The Indonesian president has not had a pay rise in the past 16 years, making President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo one of the lowest paid state leaders among the world's largest economies. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)

Indonesia Defies World on Level of Trust in Government: Survey


FEBRUARY 09, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesians have the second highest trust level on four crucial institutions — government, business or corporations, media and non-government organizations —  out of 28 countries surveyed by leading global communications marketing firm Edelman.

According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey published by Edelman, Indonesia scored 69 points, only beaten by India, in an index that measures the level of trust toward the four institutions.

China sits in third place, followed by Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Russians have the lowest level of trust toward the institutions.

Defying global trend

The Indonesian respondents defy the trend in the majority of countries surveyed, with trust toward the four institutions declining in 21 of 28 countries surveyed, amid fears of globalization challenges and uncontrolled immigration that leave the government and the media to cope with the brunt of populist anger.

The survey, done by the Edelman Intelligence team, was based on online interviews. This year, the survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents from 28 countries between Oct. 13th and Nov. 16, 2016.

In each country, the survey sampled the so-called "general online population" — the 1,150 respondents aged more than 18 years that are surveyed online.

It also combined respondents from the so-called "informed public," or respondents that meet four criteria: 25-64 years old, college educated, in the top 25 percent of household income per age group and avid consumer of both traditional and social media.

Edelman has been conducting the survey for 17 years globally and for 9 years in Indonesia.

Fears of globalization, corruption

Edelman Indonesia chief executive Raymond Siva said two things that Indonesians fear most are globalization and corruption.

"They are not against globalization. What they're saying is that we don't have enough mentoring to be able to compete if globalization happens," Siva told the Jakarta Globe in an interview on Monday (06/02), adding that this outcome suggests companies operating in Indonesia should give their workers more training, improve their skills and give them more confidence to compete on the same footing with foreign workers.

Indonesian respondents, Siva said, "want the government to protect them on issues related to jobs and their well-being. They are also not keen on entering free-trade agreements," and more interested in businesses focusing on the domestic market.

Siva also pointed out that thought trust in business remains high, trust toward chief executives has dropped. "Trust in business in general is still very high because it is providing job, income and security," he said.

The survey also suggested Indonesians are against chief executives getting involved in politics, as respondents are worried of collusions between business leaders and government officials.

Benefit to communities

The Trust Barometer also suggested Indonesian respondents have more trust in government and corporate leaders who can show that they have developed missions to benefit the community and the environment.

"You must lead with purpose, aim for something that will benefit the community [...] You have to be transparent and frequent with your communication. This year's data show the government has done enough, but corporate leaders, not yet," Siva said.

"Chief executives need to step up, they need to show they're with the people. They have to carry a populist approach into their company. That means they have to know information down on the ground. They have to put people at the center of their vision."

Siva said respondents also want to see chief executives directing their companies' move into environmental and social issues.

Trust in socmed drops lowest

Another interesting finding from the Trust Barometer is that trust in social media in Indonesia has dropped to the lowest level ever, while trust in mainstream media and official corporate or individual social-media accounts have gone up.

Siva said respondents were aware that social media is up to the brim with fake news and tend to double check on facts by looking at mainstream media or verified social media accounts.

"Trust level in mainstream media has gone up because people are now checking on facts all the time. The lesson from this is that businesses and governments have no choice but to amplify their social media presence," he added.