In a spirited exchange during the vice presidential debate for the 2024 Indonesian presidential election, three candidates delved into pressing topics, including sustainable development, environmental concerns, natural resources, energy policies, food security, agrarian affairs, and the well-being of indigenous communities. The debate, held at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Jakarta, showcased the candidates’ visions for Indonesia’s future.
Vice presidential candidate number one, Muhaimin Iskandar, known as Cak Imin, underscored the role of the state and government, accusing them of neglecting the welfare of farmers and fishermen. He particularly targeted the controversial food estate project, emphasizing the need to halt it due to its adverse effects on farmers, traditional communities, and the environment. Cak Imin argued that food estates had proven detrimental, leading to agrarian conflicts and environmental damage.
Furthermore, Cak Imin championed the importance of villages as the “fulcrum of development” and advocated for the inclusion of farmers, fishermen, livestock breeders, and indigenous communities in the national food procurement program. He critiqued the government’s approach to the climate crisis, urging a more serious commitment. Cak Imin proposed boosting new and renewable energy sources as a crucial step in addressing environmental challenges.
Turning to the second candidate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the debate witnessed a focus on the government’s downstream programs. Gibran highlighted plans to expand these programs beyond the mining sector to include agriculture, maritime activities, and the digital realm. Drawing attention to Indonesia’s rich nickel and tin reserves, he stressed the nation’s substantial potential for new and renewable energy. Gibran called for “penta-helix cooperation,” encouraging collaboration among government entities, businesses, universities, society, and the media.
Gibran acknowledged the challenges faced by the food estate program but emphasized its successes, citing examples such as the harvest in Gunung Mas Regency, East Kalimantan. He discussed plans to ensure easy and affordable access to fertilizers and seeds, continuation of agrarian reform, increased village fund budgets, and a more equitable draft law on indigenous communities.
Vice presidential candidate number three, Mahfud MD, aligned himself with the criticism of the food estate program. Presenting policies based on four benchmarks—utilization, equity, community participation, and respect for intergenerational rights—Mahfud aimed for a balanced and sustainable approach. He proposed two programs: “farmers are proud to farm” and “in our seas we are prosperous, fishermen are prosperous,” emphasizing environmental sustainability.
Mahfud expressed concerns about illegal mining, fishing practices, and logging, revealing that there are currently 2,500 illegal mines. He pointed out the complexity of the issue, acknowledging the involvement of mafias. Mahfud advocated for policies that prioritize environmental sustainability and benefit local communities.
The debate shed light on the candidates’ perspectives on various critical issues facing Indonesia. Economic development in resource-rich areas, environmental concerns, and the well-being of local communities took center stage. Candidates provided insights into their proposed strategies and priorities, offering voters a comprehensive understanding of their vision for Indonesia’s future.
As the debate concluded, the nation awaits the outcome of the 2024 presidential selection, pondering which candidate’s vision aligns most closely with the aspirations and needs of the Indonesian people.