National Day Message by Mr. Mohammad Zahir Syah Soedajat, Charge d’Affairs of  the Embassy of Indonesia in Sofia

Today, 17th of August 2020, Indonesia is celebrating its 75th Independence Day. At the age of 75, Indonesia has emerged as an upper-middle income country and in the next 25 years, at the centenary of the Republic of Indonesia, everyone’s hard work will achieve great progress and make Indonesia a developed country.

This year’s Independence Day commemoration is different from the previous ones.The weeks before the 17th should have been filled with various competitions, crowds full of joy, and carnivals to celebrate and enliven the 75th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia. However, every single thing that we had planned had to be completely changed.

Here at the Indonesian Embassy in Sofia, we celebrate the Independence Day humbly, keeping with the health protocol, without a big crowd, without diplomatic reception. Nevertheless, this cannot diminish our gratitude in commemorating the 75th Independence Day of Indonesia.

The whole world is currently facing these hard times amid the Covid-19 pandemic. All countries, whether they are underdeveloped, developing, or developed have been experiencing setbacks due to Covid-19. The upcoming economic crisis is expected to be the worst in history.

In the first quarter of 2020, the Indonesian economy grew by 2.97% but in the second quarter, the growth contracted by 5.32%. Economies of developed countries even reported a negative growth, even reaching more than -10% to -17/-20%. Those setbacks can serve as a momentum for Indonesia to catch up. The current economic situation is analogous to a computer crash in which countries are currently facing stagnation. All countries must undergo a brief process of shutdown, restart and reboot. And all countries have the opportunity to reset all their systems.

We, Indonesians, believe that we have to make the momentum of the pandemic as a new awakening and to make a big leap. This is the time for us to fundamentally renew and make major transformations by implementing grand strategies in the field of economy, law, governance, social, culture, health and education. We must turn this crisis into an opportunity to make the big leap.

In order to do that, Indonesia must undertake fundamental reforms in the way we work. Our readiness and speed are being tested. Firstly, the Government have to continue taking extraordinary measures in the struggle to curb the spread of Covid-19. Everything must be done quickly in a very short time.

Secondly, as the health crisis brings an impact on our economy, Indonesia also has to take swift actions, providing social assistance for the people in the forms of staple food assistance, cash assistance, electricity fee discount and subsidy, village cash assistance and salary subsidy.

On the other hand, productive and innovative national ecosystem cannot grow without favorable legal, political, cultural, and educational ecosystems. All policies must be prioritized to become environmentally-friendly and promote protection of human rights.

The noble values of "Pancasila", the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and our national unity, are where our strength lies. National education system should prioritize religious values, develop strong and noble human characters, and excel in innovation and technology.

In terms of Indonesia-Bulgaria good relations, we can see how the friendship between our two countries continues to flourish. As we tighten the socio-cultural understanding between us, we currently enjoy the economic benefits of it. This was proven by almost 400% increase of the value between Bulgaria and Indonesia in 2018 and more than 500% increase of trade balance, in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the previous years. We do hope our partnership continues to grow in the future.

At this 75th anniversary, there are still many big steps forward that Indonesia has to make. There are still 25 years left for us to usher in the centenary of the Independence Day of Indonesia and build Indonesia that we aspire for. Indonesia’s current goal is not only to escape the pandemic and to get through the crisis but to make the big leap by using the momentum of the ongoing crisis, which is allowing us to catch up and make major transformations by implementing grand strategies. We are a country on par with the other countries. We are becoming the Advanced Indonesia that we aspire to be.

*The content, positions, and facts of this speech are taken from President Joko Widodo’s Independence Day speech, 16 August 2020.

The photo was provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: Mr. Mohammad Zahir Syah Soedajat, Charge d’Affairs of  the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the Republic of Bulgaria and his colleagues humbly celebrate the Independence Day, keeping with the health protocol, at a modest ceremony in the courtyard of the Embassy