Indonesians go to the polls next week for our country's most important legislative elections to date. The 180 million registered voters will be deciding which parties are best positioned to address the immense challenges facing our nation. Corruption, income inequality, and religious intolerance represent three of the most critical threats to the future of Indonesia. Prabowo Subianto, the leader of the Gerindra party, is the only candidate to share his vision and policies for meeting these and other challenges and ensuring a better Indonesia for the next generation.
The challenges we will face over the next 20 years - and how to deal with them in a way that represents the sentiments of the Indonesian people - will require bold new ideas and strong leadership. While other candidates and parties have offered empty promises, or nothing at all, backed by untested and inexperienced leadership, Prabowo and the Gerindra party continues to offer real policy solutions backed by decades of strong leadership and unwavering dedication to serving the people of Indonesia.
Prabowo's "Six Point Action Plan to Transform the Nation" provides the Gerindra party's blueprint for getting Indonesia back on track. While all of our challenges are important to ensuring a prosperous future for Indonesia, three urgent threats to our future must be addressed immediately and with the full commitment of strong leadership.
Corruption: The Indonesian people are fed up with government mismanagement and corruption. Every citizen at home and abroad knows this country faces a severe problem with corrupt officials and systems. Since the implementation of "otonomi daerah" or regional autonomy, we now have 34 provincial governments. Officials from 17 of these provincial governments are already under indictment for malfeasance or are awaiting trial. Of the 528 regions, civil servants from 138 are either in jail, facing trial or under indictment. Even senior officials - up to the Ministerial level - are being caught red-handed receiving bribes or carrying out nefarious activities. Of course, these are only the cases we know about.
The Gerindra party, led by Prabowo, will take a zero tolerance approach to corruption in Indonesia. We will hold the government, at all levels, accountable to the people. We will improve the conditions and welfare of civil servants, military, and veterans. We will focus on increasing the participation of women in leadership roles in government to a minimum of 30% of ministerial or ministerial-level positions.
We must stop the cancerous spread of corruption. Without success, we believe Indonesia is in danger of becoming a 'failed state'. Stopping the Indonesia's endemic corruption problem will be a paramount priority of the Gerindra party and Prabowo.
Income Inequality: A fundamental imbalance of priorities in our economy means that it is not fair or competitive. Today just 1% of our people control 41% of our GDP. With 60% of cash flow circulating in Jakarta alone and 30% in other major urban centers, that leaves just 10% of all the money in Indonesia for trade in rural areas. Over 60% of the Indonesian population still resides outside of big cities and more than 40% of our entire population lives under or barely above the poverty line. This is unacceptable given the economic growth we have enjoyed since holding our first democratic elections in 1999.
Such income inequality and imbalance of wealth is a formula for upheaval. History has taught us this lesson many times. No political system in the history of humankind will tolerate such disparity or inequality.
To implement an economy of the people and for the people, Gerindra will increase budget allocations for agriculture, forestry, fishery and small-medium enterprises and industries. We will incentivize national banks to lend to this critical of group of entrepreneurs and workers, which make up the backbone of our economy, culture, and history. We will invest in infrastructure modernization and expand our electrical grid to include greater rural coverage and greater economic participation. And we will finally realize a fair balance of national investment into rural health care and education so our poorer communities have equal opportunities to participate in Indonesia's growth.
Growing Religious Intolerance: Finally, a frightening dynamic gathering momentum is the increase in religious intolerance. Indonesia has a long history of religious and ethnic acceptance, moderation, and harmony. Sadly, we see highly concerning trends of erosion of these long held principles and values.
Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world - no Arab country even comes close to Indonesia. Thus, whatever happens in the Middle East will sooner or later affect the Muslims of in our country. Note that our traditional practice has been a moderate variety of Islam; however, with the number of young people who have gone to school in Arab countries, they have been exposed to certain teachings and attitudes that are not in line with our exercise of Islam in Indonesia.
Continual injustice, inequality and corruption is resulting in a loss of confidence and trust in the nation's leaders, institutions, and the government as a whole. This breach of trust and confidence is opening the door for extremists. It is a real and present danger we face and to address it we need clean governance and an inclusive economy. We must have a clean government to establish a united front against this assault on our values, principles and way of life in Indonesia. And we must have an economy that doesn't leave anyone behind.
What Prabowo has proposed, what Gerindra Party has offered in its platform, is a "mixed economy." We must create an environment of fairness so that everyone has the opportunity for greater economic participation and a more equitable sharing of resources. We can learn from Western Europe, which champions free enterprise while still providing opportunities, protection, and shared resources for all citizens.
That is the position of Prabowo; that is the position of Gerindra. That is our struggle.