Channel NewsAsia

Indonesian election receives mixed reactions in Malaysia

In Malaysia, reactions to the Indonesian election were mixed as to who will be a better candidate when it comes to bilateral and ASEAN relations.

KUALA LUMPUR: In Malaysia, reactions to the Indonesian election were mixed as to who will be a better candidate when it comes to bilateral and ASEAN relations.

Home to more than 240 million people, Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and naturally, it matters to the region especially its closest neighbours on who becomes the next president.

The quick count shows Joko Widodo is leading the elections and many have already started speculating how Jokowi's style of governing would impact Malaysia and across the ASEAN region.

The Jakarta governor's populist, pro-reform and business friendly agenda has won him many fans in Malaysia.

Keith Leong, a research analyst in KRA Group, said: "Jokowi in general would be good for the region because next year, we are heading towards the ASEAN Economic Community. There is going to be great economic integration, fierce competition, so I think Indonesia under Jokovi would be much, much friendlier towards ASEAN.''

But just like their Indonesian counterparts, Malaysians too are split as to who is a safer bet for the country and the region.

Fui Soong, CEO of Centre of Strategic Engagement, said: "I know they want reform, they want change... but unfortunately, Indonesia is such a big country, I don't think they are ready for it. On the other hand, Prabowo promised certain continuity and stability."

Still, some were optimistic that Jokowi's win will spark populist movements in the region.

"If Jokowi wins, I mean certainly the reform momentum in Indonesia will increase and this will put pressure on other countries including Malaysia to reform as well," said Leong.

Both leaders are untested on national and international levels, and only time will tell as to what's in store for the world third largest democracy.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna