He has been fascinated by Indonesian cultures and history since the very first time he stepped foot on Indonesian soil in mid-1998, just one month after Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was forced to step down from office at a time when the Asian Crisis ravaged through the country. He decided to do his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University (the Netherlands) with a major focus on Indonesian society, history and linguistics.

After successfully finishing his MA degree he temporarily taught Indonesian languages and cultures at the Volksuniversiteit in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), while increasingly becoming aware of the economic potential of Indonesia in a world where the economic gravity point was rapidly shifting to the East. With having had a profound training in Indonesia's macroeconomic history at university, he started to delve into the contemporary economic conditions of the country and through frequent visits to Indonesia established a network within businesses and government circles.

Since 2013 he has been permanently based in Jakarta and is frequently contacted by international media to share his views on economic, political and social developments in Indonesia. Journalists can reach him through +62(0)8 788 410 6944 (including WhatsApp). He can also act as speaker at events or give presentations to boards/workers in companies.

"One of the most important aspects of doing business in Indonesia is to comprehend Indonesia's culture of business. It amazes me how often this cultural aspect is neglected when foreigners invest in Indonesia, but it is certainly critical to achieve success. Also in-depth knowledge about Indonesia's business and investment environments is critical when preparing an investment project here. This too is sometimes underestimated by investors. Even investment projects in Indonesia carried out by foreign governments (and supported by the local embassy in Jakarta) sometimes lack expertise on Indonesia, meaning future results will be far from optimal, while public money (usually tax money) is squandered."

Organization Indonesia Investments
  Private Investment Company
Position Managing Director
Expertise Investment & Business Strategies | Investment & Business Environment | Macroeconomics & Politics | Cultural Studies


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Columns of R.M.A. van der Schaar

  • Analysis Performance & Accomplishments Indonesia Under Jokowi

    Analysis Performance & Accomplishments Indonesia Under Jokowi

    After two years in office, the time is ripe now to take a look at the performance and accomplishments of the government under the leadership of Joko Widodo, often called Jokowi. Indonesia's seventh president was a bit unlucky. In the first year of his rule, commodity prices were at multi-year lows (curbing Indonesia's foreign exchange earnings) amid sluggish global economic growth, while capital outflows from Indonesia occurred on the back of monetary tightening in the USA, sending the rupiah to a 17-year low in September 2015.

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  • Weak Tax Revenue Indonesia in 1H-2016, Spotlight on Tax Amnesty

    Weak Tax Revenue Indonesia in 1H-2016, Spotlight on Tax Amnesty

    Indonesia's tax revenue realization in the first half of 2016 was disappointing. According to the latest data, Southeast Asia's largest economy collected a total of IDR 518.4 trillion (approx. USD $39.6 billion) worth of tax revenue (including customs and excise) in the first six months of 2016, down 3.3 percent (y/y) from tax revenue realization in the same period one year earlier, and only 33.7 percent of total targeted tax revenue (IDR 1,539.2 trillion) set in the revised 2016 State Budget. The disappointing performance is mainly due to weak tax income from the oil and gas sector.

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  • Islam & Indonesian Culture: Impact of Idul Fitri on the Economy

    Islam & Indonesian Culture: Impact of Idul Fitri on the Economy

    Next week Indonesia's financial and stock markets are closed for Idul Fitri (also known as Lebaran or Eid al-Fitr), the celebrations that mark the end of the holy Islamic fasting month (Ramadan). As usual, during the Ramadan month (that started in early June) business activities in Indonesia start to slow and this slowdown will reach its "peak" during the Idul Fitri holiday, a national holiday (from Monday 4 July to Friday 8 July) when some 17.6 million Indonesians who live and work in the bigger cities will return to their places of origin for a couple of days (a tradition called mudik).

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  • Analysis Indonesia Stock Market & Rupiah: Post-Brexit Recovery

    Analysis Indonesia Stock Market & Rupiah: Post-Brexit Recovery

    As expected, Indonesia's benchmark Jakarta Composite Index fell on Friday (01/07) due to profit-taking after an impressive recent (relief) rally that brought the index into bull market territory earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Indonesian rupiah maintained its momentum, appreciating 0.72 percent to IDR 13,115 per US dollar on the first day of the new month, the currency's strongest level in three and a half months. Most Asian emerging markets have now repaired their earlier Brexit-induced losses.

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  • Indonesia's House Passes Tax Amnesty Bill & Revised State Budget

    In a plenary session on Tuesday (28/06), Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) passed the controversial Tax Amnesty Bill into law as well as the revised 2016 state budget. The Indonesian government will be relieved to see the Tax Amnesty Bill come into effect on 1 July 2016 (ending in May 2017) as it expects the bill to boost tax revenue this year by IDR 165 trillion (approx. USD $12.4 billion). Through tax incentives and the pardoning of tax crimes, the tax amnesty program makes it attractive for tax evaders to declare their offshore assets and repatriate these into Indonesia.

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