Name: I Gusti Ngurah
Age: 47
Occupation: Businessman
Residence: Nyumpene, Legian

Is the country better or worse since former president Suharto stepped down 10 years ago?

The situation is unclear. The economy and agriculture were doing very well during the Suharto period, but now everything has changed.

How did you feel in January when you heard he died?

I was sorrowful over the news that he was dead. Suharto was president for a long time in Indonesia.

Is Jakarta politics relevant to your life? Or do you think politics are ruled by an elites that is out of touch with the people?

When politics aims towards achieving peace, then it’s relevant for all of Indonesian society. But when a politician passes legislation to benefit only the elite, then he should be imprisoned.

What does Indonesia have to do to become an economic powerhouse once again?

Stop corruption, collusion and nepotism.

If you were running the country, what three things would you fix or change immediately?

First, I would change the education system. For success, everyone needs to have at least nine years of education. Second, I would create more jobs for the Indonesian people. Third, I would prioritize spiritual education for Indonesians.

The people of Bali will vote for a new governor later this year. What would you say about the field of candidates right now? What do they need to promise in order to be elected?

They can make all the promises they want, but we don’t have any evidence of their ability to follow through on those promises.

Indonesia is made up of over 17,500 islands, many religions, dozens of ethnic groups and hundreds of local dialects. Therefore, is it reasonable to expect “unity in diversity,” as the founding fathers said?

Yes, it’s very important to believe in unity in diversity, in order for us to achieve balance in the country.

Why do you think Indonesia has always had such a testy relationship with its neighbor Australia?

I think since Australians died in the Bali bombing tragedy, there has been tension between the two countries.

Do you see more bumps ahead in the ties between the two countries or are we now on solid ground?

It looks like the bilateral relationship between the two governments is working well. Indonesia has a good voice in the ties between the countries.

What, for you, has been Indonesia’s greatest moment since it declared independence in 1945?

Every year we celebrate Independence Day, and those are happy times. (NK/BT)

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The Big Questions

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