Comment on Saudi Arabia investment just a joke: Jokowi

Indonesian President Joko Widodo gesturing during an exclusive interview with AFP at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo gesturing during an exclusive interview with AFP at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said he was only joking when he said he was "a little disappointed" that Saudi Arabia had made a meagre investment in Indonesia even though he had gone the extra mile in courting King Salman bin Abdul Aziz during his recent visit to Jakarta.

"The statements were not serious as they were made during an informal forum," he said on Saturday.

Mr Joko, who is popularly known as Jokowi, said the fact that the kingdom had made a larger investment in China was a wake-up call for Indonesia to improve its investment climate. "Why can't we get investment? It's because our investment climate and investment ratings are still low. Not to mention legal certainty, which needs to be improved," he said.

Last Thursday, Mr Joko said he was disappointed to learn that Saudi Arabia had invested US$65 billion (S$91 billion) in China, almost 10 times the amount pledged to Indonesia.

"I even held up an umbrella for the King, but we got a smaller amount," he had said.

JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'Comment on Saudi Arabia investment just a joke: Jokowi'. Print Edition | Subscribe