Frans S. Imung, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's long-awaited "reconciliation meeting" with his rival Prabowo Subianto on Saturday has given a strong signal to the business community that political stability and the rule of law will remain strong in Indonesia. These are the two key ingredients for stronger economic growth in the country.
"This is the news investors have been waiting for, especially those who have just entered Indonesia," Gunawan Tjokro, the deputy chairman of capital market at the Indonesian Employers Association, said on Sunday.
The meeting was important for showing that Indonesia's political leaders will stick to the rule of law to resolve problems in the country, he said.
"Both [the Jokowi and Prabowo] camps accepted the Constitutional Court's verdict [in the election dispute]. For the business community this is a good sign that the business climate will pick up," Gunawan said.
He said the government now can focus its energy on pushing through a number of strategic reforms that businesses have been waiting for, including revisions to the labor law and the tax law.
"The revisions of these laws require support from the parliament, and now we believe it can be done faster," Gunawan said.
The much-lauded reconciliation between Jokowi and Prabowo will also send a positive message to the world that Indonesia is ready for more short-term and long-term foreign direct investments.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati meanwhile said Saturday's meeting between the two political rivals reflected Indonesia's unity.
"It's their way of showing to the Indonesian people that we are still united," Sri Mulyani told Antara news agency on Sunday.
She said political leaders must show to the public that the divisive presidential election had eventually ended on a good note.
It was no wonder that the first sign of a real thaw in the tense rivalry between Jokowi and Prabowo had been greeted with much public relief and excitement.
"We are relieved and very happy. What happened was a symbol that the whole political process [of elections] had gone well and produced a result that all of us can respect," Sri Mulyani said.