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The Tick Tick Tock of the Stately Clock

Controversy Grows as Indonesia Moves to Unite Three Time Zones into a Single System on October 28, 2012

(6/3/2012) In a move that an advisory panel claims will improve national efficiency, Indonesia is steadily moving towards plans to put the entire Indonesian nation on a single time-zone, synchronizing clocks across the 5,300 milometer breadth of the archipelagic nation with the clocks of neighboring Singapore, Malaysia and China.

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With the introduction of the single time zone for Indonesia, the entire country will be eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Rime (UTC).

The change in Indonesia’s time zone is scheduled to come into effect on October 28, 2012.

Indonesia Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan is touting the change as a boost to accelerate economic development, bringing Indonesian banks and financial houses into rough approximation with the operating hours of banks and bourses in Singapore and Malaysia.

The proposed change, however, is not without its detractors. Jusuf Kalla, the former vice-president of Indonesia, claims the change will cause disruption to the life-style of people living in the far east and far west of Indonesia. Saying 200 million Indonesians will be affected by the change, Kalla branded the time-change plan as illogical and unheard of in any nation covering the wide longitudinal area such as that occupied by Indonesia.

Kalla said China’s use of a single-time zone was a political decision adopted by the Communist Party in 1949.

Ridiculing arguments of “greater economic productivity” resulting from a single time zone, Kalla points to the U.S.A. with nine time zones and Australia with three time zones, where he says productivity and multiple time zones have no linkage.

The Sunlight Factor

Largely ignored in the current debate over changing time zones in Indonesia is the fact that Indonesia, as an archipelagic nation stretched along the equator, sees an average day's sunlight vary little throughout the calendar year. For example, Surabaya, as Indonesia’s second largest city, experiences sunset and sunset times that vary by only 20 minutes across the course of a year.

As shown on the chart provided by Balidiscovery.com, a single time zone would limit the amount of "waking" or "working" daylight hours available to local residents and, by extension, tourist visitors, In a simulation for a specific day in March 2012, the new time zone would see people in North Sumatra experience their sunrise and sunset one hour later at 7:32 am and 7:37 pm, respectively. This compares with Indonesia’s far east, Jayapura, in Papua, where for the same date in March the sunrise and sunset would occur one hour earlier at 4:42 am and 4:40 pm, respectively.

The current proposal mandate that all areas of Indonesia follow a single time zone of GMT + 8. Under this scheme, there would be no change in Bali’s current time zone.

Use the Feedback button and tell us what you think about plans to change Indonesia’s Time Zones.

[It’s About Time]