Sri Mulyani: Indonesian wonder woman

Sri Mulyani Indrawati

ndonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (C) arrives to accompany President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (unseen) to meet George Soros, a member of the United Nations High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, in Jakarta on May 10, 2010.

By: Donny Syofyan, Padang | Tue, 05/11/2010 8:56 AM .

Sri Mulyani Indrawati victoriously paves her way to arrive at the peak of the mountain: the rising star of the world. In the midst of excruciating political pressure on her, the finance minister has just now been rewarded with the international prestigious position as managing director of the World Bank.

While our country’s brothers and sisters of the House of Representatives continually place her as the subject of ridicule and condemnation, outsiders or foreigners have admitted her as the manager of a reputable international institution.

The House members say that her resignation is a comfortable exit to escape the troubled Bank Century case. They further believe that her leaving for the World Bank is nothing more than the action of a coward loser who leaves responsibility behind her.

For them, her decision is simply aimed at triggering a win-lose decision; benefiting her and putting the House on the corner.

Many people, however, stand in favor of her decision. The political injustice and pressure she is encountering has attracted more public sympathy.

The House condemnation, apparently, leads to public sympathy. Abundant support for her in various social networks such as Facebook, suggest that tricky House maneuvers turn to be an outcry in
the desert.

Mulyani is successful in passing the barriers the House put by design. It is not an exaggeration to say that she has proved herself to be an undeniable Indonesian wonder woman. This “title” is visible concerning the following things.

First, her unpopular decision confirm her far-sighted risk-taking power. Mulyani inspired both
the country’s leaders and ordinary fellows that strong leadership was in line with a daring decision-making process.

It is not that easy as she was enveloped by pressed time and limited data. She knew that wrong measures risked causing the country’s economy to collapse.

Her action approving the bailout of Bank Century ultimately runs on the right track. Indonesia’s economic fundamentals remain strong. No capital flight is leaving this country. While her opponents may be pessimistic, her decision revealed more about her concern than her ego for this nation.

Rather than receiving a reward to prevent this country from arriving at the fringe of economic turbulence, the House compensates her in an endless political and legal process.

So, is it wrong as she moves to a place in which she enjoys much more promising respect and where her leadership will not be debated?

Second, her capability, together with her decisions, belongs to and is bolstered by the world.

She is an international figure residing in a country whose politicians love bullying. The Bank Century issue, placing Mulyani and Vice President Boediono as scapegoats, close many House members’ eyes her above-average attainment in fiercely exercising control over the state finance.

She is not only the best finance minister in Asia for two successive years but also the first minister pioneering red tape bureaucracy in her department at home.

Most of all, she is the only minister asking for resignation as the government appeared willing to protect a conglomerate needless to receive shield, Aburizal Bakrie.

Third, she is a strong person of sense. She stays firm on the endless attack of Bank Century inquiry team. Ari Perdana, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne in his blog, said that the inquiry team signified a harassment of logical power.

The team members were simply willing to listen to experts affirming their standing position, giving more time to them and less to opponents. For them, justification goes hand-in-hand with prejudice.

The going gets tough as the media contributed to amplify the issue. It is a surprise that many media outlets gave much time and space to the pro-inquiry team, judging Mulyani and Boediono guilty heedless of poor experts and commentators’ statement.

Suspicious prejudice and comments come to the fore even stronger as the World Bank named her the managing director.

Foreign intervention and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s maneuver are a few to mention. Some accused Mulyani of maintaining debt policy to the World Bank, which in turn render her its darling.

Actually, the accusation is misleading since Indonesia’s debt ratio has a drop-off during her period. It is ironic that while House members prevent her from leaving the country, they compel her to step down and boycott her in the House of Representatives sessions.

Mulyani will be leaving soon. She has appeared on stage as the unifying figure of common sense fighting for the country’s bureaucracy reform and strong fundamentals, as well as institutions of economics for years.

Fourth, her departure increasingly endorsed decaying human capital flight in this country. A self-fulfilling brain drain taking place in this country is getting worse.

There will be no gain from saying that rotten politicians are people in charge of this intellectual catastrophe. It is public knowledge that Indonesia’s best scholars prefer abroad to home.

B.J. Habibie and Ken Soesanto are good instances. Imagine, a young and inexperienced local house member receives ten-fold pay more than a PhD degree-holding lecturer at university.

Such rotten politicians strive to lead the country’s economy and put brilliant economists away instead.

In political interests, “the right man in the right place” principle is no longer necessary for their political survival, especially for the upcoming general election in 2014.

For sure, Mulyani knows exactly that unjust treatment she is undergoing constitutes a mix of political bickering and poor appreciation of intellectuals. Brainwashing politicians have voted down brainstorming whistle-blowers.

At last, like or dislike, Mulyani has shown us her two equally charming wings; a rising international star and an Indonesian wonder woman. Have a great journey, madam!

Mulyani knows that unjust treatment she is undergoing constitutes a mix of political bickering and poor appreciation of intellectuals.[The Jakarta Post, Tue, 05/11/2010 8:56 AM ]

*) The writer is a lecturer in Andalas University, Padang.

This entry was posted in Analisis Kiprah & Kebijakan SMI. Bookmark the permalink.

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