No More Inefficient or Intolerant Indonesia - Jokowi's New Vision

Lee Bale

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I just stumbled across this on the Jakarta Globe website: https://jakartaglobe.id/context/no-more-inefficient-or-intolerant-indonesia-jokowis-new-vision/

I thought this was really interesting and positive for the president to come out directly and say. I've had two stints living in Jakarta: (1) from 2010-2011; and, (2) from 2018- present. I really think a lot of the processes and some of the infrastructure in Jakarta has improved since 2010 so I guess the president is on the right track and I really think it is important to view his statements here through the lenses of progress and realism. Thus, remaining positive about the potential of this amazing country but realistic about the pace at which positive changes will manifest themselves according to his vision as stated here.

I don't want these questions to be answered with cynicism if possible but of course humour accompanied by objective reasoning is welcome. I have two questions for the forum that I would like to discuss: (1) Realistically, what positive changes can be implemented over the next five years to continue 'progress' as discussed in the article?; and, (2) What kind of resistance will emerge in opposition to the president's vision of progress?

I always find the lack of a comments section on the Jakarta Globe frustrating as I feel that there is often some decent local journalism there. There is a comments section on the Jakarta Post but it is usually just people making judgement values and there is not much in the way of balanced reasoning (at the risk of sounding cynical perhaps internet comments sections rarely show much in the way of balanced reasoning).
 

Bad_azz

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I think it would be nice to update the pancasilla (I dunno how to spell it ) to include all beliefs, considering the pride Indonesia takes in its diversity.
I think it would be nice to completely upgrade and overhaul the education system, the police, etc.
The UK has cctv everywhere, particularly on the roads, whilst this is a pain in the bum for motorists and very much Orwellian, the concept of number plate recognition/automated fines takes away the need for cops to perform traffic stops in the hope of extortion.

Revise the rent-a-cop traffic cavalcades down the toll road- if someone has to be somewhere make them use the train :)
OOh I could go on.
 

Bad_azz

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Having now read the article, I do hope he succeeds in opening up the country and promoting tolerance and acceptance, that can only be a good thing.
To be honest, IF Indonesia could get its act together it really could be an ass-kicking country, it has all the main ingredients.

& no matter what, I love this place for all its foibles.
 

Lee Bale

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Having now read the article, I do hope he succeeds in opening up the country and promoting tolerance and acceptance, that can only be a good thing.
To be honest, IF Indonesia could get its act together it really could be an ass-kicking country, it has all the main ingredients.

& no matter what, I love this place for all its foibles.
Agreed. The potential this country has massive potential and in many ways has already stolen my heart. Obviously, I have gripes (mostly with pollution and driver etiquette tbh) but I try to frame my complaints with improvement in mind. I love Indonesia and I guess part of the reasons why is because of the way it starkly contrasts to my home country of the UK. I really hope Jokowi achieves these broad goals and any improvement is good, especially in such a short period of time (5 more years). Whoever takes the helm after that I really hope they take these goals and continue running with them. I'm really interested to see the initiatives that he implements towards these aims and hope he takes a strong approach to the things he talks about in the article. Honestly speaking, I feel that Indonesia is a very tolerant place but I haven't looked at any longitudinal data regarding tolerance here and how it has changed over time. I'd be interested to see some though if anyone has any good links.
 

snpark

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2nd term syndrome. He might be able to get more done since he doesn't need to worry about running again. But who will replace him? If it was Ahok then you could be more optimistic. But mostly it's all talk and corruption still sadly since the bad outnumbers the good
 

jstar

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the concept of number plate recognition/automated fines takes away the need for cops to perform traffic stops in the hope of extortion.
It is in place now for the odd/even number plate recognition.

The potential this country has massive potential and in many ways has already stolen my heart. Obviously, I have gripes (mostly with pollution and driver etiquette tbh)
It is a bit like Congo though. Amazing potential and richness in natural resources. But because of controlling clans, nepotism, feuds between ethnic groups and (extreme) religions, and corruption (look how many governors and regents are arrested lately) it doesn't make a lot of progress.

Jokowi has done good things on infrastructure and superficially on corruption. Now the KPK revamp was a great thing, and they achieve a lot, but perhaps it just becomes too much to digest. If you look at the whole anti corruption program as an outsider, you realize there simply is no way to cut out the rotten area; it has gone too far and is rooted too deep.

On efficiency and freedom of speech and human rights I hope Jokowi will search his own conscience. His team has been extremely weak. I do hope most of the current ministers in the cabinet will never be heard of again. Blunder after blunder, re-engineering ideas that never materialize, scandals without taking responsibility, ... And the most controversial cases in court with amazing outcomes were during his presidency.

And as B_A alluded to, many of the laws need an overhaul if they want the legal system to collaborate to enforce this tolerance and avoid all these screw-ups and enter the 21st century. But with incompetent law makers? And to put religion in the mix; there simply are too many people who wish for a Caliphate.

I think Indonesians in general are very friendly but don't mistake that for tolerance. Racism and bigotry are normal and clichés about other ethnic groups are still used everywhere. I’m not sure what a president plans to do to change that.

