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This evening (Sunday 29 June 2014), the fourth presidential debate took place, organized in the Bidakara hotel in South Jakarta. However, it was not a debate between the two presidential candidates, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, but between both vice presidential candidates: Jusuf Kalla (Jokowi’s running mate) and Hatta Rajasa (Subianto’s running mate). The theme of tonight's debate was development of human resources, science and technology in Indonesia.
Moderator of the debate was Dwikorita Karnawati, deputy rector and professor of geology at the Gadjah Mada University (Yogyakarta).
In his opening remarks, Jusuf Kalla said that Indonesian law already stipulates that 20 percent of the country’s state budget is required to be allocated to education. Kalla wants to maintain this rule in order to improve the educational institutions as these institutions form the basis for development of Indonesia’s human resources. He further stressed the need for the government to improve coordination among educational, research and science agencies. Kalla said that schools need to teach about ‘character building’ in an attempt to improve students’ moral (the much-needed mental revolution that Jokowi often mentions). Furthermore, the Jokowi- Kalla pair targets free education for Indonesians until the age of twelve years old.
During the debate Kalla also said that Indonesia needs to streamline its bureaucracy to become a more competitive nation (on a global scale) and that the government should provide incentives to universities as well as companies that innovate in order to support innovation (which will make Indonesia more competitive and advanced).
As for the development of science and technology, Kalla called on all parties to support this development. Not only the government or researchers, but also businesses that engage in fields related to science and technology, including higher education, should become an integrated part of the science and technology development efforts.
Hatta Rajasa sees the development of the country’s human resources as a way to become a modern, advanced civilization. According to him “the rise and fall of civilizations are determined by the quality of the human resources.” Therefore human resources as well as the mastery of science and technology are the fundamentals to become an advanced nation. Indonesia can only become a competitive and innovative nation (on the world stage) provided that it enhances its human resources through education. This is of especial importance in Indonesia with its young population. Moreover, human resources should be developed based on the regional context (refering to the country's natural resources). He added that access to healthcare is also required to support the country’s human resources.
Rajasa stated that the Indonesian government should provide inclusive education; referring to a 12-year mandatory education system (elementary to senior high school) and the establishment of innovation centers. The Subianto-Rajasa pair will allocate IDR 10 trillion (USD $833 million) to research at universities to boost innovation. Furthermore, Rajasa wants to add 800,000 teachers at all levels of education across the archipelago in the next five years.
Indonesia should also introduce the triple helix concept in the education sector, Hatta said. This concept refers to the triadic relationship between university-industry-government in the ‘knowledge society’ and allows graduates to have careers in real life business. Furthermore, the government should stop sending unskilled female migrant workers abroad as it hurts the dignity of the country (due to frequent cases of abused Indonesian workers in the Middle East and Malaysia)
Political background of Jusuf Kalla and Hatta Rajasa
Both Kalla and Rajasa have extensive experience in politics. Jusuf Kalla (born in Watampone, South Sulawesi in 1942) was a successful businessman before entering the nation’s political arena. He was trade minister (1999-2000) during the Abdurahman Wahid administration, coordinating minister of people’s welfare (2001- 2004) during the Megawati Sukarnoputri administration, and vice-president (2004-2009) during the first Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) administration. Kalla enjoys widespread popularity in Indonesia, and particularly among the non-Muslim (although Kalla himself is a Muslim) and non-Javanese people, as he is regarded having a pro-people attitude and a ‘professional’ (as opposed to most political party figures). The market clearly favours the Jokowi-Kalla pair, not only because of Jokowi’s popularity but also because of Kalla, who contains the political experience that Jokowi currently still lacks. Kalla is therefore more likely to be successful in pushing for much-needed reforms.
Hatta Rajasa (born in Palembang, South Sumatra in 1953) was minister of research and technology (2001- 2004) during the Megawati Sukarnoputri administration, minister of transportation (2004-2007) during the first SBY administration, state secretary between 2007 and 2009, and then coordinating minister for economy affairs (2009-2014) during the second SBY administration. Rajasa has been chairman of the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional, or PAN), a moderate Islamist political party, since 2010. In the 2014 legislative election, PAN secured 7.59 percent of the vote. As coordinating minister for economic affairs, Hatta Rajasa became known for his nationalistic and protectionist policies - labelled Hattanomics - which include trade restrictions and the limitation of foreign ownership in the country’s natural resources. As such, he is a good match for Subianto who also uttered protectionist speech on many occasions.
On 9 July 2014 the Indonesian people will go to the ballot boxes to vote for Indonesia’s next president. Recent polls indicate that the race is a tight one between Jokowi and Subianto. Jokowi still has a slight edge but with an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the electorate still in doubt who to choose, nothing is certain.