Sri Mulyani offers her former boss advice and assistance
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In June 2010, Sri Mulyani Indrawati tendered her resignation as finance minister to his boss, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, because the President had done little to protect her against strong pressure from House of Representatives members who disliked her economic stance and her role in the Bank Century bailout.
Following a reportedly Golkar-led campaign to oust her from the Cabinet due to her refusal to compromise with Golkar Party chairman and tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, she moved to Washington DC to take up the position of managing director of the World Bank.
In 2011, she met the President and met him again at the State Palace on Friday, during which she was widely expected to tell her former boss of the World Bank’s concern over widespread corruption in Indonesia and the urgency of taking serious action to address economic issues.
She was reluctant to talk about local politics. “I am here in my own capacity as a World Bank managing director. In my professional ethics, I will not and am not allowed to comment on a country’s politics. I respect both Indonesia and the World Bank’s code of ethics,” she said.
Sri Mulyani added that the World Bank was ready to help Indonesia in financing infrastructure projects.
“Indonesia is important and its experience in sustaining its economy can be very valuable for other countries. The roles of mid-income countries are important because they contribute up to 60 percent of the world’s economic growth,” Sri Mulyani said.
When asked about reports that 233 regional leaders have been charged since Yudhoyono’s inauguration in 2004, the former finance minister avoided a direct answer.
“The rule of law must be upheld properly. The judicial system must also be effective in preventing corruption and state losses,” Mulyani said before her meeting with Yudhoyono at the State Palace on Friday.
The latest example of alleged corruption involving local leaders is the case of Amran Batalipu, the regent of Buol in Central Sulawesi.
Amran was recently arrested by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) after receiving Rp 2 billion (US$212,000) in alleged bribes from a big plantation company belonging to businesswoman and Democratic Party politician
Amran accepted the money from Hardaya Inti Plantations (HIP) as a campaign donation for his reelection bid, which he lost on Wednesday, just five days after he was arrested by the KPK.
According to Amran’s lawyer Amat Ente Daim, Hartati had made donations to several other local politicians running for office.
“We learned that Bu Murdaya gave money not only to Amran, but also to other candidates contesting regional elections in places where she has her assets, not only in Buol, to secure her interests,” Amat told reporters at the KPK headquarters on Thursday.
Amat denied allegations that the money was a bribe, saying that the money was not a bribe for the regent to issue a business license for Hartati’s company.
“It remains a great challenge to establish good and clean governance, not only in Indonesia [but also] developed ones, everywhere,” Sri Mulyani said.
Those who have opposed her have continued to call on law enforcement bodies to examine her share of the responsibility for the controversial bailout of the then-ailing Bank Century.
Sri Mulyani was the finance minister when the government in 2008 decided to disburse a total of Rp 6.76 trillion to help salvage the bank which has since been rebranded as Bank Mutiara.
Vice President Boediono, who served as Bank Indonesia governor in 2008, is another target of the same groups who successfully unseated Sri Mulyani from the Cabinet.
In the meeting, Mulyani was accompanied by a number of her World Bank colleagues such as senior economist Jehan Arulpragasam and country director for Indonesia Stefan Koeberle.
Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa accompanied the President during the meeting.