Where is Our President?

Indonesia and Mongolia are different in many aspects, but there are similarities as well. Unlike Indonesia, Mongolia is sandwiched between Russia and China without access to the sea. We are the 17th largest territory in the world by area and have a population of three million. Indonesia, on the other hand, is ranked 4th in the world by area and is the most populous Muslim-majority nation. The country is made up of approximately 17,000 islands and has 255 million people.

As Indonesia's economy is based on natural resources and raw materials, it is similar to Mongolia's. Indonesia is the world's biggest producer of palm oil and is a major player in the rubber, cacao, coffee, gold, and coal markets. Another similarity with Mongolia is that if China is buying their raw materials, Indonesia's economy grows, and vice-versa.

Mongolia and Indonesia both have weak public governance due to deep-seated corruption in society. In a 2015 report on corruption released by Transparency International, Indonesia was ranked 88th in the world with a score of 34, whereas Mongolia scored 39 and was ranked 72nd. Both Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Mongolia's President Ts.Elbegdorj got elected with promises of fighting corruption, but the duo are the same, in the sense that they both talked the talk, but are not walking the walk. The two presidents both come from ordinary families and are great public speakers. However, they are not doing the job they promised to do and have minimal influence on their political parties. Indonesia and Mongolia each have an agency with an intimidating name to combat or eradicate corruption. But the corruption cases revealed by these agencies disappear as a result of political trades, while lawmakers hope to fight the agencies and make them go away.

As Mongolia and Indonesia are both strangled by corruption, the benefits of public spending are minimal. Indonesia's latest example is that their 150 million USD early earthquake warning system failed when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake happened off the western coast of Sumatra. A total of 22 buoys were placed for monitoring purposes after a disastrous earthquake hit Aceh in 2004. However, none of them operated as they should have. In Mongolia, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on reducing air pollution in Ulaanbaatar. Yet, there is almost no outcome, and a large prortion of the money went into the pockets of politicians.

Recently, a secret recording revealed that...

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