Roughly two weeks ago I had an English presentation in class, the presentation to which my group decided to bring the topic of ‘The Government’s Policy to Decrease Oil Subsidies’.
After a prolonged time of the presentation and I had returned to my seat, one friend asked our group a question personally,
“Instead of the decreasing in oil subsidies, why doesn’t the government choose other options, such as the decreasing in banking sector subsidies?”
Maybe my writing here is the answer to people who propose identical questions as hers.
Here in Indonesia, we have numerous options, but few are able to be implemented. Well, you might say “Mr. Yudhoyono, just go get those corruptors and bring back our money!” or “Recapture those money from the banker which we gave them as a bailout during the financial crisis!” (renowned in Indonesia as BLBI).
But, can we really do that? With the poor bureaucracy and law system that we have right now, such options are hard –or even impossible- to be put into action. In United States, Barack Obama campaigns with the ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. And yes he can, and I bet that he will. On the contrary, do Indonesian politicians have the competence as Obama has? No they don’t. They promised various things during the campaigns, but soon after they’d faced with Indonesia’s difficulties, they found out the truth; in this country, the situation is not as easy as it seems.
In fact, instead of the decreasing in oil subsidies, I would rather choose to arrest Suharto’s cronies and recover the money that he took from our country. Do you know that the corruption watchdog Transparency International has estimated that Gen. Suharto embezzled up to $35 billion while president of Indonesia, a figure that is in the same league as the entrepreneurial fortunes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!* (taken from the article The Case of Unpaid Parking Ticket; why some people cheat and others don’t – Tim Harford)