Sunday, December 30, 2007

'True face' of Indonesia


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched Friday Indonesia on the Move, a compilation of his articles and speeches depicting a "true picture" of Indonesia.

Yudhoyono said the book could be used to tell the global community about Indonesia.

"We have often been judged by perceptions, instead of reality ... and that is not fair," he said.

"I agreed that my articles and speeches could be published as a book because I want Indonesia to be better understood by the world," he said.

Yudhoyono said the title was chosen because the phrase accurately portrayed the development of the country.

"Indonesia is moving forward with all its challenges and problems," he said.

The President said that although Indonesia had yet to completely survive the impact of the economic crisis, the country had made significant progress in the last 10 years.

"New problems emerge, but if we honestly evaluate them, we will find some achievements and progress along the way," he said.

"Don't you think that democracy and human rights protection are getting better in this country?" Yudhoyono said.

Indonesia, he added, had also moved forward in terms of economic growth.

"From 7 percent (before the crisis), it dropped to minus 13 percent (when the crisis hit in 1997), which was a huge contraction. But now we can reach at least 6 percent growth," said Yudhoyono, adding that if Indonesians continued to work hard, the country could reach 7 percent growth again, but with better underlying systems.

He said that Indonesia had also shown progress in eradicating conflicts and corruption. "The conflicts in our society are getting smaller and milder," said Yudhoyono.

"Although we are not satisfied yet, but as a grateful people let's declare 'we are on the move'," said Yudhoyono, to applause from the audience, which consisted of national leaders, cabinet members and some ambassadors.

Indonesia on the Move contains Yudhoyono's speeches and articles from the end of 2005 until the end of 2006. The book includes other authors' articles and comments on Yudhoyono's leadership. The book was edited by presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal and published by Bhuana Ilmu Popular, under the Kompas and Gramedia Group.

The book launch was accompanied by the opening of a new Gramedia book store on Jl. Matraman, Central Jakarta.

Yudhoyono urged the audience to support efforts to increase reading among Indonesians. He said reading was needed for Indonesia to become an advanced society. "An advanced society comes from a learning society and a learning society comes from s reading society," said Yudhoyono(Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta)

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