Indonesians express high hopes for Jokowi's presidency

New president says hard work, unity and responsibility will lead to national prosperity.

By Zahara Tiba and Andhika Bhakti for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta

October 23, 2014
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Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, sworn in as Indonesia's seventh president Monday (October 20th), emphasised hard work and unity in his inaugural speech to the nation.

  •  Tens of thousands of people gather to witness Indonesian President Joko Widodo's post-inauguration speech at National Museum park on Monday (October 20th). Indonesians expressed hope for a successful administration but were realistic about challenges facing Jokowi. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

    Tens of thousands of people gather to witness Indonesian President Joko Widodo's post-inauguration speech at National Museum park on Monday (October 20th). Indonesians expressed hope for a successful administration but were realistic about challenges facing Jokowi. [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

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"This is a moment for us together to work, work, and work," the 53-year-old former furniture exporter said in a speech shortly after taking the oath of office at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta.

"This is the time that we continue the Indonesian history of being a self-sufficient country, economically and politically and culturally," Jokowi said. "This is an important task, and I am confident that this task can be achieved with unity, responsibility and hard work."

Later in the evening, after addressing tens of thousands of people gathered at the National Monument (Monas), Jokowi presented nasi tumpeng – a cone of yellow rice, Indonesia's national dish – to four women he said exemplified this ethic of hard work: a taxi driver, two Papuan market sellers and the country's first Physics Olympiad gold medallist, Josephine Monica.

A post-inauguration concert and street party with free food followed. Organisers released 17,400 lanterns skyward, symbolising new hope for each island in the archipelago.

Hopeful and realistic

In the midst of the festivities, Indonesians were enthusiastic but realistic about the challenges the new administration faces.

Surabaya Airlangga University student Ilhan Nuryanto cheered Jokowi, saying, "we are awaiting your promises."

Gadjah Mada University student Purnama Putra was more reserved. "I hope he will lead Indonesia as good as he promised. I am afraid he will not able to do so. He is still relatively young, and he has a vice president that is much older than him. We wish Jokowi will use his power wisely," Purnama said.

Paramadina University international relations lecturer Djayadi Hanan appreciated Jokowi "as a leader who does not put space between himself and the public," but said he wants to see the new president stay particularly vigilant on economic campaign promises.

"Another challenge is to improve Indonesia's economic growth, which slumped to 5% the past two years after successful years of 2011-2012 that showed over 6% growth," Djayadi said.

"Despite fast economic growth during the SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) era, the gap between the poor and rich is widening."

Medan resident Buitu Sitomorang told Khabar he believes Jokowi will do a great job, despite economic, political, extremist and religious conflicts and challenges.

"We should put aside our doubts and work together to achieve a greater Indonesia under Jokowi's presidency. Nothing will be perfect, but we will do our best," he said.

Indonesia's diverse religious community prayed for the new leaders and harmony for the nation in religious ceremonies held on inauguration eve.

"The public wants to take the opportunity to pray for the best for their new leaders," Nusron Wahid, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) Ansor Youth Movement, said in a statement as mass prayers were held at Sunda Kelapa Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral and Wira Satya Bhuana Hindu Great Temple.

"May Allah bless them and bring prosperity to the country."

Father Beni Soesetyo, a Catholic priest from the Indonesian Bishops Council, hoped the prayers would give strength to Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, "so they are able to bring glory and justice to the country".

Reader Comments
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    • dedikusnadi
      November 6, 2014 @ 04:11:09AM
    • Joko Widodo, OK. Yusuf Kalla, also OK. Prove it, don't just talk. The corrupt who are in jail serving out their sentences, if necessary, have their sentences reviewed. 1, Those who consume the people's money 2. Those who lied to the people 3. Those who stole from the people 4. Deceiving the government 5. Those who have broken their vows of office. All of them should be given the death penalty because they deserve such punishments, alright boss, so that others do not mess around anymore when they are entrusted to manage the government in our beloved country.
    • agus
      November 3, 2014 @ 01:11:35AM
    • I pray that hopefully Allah SWT will bestow strength of faith so that he will carry out his duties well.
    • liza
      November 2, 2014 @ 08:11:55AM
    • Will Jokowi be a good president? Also, hopefully the new president remembers the poor and gives them help, Amin.
    • martinus
      October 31, 2014 @ 04:10:19AM
    • Clara Chen does not know/does not understand.
    • m.sani
      October 24, 2014 @ 11:10:20AM
    • Whoever leads this country, what matters is that they are good, honest, pay attention to the little people and will be able to improve the people's prosperity. Keep your promises. We are waiting for this.
    • lia
      November 2, 2014 @ 08:11:23AM
    • I agree.
    • Marlon Situmorang
      October 24, 2014 @ 12:10:43AM
    • It is time the people speak up, Jokowi-JK are emissaries of the Savior.
    • clara chen
      October 23, 2014 @ 04:10:31AM
    • In striking contrast, SBY returned to Cikeas on Oct 20 to be welcomed well wishers who gathered in Cikeas without the lure of free concert, free food and drink and serenading shalawat, followed by a simple, modest syukuran to thank God for a 10-year job well done and proven results. In Monas, the so-called president "merakyat" partied all night long and not a single job's starts yet. Look at the messy cabinet lineup so far. And he called for "work, work, work" in the middle of a party? TIME said new hope. More like no hope or hopeless now
    • Khoo Soo Hay
      October 22, 2014 @ 11:10:13PM
    • If there is hope for Indonesia under Jokowi & Kalla, there is hope for Malaysia.

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