One of Indonesia’s richest men and the owner of two new Trump resorts told Breitbart News, in an exclusive interview at Washington’s Trump International Hotel, that he is considering a run for president of Indonesia to reboot his country’s economy. The interview took place one day before his friend Donald J. Trump became president.
“I will make my decision sometime next year,” said Hary Tanoesoedibjo, known commonly as Hary Tanoe, a billionaire with vast media holdings — including radio and television stations, music recording and distribution — as well as an investment portfolio full of real estate, mining, and resort properties. “It is still too early to make up my mind, it depends on the situation,” he said. He is listed as #29 on the Forbes list of the 50 richest men in Indonesia.
Tanoe said he respects the current officeholder, President Joko Widodo, but Joko does not have a track record of getting things done.
Joko was elected in 2014 to a five-year term. Indonesian presidents are limited to two terms.
Tanoe is the leader of the Perindo Party, which is positioning itself as the party of free market solutions.
“Negara harus hadir memajukan pendidikan dan meningkatkan kesejahteraan masyarakat di daerah,” -HT- pic.twitter.com/5M8KoDAsuR
— Hary Tanoesoedibjo (@Hary_Tanoe) January 10, 2017
Twitter translation: “The State must be present to advance education and increase the welfare of the community in the area,”-HT-
If he does run for president of Indonesia, Tanoe said he will run as a businessman working to expand economic opportunity for all.
“The main problem in Indonesia is the widening wealth disparity–we need to narrow it down again,” he said.
The second problem is the poor education system, he said.
“We are left behind. Only 10 percent of the Indonesian population has a college education,” he said.
“These two things are very important,” he said. Other issues Tanoe would address in his campaign are law and order, corruption, drug trafficking, and helping the lower and middle classes prosper. “The majority of the population, more than 70 percent, they live on below $2,000 of annual income. That is very low.”
Tanoe said he is aware that Americans worry about Muslim persecution of Christians in Indonesia, but the reports have been exaggerated.
“Eighty percent of the population is Muslim,” he said. “But, I think with the younger generation, the perception is different.”
The billionaire, who lectures at colleges and universities on the topic of entrepreneurship, said the young people he meets on college campuses are more accepting of Christians than previous generations. “This generation? They see everyone as the same.”
Just more than three years ago, Tanoe said he decided to build two full-spectrum golf course resorts with condominiums, hotel, retail, and theme parks — one in Bali and one in Jakarta — and he was looking for the right kind of partner.
After members of his management team recommended working with the Trump Organization, Tanoe reached out, and two of the president’s children, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, flew to Indonesia to meet him and close the deal. But the deal was not final until Tanoe met with the New York City developer in Manhattan’s Trump Tower to sign the contracts.
When they met, Trump and Tanoe got along naturally, he said.
“He’s a businessman,” Tanoe said of the president, who resigned from his positions inside the Trump Organization. “He is a businessman like me. We are used to working hard and making decisions very fast.”
Both men are the sons of businessmen, so there was a natural simpatico and a respect for building a lasting relationship, he said. “In business, you always try to arrive at a win-win.”
“I want to underline that these are very big projects. Combined they are worth more than $1 billion,” he said. The resorts are set to open at the same time, with the golf courses and country clubs opening first in 2018, and hotels and the rest of the complexes opening in 2019.
In addition to attending all of the top inaugural events, including the swearing in, Tanoe said he and his wife Liliana spent time with the then- president-elect and members of his family in New York City before coming to Washington to see his friend become the 45th president.
The Indonesian billionaire said the soon-to-be president was in great spirits. “I could sense that he was very confident in what he is doing, so I hope I am right.”
Having a businessman as president means that America has a leader aware of the competitive forces at play around the world, he said.
Tanoe said he was tracking the president’s promise to bring back manufacturing and manufacturing jobs to the United States.
“Those are good jobs,” he said. “I think focusing on jobs is a good move. I think it is a good experience for U.S. citizens, because it is the first time a businessman to run the country.”
When he signed deals with the president, Tanoe said he had no idea that Trump going to be the next president of the United States.
It is fair to guess that when they met, Trump did not expect Tanoe to become the next president of Indonesia.