Jakarta stands firm on saga over figures

Indonesia yesterday formally responded to Singapore over the trade dispute saga, reiterating its stance that the Republic should publish the statistics.

In a letter to her Singaporean counterpart George Yeo, Indonesian Trade and Industry Minister Rini Soewandi also called for an electronic data exchange system that would help combat smuggling, sources said.

The note comes just days after Brigadier-General (NS) Yeo sent her a letter refuting charges made earlier by Jakarta that Singapore was being ‘unfriendly’.

Some Indonesian ministers have alleged that Singapore has been withholding its trade data because its figures do not tally with the Indonesian numbers and hide billions of dollars in smuggling between both sides.

In his note, dated July 4, BG Yeo made clear the claims were unfounded. Singapore has been handing over its trade data to Indonesian leaders since the 1970s and has always maintained that it had no problems if they made the figures public.

In her reply, Ms Rini said her government had not found any official documents that suggested that there was a ‘confidential arrangement’, and added that the release of the figures would help Jakarta ‘identify misreporting’.

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