Editorial: Who do you think you are?
Paper Edition | Page: 6
With the nation celebrating Independence Day on Friday, this is probably the right time to ask ourselves what progress we have made as a nation, how proud are we as Indonesians, and why do we deserve to feel pride? We can also ask ourselves what is wrong with this nation, and what we should do to correct the wrongs in order to create a better Indonesia?
The state’s self-reflection this year was led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the head of state and the head of government, when he addressed the nation on Thursday on what he had achieved and what problems we have to confront together.
There were few surprises in the President’s state address on the occasion of Indonesia’s 67th Independence Day before the Lower and the Upper House on Thursday morning. It was a matter of routine state affairs; it was in general very normative, and worse, it took place while the majority of Indonesians were preoccupied in preparing for Idul Fitri.
For the past four years, Independence Day has fallen just before Idul Fitri. So, when the President addressed the House of Representatives (DPR) again on Thursday evening to deliver a speech on a more substantial subject, the draft of the 2013 state budget, most of the people and the media paid little attention.
In his Thurdsay morning speech before the House and the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), the President focused his attention on several key issues in the domestic and international arena.
Yudhoyono rightly described the heartening development of the country’s economy amid the global economic downturn, thanks to our strong consumer-driven economy and robust foreign direct investement (FDI).
It was natural that the President should explain in detail the success of his government, including the provision of better health services and the introduction of a national social security system, as well as the rising influence of Indonesia in global diplomacy .
But he also acknowledged that the government was still facing huge challenges in six areas including corruption, infrastructure and social harmony.
He also paid a great deal of attention to one of his comfort zones: foreign diplomacy. He explained at some length the situation in Myanmar, including the fate of the Muslim minority Rohingyas, the potentially explosive situation with the South China Sea and his concern over ASEAN’s slow progress in creating a Code of Conduct as a mechanism both to calm tensions over the vital sea passage and to pave the way for a comprehensive solution.
We need to remember, however, that while foreign diplomacy is very important, resolving some of our domestic affairs is even more urgent, as our success on the foreign stage depends highly upon our achievements at home.
Of these domestic issues, arguably the most important thing the President needs to do is to restore public confidence in his determination to eradicate corruption.