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 Government Mulling One Time Zone for All of Indonesia

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BerichtOnderwerp: Government Mulling One Time Zone for All of Indonesia   Government Mulling One Time Zone for All of Indonesia Icon_minitimezo 11 maa 2012 - 23:54

Bogor. The government wants to bring the entire archipelago, from Aceh to Papua, under a single time zone in a move it says would be a boon for business and increase productivity.

Indonesia is currently split into three time zones, with the first at GMT + 7.

Under the a proposed plan, residents across the archipelago would set their clocks to GMT+8, said Edib Muslim, spokesman for the Indonesian Economic Development Committee (KP3EI).

The committee is in charge of implementing the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI), which divides the country into economic corridors. It is chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the chief economics minister, Hatta Rajasa, is the executive chairman.

The move to one time zone is being considered to boost productivity, Edib said.

“A one-hour difference among the three time zones is not effective,” he said. “For example, transactions in Jakarta, located in the Western Indonesian Time zone, start at 9 a.m., and end at 5 p.m. This means there is effectively a four-hour window for trade between people in the Western time zone and the Eastern,” which is two hours ahead.

He said having just one time zone would eliminate problems like this, making business easier. “It will allow people living in the west, central and east of Indonesia to have the same standard time,” he said. “But we are still discussing how to put it in place.”

Hatta said a single time zone would be a financial blessing for the country.

“There are studies that say that with a single time zone, arrangements are more efficient and beneficial, so trillions [of rupiah] could be saved,” he said.

Speaking after a seminar on science and technology, Hatta said putting Indonesia under a single time zone at GMT+8 would also put country on the same time as several neighbors, such as Singapore and the Philippines.

“If our time zone could be made the same as our neighboring countries, then we could save substantially in terms of working hours, traffic and economic activity,” he said.

Still, he said he was unsure when the plan might actually be put into place.

The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) welcomed the plan.

“We really agree with this because this could save time and make it easier in computing the duration of trade distribution time,” Apindo chairman Sofyan Wanandi told

He also said the move would help improve the country’s economic competitiveness, at least when compared to other countries in the region.

Emmanuel Sungging Mumpuni, a space and solar system researchers from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan), said that although ideally a country as large as Indonesia should be divided into three time zones, having just one wouldn’t cause any problems.

He cited the example of China, which has adopted a single time zone for the entire country, at GMT+8.

The Indonesia Council of Ulema (MUI), which holds the highest authority on Islamic matters, said the move would not affect prayer times for Muslims. Islam has five prayers a day.

“Even being in the same time zone, Western Indonesian Time, there is already a difference in the prayer time for Jakarta and Medan, so there is no problem,” said Ma’ruf Amin, the head of the MUI fatwa department.

”Basically, prayers, breaking the fast and the start of the fasting day will take place at the same moment in the day, but the figure for the time would be different,” he said.

Additional reporting from Antara

From JG

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