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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  April 2011

Image politics scrutinized in Indonesia

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A new poll says President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s strategy of building his political image at the expense of decisive action has not been successful.

The survey, by the recently established Institute for Strategic and Public Policy Research (Inspire), showed that while the president was viewed to have fared well on the issues of religious and press freedom, a majority of the 1,500 respondents were critical of his commitment to fighting graft and promoting clean governance.

Marbawi A. Katon, the lead researcher at Inspire, said only 46.1 percent of respondents believed the president had conducted “clean and ethical politics.”

“In the survey, 64.8 percent of respondents did not believe Yudhoyono had really protected Indonesian workers, and 56.9 percent said he didn’t fight corruption seriously,” Marbawi said at the launch of the poll’s findings on Sunday.

The survey also showed that 66.8 percent did not believe Yudhoyono had done his best to crack down on corruption in the tax office, while 56.4 percent believed he had failed to probe the suspiciously large bank accounts held by top police officers.

It also showed that while 39.4 percent of respondents did not believe he had interfered in legal issues in the country, 39.3 percent believed that he had.

Nico Harjanto, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the findings showed that the public did not believe Yudhoyono had taken decisive action on strategic national issues. “His image-centered politics have failed, in part because of his own personality,” he said at a discussion on the findings.

Compared to former presidents such as founding father Sukarno and Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, a champion of pluralism, Yudhoyono’s overly careful approach had backfired, Nico said.

“He could be dubbed the president who likes discourse and meetings,” he said.

The survey, carried out between March 26 and April 3, polled residents of 15 cities outside Jakarta above the age of 17.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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