President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono trumpeted the success of his administration in lifting the country to become one of the world’s most respected nations, during his annual state address, delivered to commemorate the 67th anniversary of independence.
“Fourteen years ago, in the midst of a crisis, the International Monetary Fund [IMF] came and offered a loan with conditions that actually further compounded our economic situation. Now our country’s economy keeps growing, the IMF comes not to offer loans, but to have a consultation and exchange ideas with Indonesia on overcoming the global crisis that is currently taking place,” Yudhoyono said in his state address on Thursday (16/08).
Last month, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, paid Yudhoyono a visit.
While Lagarde was in town, the government announced that Indonesia would contribute US$1 billion to the IMF by purchasing the agency’s bonds. The decision, which sparked controversy, was aimed at helping the IMF deal with the European debt crisis.
In his state address, Yudhoyono also claimed that Indonesia had made great strides in international politics by engaging with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations, G20, East Asia Summit and Rio+20 Summit.
“From the various initiatives and ideas that we have proposed as a response to international dynamics, praise be to God our voice has increasingly been heard and taken into account. We are more often asked to provide our opinions — “What does Indonesia think?” — on a number of world issues. This proves that as an independent and sovereign nation, we can stand tall in the international arena,” Yudhoyono said.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently appointed Yudhoyono, along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron to co-chair the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 MDGs Development Agenda.
The first meeting of this panel will be held in the US at the end of September.
The Economist recently wrote in a piece entitled “Sitting Duck” that Yudhoyono had been looking beyond 2014 and that he has coveted an elder statesman’s role. “Not long ago some of his staffers even wondered if he might succeed Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general of the United Nations,” the London-based newspaper wrote, which also referred Yudhoyono as a globocrat.
Later in his speech, Yudhoyono however admitted that at the domestic level, his administration is dealing with many challenges including in the fight against corruption, bureaucratic reform and infrastructural problems.
Yudhoyono said that misappropriation of state budget had hampered efforts to improve the country’s education, health service, and infrastructure.
“There should no longer be any conspiracy between the government, the lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and the business community in draining the state coffers, both in the state budget and the regional budgets. I have to admit there remain a large number individuals involved in graft, whether from the government, local administrations, lawmakers and local politicians or law enforcement officers,” he said.
On the issue of social conflict, Yudhoyono partly blamed the police for not taking action quickly enough. “When violent events occur, the police must immediately take quick, firm and appropriate action,” he said.
On the issue human rights, Yudhoyono claimed that the situation was vastly improved in spite of violence in Papua.
“Our brothers and sisters in Papua are always close to our hearts. The government realizes the complexity of the issues that require specific, fundamental and comprehensive measures,” Yudhoyono said.
Source: The Jakarta Post