Pidato Penerimaan Gelar Doktor HC Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, di Universitas Ritsumeikan, Kyoto, Jepang, 29 September 2014
Assalamualaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
Peace be upon us all.
Your Excellency Yasuo Fukuda, Chairman of Japan Indonesia Association,
Prof. Kifoyumi Kawaguchi, Chancellor of the Ritsumeikan Trust and President of Ritsumeikan University,
My Dear Friend Professor Takashi Shiraishi ,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Ritsumeikan University for hosting me today. I also thank Prof. Kiyofumi Kawaguchi for the kind words he addressed to me.
Let me also take this opportunity, on behalf of the people and Government of Indonesia, to express my condolences for the victims of the recent Ontake volcano eruption. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family.
I am truly honored to receive an Honorary Doctorate from this respected and well-known academic institution. I am proud to joint the ranks of revered eminences who have received the award before me, including and especially Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, and former President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea.
This honor is particularly prestigious in the light of the spirit of academic excellence that is the hallmark of this university, a reputation that is a legacy of its founder, Prince Saionji Kinmochi. I also very much admire the universitys tireless endeavor to foster the ideals and values of democracy, as well as its dedication to the cause of peace. I am glad to see a number of Indonesian students studying here at Ritsumeikan University, and I hope to see more and more of them coming here so that they can use their knowledge to promote progress for Indonesia and strengthen Indonesia-Japan relation.
Just hours before landing in Osaka, I spoke with my wife that this is my last international visit as President of Indonesia. The closer I get to the end of my Presidency, the more reflections come to mind.
I have dedicated all my life to serve my country Indonesia, and I am honored that history has given me a chance to serve as Indonesias sixth President.
I must admit that this is one job that intimidated me, as it should be to anyone who wishes to become President of Indonesia. It is a job not to be taken lightly, for it involves the fate of a quarter billion people, in the worlds most diverse nation, living in the worlds largest archipelago, located in a strategic cross-road location upon which the economic livelihood of other nations, especially Japan, depend. In the last 10 years, therefore, I have lost a lot of sleep trying to do my best for Indonesia, trying to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of my fellow Indonesians who gave me their trust to lead the nation.
When I assumed the Presidency in 2004, I realized full well that Indonesia also happens to be one of historys great experiment. Can the worlds most diverse nation continue to stay together as one nation ? Would our new-found democracy make Indonesia more united or less united ? Can Indonesias democracy deliver economic growth, the way authoritarian Governments in the past delivered economic growth ? Can our democracy establish a healthy relationship with Islam ? And finally, what kind of nationalism will emerge from Indonesia, an inward-looking attitude, or an outward-looking one ?
These questions carried significance way beyond the academic : our ability to provide the right answers to these questions would make the difference between a vibrant democracy and a failed state, between growth and decline, and between hope and despair.
As I close my second and last term as President of Indonesia, I am glad that we have somehow found a way to deliver some answers to these questions. Not perfect answers, but enough to keep us in a positive momentum forward to be where we are today. It is this that I would like to share with you this morning.
First, on the question of democracy. Can democracy deliver economic growth ?
Here, we have found that we do not have to chose between democracy or development. Indeed, we could have both democracy and development marching together in one package.
Let us look at the facts. Indonesias democracy has grown substantially and evolved from a turbulent transition to one of vibrant democracy. We have held elections like clock-work, routinely every 5 years, in 1999, in 2004, in 2009, and this year in 2014. In each of these elections, voters turned out enthusiastically to elect their leaders : around 85 percent in the first 3 elections, and in this years election it was about 70 percent. These are high numbers compared to international standard just for comparisons sake, I believe that in the US the number for voter turn-out was at around 57 percent, and for Japan around 52 percent.
Indonesias democracy also became more stable. We did have a period of instability : for example, in the 6 years between 1998 and 2004, we had 4 Presidential turn-overs — an average of 1,5 years per President. However, since 2004, things restored to normalcy and stability was returned. I was able to finish my first full-term, and Insya Allah I will also finish my full second-term next month.
Our democracy also became deeper. Since 2004, in a radical break from the past, every governor, regent and mayor have been directly elected by the people. This completely turned the political pyramid upside down, and dramatically changed the political landscape in Indonesia. It brought democracy to the grassroots by ensuring that local leaders would be elected by and accountable to the local electorate.
