The Republic of Indonesia in the South East Asia is the world’s largest archipelago. It has more than 17,500 islands and the world’s fourth most populated country with over 200 million inhabitants. Majority of which are Muslims. Its capital is Jakarta and it shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Booming with natural resources, many foreigners have tried to invade Indonesia.
These conquerors range from the Indians that brought about the rise of Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in the early centuries AD, the Muslim traders who introduced the religion of Islam during the medieval times, and the Europeans who fought for monopolization of the spice trade during the Age of Exploration. It was only in 1945 that Indonesia declared its independence. Four years later, it was then recognized as an independent republic. ? Government and Politics in Indonesia
The motto “Bhinneka tunggal ika” (“Unity in diversity”, derived from Old Javanese) guides the administration of Indonesia as a whole. A unitary state consisting of a number of distinct ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, Indonesia has experienced a lot from colonialism to rebellion. Being a unitary state, power revolves around a presidential system and is concentrated in the national government. Since 1998 however, the Indonesian political and governmental set-up have undergone a series of major reforms.
After its declaration of independence in 1945, the Constitution, which has been approved in 1945, has been amended four times in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 leading to the creation of a newly liberal democratic political system. In the present format, the President of Indonesia is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Indonesian armed forces. The president is also responsible for appointing a council of ministers that are not required to be elected members of the legislature. Also, the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) serves as the highest representative body at national level.
It has two lower House of Representatives: the People’s Representative Council (DPR) with 550 members and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) with 168 members. ? Economy of Indonesia In 2005, Indonesia placed 110th in the worldwide ranking in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It had a GDP of US$287 billion and a per capita GDP (PPP) of US$4,458. In 2005, Indonesia’s GDP was contributed as follows: the services sector, 45. 3%; industry sector, 40. 7%; and the agriculture sector, 14%.
Despite the low contribution to national GDP, the agriculture sector serves as the country’s largest employer (46. 5% of the 95 million-strong workforce) followed by the services sector (41. 7%) and industry (11. 8%). Indonesia’s main industry features petroleum and natural gas, textiles, apparel, and mining while palm oil, rice, tea, coffee, spices and rubber make up the major agricultural products. These however, are just a number of the extensive natural resources that Indonesia offers: crude oil, natural gas, tin, copper, and gold.
In the export and import industry, Indonesia’s major imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, and foodstuffs. Also in 2005, its main export markets are Japan (22. 3%), the United States (13. 9%), China (9. 1%), and Singapore (8. 9%), whereas its major suppliers of imports are Japan (18. 0%), China (16. 1%), and Singapore (12. 8%). Vietnam ? Major Features The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost nation on the Indochina Peninsula.
Bordering the People’s Republic of China to the north, Laos to the northwest and Cambodia to the southwest, Vietnam has a population of approximately 85 million in 2005, making it one of the most densely populated nations in Southeast Asia. ? Government and Politics in Vietnam The 1975 Constitution of Vietnam was replaced recently by the present state constitution approved in April 1992. Though a Socialist Republic, the commitment of the present government of Vietnam to the said ideology started to diminish since the 1990s.
Now a single-party state, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam asserts the central role of the Communist Party in all organs of government, politics and society. In line with this, only political organizations affiliated or endorsed by the Communist Party, such as the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, workers and trade unionist parties, are permitted to contest elections. As like in most countries, the President of Vietnam is the titular head of state and the nominal commander in chief of the military of Vietnam, chairing the Council on National Defense and Security.
On the other hand, its Prime Minister of Vietnam serves as the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers composed of 3 deputy prime ministers and the heads of 26 ministries and commissions. The unicameral legislature of the government, the National Assembly of Vietnam composed of 498 members is superior to both the executive and judicial government branches. As for the judicial system, the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam, serves as the highest court of appeal in the nation. Under the Supreme People’s Court are the provincial municipal courts and the local courts.
Another powerful branch of the judiciary are the military courts that have special jurisdiction in matters of national security. ? Economy of Vietnam At present, Vietnam is the largest producer of cashew nuts with a one-third global share and second-largest rice exporter in the world. Besides rice, its other key exports include coffee, tea, rubber, and fishery products. Due to its numerous land reforms and programs, Vietnam has the highest percent of land use for permanent crops (6. 93%) among any nation in the Greater Mekong Sub region.
Despite being a major contributor in the export industry, agriculture’s share of economic output in GDP has declined from 42% in 1989 to 26% in 1999. However, production in other sectors of the economy has continued to rise. Undergoing a transition to a market economy, Vietnam updated its intellectual property legislation to comply with TRIPS in 1996. In 2006, its acceptance to the WTO marked another landmark in Vietnam’s move towards economic progress. Vietnam’s chief trading partners include Japan, Australia, ASEAN countries, the U. S. and Western European nations.
In 2006, the country is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies. Having a GDP growth of about 8% in 2006, Vietnam had the second fastest growth rate from among all countries in East and Southeast Asia. Now, Vietnam boasts of the manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries as fast-growing and major contributing sectors to the nation’s economic progress. References: Indonesia. (n. d. ) Accesssed February 13, 2007 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Indonesia Vietnam. (n. d. ) Accesssed February 13, 2007 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Vietnam