Jokowi wants to start 'mental revolution'
Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
Popular presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) outlined his vision on the weekend on how he would lead the country in the next five years if elected president.
Jokowi revealed his platform in an op-ed published by Kompas daily on Saturday titled 'Revolusi Mental' (Mental Revolution).
In the written piece, Jokowi said the most fundamental issue that this county was facing was a mind-set stuck in the past.
He said that people had not moved on from the old era, when president Soeharto used to rule with an iron fist, even though the country had undergone reform.
'We amended the Constitution, we have established independent commissions [including the Corruption Eradication Commission ' KPK], we have regional autonomy and we have also modified many of our national and regional laws. We also have held elections that are periodically conducted at the national and regional level. All of these are aimed at improving the management of this democratic and accountable country,' Jokowi said.
'However, all efforts have been in vain because they are not carried out in parallel with reform in the populace's mind-set.
'Some traditions or cultures that flourished during the repressive era of the New Order still remain, such as corruption, intolerance of differences, greed, selfishness, the tendency to use force to settle matters, law violations and opportunism,' Jokowi said.
He said that Indonesians' tendency to commit corruption had led the country to the brink of bankruptcy in 1998, so much so that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had to inject funds into the country in order to save it.
'Despite all the action and hard work of the KPK in prosecuting embezzlers, graft practices remain to this day, and even have a tendency to spread,' Jokowi said.
He said that to achieve success, the country needed what he called a 'revolusi mental' (mental revolution).
The first step in achieving such a task would be by creating a political system that is accountable, free of corrupt practices and intimidation.
'We need to fix how we recruit political players, who must rely more on their skills and track records rather than their money and closeness to decisionmakers,' Jokowi said.
He added that the nation needed a bureaucracy that people could depend on, a system that really served the people.
Jokowi also noted the importance of a strong military to defend and unite the country.
In terms of the economy, he argued that Indonesia needed to be more independent and rely less on other countries.
'Food and energy independence are something that we can't argue about,' he said. 'Indonesia needs to move in that direction with a clear and structured program.'
Jokowi also said that currently the country was far too reliant on foreign investment, which went to sectors that were resource extractive and not those that created jobs.
Commenting on the op-ed, University of Indonesia (UI) political psychologist Hamdi Muluk said on Saturday that Jokowi's idea was a breath of fresh air.
Hamdi said that Jokowi was right in arguing for a change in mind-set.
He said Jokowi reminded the country about the importance of psychological capital.
'We can start by doing small things, such as is it possible for us to not litter?' Hamdi said. 'If Jokowi can succeed [in making us not litter], then people will have hope.'
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