Total reform, the only way to save the nation

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Anthony Budiawan
Anthony Budiawan, Managing Director of PEPS (Political Economy and Policy Studies)

Jakarta, IO – The general election is drawing near, scheduled on February 14, 2024. Indonesia will soon have a new government: a new president, new representatives. People are enthusiastic. They hope Indonesia will become more prosperous and their fate better. 

Every five years, people place their hope. But every five years, people are also disappointed, suffering until the next election. 

After 77 years of independence, the majority of Indonesian people are still struggling with poverty. According to World Bank, the number of poor Indonesians with incomes below Rp30,517 (US$5.5) per day per capita in 2018 totaled around 150.2 million people, about 56.1% of the population. Indonesia has the largest percentage of poor people in ASEAN, and one of the highest in the world. 

The Reformasi momentum once elevated the people’s hope for a better future. However, it turned out to be hollow. Civil society, the major force in the overthrow of the New Order regime, is now marginalized. Helpless. Popular sovereignty has been hijacked by a small, elite clique of oligarchs. In an instant, Indonesia was again transformed into a tyrannical state. 

Direct presidential election has created a tyrannical government, a government that conspires with the legislative branch (House of Representatives/DPR) and the judiciary (Constitutional Court/MK). Supremacy of law is effectively dead. Law is no longer based on justice; it now favors the powerful and the rich.