Sunday, December 26, 2010

My dream end-of-year presidential speech (cont)

My dear fellow countrymen,

So those are important issues, mostly on the economic side. Before I move into the politics, let me say a few more things. First, when we talk about poverty, it is important to look at the bigger picture. That is, we should not just address the income poverty - the poverty related to income and usually measured with the poverty line, be it the national line (anchored mostly to calorie intake, translated to consumption to about 1.55 dollar per day) or standard line (1.25 or 2 dollar per day). There are other dimensions to poverty that are non-income in their nature: access to sanitation and clean water, access to basic education and health, infant mortality rate, maternal health, etc. Reports have shown that in general, these "non-income" poverty dimensions are worse than income poverty. In addition the urban-rural wedges in these dimensions are also bigger than that in income poverty.

In addition to the importance of non-income poverty, we have long acknowledged the fact that the near-poor - those living between 1.55 and 2 dollar a day - are abundant. They are fragile to the change in poverty line. This, along with other reasons, calls for better social protection system. In conclusion, tackling the poverty issue in Indonesia can not afford not to frame it in its big picture. Indonesia's poor may be generalized into: rural, farm agriculture, informal, and to a lesser extent, Eastern. So any policy for poverty eradication should be directed towards these factors: easing the migration from rural to urban (or equivalently developing rural areas to become urbanized areas), migration from farm to non-farm agriculture, informal to formal, and focusing infrastructure development (and hence connectivity issue) in the Eastern part of Indonesia.

One more thing. We should not forget about the environment. The world is seeing a climate change. It will impact almost all dimensions. But most importantly, food security and energy security. As this will proportionally be more difficult to deal with in poor and developing countries, it is in our interest to do something about it. As one of the biggest carbon emitter, we have declare our commitment to cut our emission rate. But it is not just to make a show off. Cutting emission would be good for our own sake. It is part of the whole program to explicitly recognize the role of environment and natural resources in development (or, to borrow economists' jargon: to internalize the externalities). All this should be seen in a sustainable development paradigm (which, by the way, not just environment, but also social and economic facets). That is, to leave at least the same options for the next generation to choose from as we do now.

In this regards, it is important to underline here again that we have to change the way we consume energy. Our dependence non non-renewable energy is worrying. And that is because we have all the incentive wrong. We subsidize the unproductive use of non-renewable energy in a grand scale that hinders our ability to build infrastructure and to fight poverty. And of course, it also speeds up environmental degradation and resource depletion. As long as we keep this subsidy regime as it is now, there will be no incentive for business to invest in renewable energy nor for consumers to be more energy-conscious.

Now, the politics. While we're still at the subsidy issue, I would like to share with you that cutting the unproductive subsidy is also a politically sensitive issue. The DPR members have shown their reservation. I understand that they have valid reasons to be reluctant to this proposal, but we really should find a better way to allocate the limited budget into its productive uses. Speaking of budget, we will keep the discipline intact. This includes prosecuting tax criminals who have stolen the taxpayers money to enrich themselves.

Finally I'd like to address the issue on democracy and pluralism. Democracy has its weakness, no doubt. But our civilization has yet to see a better alternative to it. We will keep it while respecting our true, unique blessing: diversity - Bhinneka. It is saddening to see our fellow countrymen restrained from undergoing their religious rituals in peace. We will not tolerate such intrusion and attack from groups of thugs who hijack a certain religion to suppress the others.

Dear my fellow countrymen,

Those are the things we would focus on next year. At the same time we will continue our active role in international fora. We will assume leadership of ASEAN next year and APEC in 2013. We also continue our active engagement in the G20. As a part of modern global civilization, we will stand firmly in our support to fight global poverty, to undertake adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and to improve the world peace and harmony.

God bless you all, happy new year.


  1. nggak ngerti ma bahasa korea beginian nih

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