Muhaimin: Three steps for Indonesia to become a truly-developed country

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Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar
Vice Speaker for People’s Welfare of the House of Representatives Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar. Photo: DOC. DPR RI

IO – Vice Speaker for People’s Welfare of the House of Representatives Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar details three simple steps for Indonesia to be accepted in the same league as other developed countries. Nevertheless, these three elements are often forgotten.

First, Indonesia can only develop if every individual in rural and urban areas progresses. In other words, an equal and independent Indonesia. Second, Indonesia can only improve if the Government and public policies encourage and create opportunities for all citizens and young people to progress. “That is, an inclusive Indonesia, a nurturing Indonesia and an equitable Indonesia,” said Muhaimin, in his New Year’s Speech entitled Onward Indonesia Road Map, Monday (1/3/2022).

The third factor is if Indonesia’s future is preserved and protected. This means that the environment that provides people with clean air and water is maintained and sustained. “In short, a green Indonesia, a well-maintained Indonesia and sustainable Indonesia,” added Muhaimin.

Muhaimin also stated the main and most crucial point the Government must pursue and achieve in 2022 is the growth and recovery of the real sectors, so that the people can get secure jobs and make a decent living. “Thus, I urge efficiency and acceleration in credit lines for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Bank Indonesia and the Government should immediately boost housing loans, particularly for workers and millennials, so that they can buy their own homes,” said Muhaimin.

In terms of COVID-19, Muhaimin said the Indonesian people should be grateful for their endurance and winning struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, 2022 should be a year of recovery and revival after the prolonged pandemic that hit the country in the past two years. “We have deflated Corona. We have busted the crisis. Our country has succeeded in controlling the pandemic and we will enter an era of recovery, one in which our children will return to face-to-face lessons at school, and the community and the youth will return to work,” he said.

Muhaimin believes that the year 2022 should be welcomed with high spirits and optimism because Indonesia has great goals to achieve. “We have opportunities to create big changes towards a developed Indonesia,” he said.

He added that being optimistic and confident does not mean being complacent or slacking off, because recovering from the pandemic is not only about the economy or increasing gross domestic product (GDP). In reality, many people are still struggling to recover due to the pandemic and economic crisis. “Many families in Indonesia don’t have a decent income. Many young people are unemployed. That’s why the definition of recovery must include socio-economic recovery, not just economic recovery,” he said.

Muhaimin said socio-economic recovery must include at least three essential objectives. First, a decline in unemployment. Currently, the national unemployment rate is excessive, at more than 9%. “Jakarta, West Java, Banten and Riau islands have the highest unemployment rates. I need to impart a reminder that employment is of national interest. As more people work, purchasing power and taxpayer numbers will increase. As more people get to work, social cohesion and patriotism will grow stronger,” he said.

Thus, Muhaimin urges the Government to expand its support for the people seeking jobs, job training and job search assistance, both online and offline, in all districts and cities in Indonesia, starting from Jakarta, Banten, West Java and Central Java.

Second, a decline in the Government’s debt. Although the debt ratio is still relatively manageable, the sky-high interest has cost the state enormously. In the 2022 state budget, payments on the Government’s debt are allocated at more than IDR 405 trillion, consisting of interest on internal debt of IDR 393 trillion and interest on the external debt of IDR 12 trillion. “State-Owned Enterprises’ (SOEs) debt will become the Government’s debt because, de facto and de jure, the Government is the owner and principal shareholder of these SOEs,” he said.

Third, the declining number of extremely poor families – disadvantaged groups that have no income and purchasing power to survive. Muhaimin said five areas in Central Java have the highest rate of extreme poverty, namely, Banyumas, Banjarnegara, Kebumen, Pemalang and Brebes. “President Jokowi’s administration has acknowledged this issue and put it as a priority and a measurement for the success in 2022 development, that is, reducing the unemployment rate to 5.5-6.3%,” said Muhaimin. (des)