I'll be a fuel for you - SBY
On Sunday, SBY was criticised for his clothes sense
.While former South African leader Nelson Mandela wears batik with great aplomb, Susilo went the other way. He chose to wear dark suits with a white shirt and tie. Much to my amazement, he even showed up at mosques in a suit. During his first 100 days as President, he went to Istiqlal Mosque for two different ceremonies and wore a suit for prayers.During his first 100 days he did wear batik at Ancol beach. Although, his choice was a long-sleeved batik shirt, which is a popular choice for formal occasions here. Most Indonesians go for a short-sleeved batik or even a T-shirt for a trip to the seaside. Well, he is a president, that is true, but does he have to dress up that much? He did not even roll up his shirt sleeves during his trip to the tsunami-devastated Aceh province.
On Monday, yesterday, SBY looked like this.
Unfortunately, it appears that he isn't trying to go 'metro
'. Nor is he doing his bit to cut down on global warming as Japanese businessmen
No, his reason is more prosaic.
Although the fuel subsidy has been reduced this year, the rise in the dollar price of a barrel of oil coupled with the weakening of the rupiah and rising domestic demand for fuel means that Indonesia is rapidly increasing its debt.
Pertamina, the state oil company has rationed fuel throughout Indonesia resulting in lengthy queues at the pumps. This is a crisis big enough for SBY to postpone his overseas trip to China, Brunei and Thailand which was due to start tomorrow."I will explain more to the public about the fuel problem soon, and I will also call on people to reduce their fuel consumption to a moderate level so that we can meet the fuel subsidy allocations in the state budget," Susilo said.
Raising the temperature in air-conditioned offices is one tactic suggested in the Presidential Decree No.10/2005 on energy conservation
. He will also cut down on his cavalcading escort.
Good idea. Methinks I'll do the same and follow the lead of the Governor of Central Java who has suggested that his subordinates should use public transport to go to work.
Hang on a sec. I already do.
In case you think I'm being too sardonic, read today's Jakarta Post editorial
.Instead of arbitrarily telling officials to embark on conservation measures and cut up to 10 percent of fuel consumption, it would have been more strategic for the President at the beginning of his term to instruct the government to work with just 90 percent of the allocated budget appropriated.
Such a dramatic approach to budgeting and planning would have been more effective than the knee-jerk response currently being touted.
It would methodically introduce conservation measures and at the same time allow the government to achieve its promised targets without compromising the mobility and vitality of the public service.
Other public measures -- not just to conserve fuel and electricity -- on a short and long term basis could also be applied fairly to the general population. This could include progressive taxation for automobiles, water conservation, the promotion of alternative fuels, improvement of public transportation, etc.
In addition to solving immediate budgetary problems it is reasonable to suggest that this result-based conservation process will help reinforce the belief that the government not only cares but is taking consistent steps to spend wisely.
Susilo should not simply look at abating critics under the pretext of having "a sense of crisis".
Legitimate conservation efforts are part of a cultural habit. Any success in imposing such measures in the short term will be fleeting. The government should look toward a comprehensive effort that can be embraced and accepted by a population -- measures which in four years time will reduce pollution levels, conserve energy consumption, cut down on public expenditure and stop waste.
The President should learn what other democratically elected leaders have known for a long time: The more thrifty a government becomes, the more generous voters are at the ballot box.