Friday, December 03, 2010

Indonesia – the Next Economic Powerhouse?

Nine out of ten Malaysians who read the title of this post would think I am crazy. Indonesia is a poor country plagued by natural disaster, terrorism and racial conflicts. Its men work in Malaysia as construction site workers, and its women as domestic helpers. How can Indonesia ever be an economic powerhouse!??

Well, if you don’t trust me, you should at least take a hint from Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, founder of AirAsia and an idol among many Malaysians. Fernandes told Bloomberg TV in an interview that the airlines’ Indonesia business may surpass its Malaysian unit “in the not-so-distant future”.

His remarks hardly surprised me. Indonesia has a population of 238 million, making it the 4th most populous country in the world. Its GDP is $670 billion. (Malaysia’s is $213 billion.) IMF estimates that Indonesia’s GDP will grow at 6% in 2010 and 2011, a very commendable figure. Indonesia is a large, untapped market, which was why Fernandes was optimistic of it.

Indonesia is also a member of Group of 20 (G20), while Malaysia is not. Some observers have added the island nation into the rank of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). These five emerging economies are collectively known as BRIIC. A 2008-issue of Newsweek described Indonesia as ‘the new India’. More recently, a Taiwanese magazine (天下雜誌) pointed out that Indonesia, together with Vietnam, are the two bright spots in Asian economy.

So, don’t look down on your Indonesian maid. Ten years from now, we may need to kowtow to Jakarta, much like we kowtow to Beijing now.


  1. I think it should be beyond 10 years for Indonesia to become an economic powerhouse, it is definitely possible over longer run with good goverment that can optimize its vast human resources and land area.

  2. i am never surprise about Indonesia becoming a future powerhourse in economy..

  3. The unexpected can or may happen :)

  4. developing countries are always the preference for investors.. while resources are cheaper, this is one of the most attractive factor for them..

  5. look at Malaysia 20 years ago, and look at Vietnam now, they are really blooming very fast and rapidly..

  6. so really no surprise for Indonesia and given their huge population this could always happen..

  7. All the MLM companies here have eyed and penetrated Indonesian market long ago. They have such a huge population and gullible customers! CNI and K-Link are fierce competitors and alas Amway went in later!

  8. not surprising! am sure their economy will enter the trillion club in a few decades' time. ;)

  9. I compare Indonesia to India, populous countries who could fuel their economy not just by exports, but also by domestic spendings.

    Having a prosperous and stable Indonesia will have a positive effect on all his neighbours.

  10. Grass
    Yes, it will take more than 10 years, but Indonesia will trump Malaysia very soon.

    Mei Teng
    Of course there is no certainty.

    Your analysis is spot on.

    Wow... you know so much.

  11. kyh
    Trillion club... a nice name :P

    No problem :)

    I hope Indonesia will not bully Malaysia and Singapore.

  12. I believe Indonesia will overtake Malaysia very very soon. And that time, Malaysians might be the ones working as maids in Indonesia! Haha!

  13. I think Asia in general is definitely going to became more powerful in the future, thank to a young educated and mobile population. That's only fair, the West ruled long enough!

  14. that's what they termed it! ;)

  15. I am not surprised!! Does that make me the 10%? Hehe.. Indonesia is so populous, it reminds me of China!

  16. Let's work as domestic worker in Indonesia! :D

  17. foongpc
    Indonesia is already ahead of Malaysia in terms of GDP.

    Oh... Indonesians are really mobile.


    You're intelligent!

    I must learn to cook!

  18. With 60% of her population illeterate and jobless, unlikely.

    We now have to endure our ‘serumpun’ wanting to Ganyang Malaysia. Since the 1960’s if I recall correctly, Indonesia has been obsessed about this ‘ganyang’ - for more than 50 years! Their demagogue leaders produced and their media too got suckered into sensationalizing anything against anti-Malaysia sentiments. With mainstream Indonesian’s poor academic background, not able to comprehend what goes on outside their ‘kampong’ became gullible to the garbage their media put forth as well.
    Further, it keeps them preoccupied with things while the leaders squander from their money. Really not that much different than Malaysia, at least Malaysians can read in more than 3 languages and can have a much better perspective of life then the Indonesians. Thanks to Tun Dr. Mahathir who brought IT literacy to us, or we could have succumb to the same IQ of the Indonesians. I’m not generalizing but agree that both side of the fence has some good portion of gullible imbeciles.
    What is the point of bragging the size of their GDP when 62% of Indonesians don’t have any savings in the bank? - Jakarta Globe. What is the purpose of advertising their firepower being ranked # 18 in the world when one can’t use it for any real war? This new era, even a single accidental missile launch can land the country in trouble; the whole world will be up their @$$ in no time. -UN. And you know who and their allies will be more than happy to take over their soil, confiscate the assets and its resources. As a bonus, they might sanction an economic embargo.
    Instead, use that wealth to create jobs so that your citizens don’t waste so much of their creative time on Facebook and YouTube. Teach them English that will allow them to read and understand what is the majority of the world’s mentality on war and culture. Culture theft, is another issue I can’t understand.
    • Can the Arabs “ganyang” Asia for aping their religion?
    • Or can the Mayan’s sue modern man for copying their calendar?
    • Cab the British go to war that we ‘maling’ their English language?
    • What is Indonesia’s plan with their culture?
    • Well you claim you are culture rich, but whats the big deal?
    • Who are these Malaysians - are we some alien mercenaries?

  19. Another Smart post from you Admin :)

  20. With 60% of her population illeterate and jobless? seriously? do you make your own wikipedia?

    here they are the facts:

    1.Today Indonesia is the lone member 0f G20 from ASEAN, where is your country? Jim O'Neill the godfather of economy said that Indonesia is the sweet spot for BRICS expansion.

    2. Indonesian middle class people boosting up so much, today we have 150 million middle class people who can afford 2 cars, 24/7 internet connection, travel abroad and they are badass food addicts. last time i checked, Malaysian population is 28 m and not all of you are rich people, say hello to your countrymen in Sarawak or simply just take a look to Malay families in Ipoh :)

    3. Freedom of religion embrace is guaranteed by constitution, today we have 6 "agama rasmi" while your country still struggling to enlist Christian and Buddha. so who can laugh now?

    4. we don't have any media controlled by government or just like utusan malaysia which very UMNO or govt biased.

    5. Racial issue is sooo 1998, we move on and now in 2012 we are stable society and chinese in Indonesia don't have to worry to be labelled as "kiasu" from their bumiputera politicians, because racial slur is simply vanish long time ago, chinese and javanese or chinese and betawi even run for office with combined efforts and powers.

    racial issue in Malaysia is really nasty and laughable for Indonesians, and in internet news portal like beritasemasa, we can always find hotheaded malays accusing Chinese people with their religious hocus pocus, we're simply sorry for you, racial issue is YOUR problem, we can't even afford to be hating each other based on our skin tone in Indonesia, form Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua.

    "at least Malaysians can read in more than 3 languages"
    oh please don't be so silly, my friend, a malay boy from Bukit Mertajam, hardly speaking in Chinese!

    dear Malaysians, we are so much improving right now, save your accusing words and your silly hate speech for yourself and for Alitstar, start to learn in proper english before you humiliating yourself :)terimakasih.

    and Kheng Siong, semoga kamu kembali jalan jalan ke Indonesia ya :D