President Joko Widodo and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia wave to onlookers during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on March 1. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Jokowi Calls for Introspection After Saudis Invest More in China Than Indonesia


APRIL 15, 2017

Jakarta. Last month's state visit to Indonesia by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia had a major impact on the tourism industry, but it did not result in much in the way of investment.

King Salman, who was accompanied by a huge entourage and dozens of princes, only invested $6 billion in the world's biggest Muslim democracy, while he made commitments worth $65 billion during his subsequent visit to China.

Against this background, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Indonesia needs to perform introspection and create a better climate to attract investment from abroad.

"[Saudi Arabia] invested more in China than with us. This calls for introspection; correction to see why we can't attract more investment than China," Jokowi said after inaugurating the Hasyim Ashari Mosque in Jakarta on Saturday (15/04).

The Jokowi administration was hoping the visit would result in around $25 billion in investment, but this was not realized.

"If we are ready, big investment will come by itself and we will get more than other countries," he said, as reported by state-run Antara news agency.

Before the royal visit, Saudi Arabia has shown scant interest in investing in Indonesia, having only committed $900,000 last year.

Saudi investment between 2010 and 2015 amounted to only $34 million, or 0.02 percent of the total foreign direct investment in that period.

But despite investing far less than expected, the octogenarian king did restore Indonesia's hajj quota to 221,000 after it was cut during the renovation of the Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Makkah.

The king's eight-day vacation in Bali also resulted in an estimated $22.4 million windfall for hotels, restaurants, car rental services and shopping centers on the island.