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Jakarta Post

With optimism, Indonesia progresses: Jokowi

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 25, 2019   /   04:35 pm
With optimism, Indonesia progresses: Jokowi Incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (left) and his running mate Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin during the first presidential debate on Jan. 17, 2019, at Bidakara Hotel, Jakarta. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

Weeks ahead of the presidential election in April, incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Ma’ruf Amin declared on Sunday evening their optimism over realizing their campaign vision of Indonesia Maju (Onward Indonesia).

Speaking before tens of thousands of supporters and campaign team members in Sentul, West Java, the incumbent presented his administration’s achievements over the last four years and his future programs, ranging from improving education and social welfare, economy for the people as well as infrastructure and connectivity across the country.

“I am committed to continuing and finishing my responsibility for the people of Indonesia. I am optimistic that Indonesia will progress,” Jokowi said on Sunday.

On agrarian reform, for instance, Jokowi said his administration had distributed over 5 million land certificates in 2017 and another 7 million the following year. He is targeting to distribute 9 million in 2019.

In its social forestry program, which grants specific communities the right to manage state forests, the government has distributed 2.6 million hectares of concession out of the planned 12.7 ha for the poor.

“If there are those who received large concessions and want to return them to the state, I will be waiting and I will distribute them for the poor because they need them,” Jokowi said, receiving cheers from his supporters.

His statement appeared as a direct jab to challenger Prabowo Subianto, who manages hundreds of thousands of ha of land under cultivation rights granted by the state. Prabowo previously said he was willing to return the land to the state if necessary.

To further develop Indonesia, Jokowi said his administration had focused on improving infrastructure across the country, subsequently boosting the local economy and the welfare of local residents.

In terms of social assistance, he said that 10 million households had benefitted from the Family Hope Program (PKH) over the last four years and more than 15 million citizens living in poverty had received food assistance.

Jokowi rolled out his plan to issue the Affordable Staple Foods Card program and improve existing food aid initiatives, such as rice social assistance (Rastra) programs in addition to the PKH program.

He then vowed to extend the Indonesia Smart Card (KIP) program to include university students. It currently applies to students up to high school, 18.7 million of whom have received a KIP.

“We aim to assist the cost of education for all children, from an early age until university with this card […] We don’t want poverty to stand in the way of Indonesian children fulfilling their dreams,” Jokowi said.

The government aims to continuously increase endowment funds for education and research to Rp 100 trillion (US$7.1 billion) and Rp 50 trillion, respectively. Jokowi also plans to form an endowment fund to support the country’s best universities, for which at least Rp 10 trillion will be allocated in 2020.

He also vowed to ensure internet access across the country and support the development of creative spaces for start-up companies, creating room for collaborations and sponsorship funds.

“A progressing Indonesia is a democratic Indonesia, with legal certainty so that everyone is equal before the law,” Jokowi said. “A progressing Indonesia means being able to develop knowledge, technology and innovation.

“It means being able to ensure the country’s security and strengthen the nation’s unity. We must continue to strengthen our defense and improve our diplomacy.”

Ma’ruf said he and Jokowi had a good approach to victory in the election, especially with development programs implemented by Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla over the last four years.

“Jokowi-Amin will continue and improve all achievements under Jokowi and Kalla. We are optimistic about winning and that Indonesia will progress in the future,” Ma’ruf said. “For Indonesia to progress, [Jokowi-Amin] must win.”

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, who was among dozens of regional leaders who attended the gathering, told participants to use the remaining campaign period to actively campaign for Jokowi.

He particularly pointed to those who are still undecided over whom to vote for in April, emphasizing the importance of reaching through both social media and social gatherings and assure them about the incumbent.

"We are at a crossroads right now and every day, every second matters," Ridwan said.