Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and presidential confidant Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan admits that he is confused about the wave of demonstrations by students and civil society groups against recent policies by the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
This, said Luhut, is the complete opposite of the positions shown by senior officials of other countries such as US President Donald Trump and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who have great respect for the Number 1 person in Indonesia.
"Sometimes I contemplate when looking at the demonstrations which have ended in rioting. The term is, it's like we're shooting ourselves in the foot. Yet, overseas, other people have placed their trust in this republic", said Luhut in a posting on his private Facebook account on Sunday October 6.
A wave of protest actions and demonstrations has taken place over the last two weeks in Jakarta and other parts of the country. The protests began over the enactment of several controversial draft laws and revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law. Students have given Widodo until October 14 to issue a government regulation in lieu of law to annul the revised KPK Law.
Luhut said that that it is the respect by world leaders for Widodo which has given them the confidence to channel investment into Indonesia, which can then be used to accelerate national development.
Luhut said he heard of Trump's admiration for Widodo directly from his son-in-law Jared Corey Kushner when he visited the White House in Washington DC on Friday September 27.
"Do you know that my father-in-law really likes him? President Jokowi is a good leader among the developing countries", said Luhut mimicking what Kushner said.
He said Trump's respect for Widodo is what has made the relationship between Indonesia and the US "quiet and calm", which has been proven by the US's openness to Indonesia in the investment sector.
Meanwhile the respect shown by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is reflected in the ease at which Widodo secured investment agreements from the United Arab Emirates recently.
"I was a bit surprised thinking about it, how come it was so easy for The King to give his agreement. The principle umbrella was because of the extremely good relationship between the Crown Prince and Pak [Mr] Jokowi", said Luhut. (uli/gil)
[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Luhut Heran Ada Demo di Indonesia saat Jokowi Dihormati Trump".]