President Jokowi: “Let this crisis momentum propel us to catch up”

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President Joko Widodo attended the MPR RI Annual Session wearing a traditional East Nusa Tenggara outfit. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The 2020 Republic of Indonesia’s People Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “MPR RI”) Annual Session was held simultaneously with the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) of RI and Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah – “DPD”) of RI’s Joint Session and President Joko Widodo’s State Address on the 2021 State Budget Plan, held at Nusantara Building, the Parliamentary Complex, Jakarta, on Friday 14 August 2020. 

The President attended wearing baju sabu, the traditional outfit of East Nusa Tenggara. He was welcomed by DPR Speaker Puan Maharani and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, who arrived earlier. RI’s 5th President Megawati Soekarnoputri and 6th President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (“SBY”) also attended the MPR Annual Session virtually. 6th Vice President Try Sutrisno, 9th Vice President Hamzah Haz, and 11th Vice President Boediono were also virtually present. 

MPR RI’s Annual Session implemented strict COVID-19 health protocols: the number of physically attending members was restricted, virtual attendance was allowed, and strict physical distancing was maintained for all participants of the Session. The 300 members of the Legislative who were physically present have passed the COVID swab test. DPR’s Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad stated that the duration of both the Annual Session and the State Address was shortened as the Session was held during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the meaning behind the Annual Session was not prejudiced. 

DPR RI Speaker Puan Maharani expressed her concerns over the extent of COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on all parts of the people’s lives and State Administration in her address. Such impacts include the large number of people infected, some of whom have died, and the rough situation of the national economy, with a growth rate of minus 5.32% (YoY). The latter resulted in an increase in unemployment and poverty rates, and a decline in the overall welfare of the people. “In the face of such a great non-natural disaster, the State needs to be present and save the people from the threats of health crisis, economic crisis, and welfare crisis, by performing heroic efforts that include a series of policies and programs for mitigating COVID-19 and its impacts. We need to improve our healthcare capability, expand social protection, impose large-scaled social restrictions, and accelerate economic recovery,” she said. 

Puan further stated that in order to commemorate the 75th year of Republic of Indonesia’s Independence, stakeholders must appreciate and respect our heroes for having sacrificed their bodies and souls in order to free us all from the shackles of colonialization. “Right now, we must give meaning to our independence by managing, organizing, and controlling the natural and national resources of the country. We need to direct these resources towards the building of national strength. Political direction is the core of national development. Without clear political direction, development will be lost, like a ship without a compass. Without clear political vision and mission, development efforts will stray like a ship without a captain. In either case, it will be destroyed from hitting rocks or from a failure to weather storms. ‘Advancing Indonesia’ is the theme for the 75th commemoration of RI’s independence. It is an expression of our common will in directing our national development politics towards an Advanced Indonesia in all aspects,” she said. 

MPR RI Speaker Bambang Soesatyo (“Bamsoet”) announced the progress of MPR’s tasks of socializing Pancasila, the NKRI Constitution of 1945, NKRI and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (“Unity in Diversity”). He further reported on the Decrees of MPR RI, its reviews of the State Administration system, the NKRI Constitution of 1945 and its implementation, and its efforts to accommodate the aspirations of the citizens and the regions concerning the implementation of the Constitution. 

One of these efforts relating to implementing the Constitution touches on the Four Pillars of the MPR. MPR has established the MPR Socialization Committee, whose 45 members are comprised of its members, Faction Representatives, and DPD groups. In socializing the Four Pillars, MPR, through tis Socialization Committee, has also taken strategic and concrete steps to evaluate the materials and methods used in this socializing. These are adjusted to the social segment they are used on, especially the ones meant for Millennials. 

Bamsoet further expressed his gratitude that the MPR again achieved an Unqualified Opinion (Wajar Tanpa Pengecualian – “WTP”) for its management of State funds in 2019. MPR leaders also actively maintain bilateral relations with friendly countries. In the new normal, MPR, as the guardians of the Pancasila ideology, has placed Pancasila as the ethical and moral basis for all Indonesians when facing national challenges, whether internal or external. “According to survey results, MPR is in the Top 5 Most Trustworthy Institutions after the National Armed Forces, the President, the National Police Force, and the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”). The people’s trust encourages the Leaders and Members of MPR to work better and more seriously in discharging of the people’s trust,” he said. 

An important point in President Jokowi’s announcement is the fact that by its 75th anniversary, Indonesia has transformed into an upper-middle-income country. Within the next 25 years, for its Centennial, the Republic of Indonesia must achieve greater progress and become an advanced nation. In order to start economic recovery, the Government has issued Government Regulation No. 1 of 2020, which was then approved by the DPR as Law No. 2 of 2020. This Law synergizes the Government’s joint efforts with Bank Indonesia (“BI”), the Financial Services Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan – “OJK”), and the Indonesia Deposit Insurance Corporation (Lembaga Penjamin Simpanan – “LPS”). “This crisis forces us to shift the channels of normal working to extraordinary channels; from ordinary methods to extraordinary methods; from long and complicated processes into smart-short-cut ones; from procedure-oriented to result-oriented. We must change our patterns of thought and our work ethics. We are in dire need of flexibility, speed, and accuracy. We need to prioritize efficiency, collaboration, and technology use. We need to improve national discipline and productivity as well,” said the President. 

The President further expressed the importance of building HR capacity, and the need to prioritize the development of hospitals, health institutions, and medicine and health equipment industries. “We need to massively improve the security and capacity of our health services and food security. We do this by ensuring the smoothness of the food supply chain, from the start to the end of the distribution chain throughout the country. We will continue to improve efficiency of food production, add value for farmers, strengthen cooperatives and other agricultural corporation methods. The Food Estate is being established in order to strengthen our national food reserves. It is not just upstream, but also downstream in the food production industry chain. We will no longer use manual methods, but modern technologies that exploit digital sophistication,” he said. 

The President further stated that the agenda for the 2020 Regional Elections must still be implemented with strict health protocol discipline. The Government must not allow any gap or loophole for anyone who wishes to undercut its foundations. Law Number 2 of 2020 is the Law that serves as the basis for delaying Regional Elections. 

The President also appreciates the performance of our legislative institutions, including the Constitution Court, for having speeded up the duration of material testing of laws from the average of 101 work days per case in 2017 to an average of 59 work days per case in 2019. Throughout 2019 until early 2020, the Constitution Court has completed 122 law-testing cases. 

Finally, the President stated that the Government’s target is not just to become free of the pandemic, not just to get out of the crisis. “Our intention is to make a great leap by using the momentum of the current crisis. This crisis provides us with the momentum to catch up where we are left behind, to perform great transformations by implementing great strategies. Let us resolve our fundamental issues. Let us make great leaps and significant progress. We need to hack into the momentum of this crisis. We need to unanimously and uniformly make use of this momentum to make Indonesia equal to advanced countries – to achieve the Advanced Indonesia that we have been dreaming of,” he said. (Dan)