2012 April - Cover Story
Indonesian President SBY Visits Hong Kong
Arriving in Hongkong on the flyer on the afternoon of the 23rd, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his delegation arrived in Hongkong and met with Chief Execuive of Hongkong Special Administrative Region, Donald Tsang at the Government House to review good relation between Indonesia's economic and business communities and the potential trade and investment into Indonesia.
Donald Tsang expressed his great appreciation to President SBY for allocating time to meet him despite the busy schedule. He had invited SBY to visit Hongkong during the APEC Summit in Honolulu. During the discussion, Mr Tsang congratulated SBY for successfully weathering the economic crisis in 2008 and 2011, especially when the US and EU were struggling with economic recovery. To this, SBY mentioned his dialogue with the leaders of China and the important role of both countries play a leadership role in East Asia and South East Asia and contribute globally as an international economic pillar. During the discussions, President SBY and CE Tsang discussed on investment opportunities, greater trade, migrant enhancement, tourism, financial securities, and legal cooperation.
Earlier in the morning, President SBY met with representives of the Indonesian Youth Association who were invited to China by the representatives of the Youth Assoiation. Meeting also with Li Chang Chun, member of the Chinese polit bureau, both elders hoped the youths of both countries would possess a vision for the future prosperity and cooperation of 23% of the worlds population or the 1.4 billion Chinese and the 240 million Indonesians.
During the Press briefing, the President responded to chief editors of Kompas, Republika, Journal Nasution and Trans-7 questions on why Indonesians were so quick to criticise and ignored the fact that the international community, including China, the 2nd largest economy in the world was willing to have its three highest officials meet President SBY under short amount of time. To this SBY stated that democracy allowed freedom of expression, but emphasised that it was also important to think for the future of Indonesia for the properity of the people, and that to ensure continued and equility of growth, political stability was paramount, even in the most democratic of countries.
"Mereka adalah Penghianat" Said SBY
On the issue of bilateral trade surplus for China, the President mentioned the differing statistics of both countrys, where China records $3 billion deficit but Indonesia also registers $3 billion in trade deficit. A possible answer was was the high number of smuggling of Chinese and Indonesian goods, in which the President abelled these actors as national traitors for benefitting from Indonesian rules and facilities, and yet evading taxes.
Revitalising the military and investigating Sukhoi procurement before 2004
On the subject of military spending, the President SBY typed that it was normal for a country as massive as Indonesia to revitalise its military, insulting its air force squadrons. Specifically on the media coverage of the procurement of Sukhoi's the President ordered an investigation to this issue, not only from 2004, but even prior to 2004 if evidence of over pricing was discovered.
Enhancing interaction between Indonesians and Hongkong Captains of Industry
Earlier in the day, President Yudhoyono also met with 12 Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong's largest corporations. These business people from Hongkong were eager to partner with Indonesia, especially when mainland china was already deepening it's cooperation. Some recognized Indonesia as one of the three forces in Asia, China in the north, India in the east and Indonesia in the south.
Many of the business people said that Indonesia was a new power in Asia, through, ASEAN, East Asia Summit and the G20 that needed to be engaged in greater business opportunities, and they looked forward to the MP3EI being a force in Indonesia's economic strategy. Hongkong as a financial hub was also seen as potential for Indonesia to penetrate the Chinese market. Despite a busy Sunday morning, these captains of industry were also on their way to the ballots for the Hongkong SAR elections from 0900-1100 that very morning.
Ponorogo semi skilled migrant funding child to go to University
Upon leaving, President SBY also met with representatives of Indonesia workers, students, and communities. With a dialog moderated by Consul General Teguh Wardoyo, there were three speakers that took the floor.
Two semi skilled migrant workers from Ponorogo were requesting the President to provide greater training in Indonesia so that they can better compete in Hongkong and also facilitation for their return and re-employment in Indonesia. To this, the President congratulated that success of Indonesian semi skilled migrants in Hongkong, especially for gaining a good reputation. Upon their return, SBY informed that the government was handing out micro credit schemes for women entrepreneurs. The two Ponorogon migrant workers were also greatfull,to the Consulates training in language and other vocational skills for migrant reintegration into the country. One of the migrant from Wonosobo had also successfully funded the Uniersity tuition fees for her child going to a State University in Indonesia.
During that morning,proffessional Indonesian migrants in Indonesia also made heir debut with the President, Mr. Bukit Rahardjo from AXA Asia (Finance) seeking guidance on how to play a greater role for Indonesians to support business cooperation with Hong Kong firms.
To this the President congratulated these professionals and also called upon all Indonesians to promote activities for economic growth, create more jobs and thus eradicate poverty and ensure equality. With this, SBY reminded that democracy although important and valuable, there still had to be political stability, so that growth continued and investors could be keen in financing Indonesian projects.
Other skilled migrants, also members of the Indonesian diaspora in Hongkong were also eager to play a greater role for Indonesia's prosperity. Among them were Mr Dowel Khristianoro - an architect and Mr Sri Suhartoyo, a telecommunications expert.