Indonesia President Joko Widodo sworn in for second term, outlines plan for growth

Indonesian President Joko Widodo reciting the oath of office, with a Quran held over his head, at the Parliament building in Jakarta yesterday. In his speech later, he urged Indonesians to stay nimble in the face of challenges.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reciting the oath of office, with a Quran held over his head, at the Parliament building in Jakarta yesterday. In his speech later, he urged Indonesians to stay nimble in the face of challenges.PHOTO: MCI

Boosting talent and infrastructure among Indonesian President's key priorities

Amid tight security, Indonesian President Joko Widodo was officially sworn into office for his second and final term yesterday, as thousands of Indonesians celebrated with song and dance.

With a Quran held over his head, Mr Joko, better known as Jokowi, recited the oath of office before lawmakers and regional senators that make up the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) at the Parliament building.

"By God, I swear to carry out my duties as President of the Republic of Indonesia as best and as justly as I can, upholding the Constitution and the laws of the republic," said the 58-year-old.

New Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin, who replaced outgoing Jusuf Kalla, also took a similar oath.

In a 15-minute inaugural speech later, Mr Joko outlined his key priorities in the next five years which include raising the quality of human resources, building more infrastructure and reducing bureaucracy.

He also called on global talent to help his administration and urged Indonesians to stay nimble in the face of challenges.

He said: "In a world full of risks, which is very dynamic and competitive, we have to continue to develop new ways, new values. Don't make ourselves trapped in the monotonous routines."

Mr Joko was re-elected in the April 17 presidential election with 55.5 per cent of the vote. Previously, the former furniture exporter had served as mayor of Solo, a vibrant city in Central Java, and Jakarta governor. He first took office in 2014, after beating former army general Prabowo Subianto, succeeding President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as Indonesia's seventh president.

At the inauguration ceremony, MPR Speaker Bambang Soesatyo praised Mr Joko, saying he had helped to reduce poverty to a record low, create many jobs and bring healthy economic growth during his first term.

Seventeen foreign leaders and dignitaries also attended the event, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and China's Vice-President Wang Qishan.

Mr Lee congratulated Mr Joko and said that he looked forward to building on the existing excellent cooperation between their two countries.

 
 
 
 

The ceremony was held under tight security with military helicopters hovering above the Parliament building.

On the main streets of the capital, armoured vehicles and some 30,000 security officers stood guard as banners which said "Congratulations on the people's mandate and the inauguration" and "Thank you and happy working" fluttered.

Security was beefed up in the light of recent student protests against controversial Bills and the stabbing of security minister Wiranto by a militant linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group earlier this month.

Although rallies have been banned since a week ago, thousands of Indonesians poured out into the streets to celebrate the occasion.

The popular President was also swarmed by well-wishers wanting to shake hands and take photos when he alighted from his car at a park near the presidential palace.

Street vendor Mardan Bilang said many villagers in his native Banggai Islands in Central Sulawesi were grateful to Mr Joko for building roads, enabling them to transport agricultural output like coconuts and cloves from their farming land to the markets.

Calling Mr Joko his long-time idol, the 41-year-old said: "I hope he will keep up his good work in his second term."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2019, with the headline 'Jokowi sworn in for second term, outlines plan for growth'. Print Edition | Subscribe