Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia During the 8th Anniversary of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), Djakarta Theater, Jakarta, January 31, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Peace and prosperity be upon us,
Greetings of virtue,
Honorable Vice Chairperson of PSI Honorary Council Sis’ Grace and Secretary of PSI Honorary Council Bro’ Antoni,
Honorable Chairperson of PSI Bro’ Giring and Secretary General of PSI Sis’ Dea as well as all of attendees who I cannot possibly mention one by one, especially all ranks of central board members, provincial board members, regional board members, local board members, and all the legislators attending this evening,
I want to convey something, but Bro’ Giring already shared the same point earlier. In fact, I have it ready, but I will not use it. Secondly, I was about to talk about downstreaming, but again Sis’ Grace also brought it up. So, I do not know what to say. The issues they conveyed are the same.
But what I want to say, firstly, it is about opportunities. In 2024, the figure shows, just this morning I asked Ministry of Home Affairs, on how many voters are aged from 17 to under 40 [years old]. It is almost 60 percent, almost 60 percent. They are all young voters. And, on such a large market segment, that is what PSI should aim for and get [the voters] from. And, in my opinion, it fits PSI very well.
How to get them? How to achieve them? Bro’ Giring has said earlier so I won’t repeat it. Yes, that is it. That is what needs to be done, meaning that the issues you want to raise must match the aspirations of voters aged 17 to 39. What are the issues? You know much more than me. Do not raise issues that our youth dislike.
PSI must differentiate itself from other parties. Do not be a follower. Do not choose the same issues. Do not be a follower, but a trendsetter. You can achieve it, you will.
Remember, I was a nobody from Solo city, someone from a village who goes to Jakarta, a big city. I saw that there was an opportunity at that time, because in every regional election, the candidates always wear suits, ties, peci hats. No one dares to defy. Remember this, right. So, if someone in PSI can do that, it would not be far away.
At that time, I remember preparing the plaid shirts with Mr. Ahok. No one dared to make this kind of trend. There were risks. Yes, the risk of losing. If we were wrong, we would lose. But, the people welcomed that, especially the youth. Hence, look for something like that. PSI must differentiate itself. Look for stuff like that. Other things are similar to what Bro’ Giring has said. That is all the homework you have got.
Secondly, I want to talk about, again as Sis Grace said earlier, downstreaming. We know that these countries in Latin America, which I do not want to mention the name of to prevent someone from being offended, have become developing countries in the 50s and 60s. In 50s, 60s as developing countries. And to date, they continue to remain a developing country. I studied this. What is going on? Why is it like this? Why these countries faced that? That is what we call trapped as a middle-income country, the middle-income trap. Why? They do not offer something that other countries highly need. This is what our country should do.
Let me give you an example, South Korea’s economy skyrocketed. I wonder how South Korea could do that. They can create and make digital components needed by big countries, one of them is the US.
Taiwan, I studied why the country’s [economy] can skyrocket. They make chips. These major related companies depend on them. All of these companies buy everything from them. Other countries depend on Taiwan. This is the grand strategy. This is what we are planning, how to create a large ecosystem so that other countries depend on us. That is what we call, it is currently the trend, the downstreaming.
But, the downstreaming process is not only on nickel, because we want to fuse and integrate all these natural wealth into one item that will be highly in demand in the future, namely EV batteries, lithium batteries. It will need nickel, copper, tin, and bauxite as the main components. We have to fuse and integrate them to produce EV batteries. The next round is a bigger EV ecosystem. In the future, all countries will be looking for these goods whether it be the lithium batteries, EV batteries, or EVs. Everyone will head toward it because now all countries are giving their people incentives to buy them. This is what we are planning, and other countries know it.
The difficulty lies in the geography of our country. The island of Sulawesi has much nickel supply. So does North Maluku. Copper is found in Papua and Sumbawa islands. These are the big ones. We also have bauxite in West Kalimantan and Riau Island provinces, in Bintan regency. We have tin in Bangka Belitung Islands provinces. On how to integrate this, we have smelters here and there. We put them together into items such as EVs and EV batteries. Even though we have just started, we have just started with nickel but we have already been challenged by the European Union. They brought it to the WTO to sue [us].
The Ministers asked me, “Sir, we are sued, how do we deal with it?” If we are sued then we must face it. If we are sued and we back down, do not expect this country to become a developed country. Do not expect that. We, just like what I said earlier on Latin America, will not back down, and never will. So, I said to keep going forward. Do not get distracted. Keep moving forward. We have just started with nickel and got sued. And, I tell you that we kept going forward and lost. We lost just last year. We lost the WTO lawsuit.
The ministers asked me again, “What to do, Sir? We lost”. If we lost, we must face it. “What can we do next?” “We can file an appeal, Sir.” If we can appeal, we appeal. We wait again, we file another appeal, and it is alright. By the time a decision is made, the products will already be made. Yesterday, we stopped the bauxite [ore] export, we stopped it, stopped it. No one has sued us yet even though 80 percent of the bauxite ore was exported to China. We already have enemies in the EU. Here is another one, a big one at that too. I hope they do not sue us.
After the bauxite one goes well, soon, we are in the middle of calculating, we must also stop the copper [ore export]. So that all the cable components are produced domestically. We have our own stainless steel. We have the aluminum. We have the copper. We have the tin. There is only one item we do not have, namely lithium. We do not have any. Only Australia and several countries in Africa have it. I was surprised that in Australia, our people already booked it. They have a concession there. It is secured. Our people are really smart. I just said that and the next day they started to move. There is also a lot of lithium in several countries in Africa. There are three countries with large lithium deposits.
This is what we called a state strategy. And, we have to be consistent. We have to be consistent until around 2027, or 2028. I hope PSI can oversee this. Therefore, PSI must be able to join the [central] Parliament. No, do not be pessimistic. I agree with what Sis’ Grace said earlier. Be optimistic. I have never been pessimistic in discussing anything, never.
When we faced the pandemic, I stumbled and got confused. But, at some point, I finally calmed down and it became clear again. So, I asked all countries. I called them. No one came up with an explanation that I was absolutely sure of. When the pandemic hit, I immediately phoned the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros. He said, “All of those who are sick should wear masks, President Jokowi,” Alright, we conveyed that to the public. Those who were coughing. Those who were sick should wear masks. The others did not need to because it was very difficult to find masks at that time.
After only two weeks, he called me, “Everyone must wear a mask, President Jokowi. All of us, without an exception, all of us.” Even the WHO Director-General was like that, let alone us, right? because none of us have the experience. None of us. And, we were very lucky at the time, we did not implement a lockdown.
I keep repeating this because the situation at that time was very difficult. It was difficult to find PPEs. We had to grab it before other countries. In finding the cure, we competed with other countries. If other countries were only looking for 10 million, 7 million, 15 million [vaccine doses], we were looking for 278 million [doses] for our people, times two.
So, on how many hundreds of millions of vaccines did we have to prepare and where to buy them, all of us competed to get them at that time. Let alone during the peak [of the pandemic], on insufficient oxygen [supply] because all countries held their supply of oxygen. There was no way they would export it.
This concludes my remarks on this auspicious opportunity. And once again, you must be optimistic that PSI can join the Parliament in 2024. PSI is sure to win.
I thank you.
This concludes my remarks.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.