There’s been little ado about the re-inauguration of President SBY because there seems to be little anew.
Although he was re-elected with 60% of the electorate’s votes, his ‘new’ cabinet is a reflection of his political allies rather than people’s aspirations expressed through the ballot boxes. No-one outside his inner circle seems to have a clue about what the next five years have in store other than more of the same old, same old.
In fact, such is the sense of ennui engendered that I can’t be bothered to back up this post by linking* to specific examples but merely refer you to our local English-language newspapers, the Jakarta Post and the Jakarta Globe. And if you’re Indonesian, I’m sure you’ve got your favourite Indonesian-language broadsheet reflecting these views.
Of course, as a country coming to terms with the democratic process, the notion of more stability is, in itself, no bad thing.
So perhaps it’s not so important that some 20% of the population ‘survive’ on less than $2 a day. Or that some 40% of the population ‘survive’ on less than the minimum wage of c.$7 a day – for a family of 4.
The Sidoarjo mudflow refugees can continue to wait for the full compensation for the loss of their homes and livelihoods mandated by SBY a couple of years ago. Although a conference of geological experts agreed that a Bakrie Bros company, PT Lapindo Brantas, caused the mudflow through incompetence, the company claims that it can’t afford to pay. The refugees are no doubt interested to know that Abdurizal Bakrie, until this week nominally Minister of People’s Welfare, and head of the Bakrie’s business empire, ‘bought’ the chairmanship of Golkar for a cool $100 million. Golkar has now enlisted in SBY’s coalition.
Back in March the Situ Gintung dam burst and 314 families lost their homes. Local bureaucrats have a compensation pot of $750,000 to dispense. So far, they say, $30,000 has been paid – to 600 families. (Go figure.)
Five years ago, at the start of his first term, SBY promised the widow of the assassinated human rights campaigner Munir, Suciwati, that he would ensure that there would be full disclosure of the guilty parties. She is still waiting.
Still, as some may argue, the fate of individuals is of little matter in the greater scheme of things.
Forget about climate change and the need to completely overhaul transport, energy and telecommunications ‘infrastructures’. There are loads more immediate and potentially lucrative issues to tackle.
There are always more malls to be built and banks to be bailed out.
Oh, and there’s the cultural heritage to be preserved so we get to wear a batik shirt on Fridays.
And so it goes.
*Actually, I’m having immense difficulty in getting online this week. Still I mustn’t grumble – much as I want to.