General Luhut Panjaitan IS HE ONE OF TUAN NI BANGARNA HERO?IS HE A GOOD BATAK MAN? this article, Indonesian theologian Batara Sihombing analyses the place and function of wealth among the Toba Batak of Northern Sumatra, the people into whom he was born. After surveying the Batak kinship system and the Batak people in general, Sihombing reflects on the three highest ideals of the Batak people and provides a number of proverbs which point to the centrality of wealth and honor in Batak culture. In a third section of his essay, Sihombing reflects on the practices of auction, patronage and corruption among the Batak, and offers a strong critique of each in the light of Scripture and Christian principles

Balige, 1-12-2005

Keynote Address at the Closing Ceremony of the Symposium at the DEL Institute of Technology



General Luhut Panjaitan, Chairman of the Board of the Founder of the DEL Institute,
Dr. …,
Excellencies Ministers and formers,
Members of the Indonesian Parliament,
… and Speakers from friendly nations,
Vise Governor of North Sumatera,
Generals, Students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to speak in English for the benefit of our participants from foreign countries, but allow me also to speak in Bahasa Indonesia, if I want to stress certain things to my fellow Indonesians.

I am delighted to be here with you today, and to deliver a keynote address on what I found a very timely and strategic topic, maintaining good governance, through the use of information and communication technology. I specially congratulate DEL Foundation for its hard work and tireless effort to establish the DEL Institute of Technology, the … for one. I did say to General Panjaitan that starting from small is beautiful and later become big is beautiful, the beautiful Indonesia.
With actively runs numerous educational activities, including today’s symposium. ICT is a catalyzed in our attempt to reach our national goals on building good governance, that’s number one, good education, that’s number two and competitive knowledge economy, that’s number three. ICT development is very close to my heart and high in my government priority.

I am not a stranger to the latest technology and gadget. But I am always amazed by how quick scientist found in new sophisticated and better technology. And I am fully aware of the extend to which technology can do to make our live better and much easier. This is the reason why I introduced the use of SMS in my office.

Mr. Sardan Marbun reported to me yesterday, that we received 1.7 million SMS up to now and thousands of letters through PO BOX 9949 Jakarta 10000. By receiving a lot of messages from my people, I do understand they how to hope, their aspiration and the need of the people. It is really important for me as a leader to develop a policy and to make a decision that is off course most hoped by the people of Indonesia.

I never miss a chance to visit research center and technology based industries during my state visit. I just returned back from South Korea and India, and I have a lot of respect for their progress and achievement in mastering ICT. In Busan, South Korea, I had a wonderful conversation with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore and also the Senior Officer of Microsoft, I forgot his name, wonderful one, and also I had a conversation with President Abdul Kalam of India, just last week on the important role of the ICT, not only in our today’s economy but in the develop of the whole nations.

I talked to prominent figures in this field, like Bill Gates, I met Bill Gates in May, this year, in Seattle, in Microsoft Headquarters. And I was very fortunate because Microsoft and other institutions are also willing to work together with Indonesia to build partnership. And off course, for me, it is a way to develop our own capability in the mastery of information and communication technology.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me post this simple question, what ICT mean in today’s world? General Secretary Kofi Annan, one said that the new ICT are among the driving forces of globalization. We are bringing people together and also bringing decision makers, unprecedented new tools for development. ICT is, by all means, … and dominant component for each nations in raping the maximum benefit of globalization.

In this era of globalization, rapid ICT development widen our horizon, and provide its better understanding on the … of efficiency, affectivity, distance and time toward a new world order. There is two world order featured by the digital lifestyle. This is the lifestyle that changes the way we work, our way of study, even the way we shop, the way we manage business, and the way we run the government.

I am encourage to see that Indonesia is now a member of the world information society. We signed the Declaration of World Summit for the Information Society in Geneva, December 2003, and in Tunis, just recently, November 2005.

In today’s world, all countries to share and exchange information in order to accelerate their development. This is done through a transfer of knowledge, using ICT … global information network. I properly believe that all leaders must continue formulating correct strategies in the areas relating to governance, education and the transition to the knowledge economy in order to remain competitive.

I would like to remain to all of you, especially my fellow Indonesian, don’t contradict natural based economy or resources based economy with knowledge based economy. Those two exist you in Indonesia. Off course to be an advanced nation, to be a competitive nation, we have to master science and technology. But we have our own natural resources, bring technology in it, introduce ICT in it, to develop the overall economic development in Indonesia.

Own ICT, … offered bounce less opportunities, especially for developing economy, like Indonesia. First, ICT could be a leading sector in promoting economic development. ICT is new source of income, which allows you economic dynamism and create more jobs for people. Dr. Abdul Kalam, the President of India, told me last week, the growth of India is now around seven point some percent, straightly below China that is expected to grow at eight point some percent. And 30% of the growth is contributed by IT. The Indian IT, that is now advancing very rapidly.

