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Yudhoyono urged to focus on transition

Publication Date : 06-05-2013


A critic is saying that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to start focusing on fulfilling his campaign promises in the waning days of his final term and less on party politics.

Arie Sujito, a political analyst from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said that although Yudhoyono was entitled to enjoy his down time, the president, who is barred from seeking re-election by term limits, should focus on preparing for the transition to a new administration.

“He can relax [...] but should avoid involving himself in unimportant travails, including a preoccupation with his Democratic Party,” Arie told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

“He should not spend too much of his time on his party. He should instead prepare for the transition of power, so that his successor can continue the programmes  from his tenure,” Arie added.

Yudhoyono, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, and his entourage arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta on Sunday before departing for East Java, where he watched the sunrise over Mount Bromo in Probolinggo, witnessed military exercises and played sports with local officials.

The president was joined by a host of Cabinet officials, including Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Syariefuddin Hasan, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu.

Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, and Indonesian military chief Adm. Agus Suhartono were also part of the entourage, as was Vice President Boediono, who joined the group on Thursday during a stop-over in Situbondo, East Java.

During his visit to Mt. Bromo, Yudhoyono stopped to talk with some tourists, street vendors and local farmers at the world-famous tourist site.

Matacis, a vendor in Bromo, told Yudhoyono that the tourism site needed better infrastructure, including better roads and access to clean water.

In response, Yudhoyono said he would order the local regent, the provincial governor, and other relevant ministers, to address the vendors’ concerns.

“The ministers and I came here to directly observe the situation and learn about what the people actually need,” Yudhoyono said in a statement posted to his official website

“I want the relevant officials to give me the reports on the follow up to the requests of the people here immediately after I am back in Jakarta,

“I don’t like making promises. But whatever we can do, if it is possible, will be definitely done by us,” the statement said.

Outspoken Golkar Party lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo said that there had been no urgency in Yudhoyono’s five-day visit to East Java.

“I had expected that the president would engage in such activities,” Bambang said.

“In my opinion, the visit was merely aimed at boosting his popularity. It is also an escape from public criticism, which has accused him of failing to tackle many important problems, such as the fuel subsidy, rampant social conflicts, and weak law enforcement.”

Bambang said that it would be unlikely that Yudhoyono’s charm offensive would allow him to leave office on a high note.

“People today are smarter,” the lawmaker said. “They cannot easily be pleased by such a short visit, while many other fundamental problems, such as the high price of staple foods and poor basic services remain unsolved.”


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