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Jakarta Post

Unity in diversity our force to move forward

  • Joko Widodo

    -

Jakarta   /   Mon, August 19, 2019   /   01:22 pm
Unity in diversity our force to move forward As we celebrate 74 years of independence, we should be grateful that despite the challenges and storms, Indonesia as our home has stayed strong. Indonesia stands firm, because we have a very strong foundation, namely Pancasila. (JP/Suherdjoko)

In this honorable Assembly session, I would like to rekindle the blazing passion of our freedom fighters 74 years ago. The founding of Indonesia, our great home, was made possible as we cling together. We have to remain united in achieving our common goal, in going through the course of changes and in facing the future with guarded optimism. It is this spirit that led Indonesia to independence, becoming a sovereign state that stands on equal footing with other nations in the world.

Today, we face different challenges. However, such spirit must continue to burn in our hearts. We live in an era where changes occur very fast, but we must not lose the guiding star. We have to accept the era of openness. We are entering an era typified by fierce competition; therefore, we must continue to create and innovate.

The same vision must also unite all of our state institutions. Checks and balances between state institutions are very important, but they must share a common frame of mind and vision of an advanced Indonesia, where all children of the nation can live with ease and enjoy prosperity, justice and respect from other nations. I believe that under the same vision, we will grow stronger, more solid and emerge victorious in the global competition.

We must double the efforts to achieve this big vision. There is no other choice but to leave the old ways and adapt to new ways. We need new breakthroughs to live up to people’s rising expectations. We need leaps of progress to win people’s confidence and love. We need real works to strengthen and empower state institutions.

To be strong in this effort, we cannot do it all alone. State institutions must put egocentrism behind themselves. Sectoral ego is no longer relevant and must be abandoned. Collaboration and synergy between institutions matter now.

Democracy requires a representative body that is authoritative, credible and modern. Therefore, the efforts of the House of Representatives to carry out institutional consolidation deserve our support.

The endeavors to improve the quality of legislative products and to exercise checks and balances within the same big vision must be supported.

I appreciate the enthusiasm of the House to work and collaborate with the government. In exercising its budgetary function, the House has approved the 2018 nontax state revenue bill and a village fund budget of Rp 70 trillion (US$4.91 billion) in 2019, which is important to improve the welfare of rural peoples.

In fulfilling its legislative duties, from August 2018 to July 2019, the House, together with the government, completed the deliberation of 15 draft laws, including the state budget bill, international cooperation agreements, bills on haj management, health, science and technology and other issues to respond to the dynamics of development.

Beyond these achievements, the government still expects the House’s support for efforts to reform legislation. We must harmonize laws with one another. We must dismantle the laws that trouble the people. We have to change the laws that hinder progress.

With regard to its function to oversee the running of the government, the House has, among other efforts, formed eight supervisory teams and 35 working committees, including the committee that evaluated the 2019 simultaneous elections to ensure the quality of future elections.

I appreciate the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) for rapidly responding to pressing issues facing the regions, such as food security, customary rights and laws, the use of renewable energy and the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The DPD has provided input for the government regarding the general allocation fund (DAU), special allocation fund (DAK) and revenue sharing fund (DBH), so that fiscal decentralization can be fairly implemented and fundamentally solve fiscal problems faced by the regions.

The DPD has also articulated aspirations of local communities and regions relating to the implementation of the Village Law. We hope the DPD and the government continue to develop Indonesia from the periphery, from the regions and villages.

The DPD’s support for regional development should continue. For that reason, regional bylaws that are too complicated and trouble the public and business players must be trimmed. Local governance and finance must be improved.

Good governance is mandatory. The use of state funds must be accountable and transparent; governance must be developed. As the institution overseeing the use of state funds, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) plays a very important role. The BPK is responsible for ensuring that the state budget (APBN) is accounted for and for ascertaining that every rupiah of the budget is spent for the maximum benefit to the people.

Thank God, in the period of 2016-2018, the central government’s financial report received an unqualified opinion (WTP). Regional governments have also achieved that level. In 2018, about 78 percent of local governments received a WTP from the BPK, up from 47 percent in 2014.

All achievements the state Institutions have made provide us the much-needed capital to face future challenges. We should not be complacent but remind and help each other. We, therefore, must not resist criticism. However staunch the criticism is, it must be accepted as a display of care, so that we can work even harder to meet the people’s expectations.

Of course, in a democracy, differences between individuals, groups or even state institutions are a necessity. However, differences are not a reason to hate, destroy or eliminate one another. If we can manage the differences under a common vision, they can turn into a dynamic force and strength to create an advanced Indonesia.

I call upon all state institutions to build synergies to complete our historical duty. Let’s support new efforts to alleviate poverty, reduce inequality and create as many jobs as possible. Let’s join hand in hand in facing the threat of intolerance, radicalism and terrorism.

As we celebrate 74 years of independence, we should be grateful that despite the challenges and storms, Indonesia as our home has stayed strong. Indonesia stands firm, because we have a very strong foundation, namely Pancasila. Pancasila is the foundation of the country, our guiding star, and at the same time our unifying force.

In this home of Pancasila, we live in harmony without discrimination regardless of the diversity of religion, ethnicity, race and group. Indonesia is a comfy place for all. It is a living space for all children of the nation, from Sabang to Merauke, from Miangas to Rote Island. In this big house, all children of the nation can work, move and struggle to realize their shared dreams and aspirations. In unity, we find enormous energy to move all the strength and spirit to progress. In unity, we find solidarity, care and enthusiasm to share.

I am very sure our unity will last forever. It’s like duckweed that regroups after the splitting pole passes. I am very sure that, if we firmly uphold the spirit of unity, our big home will neither collapse nor vanish but stand tall not just for 100 or 500 years to come, but forever.

Long live the Republic of Indonesia! Long live Pancasila land.

***

The article is an abridged version of the State of the Union address conveyed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the People’s Consultative Assembly session on Aug. 16.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.