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The Leader Crisis

Theare many politician doubt about the ability of present leaders to overcome crisis. One of them in Ridwan Max Sijabat. He said that The inability of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government to make headway in solving major national problems such as poverty and corruption has signaled a crisis in national leadership, senior politicians and researchers said.

Former Golkar Party chairman Akbar Tandjung and chairman of the National Independence Bull Party Eros Djarot said at a public discussion Friday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had failed to fulfill his election promises.

Both Akbar and Eros said the President was too preoccupied with his own preparations for wining re-election in 2009, and that as a result the nation was suffering.

"In the past two years, no significant progress has been made in implementing the programs he promised during the presidential campaign," Akbar said.

"Shanghai in China has a vision for 2030, but Indonesia doesn't even have a vision on what it will be like next year."

The public discussion was held after the launching of a book titled, The Syndicate Speaks Out. The book asserts that the government has failed to address major national problems such as unemployment, poverty, widening social disparity, health and education issues, corruption and legal uncertainty.

Eros accused the government of engaging in meaningless rhetoric and of not backing its words up with concrete action, and insisted the President was too focused on his own image.

"Yudhoyono has the potential to make progress if he wants to, but he has been trapped by his own image to win re-election in 2009 and on his own identity as a retired general. He is not tough and dubious enough to act," he said.

Former chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Amien Rais, said that through the newly-endorsed capital investment law, the President had sold Indonesia to multinational corporations.

"Indonesia's size will decrease because of the capital investment law, which gives foreign investors the right to occupy plots of land for 95 years," he said, adding that a number of important national industries have been sold to foreign countries.

However, former vice president Try Sutrisno called on all parties to work together to strengthen Indonesia, and insisted that playing the blame game would not settle the nation's problems.

"The central government and regional administrations must coordinate to provide better services to the public, while other factions should support the government's efforts to empower the people and to improve their social welfare," he said.

Soegeng Sarjadi, executive director of the Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate, which has conducted surveys showing Yudhoyono's decreasing popularity, said a majority of those who voted for Yudhoyono and his running mate Jusuf Kalla in the 2004 presidential election were disappointed with the government because of its failure to address their problems.

"After 61 years of independence, the people's livelihood has not improved and is even getting worse. Job opportunities are getting rarer and the number of poor families is increasing," he said.