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Indonesia has successfully controlled COVID-19, exercised global leadership amid tensions: Jokowi

The annual State of the Nation Address was delivered with all members of parliament gathering for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indonesia has successfully controlled COVID-19, exercised global leadership amid tensions: Jokowi

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, wearing traditional Bangka Belitung outfit, gestures as he delivers his annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's Independence Day, at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, Pool)

JAKARTA: Indonesia has successfully controlled the COVID-19 pandemic while growing its economy, said President Joko Widodo on Tuesday (Aug 16). 

The Indonesian leader also said that the Southeast Asian nation has managed to exercise global leadership amid geopolitical tensions. 

Speaking at the annual State of the Nation Address ahead of the country's 77th Independence Day, he said: “Indonesia is one of the countries that has successfully controlled the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He added that Indonesia is among the top five countries globally in terms of the number of vaccinations, with 432 million doses administered so far.

Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said that the country’s economic growth was up 5.44 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter. It was the fastest growth rate in a year.

The inflation rate is so far also about 4.94 per cent, below the inflation rate of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states which are at about 7 per cent, he said.  

Until the middle of this year, Indonesia’s state budget also had a surplus of 106 trillion rupiah (US$7.18 billion), he noted. 

In his speech, Jokowi said that the election commission is preparing for the upcoming 2024 elections.

He said: "I remind you, there should be no more identity politics. No more politicising religion.

"No more social polarisation. Our democracy must be mature."

The last election in 2019 saw Mr Widodo running against current defence minister Prabowo Subianto. Some observers labelled the contest as the most polarised election in Indonesia's history. 

On Tuesday, Mr Widodo also said that the international community’s trust in Indonesia has “increased sharply”.  

Indonesia was accepted by Russia and Ukraine as a bridge to world peace, he said. 

"We should be grateful, that Indonesia is one of the countries that has been able to manage this global crisis (in food, energy and financial flows),” he said. 

He added: "In 2022, we are the President of the G20, the organisation of the 20 largest economies in the world. Next year, we will be the chairman of ASEAN.

“This means that we are at the top of global leadership and have a great opportunity to build international cooperation.”

In late June, Mr Widodo was the first Asian leader to visit Moscow and Kyiv since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, offering to be a diplomatic bridge between the two sides.

Last month, Indonesia, as president of G20, also hosted a meeting of foreign ministers which was attended by both Russia and Ukraine.

Tuesday’s State of the Nation Address was held in front of all lawmakers, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the past two years, the address was held in front of a small number of parliament members, while the others attended it online. 

Later on Tuesday, Mr Widodo is scheduled to unveil the state budget for 2023.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its developments

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Source: CNA/ks(aw)

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