Indonesia, Australia agree to step up terrorism fight

Indonesian and Australian ministers at a high-level meeting of security officials from both countries in Sydney.
Indonesian and Australian ministers at a high-level meeting of security officials from both countries in Sydney.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/KEMENKO POLHUKAM RI

JAKARTA - Indonesia and Australia have agreed to intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing during a high-level meeting of security officials from both countries in Sydney.

"The meeting went very well and we had in-depth discussions on how to counter acts of terrorism, cooperate in the field of intelligence and capacity building," said Indonesia's security czar Luhut Pandjaitan in a Facebook post on Thursday (June 9).

The Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs added that the meeting was "very important" for both sides after what has been a good start to in the joint effort to address security issues facing the region.

To deal with the rising threat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) in South-east Asia, Indonesia has mapped out regional elements linked to the terror group and shared it with Australia, said Mr Luhut.

"There are about 500 Indonesian citizens in Syria and they want to establish a caliphate in South-east Asia, but we managed to map them out," he said. "We have also exchanged information with Australia on this matter, and we believe we solve this problem."

Mr Luhut added that both countries will also investigate what is determined to be an illicit flow of funds from Australia to Indonesia, that apparently finances terrorism.

His comments came after delegates from Indonesia met with their Australian counterparts, led by Attorney-General George Brandis, at the second Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Council on Law and Security meeting on Wednesday.

The first meeting of the council was held last December in Indonesia.

Mr Brandis was accompanied at the meeting by Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

Aside from Mr Luhut, the delegation from Jakarta included Police Chief Badrodin Haiti, head of the National Counter-Terrorism Agency Tito Karnavian as well as the Law and Human Rights Ministry's director general for immigration Ronny Franky Sompie.

Mr Keenan, who also serves as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism, said the meeting was an opportunity for both countries to develop a better understanding of their respective laws.

Mr Luhut said Indonesia's Parliament is finalising the proposed revisions to the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Among the proposed changes are additional powers for the police to conduct preventive detention, or arrest terrorist suspects before they carry out any acts of terrorism.

The revised Bill, if passed, will also reportedly make it a seizeable offence to spread provocative hate speech, perform paramilitary training and make bombs.

These are part of sweeping changes to Indonesia's anti-terror laws, first raised by the police and security agencies in the wake of the Jan 14 terrorist attack in Jakarta.

"We hope that the revision process can be completed next month," said Mr Luhut.