Indonesia's Widodo sworn in for second term

Leading Catholics welcome president's inauguration speech but say more resolve needed to address graft, other social ills
Indonesia's Widodo sworn in for second term

President Joko Widodo (left) shakes hand with People's Consultative Assembly speaker Bambang Soesatyo after being sworn in for a second five-year term on Oct. 20 in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of Jay/Public Relations of Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was sworn in for a second five-year term on Oct. 20 amid tight security in Jakarta.

About 30,000 police and military personnel were deployed to guard the parliament building and other venues in the capital for the inauguration that saw Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin recite the oath of office before politicians, lawmakers and foreign heads of state.

Security was stepped up following the arrest of more than 40 suspected terrorists in recent weeks and the stabbing of Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto in Banten province early this month.

In his inauguration speech, Widodo said he would focus on human development, infrastructure, overly restrictive regulations, red tape and transforming the economy. 

“I also ask the ministers, officials and bureaucrats to actively seek to ensure the achievement of these goals. I will not tolerate those who are not serious and I guarantee that I will remove [them],” he said.

Catholic response

Vincentius Hargo Mandirahardjo, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Catholic Intellectuals, welcomed the president’s speech but said other important matters also need to be addressed.

“Other priorities should be corruption eradication, equality and justice, strengthening democratic values, defeating radicalism and upholding human rights,” he told ucanews.

Yohanes Handoyo Budhisejati, chairman of the Vox Point Indonesia, a Catholic lay organization, was also supportive. 

“Human development as a main priority refers to both mental and spiritual formation. This is what this nation needs. By focusing on these, corrupt behavior can be eradicated,” he said.

Much would depend on the minister’s Widodo names to his new cabinet, he said.

Juventus Prima Yoris Kargo, chairman of the Indonesian Catholic Students' Association, said the president’s inauguration speech failed to mention what he intends to do about law enforcement. 

“Never ignore law enforcement, this is dangerous,” he said, referring to terrorism threats and how contentious laws such as blasphemy are upheld.

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