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29 January 2010

Indonesian President: Govt meets most targets in first 100 days

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Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono claims that his administration has achieved most of the targets it set out for the first 100 days in office, the Channel News Asia reported.

He has called on Indonesians to verify the achievements when the report is officially announced in the next couple of days.

The Indonesian leader claimed success even as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Indonesia to mark the failure of his administration's first 100 days.

This is the second large scale demonstration in Indonesia in less than two months.

Unlike December's protest which saw demands on the government to eradicate corruption, this time protestors expressed disappointment over the perceived failure of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first 100 days.

Protestors took to the main streets in many major cities across the country. In the capital Jakarta, the Presidential Palace became their main focus. However, President Yudhoyono was 50 kilometers away officiating at a power plant.

He claims his administration has met most of the targets set out in its first 100 days. He said: "We have monitored, checked and went to the ground in many provinces. It's being recapitulated. Some have reached 100 per cent, other 70 per cent and there are some even lower. Interim report by Mr Kuntoro revealed most of the targets have been met. A small number has not been achieved. Just wait. Please check the findings on the ground after that."

The Yudhoyono administration had set out 15 priorities in its first 100 days which included 45 programs and 129 action plans. The Indonesian leader stressed that most of these programs would not bring instant results.

They were meant among other things to iron-out administrative bottle-necks and improve regulations and he listed out some of the achievements.

President Yudhoyono said: "Getting a passport then needs seven days; now we make it four days. Business licensing in districts and provinces then was average 90 days; now we made it 40 days. And many more services to the public and businesses."

But segments of the Indonesian public are clearly not convinced. Several surveys show President Yudhoyono's popularity ratings are down by 15 per cent from 90 per cent last July.

H.S. Dillon - Senior Governance Advisor, Centre for Agriculture and Policy Studies, said: "We would like to see a very effective presidency because 70 per cent of the people still believe in him that he is a decent man. But he has assembled around him, I fear are more yes men. People who say "Ah everything is good". You know we have people saying the 100 days are fantastic."

Surveys show that the on-going Century Bank bailout inquiry and the corruption scandal that involved the anti-graft officers; the police and the attorney general office have negatively affected the public perception of the government.

Satish Mishra, managing director, Strategic Asia, said: "The big post-election momentum in a sense has been diminished as a result of this open public dissatisfaction about anti-corruption."

H.S. Dillon added: "You cannot reform a system as corrupt as this through moral suasion. This is fighting in the trenches. What has really happened in the first 100 days - what has been exposed - brought up to the fore - are many of the fault lines lying under this country or under this administration."

There are four years and 265 days more for President Yudhoyono to meet all the targets he has set out in his second term in office. Certainly it's too premature to say that his administration has failed. But what is clear is that Indonesians who had voted for him will continue to press President Yudhoyono to deliver on his promises.


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