Webinar on “Indonesia’s Political Outlook 2021: Stability and Vaccination to Support Economic Recovery”

In this webinar, Dr Djayadi Hanan elaborated on the political and economic outlook of Indonesia for 2021. Using a series of data obtained from public opinion surveys conducted by several Indonesian research agencies, Dr Djayadi Hanan attempted to explain the trends observed and identified possible predictions of Indonesia’s key pressing economic issues as well as political layout for 2021.


Tuesday, 19 January 2021 – ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute invited Dr Djayadi Hanan, Senior Lecturer of Paramadina University and Executive Director of Indonesian Survey Institute to speak in a webinar titled “Indonesia’s Political Outlook 2021: Stability and Vaccination to support economic recovery”. Moderated by Mr Made Supriatma (Visiting Fellow, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute), Dr Djayadi Hanan shared his observations on the general perception Indonesian have toward three key issues (1) the political climate in Indonesia, (2) economy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and (3) the mass vaccination programme.

Dr Djayadi Hanan
Dr Djayadi Hanan discussed key findings obtained from recent public opinion surveys and elaborated on the possible factors that could lead to the patterns observed. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Djayadi Hanan began this webinar by first introducing the data collected from the surveys on the people’s sentiments toward the political situation in Indonesia. In general, most of respondents felt that the government was heading in the right direction in terms of its policies and had viewed the political climate to be relatively stable over the years. That being said, Dr Djayadi Hanan pointed out that in 2020, this generally positive sentiment began to experience a significant decrease, reaching its lowest value in October 2020 where only 45% of the respondents felt that the Indonesian government was governing the country in the right manner. According to Dr Djayadi Hanan, negative sentiments observed in October 2020 could be due to the pandemic and the mass protests following the pass of the Job Creation Law or famously known as Omnibus law. Data points after October 2020, however, started to show steady improvements. Dr Djayadi Hanan believed these trends would continue to reflect the upward trend in 2021. All these data points therefore suggested a relatively stable political climate, which will make it easier for the country to pursue its economic recovery respective agenda.

Bringing the focus on President’s Jowoki’s move to reshuffle his cabinet, Dr Djayadi Hanan argued that this move was put in place to further strengthen his coalition. This reshuffle ensured the number of cabinet posts for each political party was maintained. President Jokowi also made the decision to bring Sandiaga Uno, the running mate of his former rivals in the presidential race into the cabinet. By doing so, Dr Djayadi Hanan argued it would make Indonesian politics more stable and unified. The opposition strength has also gradually weakened due to the lack of leaders leading the opposition movement. In that way, it would stabilize Jokowi’s standing in the government and this could potentially aid in maintaining his constantly stable approval rating throughout his leadership terms. 

In terms of economic recovery, data have shown that majority of the respondents expressed urgent need to have measures put in place for economic recovery. This is primarily due to the increasing economic problems bringing about by the pandemic. Indonesians are increasingly experiencing income decrease and sufferings. While many of the respondents indicated a clear need for economic improvements, majority felt that health should not be compromised in return for more economic gains. This was evidently shown in the survey results where more than 90% agreed to wear face masks in the public spaces, indicating a strong need from the general population to have policies that can protect both their health and the economy.

Dr Djayadi Hanan also discussed about the vaccination programme in Indonesia and how it was seen as the hope in ending the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The general sensing of the population toward the vaccination is relatively positive where more than 60% of the respondents trusted the vaccination programme and had high confidence that the government would be able to get sufficient vaccines for all Indonesians. However, data points had reflected that the willingness to take the vaccine was exceptionally low, with only 37% indicating that they were willing to take the vaccine through the survey. Apart from that, the general public had little trust toward the imported vaccines, which could have attributed to the low willingness in taking up the vaccines. Dr Djayadi Hanan therefore believed that changing this perception toward the vaccines would be the main challenge faced by the government in the upcoming year. While political stability had shown to be relatively stable in 2020 and would continue its positive trend in 2021, increasing the general population’s trust toward vaccination would be difficult and the government would need to implement new ways to advocate the vaccination’s benefits to the general population. Only by having more people vaccinated in the country, Indonesia would then be able to see a possible positive economy recovery in the later part of 2021.

The webinar drew an audience of 68 participants from both Singapore and abroad. The panel then discussed on a range of topics during the Question-and-Answer segment which included topics such as the presence of anti-vaccination movement in Indonesia, the effectiveness of the vaccines in bringing about long-term effects, President Jokowi’s stable popularity despite protests against the Omnibus law, the public sentiments toward President Jokowi’s family moving into politics and the direction in which the opposition groups in Indonesia would proceed in the future given the extensive governmental crackdown on the movement of these groups. The session ended with a closing remark from both the speaker and the moderator on the possible outlook of Indonesia in 2021.

A total of 68 participants attended the webinar. The session was moderated by Mr Made Supriatma. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)