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Prabowo criticises workers for demanding higher wages

Detik - December 18, 2012

Rina Atriana, Jakarta – National businessperson Prabowo Subianto has criticised Indonesian workers who ask for very high wage increases, saying they should first understand the current conditions faced by companies and the Indonesian economy.

"Some time ago I met with a group of workers, they asked for a wage increases. I said we don't have the money. [You] need to be wise, wisdom (sic)", he said at a public lecture at the Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jakarta on Tuesday December 18.

"It was my duty to remind [them], now they (the workers) are asking for a 44 percent wage rise. Think first, if you force the issue, who knows we may all suffer financially. I'm also an employer, and don't have any power, don't have any backing", he added.

The reason for this, he said, is if workers forced employers to give very high wage rises, it is quite possible that the employer will close their company and move overseas. In the end, the workers will also suffer financial losses because they become unemployed.

Subianto believes that in order to spur economic growth in Indonesia, a clean and effective leader is needed, so the country's natural wealth and human resources can be exploited properly.

"We must look for a leader who is clean and effective. Then we will be able to improve our economic system. We are not being smart enough in safeguarding our wealth", he explained.

"I have decided that we need [to develop] an agro-industry. With agriculture as the primary factor because we are blessed by God as a tropical region. We can harvest three times a year, in the sub-tropics only once. Tropical zones only [cover] one third of the planet, and 11 percent of this is Indonesia. Indonesia is a rich country", he said.

According to Subianto, Indonesia has great potential in the agro-industry. If it is utilised properly then it could supply all sorts of food to the entire world.

It would be better, he said, if the government took advantage of this potential to stimulate the people's welfare in the long-term. Not by providing inappropriate assistance such as the Direct Cash Assistance (BLT) program, that has been undertaken several times recently.

"The idea I'm taking up is a basic thrust. Don't let us get trapped in populist ideals. Don't hand out BLT, but give people a river [rather than fish, ie a long-term source of income – JB]. We have extraordinary strengths", said Subianto.

Unfortunately, all strengths are certain to be accompanied by weaknesses. Subianto said that the basic weakness of the Indonesian nation is it always feels inferior. "Perhaps because it was colonised too long", he added.

“Korea and Indonesia in 1965 were the same, at the same level, now they have Samsung, Hyundai, and now we buy submarines from them. We have to ask, is this our problem, that we lack confidence. This is a mental problem. We cannot hate foreigners, because it's not their fault", he concluded. (ang/dnl)

[Prabowo ‘Sentil’ Buruh Jangan Minta Gaji Naik Terlalu Tinggi – Detikfinance. Selasa, 18/12/2012. Translated by James Balowski.]

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