Political Q&A with foreign investors
13 September 2011
Random questions and Wimar’s answers, excerpted from several interviews
Political Q&A with foreign investors
Q : So why is the land bill not being speeded up? Both the government and political parties should see that the Bill would facilitate infrastructure development, which will strengthen the growth of the business sector. we know that business interests are being supported by Golkar major political leaders
A : The issue here is that the powerful politicians do have concern for the foundation of their business, but they are preoccupied by assuring their survival by political machinations. Passing important bills would help the nation’s interest as well as their own business interests. But that would not be much good if they do not survive politically. If they somehow fall out of favor politically, powerful politicians would not only leave the political mainstream, but they could very possibly could be sent to jail. Once Golkar doesn’t provide the political cover for their leader. they can be prosecuted.
Q : What is happening now with the SRI Party which is nominating Sri Mulyani? Does she has a chance?
A : The SRI Party is awaiting verification. Sri Mulyani could have a chance in 2014, but right now, it’s too early to tell.
Q : so, why is there so much energy around the SRI? I understand you’re one of its supporters.
A : Yes I am, and yesthere is a lot of energy. The promise of Sri Mulyani possibly becoming a presidential candidate returns the attraction of politics for young people, for housewives, for lay people who are not part of the formal political elites.
Q: Does Sri Mulyani actually intend to run?
A : Privately, I hope so. But publicly she is not allowed to announce formally or informally, any intention about political activities, because she is a director of the World Bank. She doesn’t actually have to commit herself as a presidential candidate until 2013, so there is plenty of time.
Q : She is the favorite among foreign investors. Is she also popular among local Indonesians?
A : Obviously, any international parties having positive interest in Indonesia would stand to be pleased with the election of Sri Mulyani. In fact support from foreigners has become a liability for Sri Mulyani among parts of the polpulation who have become slightly xenophobic or envious of somebody who is so well understood by the outside world. Her independence caused her to be criminalized by the Indonesian political press who support less than honest politicians.
Q : So how does she stand a chance with that troublesome fact?
A : She has been criminalized by the press and the parliament for the last two years. Now the pressure is easing because Golkar has taken its foot off the pedal. Gradually the true story of the Century case is coming to the surface, that in fact Sri Mul;yani did nothing wrong. In fact the Bank Century bailout is the best thing that could have been done under the circumstances at that time.
Q : Why does the president seem to be indecisive considering the fact that he has been elected by a very sound margin of 60% of the popular vote? Why does he back down and not continue on his announced path of reform?
A : I’m one of the people who voted for SBY In 2004 and 2009. While I was not that disappointed in his first term because of low expectations, we are very disappointed in his second term. Because we have much higher expectations. He appointed two good people to the government, Vice President Boediono and Finance Minister SMI. And he appointed several good people to the cabinet. But he turned around and then gave some space to political parties who nominated individuals with no competence. More seriously, he backed down on his campaign against corruption and allowed cases to run astray, forsaking several opportunities to home in for the kill on corruptors. Much of the public have lost hope for SBY.. I personally have a largerhope for the political process, once we give up the idea of trying to change the president.