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Jokowi sworn in for second term as Indonesia's president

Mr and Mrs Lee met Mr Joko and his wife on Sunday ahead of the president's swearing-in ceremony in Jakarta. The inauguration was attended by other regional leaders including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.


INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo was sworn in on Sunday for a second five-year term leading the world's third-biggest democracy, after an election dominated by economic issues but also the growing influence of conservative Islam.

Mr Joko, 58, has pledged to cut red tape and keep building infrastructure to underpin growth in South-east Asia's largest economy, but also made improving education a top priority to encourage investment and create jobs for a youthful population of 260 million people.

"This will be a big problem if we fail to create enough job opportunities," Mr Joko told parliament after his inauguration, where he cited his dream of Indonesia becoming one of the world's top five economies by 2045 with a GDP worth US$7 trillion.

The president said he would push two bills to replace laws that have hampered job creation, as well as warning he could sack underperforming civil servants.

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He said he would name his Cabinet on Monday morning.

There was tight security at parliament for his swearing-in alongside his vice-president, Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin.

More than 30,000 security personnel were deployed following recent student demonstrations and after the country's security minister was stabbed by a suspected Islamist militant earlier this month.

The inauguration was attended by regional leaders including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Joko grew up in a riverside slum and was the first national leader to come from outside the political and military elite.

Popularly known as Jokowi, his everyman image has resonated with ordinary voters, though he has been criticised for being too beholden to powerful party backers and surrounding himself with former generals from the era of late strongman leader Suharto. "The president wants to improve the investment environment but is likely to face implementation woes when planned reforms are confronted by the interests of power brokers in his coalition," Achmad Sukarsono, a political analyst at Control Risks, said in a note.

Last month, Indonesia saw the biggest student demonstrations since Mr Suharto stepped down in 1998 amid anger over bills parliament had tried to push through that critics say threaten democracy, intrude into privacy and hurt the fight against graft.

Still, so far Mr Joko's popularity appears to be holding up.

A survey published last week by Indonesia's biggest newspaper Kompas showed his approval rating dipping only slightly to 58.8 per cent.

In April's election, Mr Joko defeated former general Prabowo Subianto by a double-digit margin, but the poll revealed a split with more moderate Muslims and minorities backing Mr Joko and conservative Muslim regions backing his rival.

Violent rioting broke out in Jakarta when Mr Prabowo contested the poll results over claims of cheating, but the Constitutional Court upheld Mr Joko's victory and there have since been talks to bring some opposition figures into the government.

The make-up of the Cabinet is being closely watched to see the proportion of technocrats versus party-affiliated posts and there has been speculation that Mr Prabowo or other members of the opposition could join the Cabinet.

There are expected to be 34 ministers in the Cabinet and Mr Joko said around 16 of them would come from the political parties.

The president's US$33 billion plan to relocate Indonesia's capital from sinking, congested Jakarta on Java island to the island of Borneo has grabbed headlines. But it has also raised questions about how it would be financed and its environmental impact.

Indonesia's economic growth is forecast to slow for the first time in four years in 2019 and some independent observers warn of a further slowdown amid a global downturn. REUTERS

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