An SBY post-mortem

AspinallThe Yudhoyono Presidency: Indonesia’s Decade of Stability and Stagnation, an edited collection from Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, is reviewed for JCA by Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1170189).

Edited by Edward Aspinall, Marcus Mietzner and Dirk Tomsa, the book is among the first serious assessments of the presidential terms of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) from 2004 to 2014.

The book is quite comprehensive, covering politics, regionalism, foreign policy, economics, law, human rights, environment, religion, the role of the military and social welfare. It also has several chapters that seek to understand SBY the former military man and elected president.

The reviewer notes some gaps: “Throughout, the book gives little attention to the role of other actors in Indonesia’s political economy, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which played a critical and decisive role in shaping Yudhoyono’s governance, particularly on issues of human rights, corruption, the environment and decentralisation. The role of NGOs is part of a pluralist politics – emphasising a range of actors – along with oligarchic economic actors and the cartelisation of politics in understanding Indonesia’s post-authoritarian political landscape.”

Even so, Hipolitus recommends the collection for its “useful critical assessments of Yudhoyono’s two presidential terms.”

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