Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia celebrates Independence Day

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Boediono led Indonesia's 69th Independence Day celebrations in Jakarta on Sunday (Aug 17). It was Dr Yudhoyono's last time leading the Independence Day celebrations after a decade in office. 

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Boediono led Indonesia's 69th Independence Day celebrations in Jakarta on Sunday (Aug 17).

For Dr Yudhoyono, the celebrations hold a special sentimental meaning. It was Dr Yudhoyono's last time leading the Independence Day celebrations after a decade in office. The outgoing president has slightly over two months before the end of his term in office.

The celebrations at Istana Negara had the usual festive routine - the colour guard parade, the 17-canon salute and the hoisting of the national flag by a group of young honour guards. The celebrations came two days after Dr Yudhoyono delivered a final State of the Nation address in Parliament.

Besides his presidential duties, Dr Yudhoyono is also known as an author and a music composer. As part of the annual Independence Day celebration tradition, there was a choir singing patriotic songs, one of which was composed by the president himself. And as a tribute to the president, the music conductor included songs from Dr Yudhoyono's album in his playlist.

Attendees of the celebrations at the palace come from all walks of life and from all corners of the Indonesian archipelago. For them, the president's leadership has been marked by good and bad moments.

"The president strongly encourages the Corruption Eradication Commission in its efforts to combat graft. That's very important. He doesn't hesitate in approving an arrest and doesn't seem to give special preference," said an attendee. But another attendee said: "I see that the law has not been enforced fairly. It seems that the law is only imposed on the ordinary citizens and it rarely applies to those in the elite."

President Yudhoyono's term in office has seen numerous policy reforms that boosted Indonesia's economic growth and infrastructure development as well as in combating terrorism. However his term has also been tarnished by a string of corruption cases implicating top-level leaders in his own Democrat party and a rise in the number of religious intolerance cases against minority religious groups.