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Indonesia election: Kalla, Hatta face off in TV debate

Indonesia's vice-presidential candidates Jusuf Kalla and Hatta Rajasa faced off in a televised debate on Sunday.

JAKARTA: Indonesia's vice-presidential candidates Jusuf Kalla and Hatta Rajasa faced off in a televised debate on Sunday.

They are two of the most experienced politicians in Indonesia's post-Suharto era.

They were once in the same Cabinet. Mr Hatta Rajasa is a former Chief Economic Minister while Mr Jusuf Kalla a former vice president.

But today they are on opposite sides of the political divide.

Mr Kalla is the running mate of presidential candidate Joko Widodo while Mr Hatta the running mate of Prabowo Subianto.

On Sunday, Mr Kalla and Mr Hatta couldn't resist trading jibes at each other's achievements while in office.

"While you were a minister, which innovation were you most proud of (and) that has left a mark on our country and can be shared?" asked Mr Kalla.

In his defence, Mr Hatta - who was also once the Minister for Research and Technology - said he had done much to pave the way for research on rice in the country.

Together with Mr Prabowo, they have also promised to boost Indonesia's research budget and extend the compulsory education from 9 to 12 years.

"To improve quality and make it more accessible - the duration of compulsory education would become 12 years," said Mr Hatta.

However Mr Kalla and Mr Widodo believe there's a need to evaluate the current education system to improve Indonesia's human resource.

"We have gained independence 60 years ago but our system is not yet perfected to achieve our stated objectives," said Mr Kalla.

While they differed on the technicalities, both sides agreed on the urgent need to level up Indonesia's education system to meet the needs of a growing and increasingly sophisticated economy.
 

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