McLARTY INDONESIA UPDATE: Jokowi and Prabowo release campaign platforms

December 10, 2018

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  • The two candidates for Indonesia’s presidential election next April released their platforms in early December.
  • Former General Prabowo Subianto had the difficult task of contrasting with a popular President who has put forward a sensible platform.
  • While both camps overlap in promises for decentralization, human development and the rule of law, among others; the Jokowi team outlined a more robust strategy to bolster growth and reduce inequality by boosting vocational education and doubling down on corruption.
  • Despite Jokowi’s nod to helping religious educational institutions, he is unlikely to adopt a conservative Islamic agenda if re-elected.
  • Both platforms have little to say about foreign policy which likely reflects a desire to focus on domestic issues and appeal to nationalist interests.

With just under five months until the presidential elections in April 2019, both candidates have launched their respective campaign platforms expanding on their vision for the future of Indonesia. Incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo along with his running mate Ma’ruf Amin have titled their platform as Indonesia Maju (Indonesia Moving Forward). Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno countered with Indonesia Adil Makmur (Fair and Prosperous Indonesia). We summarize below the major points of each.

Jokowi-Ma’ruf: Indonesia Moving Forward

  1. Human Development: President Jokowi maintains that every state ministry and agency must focus on the development of human resources, particularly the support of child development and healthcare.
    1. Healthcare: The National Health Insurance-Healthy Indonesia Card (JKN-KIS) will serve as a major component of the healthcare development plan for Indonesians.
    2. Education: The Smart Indonesia Program (PIP), initiated by Jokowi, will continue to provide financial aid to families in poverty and orphans for schooling. The campaign also aims to establish vocational schools to bridge the gap between graduates and the job market. The campaign also reaffirms its focus on additional attention towards religious education institutions, believing that religious values can be imparted by means of a ‘national character education.’
  2. Economic Competitiveness: Jokowi-Ma’ruf will continue to focus on stimulating economic competitiveness through improvements to infrastructure and reducing Indonesia’s dependence on commodity exports.
    1. Infrastructure and Urban Development: Urban and digital infrastructure have moved to the center of the government’s purview to reflect the acceleration of Indonesia’s digital economy.
    2. Industry Revitalization: The platform aims to diversify the economy by revitalizing manufacturing to make the market less volatile and increase exports. Jokowi is also looking to boost tourism, Islamic-based financing, and the digital economy.
  3. Development Equality: Jokowi looks to empower village institutions to reduce the disparities in income between Java and most of Eastern Indonesia.
    1. Agrarian Reforms: Increased technology for farmers and fishermen will boost productivity and nurture a more inclusive economy.
    2. MSME and Cooperatives Support: Providing credits for funding, tax incentives, digital education, and support for exports will aim to bring wealth to areas that lack participation within the export-oriented economy.
    3. Decentralization: Jokowi will help develop regional economies through infrastructure development and by strengthening local industries.
  4. Sustainable Development: Jokowi brings a new focus on management of hazardous waste and plastics as well as climate change mitigation. Development of renewable energy, eco-friendly public transportation, and green spaces in urban areas are also targeted.
  5. Arts and Culture: The pair’s campaign aims to bolster the music and film industries, promote sports, and counter cyber-bullying and negative content on the internet.
  6. Rule of Law: Jokowi will work toward strengthening the power of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and pledges to introduce a national anti-corruption strategy.
  7. Security and Defense: The use of diplomacy to attract investment and tourism is at the forefront of Jokowi’s platform. He will also aim to modernize the military by developing the cyber and defense industries and improving coordination between intelligence agencies.
  8. Bureaucracy: Jokowi promises bureaucratic reforms, enhanced civil rights and greater press freedom.
  9. Central-regional Government Relations: Jokowi-Ma’ruf will place regional governments at the center of the delivery of public services to improve accountability and service quality.

Prabowo-Sandi: Fair and Prosperous Indonesia

  1. Economy: Reflecting his Islamic support, Prabowo envisions Indonesia as a center for Islamic finance and the Muslim creative industry and vows to focus on “People-Centered Development.” The campaign has promised to modernize traditional markets and increase funding from national banks for the agricultural and maritime sectors as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises. The campaign has also promised to support local workers over foreigners (e.g. Chinese) and stop outsourcing.
  2. Human Development: Prabowo-Sandi pledges to expand ways to reduce malnutrition and expand education and literacy programs.
  3. Food and Energy Sovereignty
    1. Increase Commodity Production: Prabowo promises to open up two million hectares of land to improve production of rice, corn, soybeans, cassava, and palm sugar, among others to support both food and energy self-sufficiency.
    2. Agriculture Reforms: The pair will increase fertilizer productions, maintain price stability, and promises to improve farmer welfare and productivity.
  4. Social Programs: Prabowo promises to have free health care and improve existing programs including the family welfare movement and the community health centers (Puskesmas).
  5. Infrastructure Development: The campaign will look to accelerate infrastructure projects in rural regions and increase budget transfer allocations from the central to regional governments.
  6. Environmental Protection: The pair vows to launch new programs that will punish polluters, rehabilitate forests, promote eco-friendly mining activities and recycling of plastic waste, and ensure that forest products meet international certification standards.
  7. Government: Prabowo promises that the law will not be a political tool and pledges increased cooperation between the government and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Key Takeaways

Prabowo had the difficult task of drawing a contrast with a popular President who has put forward a sensible platform.  It is more populist but lacks the policy details of Jokowi’s plan.  With 10% of the population controlling 75% of the nation’s wealth, it is good Jokowi is focused on reducing inequality. Indonesia’s fast-growing e-commerce industry should also boost small- and medium-sized industry. 

Companies will welcome the attention given to vocational education, given shortages of trained labor.  If elected, we hope Jokowi will renew his efforts to allow foreign universities to open campuses in Indonesia to help train Indonesians to compete in artificial intelligence, digital economy, cybersecurity, and other new fields where Indonesia lacks training expertise. Jokowi gives an almost obligatory nod to religious educational institutions, but it is unlikely he will adopt more radical aspects of the conservative Islamic agenda.

The platform’s focus on sustainable development is a welcomed new emphasis.  Despite Jokowi’s growing commitment to climate change, progress in meeting Indonesia’s climate goals has slowed. Jokowi’s emphasis on monitoring and enforcement should help give teeth to his moratorium on deforestation. Jokowi’s pledge to strengthen the KPK and introduce a national anti-corruption strategy will be welcomed by investors and Indonesians alike, particularly if he can tackle the sensitive issue of corruption in the judiciary and police. Foreign policy gets next to no mention, reflecting Jokowi’s focus on domestic economic growth, even though Indonesia will start a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in January 2018.

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