But who will replace him?
I am rather optimistic for the future if it will be people like Agus and Sandiaga. Or youngsters of the PSI (e.g. Grace Nathalie). I get very depressed if I think it could be someone like Anies or if Fadli tries to stunt. Ahok c.s. is out of the picture and personally I don't think he'll ever play an important role in politics again.
.
 
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Lee Bale

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2nd term syndrome. He might be able to get more done since he doesn't need to worry about running again. But who will replace him? If it was Ahok then you could be more optimistic. But mostly it's all talk and corruption still sadly since the bad outnumbers the good
There is certainly a large margin for improvement in a lot of areas. I'm also keen to see who will run for president next time and to see if the riots and things happen again if a similar candidate to Jokowi emerges. Corruption and pollution are two of the biggest areas that I would like to see addressed. According to Transparency.org's Corruption Perceptions Index (https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018 ) Indonesia scored a 38/100 on their scale of 0-100 where 0 is extremely corrupt and 100 is extremely transparent. This isn't great and I'm not sure how they collect their data but the country's score does seem to be improving.

This would suggest that the bad outweighs the good as you suggest but that things may be slowly improving. The article cited at the start of the thread got me wondering about the perceptions of other expats here. Jokowi is holding a snow ball in the desert and I really hope that he achieves his aims to help Indonesia become less corrupt and generally more open.
 

Lee Bale

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It is in place now for the odd/even number plate recognition.



It is a bit like Congo though. Amazing potential and richness in natural resources. But because of controlling clans, nepotism, feuds between ethnic groups and (extreme) religions, and corruption (look how many governors and regents are arrested lately) it doesn't make a lot of progress.

Jokowi has done good things on infrastructure and superficially on corruption. Now the KPK revamp was a great thing, and they achieve a lot, but perhaps it just becomes too much to digest. If you look at the whole anti corruption program as an outsider, you realize there simply is no way to cut out the rotten area; it has gone too far and is rooted too deep.

On efficiency and freedom of speech and human rights I hope Jokowi will search his own conscience. His team has been extremely weak. I do hope most of the current ministers in the cabinet will never be heard of again. Blunder after blunder, re-engineering ideas that never materialize, scandals without taking responsibility, ... And the most controversial cases in court with amazing outcomes were during his presidency.

And as B_A alluded to, many of the laws need an overhaul if they want the legal system to collaborate to enforce this tolerance and avoid all these screw-ups and enter the 21st century. But with incompetent law makers? And to put religion in the mix; there simply are too many people who wish for a Caliphate.

I think Indonesians in general are very friendly but don't mistake that for tolerance. Racism and bigotry are normal and clichés about other ethnic groups are still used everywhere. I’m not sure what a president plans to do to change that.



I am rather optimistic for the future if it will be people like Agus and Sandiaga. Or youngsters of the PSI (e.g. Grace Nathalie). I get very depressed if I think it could be someone like Anies or if Fadli tries to stunt. Ahok c.s. is out of the picture and personally I don't think he'll ever play an important role in politics again.
.

I can't address all of this adequately, so apologies. However, just as a frame of reference, Democratic Republic of Congo scores 20/100 compared to the aforementioned 38/100 for Indonesia on the Corruption Perceptions Index. So while that is a small data sample to go off and is only based on perception, Jokowi's Indonesia does look favorable in comparison. I disagree that there is 'no way to cut out the rotten area [of corruption in Indonesia]' however I do acknowledge that to do so is a long and arduous task and probably not one that can be done so by one president but that needs to be done so by a string of forward thinking presidents. Regarding intolerance as a measurable phenomenon in Indonesia, this article in New Mandala was quite interesting (https://www.newmandala.org/measuring-religious-intolerance-across-indonesian-provinces/ ), however it did seem focused on religious opposition on the part of Muslims towards Christians and lacked depth in relation to Indonesia as a whole. However, it did find that Aceh is the most intolerant on their measures and that Banten is the least tolerant in Java. It seems that we simply lack enough data to make generalisations on tolerance levels here. And that any we can make lack a sufficient depth of nuance to be meaningful and impactful, at least in the data/articles cited. For me, there is still a lot of work to be done but I would like to see a comparison of data such as this with other developing countries for an idea of the scope of intolerance here. Not much to be drawn from this I guess but interesting nonetheless.
 

Helpful Herbert

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You can't make a country more tolerant while at the same time 1) accepting huge amounts of Saudi money specifically designed to make it less tolerant 2) making the education system more and more focussed on emphasising religious differences. But it's nice for him to try anyway.
 

Lee Bale

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You can't make a country more tolerant while at the same time 1) accepting huge amounts of Saudi money specifically designed to make it less tolerant 2) making the education system more and more focussed on emphasising religious differences. But it's nice for him to try anyway.
I think we need to be specific and address the nuances and the implications of that statement. It's all very interesting the more I read into it haha... I think the president has to conduct a delicate balancing act between inviting multiple sources of foreign investment and showing the value of outside influence to Indonesia in terms of both ideas and actual concrete investment.

