“Jokowi State of the Nation Address” by Made Supriatma

2019/71, 26 August 2019

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo’s state address, delivered on August 16, was the last speech for his first term. The speech is important because it lays out the vision for his second term. In all three speeches he delivered on that day, President Widodo showed that he has changed the course of his administration. Mr. Widodo has turned away from populism that marked his first term. He now cast himself as a developmentalist.
The president’s speeches touched on many issues. After claiming success in infrastructure development, he now wants to focus on human development. He reiterated that Indonesian workers must be able to compete at regional and global levels. Therefore, Indonesia needs to invest more in training and educating its workforce.

This vision was outlined in his third speech when he proposed the 2020 state budget. He asked for US $178 billion budget with US $35.51 billion for education, up 30% from his 2015 budget. The budget will be used to improve basic education and to help finance 818,000 students to go to universities. More importantly, President Widodo also said that he would use it to train the Indonesian workforce in ’emerging skills’ such as coding, data analytics, graphic design, coffee baristas, foreign language and so on. Mr. Widodo also emphasized the need to develop the downstream industries. Indonesia’s vast natural resources needed to be processed before being exported abroad. He also promised to open doors for foreign investments.

He warned that there are possibilities for disruptions that might hamper economic growth including disruption from natural disaster. He reminded Indonesians about the possibility of social disruption stemming from radicalism and terrorism. At one point, he even warned the state’s vast bureaucracy that he will not “tolerate state officials who are against Pancasila.” (Pancasila is the secular state’s ideology which is often challenged by Islamic ideology).

The rise of Islamic radicalism is surely a challenge for President Widodo. Islamic radicalism in Indonesia is more of a sociological rather than political problem. Radicalism arises within the Indonesian society. Mr. Widodo’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has once claimed that about 3% of the Indonesian military was tainted with radical ideology. Various studies also show that civil servants and teachers are exposed to radicalism with increasing view of intolerance.

Mr. Widodo’s speeches were in stark contrast from speeches he delivered in 2015. One of the biggest contrast was on human rights issues. This time, Mr. Widodo only mentioned human rights briefly, and even then it was more about the prevention of human rights abuses than the resolution to solve the cases of gross human rights violations. None were resolved in his first term.

In 2015, Mr. Widodo gave West Papua a great hope. He promised to build and make West Papua a “peaceful land.” He did build infrastructures in this troubled region. But he did not address the social and political problems that emerged out of his infrastructure policies. Those problems are accumulating and Mr. Widodo has to deal with the escalation of violence at the end of his first term.

The most highlighted part of Mr. Widodo’s speech was about the relocation of the country’s capital. Mr. Widodo asked for permission from the legislatures to build a new capital. He did not announce the exact location of the new capital, but only said that the new capital would be in Kalimantan.

President Joko Widodo’s 2019 address clearly show a Widodo 2.0. which is very different from the previous version. If this address can reveal who Joko Widodo is in his second term, it was clear that he is evolving from a populist president to a developmentalist one. As a developmentalist, he will be more dependent on bureaucracies and state apparatuses than on his electorates.

Mr Made Supriatma is Visiting Fellow in the Indonesia Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.

The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.  No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission.