President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, launching a book of his articles and speeches at an opening of “the largest bookstore in South-East Asia” in Jakarta on Friday (28/12/07), called on his critics to admit that Indonesia was making progress in a number of areas, Kompas reported.
If an objective and honest view was taken, Indonesia was being transformed and was now moving quickly forward after the extended crisis since 1997, he said.
“I am optimistic that with hard work, this transformation can be continued and create a better Indonesia,” he said at the launch of Indonesia On the Move.
To support his claim, he said Indonesia’s performance in politics, the economy, society, defense and its position in the international world were all improved. There was more respect for human rights and democracy and economic growth was approaching 7%.
Social conflicts had ended and there were no embargoes on Indonesia, a reference to the US ban on arms sales following the 1999 chaos in East Timor, Yudhoyono added.
“While there are still problems, there have been improvements and achievements as a result of our journey,” he said.
Achievement of Indonesia’s goals involved continuing attention to learning, particularly of the written word. “We are a nation of watchers and listeners. That is fine, but it has to be combined with a culture of reading and writing,” he stressed.