The national ideology is one of Indonesian pluralism and yet there are many cases each year of identity politics that play out at the local level (and I guess some that play out at the national level too). If a large part of the intolerance problem comes from legislation at the local level then I think the institution of the presidency perhaps has to look at reducing the strength of regional governments in terms of their ability to legislate autonomously and centralizing these decisions. Easier said than done I appreciate but food for thought nonetheless. This will prove to be extremely difficult in a short five years but that doesn't mean that progress can't be made. Ideally, revisions would be made to the application of laws like the blasphemy and pornography laws to prevent misuses of these to provoke minority populations etc.

For me, it could start with actively promoting pluralist principles in the education system and a shift towards a skills based education system (something that emulates the IB's inquiry based learning or task-based language teaching, just something that promotes the use of real world skills). The kids in a country are the future of any nation and showing the real world value of pluralistic ways might help to influence the future of the country in that respect. I'm not sure how to do that but I feel that is where progress could be made. In the short term, I think the impact that Jokowi's ideas have will be minimal but they have the potential to plant seeds of tolerance and openness that have the potential to grow if cultivated appropriately by a successive string of like-minded presidents. Hopefully, if intolerance is largely at the local level and intolerant groups are more of a vocal minority than large swathes of the broader population, then I think opening up is a distinct possibility. However, these seeds need to be cultivated very carefully by successive presidents and time will tell I guess.

This article is a couple of years old but presents a balanced idea of these nuances I feel, much better than my ramblings anyway haha: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/saudi-arabias-influence-on-indonesias-growing-islamic_b_5943f9b8e4b0d188d027fdbb
 
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harryopal

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Lee Bale said ".... If a large part of the intolerance problem comes from legislation at the local level then I think the institution of the presidency perhaps has to look at reducing the strength of regional governments in terms of their ability to legislate autonomously and centralizing these decisions. "

Some while ago there were 13 areas for would be secession in Indonsia with armed conflict in Aceh being perhaps the unhappiest example. "Between 10,000 and 30,000 people, including many civilians, were killed during the decades-long Aceh conflict. - Amnesty International." Given that I can't imagine Jokowi wanting to provoke more conflict by trying to reduce regional authority.

The maintenance of a free media and perhaps the pursuit for justice in cases of repressive convictions relating to religious intolerance might be more manageable. Human kind has a great capacity for extremist religious beliefs. In Australia in the 50s applying for a job might find your religion being pertinent to your success or failure in certain sectors. Things can and do change sometimes with great upheavals and usually rather slowly

Perhaps Jokowi's greatest achievement is being able to govern with a sense of humour, humility and without the arrogance too often associated with power. Whatever the immediate future it seems somehow less ominous with Jokowi as president.
 

Lee Bale

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Lee Bale said ".... If a large part of the intolerance problem comes from legislation at the local level then I think the institution of the presidency perhaps has to look at reducing the strength of regional governments in terms of their ability to legislate autonomously and centralizing these decisions. "

Some while ago there were 13 areas for would be secession in Indonsia with armed conflict in Aceh being perhaps the unhappiest example. "Between 10,000 and 30,000 people, including many civilians, were killed during the decades-long Aceh conflict. - Amnesty International." Given that I can't imagine Jokowi wanting to provoke more conflict by trying to reduce regional authority.

The maintenance of a free media and perhaps the pursuit for justice in cases of repressive convictions relating to religious intolerance might be more manageable. Human kind has a great capacity for extremist religious beliefs. In Australia in the 50s applying for a job might find your religion being pertinent to your success or failure in certain sectors. Things can and do change sometimes with great upheavals and usually rather slowly

Perhaps Jokowi's greatest achievement is being able to govern with a sense of humour, humility and without the arrogance too often associated with power. Whatever the immediate future it seems somehow less ominous with Jokowi as president.
Yeah, I can see that with the armed conflict thing. However, I thought that the Tsunami played a large part in the relaxing of hostilities in Aceh as well. I wasn't talking in the short term but I think in the long term it could be beneficial for Indonesia to slowly centralize some of the powers that are held at the local level. Not from the position of undermining reasonable decisions made at the local level but having some authority to veto decisions that might be interpreted as abuses of human rights and such in other countries. Perhaps moving towards forming a stronger position in centralized government. As I have said, slow process, big picture and multiple presidents on board with this vision are necessary but if these are the seeds that he is trying to sow, then I think that can be considered progress.

I agree that maintenance of a free media would be great and as far as I know the Jakarta Post being the first media outlet to actively back a candidate (Jokowi) in a presidential election, this could be seen as some progress towards that goal. Generally though, I find local Indonesians rather reserved when sharing ideas that they perceive as sensitive to the sensibilities of others so I haven't had much luck in discussing this with locals so much.
 

rabbit_39

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Generally though, I find local Indonesians rather reserved when sharing ideas that they perceive as sensitive to the sensibilities of others so I haven't had much luck in discussing this with locals so much.
Perhaps they're afraid to go to jail with the existing ITE laws and defamation laws?
 

Lee Bale

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Perhaps they're afraid to go to jail with the existing ITE laws and defamation laws?
Perhaps so and hence the proposed need for change in the title of the thread. Albeit a careful, slow and well thought-out one to avoid too many 'complications' along the way...
 

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