JAKARTA - President Joko Widodo’s reelection campaign team member Yenny Wahid said Indonesia is seeking investment by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to reduce the country’s reliance on China.
“When you only have funding from one particular group or country that makes your position very vulnerable, so it’s always in the best interest of any country to have leverage by creating multiple source of investment from different countries,” Ms Wahid told the South China Morning Post. “China is very aggressive, that’s why you see them everywhere. Other investors are not as aggressive as China, so we tried to lure them to come here.”
Last month Ms Wahid, who is the daughter of Indonesia’s fourth president Abdurrahman Wahid, arranged a meeting between State-owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and Saudi Royal Family adviser Abdulrahman Al Saeed, which resulted in a US$ 100 million commitment by Saudi investors to finance Indonesian infrastructure.
The deal came before Saudi Arabia executed Indonesian domestic worker Tuti Tursilawati, who was convicted of killing her Saudi employer in 2010 after he allegedly tried to rape her, prompting widespread condemnation in Indonesia. The effort to spur economic relations with Saudi Arabia also comes as many international firms are considering the risks of being associated with the country after its alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“When we started the move it was before the Jamal Khashoggi accident. I think we have been very firm in our stance on human rights issues. Of course we condemned what happened to Khashoggi, and we push for a thorough investigation and we hope that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice,” Ms Wahid said, adding that Indonesia will continue to seek a balanced bilateral relationship to work on issues such as Hajj and concern over Wahabbi influence in Indonesia. (MS)