Comments about Saudi Arabia's 'small' investment just a joke: Jokowi

Saudi Arabia's King Salman (Left) and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has said he was only joking when he said he was "a little disappointed" that Saudi Arabia had made a meager investment in Indonesia even though he had gone the extra mile in courting King Salman bin Abdul Aziz during his recent visit to Jakarta.

"The statements were not serious as they were made during an informal forum," he said after inaugurating the KH Hasyim Asy'ari Grand Mosque in West Jakarta on Saturday,

The President said the fact that the kingdom had made a larger investment in China was a wake-up call for world's largest Muslim majority country to improve its investment climate. It showed that the Saudis were more comfortable investing in China, he said.

Saudi King Salman visits Malaysia on Asian tour

  • Malaysia welcomed Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday (Feb 26) for the start of a rare, month-long Asian tour.
  • The visit is the first by a Saudi king to Malaysia in more than a decade, as the Arab nation courts Asian investors for the sale of a 5 per cent stake in state firm Aramco in 2018.
  • Malaysian state television on Sunday showed live footage of the octogenarian king descending from his plane on an escalator flown in with his delegation.
  • He was received by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
  • King Salman was then whisked away in a heavily guarded convoy for a state ceremony at Malaysia's parliament grounds.
  • The leader was greeted in parliament with a 21-gun salute, local media reported.
  • King Salman also plans to visit Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, the Maldives and Jordan.
  • A 600-strong delegation will accompany the king on his four-day visit to Malaysia, where cooperation on energy developments will be on the agenda.
  • Malaysia's Petronas and Saudi Aramco will sign an agreement on Tuesday to collaborate in Malaysia's Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.
  • Relations between the two countries have been in the spotlight over the last two years after Saudi Arabia was dragged into a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at Malaysian state fund 1MDB, founded by Najib.
  • The last time a Saudi king visited Malaysia was in 2006, when King Abdullah, King Salman's half-brother and predecessor, flew in with a 300-member delegation.
  • Besides travelling with his own private escalator, King Salman has also flown in two personal cars.
  • His entourage has also completely booked out three luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur for the duration of the visit.

"Why can't we get investment? It's because our investment climate and investment ratings are still low. Not to mention legal certainty, which needs to be improved," he said.

On Thursday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he was disappointed to learn that Saudi Arabia had invested US$65 billion(S$90 billion) in China, almost ten times the Rp 89 trillion pledged to Indonesia.

"[Saudi] investment in Indonesia is big, but I am surprised that when the King went to China, he signed [contracts worth over] Rp 870 trillion," Jokowi said.

"I even held up the umbrella for the King, but we got a smaller amount. I am a little bit disappointed, just a little," he said.