H.E. DR. H. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
PRESENTATION TO THE US-ASEAN LEADERSHIP AWARD
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
H.E. DR. H. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
GALA DINNER WITH AMERICAN COMPANIES
AT BALLROOM C, HOTEL SHANGRI-LA, JAKARTA
25 OKTOBER 2007
AssalaamuÃ¢â‚¬â„¢alaikum warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh,
Mr. Matthew Daley, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council,
Excellencies Ministers, Members of the Parliament, Ambassadors,
Distinguished Business Leaders and Delegates,
Ladies dan Gentlemen,
Firstly, I would like to send my best regard to Senator Kit Bond, Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Mary Landrieu, and all our good friends in America. Do tell them that we wholeheartedly appriciate their support, friendship and goodwill for Indonesia, as we extend the same to America.
I am pleased to welcome you to Jakarta especially to our guests from the United States who have taken the time to visit Indonesia to attend the Indonesia Trade Expo 2007, the Seminar on Enhancing the Indonesia-US Trade and Business Partnership and this Gala Evening. I hope these events will be fruitful and will enhance a better business partnership between our two countries.
I trust that the outcomes of the Seminar, through constructive discussions, exchange of views and experiences, will contribute to spark greater understanding of Indonesia-US relationship.
I also believe that during the Seminar you were able to raise all of your concerns to my Ministers, and I hope that the answers were satisfactory.
I very much appreciate this Leadership Award, and I am humbled by it. I accept this award on behalf of the Indonesian people, because changing a nation is not the job of one man, but the work of a nation as a whole.
I also appreciate the role of the US-ASEAN Business Council in promoting business relations and economic cooperation between the two sides of the Pacific. I hope the Council will continue its good work in the years to come.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
My ambition from the start has been to transform Indonesia, because I believe that Indonesia has yet to live up to its enormous potentials.
I knew from the start that a major transformation of our very complex and large nation cannot be done without clear vision and direction. What I envisioned from the early days of my campaign was to work for an Indonesia a country which is more peaceful, more justice, more democratic, and more prosperous. These are themes that obviously resonated well among the Indonesian electorate.
Fortunately, I was blessed with a strong electoral mandate from the Indonesian people to achieve this vision in the 2004 elections, billed as the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest and most complex elections. And what we needed with that strong mandate was a good and effective government that can produce and implement good policies to translate the inspirations for change into practicable results.
We also needed to couple our vision with pragmatism, because the key always lies in the details. My experience in the military and government has taught me that so many great ideas fizzle quickly not for lack of knowledge but for lack of know-how. With such know-how, we can begin to construct the building-blocks and measure progress.
In the scheme of turning a vision into reality, I should say in the scheme of turning a vision into reality, leadership is essential.
When I say leadership, it is not just at the very top level at the Presidency, but we also need to see leadership applied by Ministers in various Government agencies, in the Parliament, in local government, and in civil society, and in the business sector. So leadership means also the ability of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leaders to work together to reach a common goal. I accept this award on behalf of all these leaders who are trying their honest best to improve their country.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been President for over 3 years now. My goal now is to remain focused on the mandate for change, to make our politics and our economy better, and not be bogged down or distracted with debates about the 2009 presidential election.
To be honest, it has been a difficult 3 years. First year challenges were many tsunami, earthquakes, oil price, avian flu, and others. But as essential element of leadership is to adapt and overcome, and overturn problems into opportunities.
I always believe, since my days in the military, that every problem has an element of opportunity built into it. And opportunities will usually come if we always try to think outside the box.
I have also always believed that we must be able to resolve our plethora of problems constitutionally, democratically and by respecting human rights. If we compromise on any of these principles, we will end-up with more problems, not less.
This is how we produced peace in Aceh. We saw a small window of opportunity for peace, we took the risks, we converted a problem into opportunity, we secured domestic political support and invested our time and energy to the negotiations, and in the end we produced a peace deal that permanently ended 30 years of armed conflict.
What we did in Aceh is only part of a larger picture of reform and transformation in Indonesia.
We are constructing a healthy democracy in ways that ensure that freedom goes hand-in-hand with rule of law, and with tolerance.
We are improving the situations in Papua, in Poso, and Maluku.
In our economic development, we are enhancing our competitiveness, while also harnessing the enormous potentials of our natural resources, as we become more and more integrated into the global economy. This is why we place great emphasis on the role of trade and investment that will produced win-win prosperity for all.
