"Widjojo actually took Indonesia out of the trap of guided economy policy."
Jum'at, 9 Maret 2012, 11:28 WIB
VIVAnews – An architect of the national economy during the New Order regime, Widjojo Nitisastro, passed away today, March 9, at 84. The body will be rested in Bappenas building and will be buried at heroes' cemetery of Kalibata, South Jakarta.
During his life, Widjojo is known as one of Indonesia’s most respected economists. Widjojo was an important figure in developing economic policies during the administration of President Soeharto.
The policies were carried out by Widjojo while he served as the Minister of National Development Planning between 1971 and 1973. He later on became the Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry, as well as the Head of National Development Planning.
When Indonesia was under monetary crisis, Soeharto trusted Widjojo to take measures in order to rescue Indonesia from the malaise. The decision was announced by the Minister of Information, Hartono, and the Governor of Bank of Indonesia, Soedrajat Jiwandono at Bina Graha, October 9, 1997.
Widjojo is also known as part of the Berkeley Mafia, a term given to a group of U.S.-educated Indonesian economists. He was attributed to the term as he led an economic team which consisted mostly of doctors and masters graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. This team was believed to embrace US-style liberal economy.
The term was coined by David Ransom, a New Left Wing activist in USA, in a magazine called Ramparts, 4th edition in 1970. In the article, Ransom accused the Berkeley Mafia as a US project, especially CIA, to overthrow Soekarno and to eliminate communism in Indonesia.
However, the accusation was rebuffed by Boediono, Indonesia's current Vice President, as well as a student of Widjojo Nitisastro.
“An image is built that if an Indonesian student gets scholarship from a US institution, the student would become a part of CIA’s plan to enable Indonesia to side with the US. This accusation is not fair,” said Boediono in his speech during Widjojo Nitisastro’s book launch in Jakarta, January 14, 2010.
Boediono said that Widjojo actually took Indonesia out of the trap of guided economy policy. “If only he (David Ransom) wrote it now, and witnesses the changes in a socialist nation, maybe he would understand Mr. Widjojo and his team’s new economic policy better,” he said.
“Mr. Widjojo’s vision is no different from the one proclaimed by our founding fathers’ of which principles are to fuse justice and prosperity, equality and growth,” said Boediono