Wimar: President SBY Not Shaping Up

Metro TV
05 April 2007

Metro TV wanted Wimar's opinion about Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's presidency. That topic again? Here's what he had to say on Indonesia This Morning, April 4, 7am.

Randy Salim: Wimar Witoelar was a senior member of the administration of Presiden Abdurrahman Wahid, mostly known as Gus Dur's spokesperson and now known as one of the country's most critical and animated commentators. Pak Wimar, thanks for joining this morning.

Wimar Witoelar: You make me sound like a cartoon, animated.

Randy: Ratings... His approval rating is down, he began at something like 80% now he's a little under 50%. That's a hugh drop in just what, three years, two years. Should he be worried?

Wimar: Well, as long as there's no one better to replace him in 2009, he doesn't have to be. That's why he's not shaping up, because he knows at the end of the day people don't see anyone better or as good on the horizon. All the people who could be his rivals are even worse than him. At least he's not causing any damage except through inaction. His weakness is mainly being indecisive, not being able to take a stand, not fulfilling his commitment. But he's not corrupt, he's not evil, he's not cruel, while many of his rivals would have things on their track record. So in terms of electability he doesn't have to be worried. But in terms of getting the nation going, he should get worried because he's not fulfilling people's expectations.

Randy: When you say getting the nation going, you're talking about the economy?

Wimar: Mainly the economy, but also in the human rights area. The death of Munir, the human rights abuses in '98, are still left hanging. And corruption, you know. Two of his ministers are involved in money laundering for Tommy Soeharto while he just sits there. One of his ministers is involved in illegal acting the victims of this mud oozing out in Sidoarjo. So he's ignoring a lot of problems and he lets his hyperactive vice president do a lot of things which maybe creates more damage. So of the two of them, I don't know which is worse. But between the two of them we are still better than what we have in store.

Randy: They are the lesser of several evils.

Wimar: I wouldn't say they. I would say SBY is the lesser of several evil. I think he should get a new vice president.

Randy: Let's break it down a bit here, This year has been marked by a string of major transportation disasters. Can any of this be faulted to SBY?

Wimar: No, but he can be faulted for not taking decisive action to give confidence to the transportation industry by removing his transportation minister not because he's guilty of crashing the planes but because he's not capable of solving the problem. He should keep trying with new people until he solves it.

Randy: So, people want him to be tough on his staff, they want him to basically fire the transportation minister. There have been four accidents... something?

Wimar: I'm now a private citizen so I don't know if I can represent anyone, but I know a lot of people who would say, if the transportation minister cannot do anything about it, we don't have to say he's evil or a bad guy, just get someone else in that place. Maybe he'll do a better job running a grocery store or something, you know. Hatta Rajasa is a decent guy, but why should a decent guy be presiding over all this crashes. So SBY is just making a lot of hesitation over things that could be very quickly solved.

Randy: The people want to see a similar stand, similar action, towards another member of this cabinet whose family owns the company responsiblefor the mudflow disasters?

Wimar: Exactly, nobody's blaming Bakrie for pushing the mud out of the ground he would be a fool to do so, not even his company. But people are blaming SBY for keeping on his cabinet a minister for social welfare who's not paying attention to the social welfare at all. He rarely flies, as far as I know he's only been to the site once. Once he flew in that direction but landed in Bali to meet his crony Thaksin Shinawatra, right? So it's an insult to the people, the people who are most dissatisfied with SBY aew people like me, who voted for him. We have nothing originally against him, in fact we worked in the same office once when he was minister of Gus Dur and he's one of our favourite people and we knew he would be a good president someday. But we never saw him in command and its just a disappointment that he hasn't done anything of substance in the three years. He keeps saying wait a hundred days, wait a thousand days, wait till when?

Randy: Well you could say, lets treat the government as a company and your company is only as good as good as the people you hire. Now the economy is his Achilles heel, he has some pretty good strong people in the economic team but still were not seeing results we would like to see, are we? So where's the breakdown here?

