JAKARTA, Mar 5, 2021, Kyodo. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called on his cabinet ministers and other government officials to push a “hate foreign products” campaign to support the country’s small-and-medium enterprises, Kyodo News Agency reported.
In a speech to open a national meeting of government officials dealing with trade affairs on Thursday, the president said, “Calls for loving Indonesian products must continuously be echoed.”
“Echo calls for hating foreign products as well,” he said in the meeting, which was also attended by trade attaches of foreign embassies in Jakarta.
The president, widely known as “Jokowi,” said strong policies and strategies are needed to develop the market for Indonesia’s local products, particularly during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
At shopping malls, Joko said, “We shall start shifting (foreign products) to non-strategic places” and give the strategic spaces to local brands.
The president’s remarks, however, quickly drew negative responses from netizens, who mostly expressed disagreement with the premise that to love local products, one has to hate foreign products.
One person took to Twitter to address the president, saying, “You intend to call on the people to love local products more. However, surely it doesn’t mean that they should hate foreign products. If you hate foreign products, it means…you should not allow imported goods. Are you ready?”
While another netizen wrote, “What kind of a statement is this? Are you ready if other countries do the same thing to Indonesian products?”
The government and non-governmental organisations campaigned to “buy your neighbours’ and friends’ products” to help those losing jobs due to the pandemic.
According to Statistics Indonesia, as of August last year, 29.12 million Indonesians of working age have been affected by the pandemic.
Among them, 4.33 million lost their jobs, and 24.03 million others had their working hours cut. Meanwhile, among the new workforce, 760,000 had not been able to find work.