Indonesian President SBY is trying hard to convince businesspeople to invest. He said the Government will reform central and local regulations, enforce the law, improve infrastructure, increase political stability, and eliminate corruption. Easier said than done. At the Forbes Global Conference, Steve Forbes, who moderated a dialog session with SBY, paid special attention to Indonesia and how it will deal with corruption.
You see, corruption is deeply rooted here. My friend, who's trying to run an honest gasoline logistics business in Pekanbaru, complained about the police force yesterday. "Even if there's no problem at all, they'll stop your truck and say there's a problem. To 'deal with the problem,' you'd have to pay at least 250,000 rupiahs," He said.
"What if you object, and if needed, bring a lawyer to take them to court?" naively I asked. "They'll still get you. Firstly, they'll take your truck to their station. Then on, it's completely their game. They can smash your headlight or your mirror, and then say that your vehicle had incomplete qualifications. In the meantime, your client is waiting to have his gasoline delivered! If you don't keep him satisfied, he'll turn to another distributor."
Without comprehensive attempt to deal with corruption (not just dealing with national-level policies), we can forget about SBY's dream to compete with China and India. How could he, if he can't even handle his own staff's misappropriation?
(Image from swaramuslim.net)