Wednesday, 6 June 2012


        In a seminar organized to celebrate the 15th Congress of the Indonesian Muhammadyah Students Association (IMM) in Medan on May 1, 2012, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, a noted businessman and Chairman of the Expert Council of NasDem Party disclosed an idea attractive to observe. He said that the economic policies in Indonesia have not been nationalism. Industries are not supported to grow up but sold to foreign investors. Consequently, foreign countries turn great in our country, not country (, 2/5/2012).

            On one side, Hary is surely true. The opinion becomes attractive to discuss because the reality shows that following the downfall of the New Order regime, major companies once hoisting national flag slowly fall on the hand of foreigners through majority share ownership. The reality is really visible in banking sector. Private banks really Indonesian in the past have changed in names or have been supplemented with new names after their shares are controlled by foreigners. For instance, BII has changed in the name into Maybank after majority share is controlled by Maybank Offshore Corporate Services (Labun) Sdn. Bhd. (MOCS), a subsidiary of Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank). Bank Niaga an Bank Lippo also faced the same faith. The two banks have changed in the name after they are controlled by Bumiputra-Comerce Holdings Berhad (BCHB) from Malaysia and the name changed into CIMB Niaga.

            On the other hand, it is also attractive to observe the statement of Hary from the used phrase. Hary decided to choose the terminology “nationalism economic policy”. The phrase is attractive because it reminds directly us of the phrase “economic nationalism”. The question is whether the nationalism economic policy is identical with economic nationalism?

            Lexically, nationalism is defined as the rising awareness in the from of abundant love to the motherland and nation (Raliby, 1982). If the definition is used as a basis to interpret economic nationalism, surely it means an economic system fully realizing the abundant sense of love to motherland and nation. Therefore, economic nationalism refers to economic system and policy in general.

            Later, what is about the phrase “nationalism economic policy” disclosed by Hary? If we want to interpret the phrase freely, nationalism economic policy refers to two elements. The first is policy itself (policy element) and the second is economic players as executor of the economic policy (executor element). Nationalism economic policy is an economic policy prioritizing to economic development fully serving national interests. In certain conditions, the perspective resembles economic nationalism. Economic nationalism constitutes part of political science which has been debated widely. Oil nationalization in Venezuela and Bolivia is frequently called as example of economic nationalism demonstrated by Latin American countries.

            However, nationalism economic policy may also be interpreted as economic policy granting privilege to economic players showing high nationalism in their concrete activities. In this point, we may say that complaint about non-nationalism economic policy as disclosed by Hary constitutes expression of dissatisfaction at national economic policy deemed demonstrating justice excessively because it treats equally the whole economic players in Indonesia without differentiating national party from the foreigner.

            At the end of this article, it’s necessary to affirm that Indonesia needs nationalism economic players and economic policy containing nationalism spirit anD vision.   

Jakarta, May 11, 2012   

Business News - May 16, 2012

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