Looking forward to the visit to the United States of President Megawati Soekarnoputri as a state guest, it is only natural for the Indonesian people to entertain hopes that economic benefits could result from the visit. The political elite have already reaped a good deal of benefits from the country's independence or from their allegiance to the regime in power.
However, the people, particularly those living in the outer regions of the archipelago, have yet to enjoy their share of the wealth. Better education in decent school buildings and better health care in decent hospitals and clinics are in dire need.
From the political point of view and judging from the short-term spell of the Gotong Royong (mutual help) Cabinet to rule until 2004, it is understandable that the scale of priorities should result in the embodiment of the six items on the agenda. It is obvious that the political and economic objectives form the backbone of the agenda.
For political gain, references to law enforcement, preservation of security and the eradication of corruption, collusion and nepotism (KKN), will surely attract public support.
But one thing cannot be denied, namely that in the six programs of the agenda, as enunciated in the state-of-the nation address by the President, no passage was found that referred to improving education (building good schools) and promoting better health care (building clinics and hospitals).
At this point, I'd venture to say that we had better concentrate on better education and better health care rather than waste time in a discourse on KKN. For one thing, KKN is found everywhere. It is a universal phenomenon. It is only a matter of degree, in the sense that in one country KKN may be sporadic, while in another it is rampant.
We must be honest to ourselves that KKN cannot possibly be eradicated by mere rhetoric. Improvement in the moral stature of the people is a must. And moral character is achieved only when good education and good schooling have been achieved.
Bung Karno, Bung Hatta, Mohamad Roem, Djuanda, Leimena, Anak Agung Gde Agung, Lambertus Palar and others had good educational backgrounds, KKN was unknown to them, both in its concept and in practice. All of them are statesmen and men of character.