CSO from seminyak

Name: Agung Swarni
Age: 32
Occupation: Customer service officer
Location: Seminyak
Marital Status: Married

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

I think the country is worse and isn’t getting any better. The economic situation has worsened. Prices are up. Gasoline, for instance, is difficult to get these days.

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

I felt sad. He’d been our president and worked on economic and infrastructure development for so long.

Is Jakarta politics relevant to your life, or is it ruled by elites who are out of touch with the people?

Jakarta politics is not entirely relevant to my life. Statements from elite politicians are often disappointing because they don’t seem to pay enough attention to today’s living conditions.

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

Indonesia has to maintain economic stability and minimize corruption. Using the country’s budget for individual profit is wrong.

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

I would work on price control, write legislation to accommodate people’s needs and stop corruption.

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

I don’t really know who the latest candidates are for governor, but I feel that Winasa, the Jembrana regent, would make a good governor. As regent, he worked hard and did a lot for the people in Jembrana. He provided them with free healthcare and education, and he eliminated property taxes for farmers.

Indonesia is made up of more than 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?

The concept of “unity in diversity” needs to be upheld so that we can maintain good relations between the ethnic groups.

What does being Indonesian mean to you?

I am proud to be Indonesian. Being Indonesian means that we mix well with other people and live side-by-side.

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

Australia is rather close to Indonesia. Australians can easily travel to Indonesia; they come to Bali in particular. I think Australia and Indonesia have had a good relationship though. Whenever problems have arisen, they’ve been handled and solved. Even now, the relationship between the two countries is going well. Many Australians have invested in Bali. Even I work for an Australian person.

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

The greatest moment was when former president Suharto stepped down after almost 30 years in power. At the time, I didn’t think he would resign so easily.

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The Big Questions

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