Here, I must say that I am very disappointed that within the past few days, the Indonesian Parliament, in a controversial move, voted to end the practice direct elections for local officials — from governors, regents and mayors — and instead have them elected by the regional Parliamentarians. I totally do not agree with this view : we believe that we should keep direct elections of local officials but with improvements and tighter rules to avoid money politics, abuse of power and other excesses. I will continue to fight for improved direct local elections even after I step down from the Presidency next month.
In short, our democracy has become more stable, more mature, more grass root and more vibrant. We have achieved a point of no return in our democratic life. There is no prospect of a military coup in Indonesia.
It is also significant to note that, contrary to what some had predicted, our democracy has made Indonesia more united and more coherent. We resolved the separatist challenge in Aceh by entering into a permanent peaceful political solution in the form of a special autonomy. We continued to improve the political situation in Papua. We effectively addressed communal violence in, Ambon and Poso. We improved human rights condition so that in the last decade or so there have been no major human rights violations in Indonesia. And we implemented an ambitious program of decentralization and local autonomy that in fact has spread growth and empowerment from Jakarta to all provinces, districts and cities. Thus, democracy, far from breaking us apart, is actually keeping the nation together better than ever.
As we pursued our democratic consolidation, our economy continued to grow, and grow stronger.
From the beginning of my term, I instituted the triple track strategy which later became four-track strategy : pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor and pro-environment. We moved to enact a series of ambitious reforms, and launched a very ambitious pro-poor program, focusing on education, health, micro-credit and jobs.
When we started, I must admit that I did not have the foresight to calculate the unknowns things that we did not know would happen —- and as it turned out that these unknowns played a significant role in our nations life : the tsunami of 2004, earthquakes and forest fires and floods, the threat of SARS, the global financial crisis of 2008, among others.
But despite these persistent and dangerous unknowns, we were still able to register meaningful economic gains. In 1998, our economy had contracted by minus 13 percent, but soon after, it began to pick up. Before I assumed the Presidency, economic growth was at 4 percent. The pace continued upward, and even during the global financial crisis we maintained 4.5 percent growth in 2008, and last year we registered 5.8 percent growth. On average, in ten year time Indonesias economic growth is between 5-6 percent. In 1998, we were the 47th largest economy in the world; today, we have moved up to number 16, and indeed a recent World Bank report stated that if measured by purchasing power parity Indonesia is in the worlds top 10 largest economies.
Like Japan, Indonesia is a member of the G-20, and within the G-20, Indonesia has posted the second highest GDP growth after China. Our credit rating also improved, and Indonesia was awarded investment grade according to Moody and Standard and Poor. We also pushed extreme poverty down to about 11 percent. Meanwhile, our national income per capita rose almost 400 percent, from 9 million rupiah in 2004 to 36 million rupiah last year, and it is estimated that some 8 million people join the middle-class each year, which explains why Indonesia has the largest and fastest-growing middle-class in Southeast Asia.
Of course, we still have plenty of challenges : poverty, jobs, clean government, inequality, closing development gaps between regions, and many others. These are long-standing problems that will continue to be addressed by the next Government. Still, notwithstanding these challenges, the World Economic Forum in their last Asia meeting in The Phillippines dubbed the last 10 years as Indonesias golden decade.
The conclusion is quiet obvious : within the last decade, our democracy became stronger, but our economy also grew stronger. Thus, we convincingly dispelled the notion that you had to chose between democracy and development; indeed, you could have both democracy and development in one country, and at the same time. This, I believe, is an important reference point for the still-unfolding Arab Spring nations, who I believe are still searching desperately to achieve both democracy and development.
Here, it is important to note that one key factor for us was that Indonesias democracy was a home-grown process. Democracy works in Indonesia because our citizens have faith in it, and will defend it when they have to. They know democracy is not easy, and is full of problems and shortcomings and setbacks, and provide no guarantee of a better future unless we make it that way. But despite all its imperfection, our citizens continue to believe that democracy is here to stay, and that democracy is a never-ending process of introspection and improve-ment.
The second question is one of greater global relevance today : can democracy and Islam go together ? This is a question that is often asked within the Islamic world, and also by the non-muslim world.
