| Azaraimy HH |
AS AN efficient transport connectivity is pivotal to unlock the full potential of Indonesia’s growing and emerging economy, Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, told Brunei media yesterday that Indonesia invites Brunei investors to explore opportunities in the development of Indonesia’s massive seaports, airports, railways and toll roads and strengthen strategic relations between the two countries in the Malay archipelago.
Despite his busy itinerary, the Indonesian president spoke to the local media persons during his meeting with Indonesian community in Brunei Darussalam at the Indonesian Embassy in the capital yesterday.
Widodo left Brunei yesterday after his two-day State Visit. (See Page 3)
The president was greeted on arrival with a thundering applause from hundreds of Indonesians as his presidential motorcade made its way to the embassy.
The Indonesian president walked out of the embassy entrance gate to greet Indonesians who couldn’t make it into the embassy as the gate was closed around 12pm.
The president briefly toured the embassy and went to the hall to meet a large group of Indonesians waiting for him.
Other than obliging for photos and selfies with the community, Widodo also made an address. He told the community to work hard in Brunei but not to forget their homeland. He reminded them of the millions back home that are currently without employment and urged them to take the opportunity to improve their standard of living while working in Brunei.
The president also heard some grievances voiced by the Indonesian workers, including salary and other labour issues. It was a closed door meeting and media was not allowed inside.
President Jokowi was accompanied by Indonesian First Lady, Datin Ibu Hajah Iriana and children.
The president was accompanied by Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong.
After the meeting with the Indonesian community, the president told the media that he hoped the bond between Indonesia and Brunei would continue to prosper with stronger bilateral relations in many areas.
The president said he has expressed to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during his meeting on Saturday that Indonesia wants to push economic growth by modernising its seaports, airports, railways and toll roads.
He said Indonesia welcomes investments from Brunei in these development strategies.
Business and trade activities in Indonesia have gradually shifted from the capital to far flung regions of the archipelago. Infrastructure development has become the centrepiece of the government’s long-term development roadmap, the so-called Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI).
Indonesia wants to push itself to be amongst the developed economies by 2025, and railroads play a crucial role in this plan.
There is also a growing need to accommodate increasing sea traffic in Southeast Asia, and even smaller feeder ports are under pressure to modernise and keep up with the pace of expansion and upgrade.
Indonesia is also committed to growth in the airport sector. Ten new airports were constructed in 2013 and 15 in 2014 at a cost of US$3.3 billion. The projects are part of the Transport Ministry’s 2030 Airport Master Plan, which covers the construction of 46 airports.