Promises, Promises
    Category: Column By : Taufik Darusman Read : 1026 Date : Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 05:15:55

    Both presidential candidates, PrabowoSubianto and JokoWidodo (Jokowi), never tired of reminding all that no matter who wins on July 9, the ultimate victors are the people. In many practical ways, Jokowi and Prabowo are right. Provided, that is, either one of them really makes good on his election promises.

    Prabowo, for example, has pledged to build 3,000 km of new roads while Jokowi has come up with a less ambitious figure of 2,000 km. Both are determined to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, with Jokowi aiming for 10 new airports and 10 new harbors and Prabowo envisaging 4,000 km of new railways. The disadvantaged are high in their minds. Prabowo is set to provide 15 million houses to the homeless while Jokowi looks at establishing 5,000 new traditional markets throughout the country.

    Both presidential candidates have rightly identified food and energy as crucial issues. As such, Jokowi wants to see one million hectares of new paddy fields while Prabowo seeks two million of new arable land for the production of not only rice but also corn, sugar beets and other crops. Neither candidate has produced figures on energy matters but agree that the country needs to increase energy production, improve state firms’ efficiency and develop new sources. Key features are Jokowi’s preference to use coal and gas to produce electricity and Prabowo’s resolve to see contract renegotiations, national companies given priority, and fuel subsidies to the rich reduced. 

    In the realm of education, both candidates agree on a 12-year compulsory, tuition-free education idea—from the current nine years—that would ease the financial burden of parents, and on raising substantially teacher salaries. Prabowo insists on reinstating mathematics and English in primary schools, both of which had been taken off the curriculum, and introducing anti-corruption as a subject in junior and senior high schools. For his part, Jokowi wants ethics and character-building to play a central role in education and state-of-the-art “science and techno parks” built in all provinces. On issues pertaining to law, both candidates seem to agree on just about all aspects. However, it remains to be seen how they would deal with violent acts of intolerance, the latest being the attack on Christians in Yogyakarta last month.

    The Prabowo camp claims it can create two million jobs a year, with a growth rate of 7%. The Ministry of National Development Planning has determined that every 1% of growth absorbs 270,000 workers, down from 380,000 in the previous decade. While it is unlikely that Indonesia can grow 7% anytime soon—it grew by just over 6% last year and the World Bank in mid-December said it expected growth of 5% this year—the figure may be sweet music to voters.

    But as most presidential candidates’ pledges go, they gather dust as soon as the winner is announced. Few recall what SusiloBambangYudhoyono or his defeated rival Megawati Sukarnoputri stood for in 2004 and 2009, and even fewer checked whether Yudho-yono really delivered his promises. On July 9 Indonesians will decide, as they always do, who they feel they should trust to lead the nation, not who has the better vision and mission.

    Both presidential candidates, PrabowoSubianto and JokoWidodo (Jokowi), never tired of reminding all that no matter who wins on July 9, the ultimate victors are the people. In many practical ways, Jokowi and Prabowo are right. Provided, that is, either one of them really makes good on his election promises.

    Prabowo, for example, has pledged to build 3,000 km of new roads while Jokowi has come up with a less ambitious figure of 2,000 km. Both are determined to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, with Jokowi aiming for 10 new airports and 10 new harbors and Prabowo envisaging 4,000 km of new railways. The disadvantaged are high in their minds. Prabowo is set to provide 15 million houses to the homeless while Jokowi looks at establishing 5,000 new traditional markets throughout the country.

    Both presidential candidates have rightly identified food and energy as crucial issues. As such, Jokowi wants to see one million hectares of new paddy fields while Prabowo seeks two million of new arable land for the production of not only rice but also corn, sugar beets and other crops. Neither candidate has produced figures on energy matters but agree that the country needs to increase energy production, improve state firms’ efficiency and develop new sources. Key features are Jokowi’s preference to use coal and gas to produce electricity and Prabowo’s resolve to see contract renegotiations, national companies given priority, and fuel subsidies to the rich reduced. 

    In the realm of education, both candidates agree on a 12-year compulsory, tuition-free education idea—from the current nine years—that would ease the financial burden of parents, and on raising substantially teacher salaries. Prabowo insists on reinstating mathematics and English in primary schools, both of which had been taken off the curriculum, and introducing anti-corruption as a subject in junior and senior high schools. For his part, Jokowi wants ethics and character-building to play a central role in education and state-of-the-art “science and techno parks” built in all provinces. On issues pertaining to law, both candidates seem to agree on just about all aspects. However, it remains to be seen how they would deal with violent acts of intolerance, the latest being the attack on Christians in Yogyakarta last month.

    The Prabowo camp claims it can create two million jobs a year, with a growth rate of 7%. The Ministry of National Development Planning has determined that every 1% of growth absorbs 270,000 workers, down from 380,000 in the previous decade. While it is unlikely that Indonesia can grow 7% anytime soon—it grew by just over 6% last year and the World Bank in mid-December said it expected growth of 5% this year—the figure may be sweet music to voters.

    But as most presidential candidates’ pledges go, they gather dust as soon as the winner is announced. Few recall what SusiloBambangYudhoyono or his defeated rival Megawati Sukarnoputri stood for in 2004 and 2009, and even fewer checked whether Yudho-yono really delivered his promises. On July 9 Indonesians will decide, as they always do, who they feel they should trust to lead the nation, not who has the better vision and mission.



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