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President to go on 'safari' during Ramadhan JAKARTA - Recovering from his flu, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to go on tour across the archipelago during the rest of the fasting month in a throwback to the Ramadhan 'safaris' of the New Order period. Susilo's trip will start in the densely populated area of Cilincing, North Jakarta, on Friday. The President, together with some other government officials, will then travel to Banten, South Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara.

During the heyday of the New Order regime, the fasting month was a hectic period for Golkar chairman Harmoko, who was also the information minister. He toured every corner of the country to meet with people and promote the government's development programs. As a result, Golkar under Harmoko won a record 70 percent of the vote in the 1997 election.

Minister of Religious Affairs Maftuh Basyuni said on Thursday that the President had revived the old practice because of its "good objectives." "We intend to meet with the people. There is a possibility that the President will hold dialogs face to face with people in the areas he will visit," Maftuh said after a meeting with the President at the latter's office. Although nominated by the minuscule Democratic Party, Susilo, an Army general during Soeharto's New Order, won an outright majority in the direct presidential election last year.

Since taking office, Susilo has introduced policies to keep him close to the people. most notably a text message number that enables people to convey their problems or complaints directly to him. But his administration's decision to raise fuel prices by an average 126 percent has sparked anger not only among the public, but also some politicians in the House of Representatives.

Maftuh said the President would use the opportunity provided by Ramadhan to improve communication with people through religious activities. On Friday, the President will open a basic commodities bazaar for the needy at the Cilincing district offices before breaking the fast with poor people at the Nurul Jihad Mosque in Kalibaru subdistrict.

Next in the agenda is a visit to Banten on Oct. 17, to South Kalimantan on Oct. 20, when the President is slated to observe the revelation of the Koran religious festival, to Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi on Oct. 24 and to Ampenan in West Nusa Tenggara on Oct. 31.



Posted in Ramadan @ 14 October 2005 07:23 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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