We also place great emphasis on the notion of Ã¢â‚¬Å“growth with equityÃ¢â‚¬Â?. I do believe that we can achieve both, with the right policy measures from the government. The government needs to ensure that economic growth actually has a tangible impact on public good by creating employment, reducing poverty and improving the general livelihood of the people.
Macro-economic conditions have been good even until now. I am sure you have discussed this with my Ministers earlier. Our growth last year around 5.6 percent was the highest since the crisis, and we are aiming for 6.3 percent this year. Our export exceeded USD $ 100 billion for the first time. Our foreign reserves are the highest in history, our debt to GDP ratio is below 40 percent, the lowest in decades. And our credit rating is also the best since the crisis. And we are spending more than ever on education and health, because I know, as all of you that these two sectors are the key to our future.
We have also done well in managing a balanced budget, and significantly reduce the structural problems in our budget relating to oil subsidies, which allowed us to release much funds for pro-poor activities. It was a very politically risky move, but we took the risk because it was necessary to do so, and we came out alright.
I continue to attach great importance to getting more investments into the economy, both foreign and domestic investment. We have passed a new Investment Law, a new Customs Law, promoted Special Economic Zones, and we are cutting the number of days it takes to start a business in Indonesia. We know that all this, and more to come, are crucial if we are to compete in an increasingly condensed global economy with many new emerging markets vying for finite investment.
I am also happy that democracy is taking roots locally. Local elections throughout Indonesia have been successfully held, changing the political landscape permanently. And we are maintaining the strongest anti-corruption drive in our history.
And all the while, we have been able to keep public trust, which is our most important asset.
My ambition from the start is also to change the orientation of Indonesian politics to gravitate more around the people, the way a democracy should be, not the people gravitating around the political elite as had been the case generally in Indonesia.
This is why it has been important for me to always go down to the grass-roots, to maintain direct communication with the people, to open access in decision making to the people, and make politics less elitist and more participatory. This, I hope will modernize Indonesian politics.
Just in case you have not read the papers lately, Indonesia has also become more outward-looking and more active on the international stage. This is part of our independent and active foreign policy. ASEAN will continue to be the cornerstone of our foreign policy, but we are also reaching out far beyond. I have called also ours and Ã¢â‚¬Å“all direction foreign policyÃ¢â‚¬Â?, whereby we expand and deepen our network of relations to anyone, anywhere who wants to cooperate with us in Southeast Asia, in the west, in the developing countries, in the Islamic world, and across all the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s regions.
We will make use of our international positions in ASEAN, in the UN Security Council, in the Human Rights Council, in the Peace Building Commission, in OIC and so on to promote peace and cooperation in the international order.
A key issue which is at the top of my governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s agenda is climate change, where Indonesia will host the next UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali in December this year. We will do all we can to make that conference a success, and hopefully to help produce a Bali Roadmap that will serve as a clear blueprint to reach a post 2012 global framework on climate change.
Indonesia will do our part to preserve our forests, the lungs of the earth which serve as a critical carbon sinks to our planet. We are actively engaging our people in reforestation, and a forestation, and de-forestation. We do hope that forestry issues will be firmly and fairly integrated into a post-2012 framework.
Finally, I think it is safe to assume that we might be facing tough days ahead in the global economy. The oil price is skyrocketing again, and geopolitical factors may well keep it that way. We are experiencing sharp turbulence in global financial market, due to the sub-prime mortgage problem. And indeed, the IMF has predicted a slowing down of the global economy next year.
This is why we need to work harder together, to harness the opportunities that lie await, and to establish a partnership that help us both deal with these present and future shocks.
I need also state my satisfaction that Indonesia-US relations are solid and stable and growing. I meet with President Bush during the APEC Summit in Sidney, and we talked about expanding our bilateral relations, on education, environment, energy, climate change, forestry, avian flu cooperation, trade and investment, and we also talked about the Middle-East, especially about Palestine.
We are actively recalibrating this important partnership. I agree with Mr. Matt Daley that we are now seeing a Ã¢â‚¬Å“new momentum that was absent at the end of the last centuryÃ¢â‚¬Â?. I hope the US will continue to engage Indonesia and the region constructively as a force for prosperity. And I hope you will all be actively involved in it in your respective capacity.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you once again for your visit, and for your active participation in enhancing the Indonesia-US business partnership.
I hope you will enjoy your stay here and I hope you will continue to be a part of our success. Our success is your success, and your success is our success.
I thank you.
Biro Naskah dan Penerjemahan
Deputi Mensesneg Bidang Dukungan Kebijakan
Sekretariat Negara RI