Lawmaker wants to block Indonesia’s investment board from using TikTok after the country missed out on investment deal

Who isn’t on TikTok these days? Well, the staff of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) may have to hop off the video-sharing app after a lawmaker suggested that they be forbidden from using TikTok in light of a missed investment opportunity.

Yes, you read that right. Abdul Hakim Bafagih, a House of Representatives (DPR) member from the National Mandate Party (PAN), yesterday expressed his disappointment upon hearing that ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, chose Singapore over Indonesia as the location to set up the app’s headquarters in Asia.

“I was a bit upset seeing Zoom, TikTok, and several other tech companies not investing here. When we are compared with Singapore, whether in terms of number of users or the amount of revenue, there are bigger numbers in Indonesia,” Abdul said during a meeting in Jakarta.

Abdul was addressing BKPM Chief Bahlil Lahadalia, and not so subtly highlighting that the board’s failure to attract TikTok to invest in Indonesia was a “direct slap” to him and his staff, before suggesting a “creative” punishment for Bahlil’s team. 

“Maybe to reprimand Bahlil’s team, for the next few months, BKPM staff can be prohibited from using TikTok or something like that,” Abdul said.  

During the meeting, Bahlil said it’s been difficult to select investments during the pandemic, as BKPM has focused their efforts on opportunities that could increase employment. 

He reportedly did not go into detail as to why BKPM didn’t manage to attract TikTok to invest in Indonesia, but alternatively mentioned nine Chinese companies which are planning to invest in the country, two of which have already started the process. 

ByteDance is reportedly planning to invest billions of dollars and add hundreds of jobs in Singapore as part of their global expansion, on top of over 400 employees who are reportedly already working for the company in the city-state. 

This step is said to be the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to kick TikTok out of the country following accusations of threatening national security for collecting vast amounts of private data collected from US citizens.

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