India is an example on how ICT development can add more benefit to the economy, as I have said, and become a driving force for further economic development. In my recent visit to Bangalore, I showed a climate of dynamism when I visit the hyper innovative headquarters and campus of Infosys. Is there any representative from Infosys here, who attend this symposium? Infosys of India. A remarkable Indian IT company which grow from … 300 US Dollars, to offered … 1.8 Billions US Dollars, with customers all over the world.

Let us not forget, the ICT development can also support the development of other industries. ICT can help increase productivity, efficiency, responsiveness, transparency and accountability, both in public and private sectors. Those the characters of good governance actually, and good corporate governance.

I often remind that with those improvement, we will have good government and competitive industries, that are able to produce better, faster and cheaper goods and services. You can evaluate to your own company, whether you are purchasing from time to time, better, cheaper and faster goods and services. This the quality of the industry and today’s world in the era of the globalization and the era of ICT. Government straight to harness opportunity and meet the social and economic challenges. And there are increasing number of economies that now are moving toward the knowledge economy.

And ICT has obviously become the engine of knowledge economy, the engine, the pillar, the blood, the main contributor. Second, ICT is an important tool that facilitate the dissemination of information, in the field of education and human capacity building. Third, the growing importance and use of ICT in supporting the implementation of good governance is now widely felt. ICT lovers down opportunities for money … to take place. And at the same time, increases transparency.

The use of ICT streamline our bureaucratic changes, to be more efficient, to be more cheaper and allow us to have a more efficient system of the government. This is where I found the importance of ICT in my government agenda, to improve the quality of the Indonesian governance. In our case, I … in a decade to come, building and developing good governance and education are high in our agenda.

Both education and good governance is long term investment, remember that, a long term investment for our beloved country. And I believe ICT can serve as the agent that promote progress in both governance and education. In the end, such a progress will further enhance future competitiveness of Indonesia.

As I repeatedly said, good governance along with tolerance, is also the very foundation of our democratic life. And to succeed our endeavor in transforming Indonesia toward, in matter of democracy, we must ensure that our system is transparence, reliable and accountable.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Indonesia is not only changing now, but we are transforming in many things. We need to change our mindset, our culture, our behavior, our awareness, our commitment, our spirit and others, in the sense of revitalizing that we got move forward, effectively, to achieve a better condition. Indonesia is more peaceful, more just, more democratic and more prosperous. Let think how ICT can contribute, can participate in that big national endeavor.

ICT also offer us huge benefit. It allows us a more direct interaction among us, including between the government and the people, as it was said by our collage, Minister Information from Singapore. It enable to the government to deliver its services faster and in a more efficient manner. By the same token, through ICT, our citizen will have more access to information. ICT gave wider opportunities for public participation and involvement, in monitoring the policy implementation, actually, in the making of public policy.

So, it will be good interact better and better than the ministers, the governors, the bupati, even the president, understand better, what the situation are faced by the people on the ground and the field. This is the foundation of good governance, a partnership between the government and the people through ICT. This is the heart of our ICT development.

Indonesia is currently in the big fight against three enemies. Ada tiga musuh besar kita sekarang ini. One, corruption. Two, terrorism. And three, drug trafficking, narcotic, trans national crimes. … days ago, during leaders retreat, attended by 21 APEC Leaders, I spoke clearly and loudly to my fellow world leaders, that Indonesia is now in the big fight against corruption, terrorism, and trans national crimes. We need better and closer cooperation in the fight of those three enemies.
I admitted during my talked in Busan, that Indonesia has won several battles, many battles, in fighting corruption, in combating terrorism, in defeating drug trafficking. But we had not won the war yet. We had to win the war not only the battles. And I do hope, again, ICT can contribute to successful of our nation in the war against our main enemies.

I did say, clearly, that my hope to our friend leaders from Asia-Pacific region, no single country, in this region, that can be use as a save heaven, both for terrorism, of corrupt government officials, it’s quite clear. We need strong commitment among us, we need a closer cooperation in many forms, because those three enemies are not the one … enemy but the global challenge, global threat, and also regional enemies for all of us.

In our fight against corruption, we are utilizing ICT as tools to minimize manipulations, ensure data accuracy and to early detect financial irregularities. We could use ICT in tracking down suspecting terrorist, as well as drug dealers, their asset and financial movement, and limiting their room for maneuver. This is done by strengthening our cooperation, again, with other countries in the areas of immigration, customs, police and intelligence.

Our commitment and determination to develop ID sectors in Indonesia is strong. But there are challenges, that we must .. with in achieving our goals. Let me just highlight some of them and how we are going to deal with.

First, we must prepare our people for a wider use of ICT. Diantara kita masih mengidap yang disebut gaptek, gagap teknologi. Mungkin saya di mata anak-anak saya juga gagap teknologi. Tapi tidak apa-apa. Hidup ini universitas yang abadi. Belajar seumur hidup. Tidak ada larangan bagi kita semua untuk belajar dan belajar. To be an advanced society, we have to be a learning society. To be a learning society, we have to be a reading society. Saya mengajak semuanya untuk, mari terus belajar, menjemput dan sama-sama mengusasi ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi yang terus berkembang dewasa ini.

