Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An Open Letter to President SBY

Dear Mr President,
Let me cite the first paragraph of John Maynard Keynes' letter to President Roosevelt back in Dec, 73 years ago with limited adaptation.
You have made yourself the Trustee for Indonesians who seek to mend the evils of our condition by reasoned experiment within the framework of the existing social system. If you fail, rational change will be gravely prejudiced throughout the world, leaving orthodoxy and revolution to fight it out. But if you succeed, new and bolder methods will be tried everywhere, and we may date the first chapter of a new economic era from your accession to office. This is a sufficient reason why I should venture to lay my reflections before you, though under the disadvantages of distance and partial knowledge.

I wrote this letter after reading your beautiful statements published by almost all newspapers today hightlighting your New Year's Resolution of being more decisive, firm, and direct. I noted the statement is not brand new because you've made similar statements before. Last time I read that was in August on your Independence Day speech. So, I'm surprised that some leading newspapers keep put your statement as their headlines today.
Frankly, I like to read positive statements, despite the fact that I'm a skeptical person, because I believe lot more people are not like me and they have good faith in you. Reading it over and over makes me bored though. But I deeply understand that you need to reiterate and trying to get people rally behind you once you really mean it.
I have limited access to what's going on between the inner circles in The State Palace and VP Palace. But there are people who tend to believe that you compromised too many only to make yourself feels good and hate to be hated. And there are people who believe that Mr Vice President has been more decisive in various important issues of the administration when you're expected to do so.
We're not in great depression like when Keynes wrote the letter to President Roosevelt. But with 10% people unemployed, I'm worried that we're heading to a big social problem in the future. So far, we're blessed with strong social fabric that keep these unemployed have their meals. Still, these young men/women need jobs to prevent them involved in any anti-social activities that will destroy the political & security stability you helped to build in the last few years.
You've started it right when on Thursday you talk on the importance of reviving infrastructure projects to boost the economic growth & create more jobs. You also talked about how much money Lapindo Brantas Inc should provide to compensate the losses of the mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo. The very same day you signed government regulation to inject fresh capital into ailing state-owned companies.
But we've heard too much already. Walk the talks!
You've spent few months overseas in 2006, visited countries in almost all continents. We need you to spend lesser time overseas in 2007 and make more decisions, direct and decisive as you promised, to attract investors. Indonesia has everything investors needed except the helpful bureaucracy, legal certainty, and win-win labour laws. Investors need no more beautifully crafted statements.



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