Former Indonesian president's son launches think-tank

Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono at the launch of The Yudhoyono Institute on Thursday. As its executive director, he says it hopes to nurture young leaders who can steer Indonesia into a golden era by 2045.
Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono at the launch of The Yudhoyono Institute on Thursday. As its executive director, he says it hopes to nurture young leaders who can steer Indonesia into a golden era by 2045.PHOTO: MEITA ANNISSA

Move seen as bid to pave way for Yudhoyono scion in 2019 election

The son of former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has launched a new think-tank - a move that observers say reinforces the family's political ambitions.

Speaking at the launch of The Yudhoyono Institute on Thursday, former army major Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono said it is aimed at developing young people, as well as ideas and solutions, to lead the country into a golden era by 2045.

He said its research will centre on Indonesia's three key pillars: liberty, prosperity and security.

"These three are very relevant to the vision of Indonesia 2045; hence we must prepare a superior generation of people who will lead Indonesia into its golden days," said Mr Agus, who turned 39 on Thursday.

He has been widely tipped as a possible candidate for the presidential election in 2019, running under the Democratic Party ticket. The party is chaired by his father and Indonesia's sixth president, Dr Yudhoyono.

Voxpol Centre executive director Pangi Syarwi Chaniago said the institute is part of a wider strategy to lay the groundwork for Mr Agus' presidential bid. "It can also be a think-tank for the party in formulating issues of national interest," he told Kompas news.

The launch was attended by Jakarta governor-designate Anies Baswedan, his deputy Sandiaga Uno, former presidents' daughters Yenny Wahid and Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, and former deputy foreign minister Dino Patti Djalal.

TRUE PATRIOTISM

For some people, bearing arms is patriotic; then why did I leave the military? But most young people... see my choice as a bold move, as I had to crawl back from zero to serve the country... whatever is done to defend the country and the name of the nation is patriotism.

MR AGUS HARIMURTI YUDHOYONO, on what serving his country means to him.

Mr Agus, who had an unsuccessful run at the Jakarta gubernatorial election earlier this year, will head the institute as executive director.

Before officiating the launch on Thursday, he visited President Joko Widodo at the Istana, where he also met Mr Joko's eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

Mr Agus said he was there to "seek the blessings" of Mr Joko to establish the institute.

The two "First Sons" later spoke about the role of Indonesian youth in politics. "The President has placed high hopes on young people to build up our human resources and to be successful in competing with players in other countries during this 21st century," Mr Agus said.

Two weeks ago, he was present when Dr Yudhoyono met opposition leader Prabowo Subianto at their home in Cikeas, West Java. There was widespread speculation that the meeting, initiated by Mr Prabowo, was held to discuss a possible alliance for the 2019 presidential election.

Dr Yudhoyono, however, has brushed aside any such rumours .

Mr Agus also said he is often asked about the meaning of patriotism. "For some people, bearing arms is patriotic; then why did I leave the military?" he said during his speech. "But most young people... see my choice as a bold move, as I had to crawl back from zero to serve the country... whatever is done to defend the country and the name of the nation is patriotism."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2017, with the headline 'Former Indonesian president's son launches think-tank'. Print Edition | Subscribe