Yes, we are on the right track to build our ICT, but we shall never forget, that we also need to get our society ready for the wider use of ICT. We must prepare them mentally and culturally. I therefore believe that open minded mentality, enthusiasm to learn new things and seriousness in using ICT are the qualities that need to be develop further in our societies.

These are our main challenges. We must educate our people to accept and to adapt to this new development, considering that most of our people are used to depend on, say, rich natural resources mentality. We have to change all those things, that we have to develop more science and technology, and not rely on the possession of natural resources that we currently have, such as oil and gas and coal and others.

Second, our level of maturity in the use of ICT is still relatively low. Frankly speaking, at some points, we are still struggling with the fact that most of us are not accustom to make best use of ICT in our daily activities, as I have said before. We have to change our own behavior, our own awareness, our own, probably, values.

We have to realize that mastering ICT meet some time. It is also a matter of systematic learning process. This is something that we need to realize. Thank for our young bright student who are attending school here, because actually, you are becoming spare head of our people in mastering science and technology, especially in the field of ICT.

The world is now facing a serious gap that exist between information have and have not. And the gap is widening. Kofi Annan also warned, that real danger life in the possibility of the world’s poor, be excluded from the emerging knowledge economy. And one of the biggest challenges facing Indonesia, is also on how we narrow the digital defeat across and within communities. We are from archipelago country with wide geography, uneven democratic distribution and different ethnic and cultural background. This will cause a unique challenge for us in introducing ICT across the country. And this is the challenge we need to coop with.

Ada gap, kesenjangan pusat-pusat informasi dengan wilayah yang lebih terpencil, apalagi daerah tertinggal. Ingat, if we could … the terminology of Dr. Alvin Trofer, there are three a way of civilization. One agriculture society, second, industrial society, and third information society. For many developed country, Europe, the US, Japan probably, the majority of the people are included industrial, probably, information society.

But, we in Indonesia, have those three. We have agriculture society, in many places, across the region. We have industrial society and we also … we also information society. So we have to manage well, to manage the reality well. The government has to develop a correct policy and strategy in developing ICT, realizing the diversity and the nature of our society in Indonesia.

My government has taken several measures. First, we are reviewing current rules and regulations, making the more adaptive for government institution to implement ICT toward and e-government, was summarized in this symposium. Second, we actively cooperate with leading IT industry and business. We make significant progress in this partnership with IT industry. One example is our cooperation with Microsoft, which I personally initiated during my meeting with Bill Gate in Seattle last May. And I wish to see similar cooperation between Indonesia … in other prominent companies.

General Luhut told me that, GL for example, has also developed eight partnership and cooperation with other prominent companies worldwide. And I do hope that it is followed by other Indonesian IT companies to build partnership and networking with other friends in other countries.

My government fully realizes that we can only ICT development through better education. My government will continue to invest in our people, because this is the key to ICT. I therefore welcome any initiated to improve the quality of education. And I … appreciate your effort to help educated our student in the field of ICT.

I am glad to know that, once again Pak Luhut, DEL Institute of Technology has established of functional networking with other institutions, such as the National Institute of Information Technology in India, with the Singapore Polytechnic and with … University in Australia, I think you mentioned more than those three companies.

At last, but not least, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We started to use the ICT in our system, such as taxation, pajak, customs, bea, cukai, customs, immigration, procurement of goods and services. In the near future we are also aiming to establish a single identification number in Indonesia. Kalau kita memiliki one single ID Card, tidak akan banyak pemalsuan-pemalsuan KTP, tidak banyak menipu orang menipu namanya, identitasnya, tinggalnya, katanya melakukan sesuatu, tiba-tiba mengerjakan yang lain. We need to have that kind of identification number in the years to come. I am confident that this message will enhance the quality of our government in doing its business.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The way forward is long and winding. But remember, Indonesia is a big country with huge potential. We have excellent brains. I met some of them in many of top centers of excellence. Let us not also forget that our young student are not stranger to winning the International Junior Science Olympiad. We have a lot of friends who become reliable partners. Let us use all of those potential and asset to improve the way we practice good governance and good corporate government in Indonesia.
Let me end by saying that, we are very serious in improving our quality of good governance. And among others, reflected in our progress in combating corruption, terrorism and … I believe most of you are now aware. But I strongly believe that with the help of ICT, with the contribution of ICT, we can do more, we can achieve more. And I believe that kind of thesis. Let work together to build our beloved country, to master and advance our IT, to develop not only our economy, but to develop a whole nation to be gain, a prosperous, peaceful, democratic and just nation.

And by saying alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alaim, this symposium I declare, close.

Thank you.

* * * * *


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