Well, when we embarked on our democratic era, there were quite a few voices around the world that asked worryingly if the next step for Indonesia would be to become an Islamic state.
This was because Indonesia is home to the worlds largest muslim population there are more muslims in Indonesia than in the entire Middle-East. In the 1950s and 1960s, Indonesia faced armed rebellions from insurgents seeking to establish an Indonesian Islamic state. And for about 5 decades after our independence, Islamic political parties were suppressed, limited and restricted. Dealing with political Islam has always been an important part of our nationhood.
In the course of our democratic transition, in 1999 we reformed our laws on political parties and elections, and this opened-up the flood gates for new political parties. The number of political parties multiplied dramatically from only 3 political parties under the era of President Suharto to 48 political parties in 1999. And 14 of them were considered as Islamic political parties one way or another.
However, in the last 4 elections, Islamic political parties did not dominate the electoral contest, and none ever called for an Islamic state. Indeed, the Indonesian electoral landscape was such that it would be impossible for Islamic parties to do well in elections unless they openly profess tolerance, respect diversity and reach out to non-muslim voters.
Thus, in the process, Islamic political parties became staunch supporters of democracy and of the pluralist character of the Indonesian state. They are the ones who take part in defending it when it is being undermined. And they do so because they know it is only under democracy that they can exist and grow. There has never been a discussion about turning Indonesia into an Islamic state simply because such an idea would not see the light of day in Indonesias conditions.
Thus, in Indonesia, we have proved that demo-cracy and Islam can go together perfectly fine. And it happened seamlessly. We did not have to go through a soul searching debate about this, and did not go through a bloody conflict. A survey of jointly conducted by German think tanks Goethe Institute and Friedrich Naumann Stiftung [: frid-rick noum-man stif-tung] found something interesting from their young Indonesian muslim respondents: 85 percent believe democracy and Islam are compatible, 73 percent believe the people have the power to change governments they do not like, 84 percent agree good democracy require good opposition parties, 72 percent disagree that women cannot be good leaders for the country, and 89 percent agree that freedom of speech is essential for the nation.
Democracy and Islam is a good healthy mix already, but I also would add more to this mix. We in Indonesia have also demonstrated that democracy, Islam, modernity, human rights and womens rights all five of them go together, all come in one package, without any contradiction between them.
One of the reasons why they all progress simultaneously has to do with the fact that Indonesians have always been an open and inclusive society. There is a measure of pragmatism that go well with our ideals. Since the beginning of our Republic, we embraced multi-culturalism in a national doctrine called Bhinneka Tunggal Ika — meaning unity in diversity– as a way to maintain unity in the worlds most diverse nation. And moderation and tolerance has always been part of our national DNA. Indonesia is arguably the only country in the world which designate all the major religious days as national holidays : Eid Mubarak, Isra Miraj, Christmas, Easter, Nyepi, Waisak, and Chinese New Year and others.
In any case, the success of this particular Indonesian experiment is a powerful example to those who are still trying to hold back Islams true potentials. Particularly those who say that Islam and democracy are not compatible, or those who say the Islamic world cannot get along with the West, or those who say human rights is not part of Islamic creed; or those who say womens role must be limited in Islamic society.
The Indonesian experience is also the antidote for a growing movement of extremism and terrorist acts, which recently has been manifested in the threat coming from ISIS. Significantly, in the last few months, Indonesian Government and people have come out together to firmly reject the ideology of ISIS, which perverts the true teaching of Islam as a religion of peace, compassion and brotherhood.
The third question is on nationalism.
Across Asia, and perhaps across the world, nationalism is on the rise. This seems to be happening to both rich and poor nations, for different reasons. The fact is : people are more sensitive about their identity, and these feelings can be sparked or provoked by certain events.
In Indonesia, nationalism of course remains an important force in our nationhood. The love of the country is what motivates and drives us in our political, economic and socio-cultural development.
Yet, we know there are different types of nationalism. Sometimes, politicians call for the kind of nationalism that is narrow-minded, inward-looking, or xenophobic. Sometimes, there are those who try to pit our nationalism against interna-tio-nalism.
