Posted by: mel | June 22, 2009

Indonesian Election : Who can it be now?

From My Busy Brain


I rarely watch TV but the presidential candidate debate was on Metro TV.  There, they are, the three candidates:  Megawati, Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) and Jusuf Kalla.  I have never missed a presidential vote, being a good citizen and afraid my vote will be used by others.

The debate was so lame.  It was not sharp, very basic, all the candidates answered the questions with floating answers and the silly thing is, supported each other.  Having watched American debates, I was hoping that the questions were tougher, for example, what are the programs for the Lapindo Mud from the law point of view, about the some certain law, about their choices of their vice president, something interesting to watch.  Ngga menggigit, Indonesians say. 

Instead, each candidates started their talk by, “I agree with you that we shall…”, “I’m glad you have that idea, because I like that too…”.  What kind of debate is that?  From all, I think SBY  has explained in more detailed on his strategy, Megawati is seeing things in big pictures but not addressing how to do it, while I see Jusuf Kalla is taking the questions lightly.  Overall, it didn’t help me make it any easier to make my pick for the next president.

What I think?

First of all, let me tell you about me and politics.  I am not into politics, although I was quite active when I was in ITB and involved a bit with SPUR, the professional group that gathered together in 1998, supporting students demonstration to pull Suharto down from his throne.  All those demonstration and support my friends and I had was purely the idealistic side of us wanting the country to be better.  As soon as things became too political, we didn’t pursue our career in politics or anything like that but we managed to get together for social activities to help children in the rural part of Jakarta subsidizing milk.  I stayed faraway from politics because I was just not interested.  To a point where I am frustrated with the DPR, justice and corruption and stopped reading newspapers and watching TV to avoid feeling depressed.

So I am just a common person, like most of Indonesian professionals.  I love Indonesia, I care about the country, but only passively following it.  I vote, I pay my tax, I listen, I follow the law.

Second of all, I am still traumatized by Golkar.  Jusuf Kalla and Wiranto are fellow Golkarians.  Although it has reformed, I don’t think things have changed in that party for the last 10 years.   This is the party with too many collusions therefore I don’t really support them.  I don’t really support any parties, as a matter of fact.

Wiranto and Prabowo, in my mind, still have lingering issues on the 1998 riot.  The kidnapping and the death of the Trisakti students has not been finished to the end and I am sure they are part of that mumbo jumbo that caused death and rape among the Chinese Indonesians.

Prabowo seems to have things together, being the Chief of the elite army ‘Kopassus’, he was one of the brightest and daring general.  He has been proven to be able to lead in Timor Timur and has is loyal followers in the army.  I would think he could get things sorted out, probably not quite cold as Benny Moerdani (hmmmmh….no guarantee there).  But do we need that cold hand?  Will he be cold?  It also seems like he is way too dominant compared to Megawati.  Based on his background and what he is capable of, is there a chance that he might take over Megawati in the middle?  He also wanted to be the president.   Is there a guarantee that Indonesia will be stable?

Just watched on TV yesterday that some people burnt the posters and banners of Mega-Prabowo because they weren’t paid after putting them on.  Wow.  Good example of what sort of leaders they are.

Megawati was once a president but I see her as a symbol intead of a leader.  Her leadership was poor when she replaced Abdurrahman Wahid.  Having Taufik Kiemas as her husband who is also into politics is not helping either; for some reason I do not like his body language during the debate and it seems that the family is still practising nepotism and collusion.   During her time, it seems nothing real happened, no changes and improvement were made.

Jusuf Kalla’s economic plan seems quite good.  During his time as the VP, he managed to gain the foreign interest to invest in Indonesia.  Although some people are concerned that he will “shut down” foreign investors, his idea on encouraging Indonesian economic from the root is attractive.  As a businessman, I think he will be good, but him pairing up with Wiranto, who is the constant participant of presidential election seems not attractive to me.

SBY has lead the country for 5 years now and although slow and sometimes emotional, he is actually doing something unlike the former presidents (besides Habibie: he let go of Timor and Bintan).  Personal tax by having every people have NPWP, free fiscal going abroad, Aceh, plus he is pretty clean.  When he was elected, I said, “Finally, someone representative to talk to other leaders”.  He is slow and cautious, but this country is a mess that couldn’t be fixed overnight anyways.

SBY pairing up wit Boediono seems to be quite a pro-contra to people, especially the green parties.  I am a bit concerned about Boediono’s neo-liberalism for his economic policy but I have to admit that I haven’t read a lot of his views on his thoughts and ideas if SBY and he is elected.  What I know is that Kwik Kian Gie, the former minister for finance and economy during Megawati, who I look up a lot for his nationalism and smartness, does not believe that Boediono will apply the ‘ekonomi kerakyatan’ (what is the Indonesian translation for this, economy based on people?), showing his policies being the BI Governor.  But, Boediono is quite clean, and from that point of view, he gains points.  We do need people that are clean.

I think many of us believe that stability of the country, security and law enforcement is the main issues in Indonesia.  Without that, it is difficult to do business and invite investors to plant their capital in this country.  Opposition is needed as a control.  Will those not chosen later postition themselves as a qualified oppositors, I think this election is a win-win situation.  It is the people that will suffer from the wrong leader.

Watch who you vote for.  It might cost generations.


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