Saturday, 2 May 2009

Susilo Yudhoyono – the stinking president of junk?

Susilo Yudhoyono – the stinking president of junk?
By Bali BS News
Sep 19, 2005, 07:34

President Yudhoyono seems to be the proverbial fish out of water when it comes to running Indonesia, as opposed to his previous job of ordering men about in Indonesia’s tarnished and increasingly ineffective armed forces. It seems clear he is making the obvious mistake of failing to tackle corruption within the police and judiciary, perhaps because he believes they are too powerful and he may need them very soon to control the likely revolting masses (see our report: Indonesian Fuel Prices). Maybe he is also a part of the problem; the commander in chief of the corrupt civil service of Indonesia, taking his own bites out of the plundered cherries perhaps? But whether President Yudhoyono is as bent as many, perhaps most, potentially all of his subordinates, or whether he is simply unprepared to tackle the problem, it does not really matter. Watch this space; unless President Yudhoyono gets his assets in gear we predict he will go down as Indonesia’s most ineffective and economically reviled president ever, and go down soon!

First there are the matters of his already broken major election promises to curb corruption (see our report on his so called and apparently highly ineffective Indonesian Corruption Commission) and to support freedom of the press; don’t tell that to Tempo, the Jakarta Press and Laksamana (see report: Indonesian Press Freedom). His generals are complaining about how comparatively weak and ineffective Indonesia’s armed forces are, with outspoken critics pointing out that tiny Singapore is now a greater military power in many respects than once powerful and revered Indonesia. There is also seemingly more than a mild intonation of decent amongst the judiciary. President Yudhoyono makes some perhaps lip service attempt to tell his nation’s judges to apply the new laws that have recently been introduced, yet the nation's "beaks" seemingly ignore him en force. Now comes the news that he is likely to force a 100% fuel hike upon his citizens by the end of next year. He says his government will help the poor cope with this with cash subsidies, but it seems neither his sums nor his methodology add up (see: Indonesian Fuel Prices)).

But it is hardly surprising that it seems President Yudhoyono is doomed to failure when you look closely at his own inabilities, history and even probable outlook. He was not even made a general until after he left the army! He got that honorary title when he left the armed forces to join the Wahid government in 2000; hmmmmmm, what does that say? Even his army career is brought into question in that he directly reported to the notorious General Wiranto, the former head of the armed forces who has now been indicted for war crimes by a special tribunal in East Timor. Even after Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono joined the government, he proved he is hardly a team player as he was sacked by both President Wahid and after being reappointed had to step down under Megawati’s government after a very public spat with her.

So why did President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono get elected? According to one expert at the Indonesian Survey Institute it was a combination of previously resigning from an unpopular government and looking good on TV with an audience where 60% only managed to graduate elementary school and no more, so the electorate is hardly that savvy. The die hard hopefuls and sales hacks in Bali bleat “He has said some good things, is trying to tackle corruption, and has only just come to power; give him a chance!” But the facts are that his corruption commission is highly questionable to the point of ridicule, seemingly unable and unwilling to take the nation’s immensely corrupt police force and judiciary to task; instead just jailing bent bankers and therein doing the police’s job for them, leaving the boys in brown even more time to extort money from their victims. Even the BBC points out that his critics say the former military commander is surprisingly indecisive, tending to consider all perspectives and opinions before making up his mind; although they dare not say it in public with Indonesia’s repressive criminal libel laws. And as for the cries to give President Yudhoyono some time and a chance, those are luxuries no politician can ever hope for.

It seems clear the critics are right, that perhaps Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will fail because he is too scared or does not have the “metal” to make strong decisions such as taking on the all-powerful law enforcement officers and officials. But then it is likely he believes he can not afford to. Even though his government is rushing through oil license agreements with foreign corporations in the hope that domestic oil production can soon be increased and even become a valuable export item for Indonesia, this will not happen in time to avert the looming specter of economic hardship and subsequent domestic civil unrest. Indicative of this projection of a dire future, even with these new petroleum licenses being issued, Indonesia’s worldwide credit rating was recently downgraded by S&P to 4 levels lower than junk; analysts citing the president's inability to deal with the core issues.

We therefore say “President Yudhoyono, show the world and your own people you have what it takes. Everyone knows about the rampant corruption in your country. Is there one expert who disagrees that eliminating corruption in Indonesia would make it the region’s super economy and power? What do you think your electorate, sick to the back teeth as they are with corrupt police officers and judges, would say if you declared war on these evil henchmen? We think they would hail you as a rightful champion of Indonesia, plus you would provide the environment for the billions of dollars of foreign investment your country and people need. But if you don’t give your people a promising future right now by taking the mafia in uniforms and wigs to task, we believe you will get your assets well and truly kicked and very soon when the people have fewer Rupiah in their pockets through spiraling unemployment, yet have to pay twice as much for many essentials. So come on Susilo, show us you have the brain and backbone to do what it takes, before your people come looking to cut off the very things your critics say you do not have!”

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