The Impacts of Regional Integration For Indonesia’s Sovereignty

written by: Arini Agustina Silalahi

Internationalism

            “We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.” – Dalai Lama.

That is one of the best quotes that describes of human beings. Many people agree with Dalai Lama’s quote. This agreement is reflected from the decision to make many countries integrated. Well, we call it Regional Integration. Adding this quote does not mean that making regional integrated always give benefits. Too many impacts that people should face when their country integrated with others. The problem is, Are we ready to face this regional integration? Will the regional integration give impact for our country’s sovereignty?

Being integrated with other countries such as The European Union (EU) and ASEAN Economic Community 2015 (AEC 2015) is not really easy for the country that not ready in many aspects and also for developing country like Indonesia. Based on the countries in EU that already faced regional integration, Indonesia should learn many things to prepare AEC 2015 (AEC will be started on December 31, 2015). If Indonesia is still not ready, it will give Indonesia many problems.

The implementation of AEC 2015 will give the impact for human recources in many countries. AEC 2015 will open the labor market. The competition of college graduates to obtain employment will increase. Higher education plays a role in producing graduates who are competent with a standard that refers to the international community. If we compare the educational level between Indonesia to other ASEAN countries, Indonesia is not yet can match it. Most of Indonesian as human resources finish their study only in secondary school level, whereas human resources from other ASEAN countries finish their study in bachelor degree level. The government need to focus on this problem. If not, the unemployement rate in Indonesia will increase higher than before.

Based on that problem, acceleration to produce skilled manpower is one important condition for Indonesia to compete. It is necessary synergy conducted jointly with the business community, government, and universities to improve the quality of our human resources. In addition, all of Indonesian people need to know how to communicate in English to face the labor market. Skill in English language, both written and oral are the things that must Indonesian have as language introductory in working and business process. But in fact, not all Indonesian can speak and write English well.

In facing regional integration AEC 2015, English language is important to learn but we should not forget to use Bahasa Indonesia as our mother language. The sovereignty of our country, in this case is our mother language, should can be maintained when doing business in Indonesia. When AEC 2015 starts, a lot of foreigners will come to Indonesia. It is better when foreigners who want to work and invest in Indonesia can speak and write in Bahasa Indonesia. It can help our mother language still exist in our country. So, the government’s policy is important to make it real.

The regional integration will make foreign investors interested to come to Indonesia because Indonesia is a potential market to invest. So, how is the fate of Indonesian entrepreneurs? As we know, there are a lot of entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Most of them are micro-entrepreneurs. In facing regional integration AEC 2015, we should know that many products from other ASEAN countries will be imported to Indonesia and free trade will start soon. Micro-entrepreneurs and also their local products now are being threatened. Those who can handle this business threat will survive. But it is not really easy. Why? Because we do not have to wait until AEC 2015 start to see the fact of how big the problem of micro-entrepreneurs should face. Now, we can find a lot of products which are from China with low prices in Indonesia, and this is a big threat for Indonesia’s entrepreneurs. Their main source of money that help them just to survive in facing life is in a problem.

The other impacts are waiting for us if we as Indonesian are not ready to face this regional integration. Do not we realize that regional integration will give us many internal and external conflicts?

Being integrated with AEC 2015 means that we should ready to face internal conflicts that might happen. Indonesia is a country of cultures and the cultures here are very viscous. To be integrated with other countries, we should try to accept new cultures without leaving our own old culture. But in fact, a cultural shift can not be avoided. We might start forgetting our old culture when the new culture coming.

Not only a cultural shift, but also people who are not open-minded can make internal conflicts that might be happened when regional integrated. This type of people usually do not want to know new things and have potential to be racist when facing new people from other countries. They also can not integrate with new people and like to see new things negatively. That can be a bomb and make internal conflicts more severe. The government should pay attention to this problem.

The government also must pay attention to the external conflicts that might be happened. Indonesia has many interesting cultures and it should be protected. If not, the AEC 2015 will make our cultures are claimed easily by other country. Cultural conflicts from external that have potential to happen include a claim arts, foods, traditional clothes, and our island or area. This kind of conflicts from regional integration are possible to disrupt our country’s sovereignty.

Regional integration also give impacts for our sovereignty in export and import goods. If we compare between export and import, the level of import goods in Indonesia is far more than the export goods level. Indonesia always depends on other countries to supply many things while Indonesia is rich of natural recources. It happens till now when the regulations of export and import are strict. It will get worse if Indonesia can not start to be more independent and produce goods without importing from other countries, because Indonesia is really a rich country. If Indonesia can not start to do it, the regional integration will make the level of import goods in Indonesia will be higher than before.

So, do not we want to make our country still has its sovereignty in facing the regional integration of AEC 2015? If yes, let’s make a change together. If there is a country that can live without other country, it should be Indonesia because Indonesia is really a rich country and Indonesia has everything inside. But the condition right now is different as we wish to be. The quality of human resources is the most important thing that should be increased. After that, it is possible to transform from developing country to developed country and we will not see the regional integration AEC 2015 as a threat.

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