The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Traditional Fishermen's Union is urging the General Elections Commission to raise maritime topics during the upcoming presidential candidate debate. The proposal has been filed through an online petition initiated on Jan. 9 at change.org.
The union's secretary-general, Iing Rohimin, said marine resources play a significant role in the economy, society, culture, geopolitics, defense and security of the country.
Saying that Indonesia has long coastlines because of a large number of islands coupled with a vast area of water compared to land, Iing said he believes that any future development should focus on maritime issues.
"This is important because the community should be able to assess the direction of development," he said in a statement on Friday.
In the past four years, he said, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration has been carrying out Indonesia's main vision as a “global maritime fulcrum” (GMF), so he believes that it would be important for the incumbent presidential candidate to explain his achievements and reiterate his maritime agenda.
Jokowi unveiled his ambitious maritime aspirations of the GMF during an East Asia Summit in Myanmar in 2014, pledging to capitalize on Indonesia’s geographic advantages.
On the other hand, Rohimin said, Jokowi's rivals, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, could evaluate the incumbent's performance while introducing a new mission and maritime program that they consider better.
"We want to have a debate about Indonesian maritime affairs, which could lead to a great direction for the nation and the archipelago," he said.
Meanwhile, Riefqi Muna of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences said he believed there was still so much to do to realize Jokowi’s lofty maritime ambitions.
Riefqi said there had to be more robust and well-formulated strategic thinking across government agencies when it came to maritime diplomacy.
“With a tagline as big as ‘global maritime fulcrum’ there’s a lot more to be expected from Indonesia’s diplomatic efforts,” he said. (ggq/dmr)