Wimar: The economic team of president Suharto was good but they didn't prevent the nation from going under from killing in Aceh and Timor, so what I'm saying is economic teams do not operate in a vacuum, especially if they keep themselves as economists, they have to do things on the basis of total reform. Mainly legal reform and people's confidence. When people don't have confidence in their government, when business people don't have confidence in the legal stfructure, then the economists become jujst bean counters. They are excellent people. without exception the economic team I know from experience are very good people. But they do noty have the political proactiveness to enforce their conviction on the moribund cabinet.

Randy: Now just very quickly, Yusuf Kalla is gonna be running in 2009, he is a business man, he understands the economy better, does he have an edge over SBY in 2009?

Wimar: I hope he runs so that he will see how very few people support him. He's running on the coattails of the president.

Randy: Wimar Witoelar thanks very much for joining us today.

Wimar: Thank you.


Wimar also said:

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  1. From Ria Wibisono on 08 April 2007 19:48:53 WIB
    You're right, WW. SBY is ok if he changes his vice. Or maybe his vice is ok if he can change the way he communicate. Many of his statements are so clumsy! I think someone with that kind of position should speak wisely and calm. Besides, I don't see both of them as good partners in service. They must rebuild their teamwork....
  2. From Albertus on 09 April 2007 09:19:26 WIB
    I sense an extreme populism in SBY, he is trying to be careful so much that it backfires and creates the image of indecisiveness. He has to be just, it is not possible to try to please everyone. That's what political parties are for.

    On the other hand, I wonder if this interview will be too hot for another top official too.
  3. From gambler on 09 April 2007 11:45:51 WIB
    kyknya SBY dijadikan boneka saja, sbg org yg bisa menarik simpati rakyat.
    sulit utk SBY mau mengerti komen Wimar, krn SBY tdk se-open Gus Dur. jd rasanya , masih jauh, kl mengharapkan SBY mau mengambil Wimar jd wapres.
    BUT pak Wimar, please keep trying. any of your effort is promising.
  4. From Ina on 10 April 2007 10:47:20 WIB
    That right!
    SBY´s Vice and ministers are not right person for him. They´re not good communicator for him.
    I guest he has been choosing wrong coalition when he campaign for 2004 president election.
    For that, he just got wrong vice n ministers.
    I am so sureprice with what he do right now, especially about his ministers. Why he does not fire his transportation minister n someone from bakrie´s family in his cabinet. They can not give any good changing n not contribute anything for his government.
    I guest it is out of his plan from coalition that he make before.
  5. From DAMIS on 12 April 2007 14:58:45 WIB
    sby lagi yang disalahkan nanti `x` mimpin salah dianggap bener mihak duitnya atau kebijaksanaanya
  6. From Intox on 17 April 2007 19:57:17 WIB
    That's the price of being in a coalition.

    But the fact remains: you can't please everybody, and SBY is doing the opposite. Everybody's gotta step down and we have to start nominating ourselves for offices or people who are genuinely interested in making Indonesia (or at least the city they live in).

    It's better to be decisive and wrong, rather than being indecisive and get the problem bleed outta the cup.
  7. From bURST on 19 April 2007 13:07:32 WIB
    Bapak presiden SBY adalah presiden Indonesia pertama yang jago tebar pesona dan ngibul, saking sibuknya beliau tebar pesona sampai-sampai rakyat menderita(kelaparan, kehilangan dan kematian serta terhimpit masalah ekonomi) pun tidak di gubris eh malah asyik tebar pesona dengan mengutarakan "perasaanya";"Saya prihatin,saya menyesal.."dst. tapi pada kenyataanya beliau tidak mengambil tindakan-tindakan yang bisa menyelesaikan permasalahan di negri kita tersayang ini. Bukti nyata kalau beliau juga suka ngibul adalah janji pertamanya pada bangsa dan negara indonesia di awal masa kemunculan dan terpilihnya beliau yaitu:janji tidak akan menaikkan BBM dan "janji 100 hari" yang sudah nyata-nyata terlihat kedua janji itu sekarang hanya tinggal janji saja. Beliau telah menorehkan luka di hati pemilihnya pada PEMILU 2004. Sedihnya.. padahal bangsa telah mempercayakan nasibnya pada beliau. NB: presiden yang tidak mampu menjalankan bangsa yang menderita padahal dia punya kuasa untuk mengambil tindakan dan keputusan..hiks..hiks..
  8. From Alderina on 22 April 2007 19:00:47 WIB
    Seperti WW pernah bilang, Pak SBY itu nggak jahat. Kadang saya mikir kalo dia tuh ketiban apes se-apes-apesnya. Sampai nggak tau mo ngapain lagi. Kasian banget deh.....
  9. From ADILPIERO on 23 April 2007 13:20:52 WIB
    I think SBY is a good person. even though he has several minuses point. But it is not a big problem. Yesterday people talked about the criteria of president are must have strong willingness for low enforcement to fight the corruption to get Indonesia better. And i think SBY has do it. The fact Indonesia has not better yet. So the problem is not SBY actually. The problem is Indonesia has so many problems. So, in my opinion, today Indonesia is learning. Indonesia learn about how to be better.... until when????
  10. From Albertus on 24 April 2007 10:07:19 WIB
    will he reshuffle his vice?
  11. From Intox on 26 April 2007 17:29:27 WIB
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

