Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo kept an optimistic tone as he delivered the State of the Nation address at the largely-empty parliament hall on Friday, when he admitted that the country is enduring “the worst economic crisis in history” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The global economic impacts from the pandemic was so severe that all countries in the world “must undergo a brief process of shutdown, restart, and reboot”, the president said as he compared the crisis to a “computer crash”.
“The ongoing economic crisis is also the worst in history. In the first quarter of 2020, our economy grew by 2.97% but in the second quarter, the growth contracted by 5.32%,” Jokowi told members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, the country’s highest law-making body.
Noting that most developed countries were plunging deeper into crisis, the president said that the global situation offers an opportunity for Indonesia “to catch up” and make a “giant leap”.
“This is the time for us to fundamentally renew ourselves, to make a major transformation, to implement grand strategies in the fields of economy, law, governance, social, culture, health and education,” he said.
“We must turn this crisis into an opportunity to make big leaps. At the age of 75, we have emerged as an upper-middle income country. And 25 years from now, at the centenary of the Republic of Indonesia, we must achieve great progress and make Indonesia a developed country.”
He said the crisis has its positive side in how it brings changes to the way the government and the people work, from standard ways to outstanding ways, from a long and complicated procedure to a smart shortcut and from being procedure-oriented to being result-oriented.
“Our current goal is not only to escape the pandemic and to get through the crisis. We are taking measures to make a big leap by making the most of the momentum of the ongoing crisis,” he said.
Dressing in traditional East Nusa Tenggara outfit called “Sabu”, Jokowi also used the occasion to thank medical workers in the frontline of the country’s fight against coronavirus.
A day earlier, the president awarded state decoration to 22 medical workers falling in the pandemic.
Only around 160 Assembly members were present as seating capacity was reduced to maintain physical distancing. Before the event started, the organizers warned the audience against taking selfie or shaking hands with the president.