Yudhoyono tells Jokowi to fight graft, spend wisely

Yudhoyono tells Jokowi to fight graft, spend wisely

In his first political speech after being re-elected as Democratic Party chairman, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on the Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration to step up measures against corruption and to use the state budget in a prudent manner to improve public welfare.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the party's fourth national congress in Surabaya, East Java, on Wednesday, Yudhoyono started his 25-minute speech with a brief overview of the party's programs for the next five years.

He later listed the party's 10 recommendations to the government regarding various issues, including law enforcement, economic performance, infrastructure development and good governance.

Yudhoyono, who concluded his 10-year presidential term in office last year, put corruption eradication on the top of the recommendation list.

"Prioritize preventive measures [against corruption]. Stay aggressive and act without partiality. Make thorough moves and don't be reckless in naming someone a [graft] suspect," he said.

Yudhoyono, who was unanimously re-elected as party chairman shortly after the congress kicked off on Tuesday, also highlighted the party's concerns over the government's plan to forge ahead with massive infrastructure development.

"Infrastructure development is really important, but it doesn't mean that the state budget must be depleted by it. Budgeting for infrastructure development should combine funds from the state budget and from state-owned companies and the private sector," he said.

Securing only 7.4 per cent of the vote in its debut in the 2004 legislative election, the Democratic Party managed to pave the way for Yudhoyono, the party's then chief patron, to win the country's first direct presidential election in the same year.

Five years later, the party won the legislative election after securing 20.1 per cent of the vote and helped Yudhoyono win a victory for his re-election.

The party, however, saw its popularity plunge prior to the 2014 legislative election after a number of party figures, including then party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, former youth and sports minister Andi Mallarangeng and lawmakers Angelina Sondakh and Muhammad Nazaruddin, were named graft suspects.

It ended up securing only 10.2 per cent of the vote and failed to nominate its own candidate for the subsequent presidential race to replace Yudhoyono, who was not entitled to run for a third consecutive term in office.

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