Why Indonesians Distrust Their Leaders

Why Indonesians Distrust Their Leaders

By Jakarta Globe on 11:04 pm February 5, 2014.
In a working democracy, elected men or women with public jobs must be the best and most trusted people within that particular country. They were chosen by voters who have placed their trust in these men and women to serve and protect them.

When following this train of logic, the private sector — including businesses — should be the least trusted because they will attempt to fulfill their own interests, which in the companies’ case is maximizing profits. However, the 2014 Edelman trust barometer survey shows that these preconceived notions are not always accurate, especially in Indonesia.

According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents placed their trust in businesses compared to only 53 percent for the government. The 29-percent gap is one of the world’s highest between the private and public sector.

A high level of trust in companies is a crucial element in attracting more business to the country. However, the survey shows that Indonesians view general elections as just another method for filling public jobs. To us, a country holds elections because that is what’s done in a democratic system; not because it is our responsibility to choose the more capable person to guide the country in moving forward. In Indonesia, voters choose leaders because these people are thrown at them.

It has been said so many times before, it has turned into a cliche: corruption is to blame for the lack of trust in our government. How can we expect people to trust government officials when we experience extortion on a daily basis, from getting a birth certificate to obtaining permission to bury the dead?

People have no faith in the government because it fails to enforce the law; you need to only walk onto the streets to see it. A driver, for instance, can violate any traffic regulation without being punished.

Indonesia needs educated voters to have quality leaders and law enforcers to uphold the law. Until then, trust in the government will remain low.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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