S’pore optimistic about Indonesia

SINGAPORE Foreign Minister S. Jayakumar said yesterday that the Republic remained optimistic that Indonesia would overcome its current problems and build an “Indonesia Baru” or New Indonesia.

In opening remarks at a public lecture by his Indonesian counterpart Alwi Shihab, he said the last three years had “witnessed sweeping economic and social changes in Indonesia taking place at a breath-taking and on an unprecedented scale”.

“This relatively brief but turbulent period has shaken the foundations that had underpinned decades of political stability and sustained economic growth in Indonesia,” he said.

Professor Jayakumar said Jakarta faced many challenges. It needed to formulate a viable plan to speed up economic recovery and also had to cope with the rise of separatist tendencies and sectarian violence.

“Public expectations are high, especially in terms of bringing about Indonesia’s economic recovery. There is pressure to deliver positive results as quickly as possible,” he said.

But Singapore was optimistic that Indonesians would pull together in these difficult times, he added.

“Indonesia’s friends, including Singapore and the other Asean countries, will do what we can, within our capabilities, to support Indonesia in this crucial period,” he said.

“But in the final analysis … the future of Indonesia, can only be decided by, and lies in the hands of Indonesians.”

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