Well, our experience in recent years have shown, by necessity and by choice, that nationalism can and must be coupled with internationalism. There is no contradiction between the two; indeed, there is mutual synergy between them. Indeed, we see the world as a source of security and prosperity.
This is why in the past decade, as President, I have done all I can to bring Indonesia closer to the world, and the world closer to Indonesia. We pursued an international strategy of zero enemy, million friends, because we realized that there was no country that regarded Indonesia as enemy, and conversely, no country that Indonesia regards as enemy. We pursued all direction foreign policy because we know opportunity lies waiting in all corners of the world, from Japan to South Africa, from Timor Leste to Brazil. We established strategic partnerships with all the major powers, and with most of the emerging powers many of whom had in the past conflictual relations with Indonesia. And we helped establish the vision for an ASEAN Community by 2015.
We pursued all these because we know our international engagement makes us better, stronger, safer. We demonstrated that nationalism and internationalism are two sides of the same coin.
This is certainly the case in our relationship with Japan.
Japan is among our most important inter-national partners. It is a strong solid relationship based on mutual interdependence, but also mutual benefit and mutual respect. Following the launching of the IndonesiaJapan Strategic Partnership for Peaceful and Prosperous Future in 2006, our friendship has continued to deepen, with intensified cooperation.
Japan is our long-standing important economic and development partner. For many years, Japan has been among the top five foreign investors in Indonesia. In 2013, Japans investment ranked first, reaching almost 5 billion US dollars in over 900 projects. Japans private sector has for a long period made significant contributions to the development of strategic industries in Indonesia.
Indonesia and Japan are also intensively linked through people-to-people contacts, especially in the area of education. I am pleased, in that regard, and as mentioned by Prof. Kawaguchi in his introductory remarks, there are more than 200 Indonesian students studying at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.
Furthermore, Japan is also Indonesias dedicated partner in the cause of peace. Both countries are strongly committed to democracy, peace, and stability in the region and in the world at large. I appreciate Japans consistent support for the Bali Democracy Forum, which Indonesia initiated and has become the main inter-governmental forum for democracy in Asia. In this Forum, Governments of various political systems exchange lessons and share viewpoints about democracy in a friendly non-judgmental atmosphere. Since its founding in 2008, the Bali Democracy Forum has grown from 43 participating and observing countries to 86. And we look forward to Japans continued participation and support for the next Forum.
Indonesia and Japan are also working together to help the people of Palestine in their nation-building and capacity building efforts. This is the reason why Indonesia supported Japans initiative to hold the Conference of Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) last year. Indonesia hosted the second CEAPAD in Jakarta last March.
I believe that our two countries can collaborate further within the UN framework to help the people of Palestine realize their dream of a viable, sovereign and independent Palestinian State based on the two-state solution.
Indeed, there is much that Indonesia and Japan can do together, both bilaterally as well as for the region and the world. It has been an honor for me to be part of efforts to expand our friendship and cooperation. When a devastating tsunami hit us in Indonesia in 2004, Japanese volunteers came to help us in the most difficult time imaginable. And when Japan experienced the horrible tsunami in 2011, Indonesians, like the rest of the world, also wept for Japan. I remember Prime Minister Abe spoke movingly of an Indonesian nurse named Suwarti who worked tirelessly to help Japanese survivors.
When I visited Japan in 2012, I had a chance to go to Kesenuma and talked directly with the victims of the tsunami, in particular women and children who temporarily stayed at the shelters. My wife and I were very moved by their resilience, and this reminded us of the same fate of their brothers and sisters in Aceh. When I received Mayor Shigeru Sugawara of Kesenuma in my office in November 2013, I was honored to receive a fishermans flag and to learn that Indonesias modest support was used to establish the Yudhoyono Children Library in their town.
Thus, our relationship is based not just on national interests, it is a friendship that lives in the heart of our peoples, where both our pains and gains are shared.
This is why I believe Indonesia and Japan will have a better future together. I therefore take this Honorary Doctorate Degree as a reminder of the kindness, respect and friendship that we have carefully nurtured between our countries.
Once again, allow me to convey my thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Yasuo Fukuda, Chancellor and President of Ritsumeikan University and all of the Academic staff of Ritsumeikan Univer-sity, for the Honorary Doctorate conferred on me today.
I thank you.
Wassalaamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.