The fifth presidential debate, which was held at The Sultan Hotel, Jakarta on Saturday evening, highlighted some major differences in how both presidential candidates envision the future of the Indonesian economy.
Both Joko Widodo and his rival, Prabowo Subianto, along with their respective running mates, Ma’ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno, presented their visions and aspirations in a two and a half hour face-off. The final round emphasised critical matters concerning the economy, social welfare, finance, and investment, as well as trade and industry.
Jokowi expressed his commitment to continue to fight for the independence of the Indonesian economy, as an effort to increase welfare.
“We wish to fight for the independence of the Indonesian economy in an effort to increase people’s welfare. Therefore, under my leadership for the past 4.5 years, we took over strategic resources that were previously controlled by foreigners. For example, Rokan Block, Mahakam Block, and Freeport,” the President pointed out. Jokowi further elaborated that he and vice-president Jusuf Kalla have strived to maintain economic equality over the last 4.5 years.
“We build infrastructure not only on Java Island but also on islands outside Java, in an attempt to build new economic centers outside Java through Special Economic Zones, tourism industries, and other industries,” he remarked. Jokowi also added that he will produce three cards – the pre-employment card, a cheaper groceries card, as well as the Indonesia smart card, for better welfare. He maintained that he would continue to reduce the trade deficit by boosting exports and reducing imports.
Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno, on the other hand, argued that boosting industry and maintaining certainty in business is important to strengthen Indonesia’s agricultural and fishery sectors. Prabowo also said that he would downstream the industrial sector by processing raw materials into end products.
According to Prabowo, the Indonesian government under Jokowi only focused on building infrastructure, neglecting other industries. During his campaign in East Java, Prabowo claimed that he would raise economic growth to ‘double digits’. His other promises include eradicating poverty and diminishing reliance on imports.
“We have taken the wrong way. The People’s Republic of China within 40 years has managed to eradicate poverty. We must follow this example. Dare to learn from an advanced nation,” Subianto said.
Image: Australia Indonesia Centre