PM Lee to attend Joko Widodo's presidential inauguration

This handout picture released by the House of Representative (MPR) on Oct 18, 2014, shows President-elect Joko Widodo (centre) and Vice-President elect Jusuf Kalla (second, left) accompanied by house speaker, Mr Zulkifli Hassan (second, right), House
This handout picture released by the House of Representative (MPR) on Oct 18, 2014, shows President-elect Joko Widodo (centre) and Vice-President elect Jusuf Kalla (second, left) accompanied by house speaker, Mr Zulkifli Hassan (second, right), House deputy chairman Oesman Sapta (left) and transition team leader Tini Soemarsono (right), as they inspect preparations at the parliament in Jakarta, ahead of their Oct 20, 2014 official inauguration. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will attend the inauguration of Mr Joko as President of Indonesia, and will travel to Jakarta on Sunday. -- PHOTO: AFP

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong will attend the inauguration of Mr Joko Widodo as President of Indonesia, and will travel to Jakarta on Sunday.

Mr Lee will personally offer his congratulations to Mr Joko and reaffirm Singapore's desire to continue the strong bilateral cooperation in a range of areas with the incoming Indonesian Government, said a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday.

The Prime Minister will also meet with other Indonesian leaders during the visit.

A number of leaders from the region and beyond will also be attending the presidential inauguration, which takes place on Monday, Indonesian officials said.

They include Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry will also lead a presidential delegation to the inauguration, that includes Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, the US State Department announced on Friday.

While in Jakarta, Mr Kerry will hold several bilateral meetings with foreign counterparts.

Japan's foreign ministry also announced that former prime minister Yasuo Fukuda would be dispatched on a special mission to attend the inauguration.

Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, was elected president on July 9. He garnered 53.2 per cent of votes in a fiercely-contested presidential election, defeating opponent Prabowo Subianto by a margin of over 8 million votes.

Mr Lee was the first foreign leader to congratulate him upon his victory.

Mr Joko has a decade of experience in local government, having been elected mayor of the city of Solo in Central Java in 2005, and governor of the capital, Jakarta, in 2012.

In both posts, he earned a reputation for his hands-on leadership style and bureaucratic reform, which many Indonesians hope he will bring to the central government.

He takes over from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who presided over 10 years of political stability and robust economic growth as Indonesia's first directly elected president, and who is the first to initiate a cordial leadership transition.

On Monday morning, Mr Joko will be sworn in as the country's seventh president at the People's Consultative Assembly, which brings together the national Parliament and the regional representatives council.

A parade and welcome ceremony has been planned at the presidential palace grounds where Dr Yudhoyono is set to welcome Mr Joko in what officials hope marks a new political tradition.

Mr Joko's supporters have also planned a "people's party" for residents and well-wishers at the National Monument, across from the palace, in the afternoon.

On this visit, Mr Lee will be accompanied by his wife, Ms Ho Ching, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister.