Indonesian President Joko Widodo sharing a toast with South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) at a welcome banquet at the Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan last week. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The Asian of the year 2019 is now officially given to the 7th RI president Joko Widodo from Singapore’s The Straits Times. In its main page, Thursday (5/12/2019), The Times called Jokowi as a unifying figure in the midst of disruption and chaos that was happening in the world. The seventh president of the Republic of Indonesia was chosen because of his agility in dealing with and leading the complexity of the problems, both at home and abroad.

The former Governor of DKI Jakarta is considered successful in strengthening and consolidating his political position, both at the domestic level with a convincing victory at the April Presidential Election. Then, he also received attention in the international world by spawning the idea of ​​the ASEAN Outlook, according to The Straits Times report. Singapore’s editor in chief of media, Warren Fernandez, gave an explanation of why Jokowi was chosen as Asian of the Year 2019.

According to Fernandez, the president from Solo has contributed brilliantly to Asia. Not only because it won the second period. He is also considered to have united Indonesia and continues to bring Indonesia to continue moving forward. “As for ASEAN, there is still plenty of room for Jokowi to direct him further if he uses his skilled political skills and the good relations he has with other countries,” Fernandez said.

President Jokowi became the eighth recipient of the prestigious Asian of the Year award initiated by The Straits Times. This award is given at the end of each year to figures or institutions that have contributed significantly and positively to the people, nations, and continents of Asia. The names that have won the award include Singapore’s first founder and prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, then Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also Read: Jokowi Become Keynote Speaker at The ASEAN – Republic of Korea (RoK) Commemorative Summit

The Straits Times explained, the award of Jokowi is a form of respect for his extraordinary journey and struggle towards the presidency, and the achievements achieved in serving the people of Indonesia. Jokowi himself has responded to his appointment as 2019 Asian of the Year during his tweet on Twitter.

“Thank you. This is an honor not only for me, but for Indonesia,” he said while displaying his picture on the front page of the daily which was founded in 1845.

In his review, Jokowi was said to be Indonesia’s first president who did not come from the political elite and the military. The Straits Times reviews Jokowi’s optimism that he will be able to face the challenges ahead, and hopes that Jokowi will not compromise in an effort to build a democratic, free, tolerant, open and inclusive Republic of Indonesia. Of course, to achieve this there is still a lot of homework to be addressed, including building a modern economy that is not too dependent on commodities.

Then develop human resources to continually update the infrastructure sector. Then in foreign policy, Jokowi needs to manage external challenges with care while continuing to build bonds with other countries, amid increasingly sharpening world differences. The Straits Times also prayed for Jokowi to have the strength and wisdom as Krishna, the Hindu God he admires, in leading Indonesia for the next five years.


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