Yudhoyono awarded S'pore's top honour for foreign leader

Yudhoyono awarded S'pore's top honour for foreign leader
President Tony Tan Keng Yam shaking hands with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after conferring The Order of Temasek (First Class) on the Indonesian leader last night.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was awarded The Order of Temasek (First Class), Singapore's highest honour for a foreign leader, by President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night in a ceremony at the Istana attended by top ministers from both countries.

Dr Yudhoyono, who will step down on Oct 20, was conferred the award "in recognition of his valuable contributions to regional cooperation and stability, as well as the substantial and vital friendship" between the neighbours.

"During his 10 years in office, President Yudhoyono consoli- dated Indonesian democracy, restored political stability and fostered steady economic growth," said Ambassador-at- large Tommy Koh, who read the citation.

"A politically stable and economically successful Indonesia has helped ASEAN greatly, both in terms of regional cooperation and in the confidence and security this has created throughout the region. Singapore has benefited greatly from this positive regional climate."

Dr Tan then put a sash on Dr Yudhoyono with the Badge of the Order on his right hip, and pinned the Star of the Order on the left side of his baju kurung Teluk Belanga, a national attire worn by Indonesian officials for special functions. The outfit reportedly got its name from Telok Blangah in Singapore, another reminder of the close ties between the countries.

Earlier in the day, Dr Tan gave Dr Yudhoyono a ceremonial welcome at the Istana before both men held a meeting.

Dr Yudhoyono then met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers of a treaty demarcating the maritime boundaries in the eastern part of the Singapore Strait.

At a state banquet after the award ceremony, Dr Tan paid tribute to his counterpart's "vision and leadership" that had made Indonesia a "shining example of a democratic nation where ethnic and religious diversity, economic development and traditional social norms and values coexist peacefully".

"By setting the stage for a stable and orderly transition from yourself to your successor, Your Excellency will leave an enduring legacy for Indonesia," he added.

Dr Yudhoyono said he was honoured to receive the Order, which he dedicated to the Indonesian people and to the friendship between the countries.

"It will be a permanent reminder to me of the many wonderful moments that we share together as close neighbours," he added.

VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO INDONESIA AND REGION

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was conferred the Order of Temasek (First Class), Singapore's highest recognition for a foreign leader, by President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday. Dr Yudhoyono received the award for his contributions to the bilateral relationship between the two countries during his 10 years in office. This is the citation:

President Yudhoyono was elected as the sixth President of the Republic of Indonesia in the country's first-ever direct presidential elections in 2004. He secured a strong mandate based on his track record as a distinguished senior military officer and Cabinet minister in successive Reformasi-era administrations. Five years later, he was re-elected with an increased majority.

During his 10 years in office, President Yudhoyono consolidated Indonesian democracy, restored political stability and fostered steady economic growth. He oversaw the recovery from the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, restored peace in strife-torn Aceh and neutralised extremist jihadist terror groups. His ministers reformed economic policies and strengthened state finances. In two terms, his administration lifted millions of people out of poverty. These are considerable accomplishments, especially in so diverse and complex a nation as Indonesia.

A politically stable and economically successful Indonesia has helped ASEAN greatly, both in terms of regional cooperation, and in the confidence and security this has created throughout the region.

President Yudhoyono's foreign policy has emphasised ASEAN unity, as well as engaging member states and external partners as friends and equals.

In international fora such as Apec, G-20 and the UN, his initiatives and pronouncements have raised Indonesia's stature and strengthened ASEAN's voice in world affairs. When issues have arisen, President Yudhoyono has taken a wise, strategic view, safeguarding Indonesia's interests but main- taining relations and preventing these issues from affecting the overall cooperation and friendship.

Singapore has benefited greatly from this positive regional climate. Indonesia is also one of our most important foreign partners.

During President Yudhoyono's tenure, our bilateral ties have deepened considerably. Our trade has grown, cooperation between the Indonesian military (TNI) and SAF is ongoing, and we work closely but quietly together on security and counterterrorism. We have also concluded two long outstanding boundary demarcations, one of which we have just signed today.

At the leaders' level, Singapore and Indonesia have maintained friendly and substantive exchanges through regular Leaders' Retreats as well as discussions on the sidelines of other international meetings. The leaders have set the tone for ministers and officials to work with their counterparts, for example, through the six Working Groups, created to further cooperation in specific areas.

President Yudhoyono is the first Indonesian President in the Reformasi-era to complete two full terms. As he prepares to leave office, President Yudhoyono is actively working on a smooth handover to his successor. In so doing, he is establishing an important precedent for future political leaders in Indonesia.

In recognition of his valuable contributions to regional cooperation and stability, as well as the substantial and vital friendship between Indonesia and Singapore, His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, is awarded the Order of Temasek (First Class), Singapore's highest recognition for a foreign leader.

zakirh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 04, 2014.
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