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President Yudhoyono's state of the nation speech 'like science fiction'

Tribune News - August 16, 2013

Jakarta Ė Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Rieke Diah Pitaloka has criticised President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY) state of the nation speech as being no different from a work of science fiction.

According Pitaloka, most of SBY's speech was as if it was liberally dosed with spicy terms and English language theories that give the impression of being scientific. It was also accompanied with figures as if to demonstrate the accuracy of his achievements.

"Are these figures based on data and true reality? Or just fiction, only a wrapping for image building? The public is of course intelligent, and is capable of seeing what is actually happening", said Pitaloka at the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta on Friday August 16.

The member of Commission IX on labour affairs and welfare highlighted this by taking an example from Yudhoyono's claim that the welfare of the ordinary people during his administration has continued to improve. Yudhoyono based his argument on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita (2004=$US1,177, 2009=$US2,290, 2012=$US3,092). In 2014 Yudhoyono stated that Indonesia's GDP per capita will be around $US5,000.0.

GDP measure the goods and services produced by a country. The question is, do all the Indonesian people enjoy this. Because the fact is that the ones that enjoy this are only those that have economic access.

"Take Papua for example. Its economic growth is the highest in Indonesia, but the poverty rate is also the highest. Let's think positive. A GDP of US$5000 per capita, that means 50 million rupiah per year or 4.2 million rupiah per month for each household. Meaning, per person 1 million rupiah per month", she said.

According to Pitaloka, statistical data from the National Statistics Agency (BPS) shows that the number of people in society with disposable income above 1 million rupiah a month is only 16 percent. Meanwhile those that have disposable income of between 500,000 and 1 million rupiah per month are 30 percent and those with less than 500,000 rupiah stand at 55 percent.

"The question is what kind of prosperity does this mean if as many as 85 percent of the people have a purchasing power that is in fact less than 1 million rupiah a month. Purchasing power shows income per month. Moreover the data released by BPS was not calculated based on conditions following the increase in [subsidised] fuel prices", she said.

[Rieke: Pidato SBY Seperti Fiksi Ilmiah - Tribunnews.com. Jumat, 16 Agustus 2013. Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service.]

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