Country better under Yudhoyono: Survey

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In contrast to Indonesian pollsters who have recently reported poor approval ratings for the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration, an Australian pollster said Thursday the public felt the government had done a good job of improving conditions in Indonesia.

Roy Morgan Research, an Australian market research and public opinion polling company, found in its Good Governance Monitor that the Yudhoyono government is continuing to improve its performance on four key issues: trust, management, corruption and democracy.

"Only 39 percent of respondents now agree with the statement, "I don't trust the current government", down from 41 percent at the end of 2005," the survey reported.

Debnath Guharoy, the Asian regional director for Roy Morgan Research, said that as the public recovered from the painful impact of twin fuel price hikes in 2005 it had once again thrown its weight behind the government.

"Despite natural calamities in Indonesia and spiraling fuel prices across the globe, that's a creditable outcome. I say that knowing that Indonesians are easy to please and ready to forgive," Guharoy said.

Every 90 days Roy Morgan Research interviews more than 6,000 respondents aged 14 and older, randomly picked across Indonesia's 16 provinces and covering more than 90 percent of the country's population.

The pollster interviewed 6,233 people during the April-June quarter. It talks to more than 25,000 respondents annually.

The survey found 60 percent of respondents believed the government had done a good job of running the country.

The belief that "corruption is a major problem affecting this country" remains entrenched among the overwhelming majority of Indonesians.

Responding to popular indictments and unpopular verdicts, this measurement dipped only marginally in the second quarter of 2006 and remained close to 90 percent.

The public has also grown comfortable with democracy.

"Seventy-six percent agree with the statement that democracy is working in Indonesia," the survey found.

A number of other pollsters, however, have painted a different picture of the Yudhoyono government's performance.

A poll done by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) between April 23 and April 27 found that only 37 percent of the public approved of Yudhoyono's job performance, the lowest rating he has registered in his 18 months in office.

Just 37.9 percent said they were satisfied with Yudhoyono's overall performance, a nose dive from the 79.7 percent recorded 18 months before, when he first assumed office.

A report from the World Bank and its financial arm, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), has concluded that Indonesia remains one of the more difficult places in the world to do business.

In terms of friendliness to foreign investors, Indonesia ranked 135th of 175 countries surveyed in the report.
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