Jokowi pledge on human resources will lift business sectors, says tycoon

Tycoon Anindya Bakrie says Mr Joko Widodo has "no baggage", so he may revamp his Cabinet and include more professionals.
Tycoon Anindya Bakrie says Mr Joko Widodo has "no baggage", so he may revamp his Cabinet and include more professionals.

JAKARTA • Indonesian President Joko Widodo's pledge to focus on human resources in his second term is set to benefit companies providing education, healthcare and entertainment services in the world's fourth-most populous country, according to business tycoon Anindya Bakrie.

Mr Joko, who is popularly known as Jokowi, will have a lot of fiscal space available in the second term as the country's debt-to-gross domestic product ratio is low at about 30 per cent, Mr Bakrie, president commissioner of Bakrie & Bakrie Brothers, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

That allows Mr Joko to continue to invest in infrastructure and develop human resources, said Mr Bakrie, son of former Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie. Golkar, the country's oldest political party, is part of a coalition backing Mr Joko.

Mr Joko is on course to be re-elected with a comfortable majority, according to about a dozen unofficial quick counts and a tally from the General Elections Commission.

The President ordered his Cabinet this week to make development of human resources a "top priority" along with infrastructure after launching an ambitious US$350 billion (S$476 billion) drive to build roads, airports, dams and seaports in the first term.

"He's going to focus on human resources, education, helping financial inclusion and small and medium-sized enterprises, and those will bring what I call smart social populism. But, at the same time, you bring good capitalism along with it," Mr Bakrie said on the sidelines of the Milken Institute global conference in California.

"And I believe a lot of businesses that focus on issues of entertainment, health and education that cater to a lot of these 265 million people will be quite an interesting business to be in," Mr Bakrie added, referring to Indonesia's population .

The threat by Mr Joko's challenger Prabowo Subianto to legally challenge a loss to the President for a second time is not "going to be something disruptive for the economy and politics because we've seen that before", said Mr Bakrie, whose family controls businesses ranging from coal to media and infrastructure.

As Mr Joko "will have no baggage" with parties supporting him poised to win about 66 per cent of all the parliamentary seats, the President may revamp his Cabinet before the start of the second term in October and include more professionals, Mr Bakrie said.

A rebound in advertising spending after the elections and a stable currency may help the Bakrie group's Visi Media "reverse losses" this year, Mr Bakrie said.

Visi Media shares are up 3 per cent this year after tumbling 60 per cent last year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2019, with the headline 'Jokowi pledge on human resources will lift business sectors, says tycoon'. Print Edition | Subscribe