  12. From batubara on 28 April 2007 01:17:51 WIB
    WW:I hope he runs so that he will see how very few people support him. He's running on the coattails of the president

    It's too true (=

    To be fair to SBY, he hasn't done very badly considering how much troubles he's got (Tsunami, Sidoarjo, etc). How many Indo Presidents have you seen doing reshuffles? Gus Dur is one, and it is one of the reason that he's out. Choosing ministers is not trial-and-error, it's the country which is in-stake. you don't wanna play with it.
  13. From Billy on 04 May 2007 09:00:26 WIB
    SBY is bad and boring, but who else can you think. This has always been Indonesia's curse, to vote he best among the worse guys.
  14. From arief on 04 May 2007 14:19:05 WIB
    Gee... you are so right. As much as I think SBY-JK are not taking concrete steps to improve the economy, I really can't think of anyone else to take their positions. The rest of the pack have ties to the old regime, or they're just simply don't fit the profile.

    SBY is always saying he's not under any political pressure from political parties; but come on... what does it take to replace a minister just for the reason of professionalism. And yet he still counters by saying "We can find professionals in political parties also."

    Yea... sure :P
  15. From Djuwari on 21 December 2007 15:10:56 WIB
    In terms of the president's performance so far for Indonesia, SBY is the most prominant after Soekarno. SBY is intelligent. He is really smart. He looks so elegeant. I really appreciate SBY to be the president by considering his appearance among the other presidents from other countries. But, frankly speaking, in terms of being the leader for Indonesia as the widest and biggest country in ASEAN, he can be considered small. The criteria should be based on his actions in overcoming the problems happening throughout the country, in which, most of the strategic policies are dominated by the Vice President. Due to this consireation, SBY seems the smallest president among even ASEAN countries. He makes the people have much more burden in life. Thats' all about the profile of SBY.

  16. From Beauty on 28 May 2008 12:34:23 WIB
    Bnr tuh, SBY JAGO BGT TEBAR PESONA. GW YAKIN, Pemilu nanti SBY dpt suara yg paLing SEDIKIT, coz Rakyat Ga Mw Lg di tipu sm dy, cm bs pake perasaan doang, tanpa ada tindakan nyata utk meringankan beban Rakyat. Untung pemiLu kmrn gw ga miLih dy,. Yg udh miLih dy, pasti Nyesel bgt tuh.
  17. From feri on 29 December 2008 03:44:43 WIB
    intinya mulai dari diri sendiri, mulai dari yg kecil, setiap manusia tidak ada yg sempurna, belum tentu kalo kita jadi presiden juga bisa menyelesaikan masalah-masalah yg ada, ini adalah sistem, presiden tidak bekerja sendiri tapi perlu dukungan dari para menteri dan tentunya DPR sebagai wakil rakyat..selama masih berbeda arah dan saling menjelekkan, Indonesia Maju? hanya angan-angan. Mari berfikir positif, tugas berat ada di pundak kita.

    salam dari norway

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