CG/LA Infrastructure's InfraBlog

Indonesia’s Prabowo Pledges Better Incomes, Infrastructure


July 16, 2013, 3:42 PM

By Eric Bellman

Prabowo Subianto, the Suharto-era strongman who wants to be president, pledged to help incomes and infrastructure networks expand in Indonesia if his party gets more power in next year’s election.

Mr. Prabowo and the leaders of his Gerindra Party unveiled their 2014 to 2019 “Six-Point Action Plan to Transform the Nation” in front of hundreds of supporters Monday, making the party the first to unveil its platform ahead of national elections scheduled for next year.

The plan–also published in full-page advertisements in most Indonesian newspapers Tuesday–said the Gerindra Party would strive to lift Indonesia’s average income to $6,000 per year from the current level of around $3,500. It said the party would also reduce income inequality and build 6,000 kilometers of highway and 6,000 kilometers of railway.

“We are the first to admit that these are very difficult to implement,” Mr. Prabowo told a cheering crowd in a Jakarta hotel. “It will be an uphill struggle that we must undertake.”

While the plan was light on specifics, it highlighted the issues on which the party plans to run including food sovereignty, protecting traditional markets, free healthcare for the poor and allowing farming on millions of hectares of new land.

While the Gerindra Party won less than 5% of the vote in the 2009 elections, recent voter polls have consistently placed its leader, Mr. Prabowo, among the front-runners to become president next year when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has to step down after completing the maximum allowed of two five-year terms in office.

Mr. Prabowo, a former general, has pledged to use military-style efficiency to push through chronically delayed infrastructure projects, as well as to create jobs in the backwaters of this sprawling nation of more than 17,000 islands by improving agricultural productivity.

He said that his main aim is to “cut wastage, stop corruption and increase efficiency.”

Some of the plan’s policies, such as encouraging the processing of Indonesia’s national resources locally, as well as intentions to build the country’s transportation and aircraft industries, echoed the nationalist and protectionist rhetoric which has become increasingly popular with Indonesian politicians. However Mr. Prabowo said he has no intention of closing the Indonesian economy.

“The private sector and foreign investment we fully support,” he said. “We are an open economy.”


Taken from The Wall Street Journal:


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