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Challenging Amin-Sandi to enhance Indonesia's innovation

Challenging Amin-Sandi to enhance Indonesia's innovation

Vice Presidential candidate number 01 K.H. Ma'ruf Amin (left) and his contender Sandiaga Uno, running mate of Presidential candidate number 02, (right) attend a third round of debate at Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Sunday (17/3/2019). ANTARA FOTO/Wahyu Putro A/pras.

Only with strong mastery of science and technology, Indonesia will be able to emerge as a well-developed and capable country to face global competition.
The third round of debate of two Indonesian vice presidential candidates, broadcast and live streamed by the country's national TV channels on Sunday evening, highlighted educational, employment, health, as well as social and cultural issues.

In terms of educational issues, the debate's panelists challenged both Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno with a question on research budget in enabling Indonesia to emerge as the world's big five in 2045.

Both Amin and Uno promised to pay a serious attention to the availability of sufficient research funds though these two vice presidential candidates seemed to have a different approach in enhancing Indonesia's research and innovation programs.

Sandiaga Uno who was requested by the debate's moderator to speak first echoed the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair's pledge to prioritize innovation and research programs by emphasizing the importance of a link and match approach.

The link and match approach is so significant that the research outcomes meet the demands of private sectors to help create more job opportunities for the people. However, many research projects in Indonesia have yet to get linked to the needs of business sector.

Therefore, in strengthening the link and match, Uno said Indonesia's reputable universities' research projects need to be linked to the needs and demands of private sectors.

Under the leadership of Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno, the government would also consolidate and synergize the innovation and research programs. It would also provide the private sectors successfully applying their research and development activities with fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

"I have ever managed the research and development funds, I do know that we have so many capable and creative young people," Uno revealed his strong belief that Indonesia would be able to emerge as a well-developed country in the future.

Meanwhile, Ma'ruf Amin vowed to consolidate and synergize the research funds allocated to various ministries and government agencies under a national research agency.

Amin also revealed that the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin pair would also develop a research endowment fund and empower the implementation of a national research roadmap to strengthen Indonesia's research and development activities.

In February this year, the availability of research budget became a hot issue and attracted public attention after Bukalapak founder and CEO, Achmad Zaky, tweeted his comment on Indonesia's R&D (research and development) budget.

Zaky revealed that Indonesia's R&D budget was smaller than those of several other countries and wrote "May a new president be able to increase it (budget)."

Due to his controversial tweet that had made several Twitter users unhappy, the social media platform Twitter was flooded with the hashtag of #uninstallBukalapak.

The controversy might be linked to the phrase "new president" despite the fact that in the tweet, Zaky also revealed the ranks of countries with huge amount of R&D budget.

Zaky has apologized to incumbent President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for his tweet that triggered outrage among Twitter users, who had accused his tweet of favoring one of the presidential candidates.

In response to Indonesia's R&D budget, Jokowi said the government has allocated a relatively huge amount of budget for R&D programs to support Indonesia's efforts to achieve advancement in technological innovations.

"The amount of research and development funds has reached Rp26 trillion, but they are placed in several ministries and government agencies," Jokowi commented on Bukalapak CEO Achmad Zaky's criticism over the R&D budget last February.

To enable the R&D funds to be properly used for helping Indonesia achieve advancement in technological innovations, Jokowi opined that a big institution that could realize the R&D targets was needed.

"There must be a big institution to enable the targeted R&D programs to be properly achieved. By doing so, innovations will appear in our country," Jokowi said, adding that
Indonesia's e-commerce platforms, including Go-Jek, Traveloka, Tokopedia, and Bukalapak need to be supported to develop the economy.

For Chairman of the Indonesian Sciences Academy (AIPI) Professor Satryo Brodjonegoro, Indonesia needs a pair of president and vice president who does care for developing science and technology for the sake of Indonesia's better future.

"Only with strong mastery of science and technology, Indonesia will be able to emerge as a well-developed and capable country to face global competition," he told ANTARA commenting on this debate.

The optimal use of science and technology would enable Indonesia to enhance its self reliance in building the nation and accelerate its national development.

The mastery of science and technology would also enable Indonesia to innovate and respond to various challenges in meeting its needs, including in achieving food security and in stopping its great dependence on imports, Brodjonegoro said.

"If our science and technology remain weak, this country will always rely on imports. It means that we have yet to get well developed and to be able to compete globally."

Therefore, the development of science and technology should be part of the Indonesian presidential and vice presidential candidates' priorities in building the nation so that it would emerge as a country whose economy was generated by innovation, he said.

After watching the performance of these vice presidential candidates, it is up to all eligible voters to choose.

Apart from different approaches that Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno would apply in enhancing Indonesia's research and innovation programs, these two figures share their genuine hope for the emergence of a well-developed Indonesia in 2045.

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