Channel NewsAsia

Jokowi to prioritise clean govt, education and health if elected

The front-runner in the Indonesian presidential race has promised to build a clean government by fighting corruption in the country. Mr Joko Widodo said this would encourage investment and create more jobs for Indonesians.

JAKARTA: The front-runner in the Indonesian presidential race has promised to build a clean government by fighting corruption in the country.

Mr Joko Widodo said this would encourage investment and create more jobs for Indonesians.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia in Jakarta, Mr Widodo said it is of paramount importance that Indonesia upholds and enforces the law without any discrimination.

Mr Widodo has been the frontrunner since he announced his candidacy in the presidential race -- but with about a week left for campaigning, major opinion polls showed his earlier overwhelming lead over Mr Prabowo Subianto has been significantly reduced to about 3 percentage points.

However, Mr Widodo said he would press on with his with his campaign style regardless of what the polls say.

He added: "There are many different surveys. Which ones do we want to follow? For me what's more important is to go to the people and convince them that Jokowi-JK doesn't only provide grand plans and rhetoric. The important thing for me is how Jokowi-JK can quickly implement our plans -- this will ensure that the people can enjoy the benefits."

Mr Widodo -- or "Jokowi" as he is popularly known -- said education and health would be his priorities if he is elected as president.

As governor, he has introduced various education and health programs to Jakarta residents and he is set to replicate them at a national level.

Mr Widodo said building a clean administration is a top priority to attract investments in the country.

He said: "A clean government is important for investment. Secondly, issues regarding services and approvals are important for this country. Third, improving the infrastructure in all sectors. These will bring in investments."

Under his leadership, he wants to encourage domestic and foreign investment to help fuel the economy. But he stressed there must be equitable growth.

He added: "Yes, we need investments -- be it domestic or foreign investment. It will spur job creation in a big way and fuel economic growth. But it is not just about economic growth. Equitable growth is also important."

Mr Widodo said campaign tactics that resort to slender, race and religion to discredit him has not only hurt him but also democracy in Indonesia.

He said: "It certainly made the people anxious. Misinforming the people, slander, provocations and lots of information that is not true. I believe this is not healthy for this country and for democracy."

Pollsters said the negative campaign is one reason why Mr Widodo's popularity has not improved in the last few weeks. 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia