Indonesia caused controversy for choosing singers as G20 spokesman
Indonesia, the G20 president, chose a 27-year-old singer with no diplomatic experience as the forum’s spokesperson and the decision caused controversy.
Ayunda Faza Maudya, 27-year-old singer and actress, has been appointed as the spokesperson for Indonesia’s G20 presidency from March 31. Ayunda takes on this role as Indonesia faces the daunting task of ensuring the group’s balance as the conflict in Ukraine erupts. Russian delegates were invited to the G20 meeting in Washington, USA, this week, despite a series of other countries threatening to boycott the event.
Critics say the appointment of the singer is part of an effort by the government of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to better connect with the country’s young population, which is facing high unemployment. He has appointed a series of celebrities, entrepreneurs or children of tycoons to political positions. More than half of Indonesia’s 273 million people are under the age of 35, and the unemployment rate among the 16 to 30 age group hovered at 14% last year.
“This symbolic appointment is part of an effort to defuse criticism among young people over important issues like employment or public service,” said Wasisto Raharjo Jati, a political researcher at the Foundation. Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency. “The government is leaning towards the privileged urban youth who fit the idea they want to promote, while ignoring the majority of those with low to moderate incomes and living in rural areas. rural areas”.
Young Indonesians have an unemployment rate more than double the national average of 6.5%. Despite job training programs and state scholarships for higher education, about one-fifth of them neither work nor attend school. These are alarming numbers for Indonesia’s goal of becoming a high-income economy by 2045.
Ayunda had neither diplomatic nor economic experience. During her first press conference, she appeared to ignore questions about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would attend the upcoming G20 meeting in Indonesia. The organizers asked journalists to ask about her personality.
Ayunda said that as a member of a group of spokespeople, her role is to report on the outcomes of G20 meetings that involve Indonesia, while sensitive matters will be handled by other representatives.
Dedy Permadi, a spokesman for the Indonesian Ministry of Communications, said that Ayunda was chosen because she can reach a wider public, especially young people.
Irfan Wahyudi, deputy dean of the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Airlangga University, Indonesia, said that Ayunda was appointed because she had studied abroad and she also fits the government’s goal of creating role models for young people. But for the G20, Indonesia needs a representative who can speak on behalf of the country on global issues, Wahyudi stressed.
According to analysts, there are also doubts as to whether the appointment of young faces like Ayunda will really attract support from young Indonesians.
Hasanuddin Ali, chief executive officer at research firm Alvara Strategic, said young Indonesians are primarily concerned with economic issues such as access to education, employment and a supportive environment for startups. Last week, thousands of college students took to the streets to protest the rising cost of food and fuel.
“These appointments are more of a embellishment. They don’t really have significant power to influence policymaking,” he said.
Vu Hoang (According to Bloomberg)
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