Friday, June 10, 2011

Comparing SBY to Soeharto

Comparing SBY to Soeharto

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Fri, 06/10/2011 10:00, Opinion The Jakarta Post
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A recent survey released by Indo Barometer said that Indonesians preferred Soeharto’s “prosperous” and “stable” authoritarian rule to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s more “democratic” government.

Sukarno’s presidency, which was marked by political turmoil and economic difficulties, ranked third.

The result of the survey mirrors the pragmatic attitude adopted by most Indonesians. In our minds, economy and security — a mantra that Soeharto used to mesmerize us for 32 years — were prime priorities.

No matter how much Soeharto, whose 90th anniversary was commemorated on Wednesday, silenced opposition and criticism, we were still fond of his policies on the affordable price of rice, inexpensive community health centers, family planning, decreasing illiteracy and an end to radicalism.

Yudhoyono’s first term merited credit. In the midst of reform euphoria when many factions with different agendas emerged from silence, he reflected the Indonesian mood in general. He played a gambit to always seek the middle path.

From his first appearance until now, Yudhoyono has represented neither civilians nor the military. The former soldier appears neither too stern nor too soft in people’s eyes. He does not always wear a badge on his breast. But he has not abandoned all his military attributes.