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Extradition, airspace, and defence agreements are signed between Indonesia and Singapore

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during their annual leaders' retreat at the Indonesian island of Bintan in Riau, Indonesia, January 25, 2022. Presidential Palace/Agus Suparto/Handout via REUTERS

On Tuesday, Indonesia and Singapore inked a bilateral extradition agreement, which Jakarta hopes will aid police in bringing persons accused of stashing billions of dollars in public funds to justice.

The news: In a ceremony broadcast on Indonesia’s State Secretariat YouTube channel, senior cabinet officials from both countries signed bilateral accords covering airspace and defence.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo greet each other during their annual leaders’ retreat at the Indonesian island of Bintan in Riau, Indonesia, January 25, 2022. Presidential Palace/Laily Rachev/Handout via REUTERS.
  • The signings come after President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met on the Indonesian island of Bintan for their annual leaders’ retreat.
  • Because of concerns about the difficulty of bringing some fugitives accused of embezzling substantial sums during the Asian financial crisis to justice, the question of extradition has long been a source of frustration for Indonesia.
  • The extradition treaty will enhance cooperation and combating crime and send a clear, positive signal to investors.  
  • According to a statement from Indonesia’s investment and maritime affairs ministry, those who committed 31 sorts of crimes will be liable for extradition, and it will apply to offences committed up to 18 years ago.
  • It was also said that under the accord, people would not be able to avoid prosecution by changing their citizenship.

What’s going on: In 2007 Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee oversaw the signing of an extradition pact and a defence cooperation agreement, however it was never ratified by the Indonesian parliament.

  • Indonesia has established a new “BLBI” task group to pursue $8 billion in bailout money that was never reimbursed to bank owners and borrowers during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s.
  • Specifically, for Indonesia, the implementation of the extradition agreement will reach effectively fugitives of the past and facilitate the implementation of a presidential regulation on BLBI.
  • Another deal reached between the two countries gives Indonesia greater authority over airspace above the Riau and Natuna islands, which are near to both countries, as well as a defence accord.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong walks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during their annual leaders’ retreat at the Indonesian island of Bintan in Riau, Indonesia, January 25, 2022. Presidential Palace/Laily Rachev/Handout via REUTERS
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