As we celebrate the 67th year of independence, we have every reason to be proud as a people and as a nation. Never has the Indonesian flag flown higher on the global stage.
It is a member of the G-20, a thriving democracy and an emerging regional power. Indonesians from all levels of society have seen their standard of living improve, even if those at the bottom of the scale have not benefited as much as they hoped for.
We are a nation on the move, even if at times we don’t move as quickly as we can. The state is strong and the government is making significant investments in infrastructure, education and health care. These investments will pay off in the future.
Indonesians can also be proud of their freedoms and the fact that we are an open society. Freedom of expression and worship is guaranteed by the Constitution, even though at times we worry about the plight of minorities. But all in all, Indonesians enjoy peace and harmony, and are free to live their lives as they wish in accordance with the law.
We should not take these accomplishments lightly. They have been achieved through struggle, hard work and great vision. The country is moving in the right direction on most fronts but challenges await us.
We must continue to open up the economy and empower the private sector. We must continue to strive for greater bureaucratic efficiency to achieve a smaller but more effective government. We must raise the level of our education system so that today’s youth will be better equipped.
So while we bask in our achievements, we should not become complacent. We have to continue to work hard, keep our economy strong and allow our private sector to create new better-paying jobs. The nation has come a long way and we can be optimistic about our future.