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100 days for Indonesia, how many years for us?

  • Indeed, Jokowi's first 100 days have made us green with envy.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Joko Widodo has showcased his exemplary wisdom and charms as he started his second term as Indonesia's president.

On a June morning, he took a ride on Jakarta's MRT with his defeated rival Prabowo Subianto, the two men shaking hands, hugging and sharing some light moments inside the rail car.

After the ride, they stepped out of the train and proceeded to a nearby restaurant for satay. After enjoying the meal, they issued a joint statement calling for reconciliation among their respective supporters for solidarity of their nation.

That very meeting was a big news in Indonesia.

Prior to this, Jokowi and Prabowo were anything but friends, the latter reluctant to concede defeat shortly after the election results were released. The subsequent confrontation saw massive protests in the streets of the capital city. Prabowo's diehard supporters vowed to throw out the president through violent means.

It appeared to everyone that there would be no end to the antagonism and violence.

Nevertheless, the MRT meeting that came out of the blue dissolved the hostility which stood between the two men.

Confrontation was officially ended. The nation has since been put back on the right track and everyone was back to their day-to-day lives.

No one knows how Jokowi managed to persuade Prabowo, but at least this shows his exceptional wisdom and magnanimity. He has not only ensured that Prabowo will no longer resist him, but has also brought together a society torn apart by the election.

With that, his administration has nothing to worry and can concentrate on implementing the reforms.

Next, Jokowi announced the vision for the country's future, to completely overhaul the bureaucracy, improve operational efficiency and fight corruption. He also vowed to further liberalize the country's economy and cut taxes to lure foreign investors and create new job opportunities, while significantly strengthening the infrastructure, education and human quality.

His objective is very obvious, to make Indonesia one of the world's most powerful nations.

During the country's independence celebration, Jokowi declared that Indonesia was a pluralistic nation whereby people from different ethnic backgrounds stay united. Government and party leaders put on the traditional costumes of various ethnic groups on that day to symbolize national integration and solidarity.

The previously unrestrained extremist organizations were remarkably hushed after the election, as Jokowi's power of diversity reigned over the archipelago.

After that, as you might have learned, Jokowi announced to move the capital to East Kalimantan by 2024. The move will not only help mitigate the many problems encountered by Jakarta such as congestion, floods and land sinking, it will also mark the official abandonment of Jakarta-centric philosophy in favor of more balanced development throughout the country.

Such changes, reforms, visions and projects have been part and parcel of his accomplishments within the first hundred days in office.

Of course, no one should therefore conclude that he has done his job superbly, but at least Indonesians have seen the effort he puts in, and are willing to give him a chance.

Jokowi's unprecedented popularity that has successfully expanded his support base, will significantly facilitate his reform agenda and maximize the probability of success.

He once said, “This is going to be my last term, and I have nothing to lose! What I can do is to give my best shot."

Indeed, Jokowi's first 100 days have made us green with envy.

In Malaysia, even though the Pakatan Harapan government has been in office for 15 months now, the rakyat can hardly see the changes.

On the contrary, religious fundamentalism and racism have gained in momentum, as unity and mutual trust among Malaysians of different ethnicities plummet to a low. Goods prices have not gone down but up, while economic prospects remain depressing. With frustration fast building up, any issue can trigger an explosion of confrontational sentiments.

Despite all this, our leaders keep telling us the government is still new and needs to be given more time, and that all the problems the country is facing now are attributable to the previous BN administration.

Why something Jokowi could achieve in a hundred days looks so much like a tall tale to Mahathir and his PH administration after more than a year?

There are many reasons for this, of course, but the thing is, Jokowi's humility and inclusivity have gained the acceptance and understanding of his rivals and melted the confrontational mood. His sincerity has won him widespread approval and dissolved all the hindrances to reaffirm his leadership.

As if that is not enough, the political vision and social engineering initiatives he has proposed have instantly become a national consensus that knocks out all prejudices and extremist forces. An affirmatively positive energy is building up within and without the government, and everyone trusts his leadership and is willing to work with him for the country's future.

Back here what the new government has been doing is a complete opposite. The government lacks a vision and distinct goals. Political confrontation is accentuated, social conflicts intensified and pessimistic mood prevailing.

While it only took Indonesia a hundred days, how many more years will it take Malaysia?

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