Critics not impressed by Jokowi's first state address


In spite of his call for unity and civility in politics, critics said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's first State of the Nation address on Friday failed to impress as it lacked actionable details and specifics.

"It sounded good but the President needs to detail what he wants to achieve because the speech sounded too general," said Gerindra Party lawmaker Ahmad Muzani.

Newly elected president of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Sohibul Iman said Jokowi's speech was good but too normative.

"I think it aimed to motivate people in the country," he said.

Sohibul also questioned a remark the President made in which he said that Indonesia had consolidated its democracy. "It is questionable because a consolidated democracy means we have well-established state institutions, which we still lack."

Taking lessons from the country's founding fathers who fought for the country's independence, Jokowi said in his speech that: "History has taught us that the key to addressing problems is unity".

He later highlighted that people often ignored ethics and values of mutual respect and that doing so could be detrimental to the country's development.

In the speech, Jokowi also criticised the media for spinning controversial issues only to get higher ratings and setting aside their role in educating the public.

The President also reminded people that "as a big nation, we have to be confident and optimistic that we can solve all problems confronting us".

Jokowi said that the road ahead would be arduous with so many problems affecting the country, from the economic downturn to many (other) fundamental issues that require solutions such as unstable food prices, lack of mass transportation, illegal fishing, shortages in electricity supply, high malnutrition and maternal mortality rates, as well as poverty and the social gap.

Jokowi also called for change in the economic paradigm from consumptive to productive, saying that it was essential to build a strong foundation for national development.

Jokowi further added that his move to reshuffle his Cabinet was made to improve his government's performance. "I consider this reshuffle one of the best bridges to fulfil my pledge to the people, a goal to improve their welfare," he said.

Earlier that day during an annual joint session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), in the presence of leaders of state institutions, Jokowi made a call for all state institutions to build better synergy.

Political communication expert Gun Gun Heryanto said Jokowi's speech lacked specifics, especially on how to measure the performance of state institutions.

"It was OK, but I expected something more. He did not give indicators on how to measure success," he said.

However, Gun Gun said the speeches could also serve as a reminder for Jokowi to make good on some of his campaign promises.

Newly inaugurated Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is also the presidential chief of staff, said that Jokowi's State of the Nation address presented the problems facing the country and what measures the government would take to solve them as well as what aspirations the government could hope to achieve in the future.

"[He showed that] we indeed have problems, but we have been able to make a list of the problems and we are handling them now," he said.