authorities have failed to collect taxes from rich Chinese who use creative ways to launder money abroad. Now, Beijing is working hard on solving tax evasion as government debt becomes more evident. The government now requires big firms like Alibaba to register with State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), to control how much money flows in and out of China. In response to this, Alibaba spokesman Bob Christie replied that they will comply. Governments required companies to register with SAFE because now Chinese companies are listed overseas.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/07/news/economy/china-alibaba-tax/index.html?iid=SF_BN_River

Battling Corruption

“It is well-known that corruption is widespread in Indonesia, both in government and in businesses. Please describe one major cause of corruption and a concrete strategy for addressing it in order to reduce the corruption in Indonesia.”

Written by: Bryna Budiman

Corruption is often a difficult issue to handle, but what I believe is in this quote by Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  In order to change society, you must start from within first. The prevalent cause in corruption would be the situation of the people in Indonesia, most of the people of Indonesia are in a state of poverty, which can create greed in officials who did not have enough income per say, and to that, are the mindsets of people which agree that corruption is culturally acceptable. 

From the background I will focus on one issue that is taxation, from taxation, government can acquire funds, which are needed to improve poverty and increase the living standards of the people in Indonesia. Tax officials have linked many data from our E-KTP, tax file number, banking records, and land title and asked questions for instance, if we had an income of Rp 100 million/ month, and we go to Paris every week, isn’t there a discrepancies? In order to solve this problem tax officials need a team of data analyst to act on discrepancies, and this team needs to be clean, how to achieve that? I was inspired by Lee Kuan Yew’s way of battling corruption; he used the “carrot and stick approach”, where he raised salaries of government officials, to limit the need for officials to be corrupt or to have greed as they already have a high income.  Firstly, I believe Indonesia should do the same and create rewards for the team of data analyst for taxation.

Secondly, I believe that the will of Ministry of Finance and the President plays an important role here. It is important for the President have a vision and political will for Indonesia to be a bustling and robust economy. He must communicate with his team and translate his mission step. Not withstanding that, in order to change the country, the President must realize what needs to be changed in himself, may it be more eloquent and understanding like Obama, or strict and disciplined like Lee Kuan Yew, or maybe has clear direction like Margaret Thatcher. The flaws in oneself must be improved daily, and to say it is not only in great leaders that one should change himself, but I say it all happens to ourselves. Whether we want to or not, in order to create a change in our family, our friends, our city, our country, it must first start with ourselves. 

Corruption is not an easy thing to handle, and is one of the major problems of our country. If I may give an example of changing oneself, I used to be a weak person, meaning I did not have the tools or experience to become strong. Years before, I was in an energy-consuming event, I was tired and did not have the will, but I kept pushing on, with the support of those around me, and came out a mature person than I will ever be if I did not tackle that event. Presidents have challenges themselves, if they are willing to tackle this corruption, with a vision in their mind, starting from looking at their flaws and weaknesses, acknowledging them, getting support from their team, I strongly believe Indonesia will come out a blooming country in the future.

Thirdly,I must also emphasize on the mindset of our people, where they tend to accept their fate, or avoid confrontation-musyawarah, or the thinking that everything will be okay in the end, also that culturally, we could not confront someone. The Indonesian people should be more educated so that they know that corruption is an issue to be dealt head on, and this is where the role of NGOs come on, where they give check on government, whistleblowing tips where they will put that in media. These NGOs have to push for changes to make their voices heard. 

In the future I believe, that the middle class will also play a role, and as their incomes increase, they would ask, why am I paying tax and the other people are evading, the voices of this middle class people would get bigger, and then we will come to tackle the issue of corruption.

What I want to emphasize here is corruption is a complicated issue, and it may take years to change this, however, if we look inside ourselves, acknowledge our flaws and face our problems, together with the help of our team, united we can solve corruption by raising income for officials, and changing the mindset of our people. It is a tough fight, and I am not saying it is not like fast food, which can be done in minutes, but it requires a process, same like when we undergo a process of learning in this life, there may be ups and down during the process, but in the end it will be worthwhile. I may take an example of a student, he would like to go to top universities, but then he have to be hardworking, discipline, committed and motivated. In battling corruption, the President must have all these qualities, in the short run, it may be tiring, time-consuming, but throughout the process, he may learn something from it, and grow and develop Indonesia as a country. 

To finish my views, what I answered here is to what I know and to what I perceive can happen, I believe Indonesia has potential, true, it may be just a couple of islands, but to believe in one country is the first step for it to move and strive, as it is in oneself. Somebody once told me, if you don’t believe in yourself, then who will believe in you? To finish, believe and change comes from within.

A Stigmatised Issue Dealt by Women

Women and charities are interrelated. Based on a study by Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana, women are as much as 40% likely to donate than men. (TIME, Newcomb, 2011) Women are sympathetic. Therefore, they tend to donate to the organizations they feel strongly about. One of the main organizations is the mental health organization created by women. WISH is a mental health charity founded in 1987 in the UK. They provide services to women at prisons or hospitals and help them come back into the community. The stigma about women getting sick and becoming mentally ill is an issue. More mental health conference are held, one of them is lead by International Association for Women’s Mental Health.

Imagine the pain and rejection these women have to endure. There is the ridicule and mocking from their peers regarding their disability. What if you have a friend or a family that is mentally ill? There must be a support system in the society. It may be through either support groups, psychiatrists, counselors, family or close friends. There is not much awareness and information raised about mental health in Indonesia. We rarely see people with mental health issues being embraced and accepted in society. There is a harsh sentiment around this issue and they treat mental illness as if it is a disease. That is why there is a need for more compassionate and sensitive people to care for these people.

Another scenario is when a teenage girl undergoes depression. Who can understand what she is feeling? Many of these girls feel like there is no end to this black cloud and they cannot seem to get out of it. Talking to the counselors may help but they are just there to advise you. It is up to you to make the decision to get better. The counselors are not there 24/7. Young girls grow to become teenagers and teenagers become adult who will soon become mothers. Indonesia should understand how important mental health is and create centers for women who need support and encouragement when they are mentally ill. Is it not important to have a stable woman in the family (as they are mothers whom which children look to)? Would they not lead better and meaningful lives? It is an issue that is still sensitive. More people should take the stand and contribute to the growing sector of the mentally ill women.

(This article was published in Student Globe in 2013)

Student Globe is Jakarta Globe’s sister company.