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Evening all - this is Aisyah @BRITgrlINDOfood logging in to take you through the final debate before the presidential election on Wednesday.

I'm a little surprised it was scheduled tonight as Jokowi is coming from a huge concert held at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
Prabowo has arrived at the debate venue fashionably early which I enjoy - or perhaps he was just at a loose end.

Either way, talking about of Prabowo, here's an interview with the man himself published today in the Guardian.

While we wait for something to happen, perhaps now is a good time to say I adore coverage of Prabowo by foreign correspondents.

The terror is always palpable.

Let us begin with the aforementioned Guardian piece...
"Prabowo Subianto is not the type of man you want to inadvertently enrage – especially not while seated directly across from him in his private jet, flying thousands of feet above the Java Sea."

Exhibit 2:

"As he speaks, a waiter is methodically cutting a Peking duck in the background, using surgical gloves and an extremely sharp carving knife – precisely the sort of incisive military operation of which the general would approve."

Exhibit 3:

"You, as a foreigner, you come here and ask Indonesians, why do you visit a hardliner?" His voice rises: "You see, this is exactly the Western press, you come here and you only ask me about the FPI."

Jokowi has arrived at the scene looking fresh as a daisy despite having been entertaining the masses at GBK all afternoon.

I, on the other hand, am knackered.

How does he do it?

We're about to start...

Tonight's topics: Economy and welfare, finance and investment, trade and industry.

Should be fun.

Am still here...we're just having some inter-faith prayers before it all kicks off.

It's the transparent box part of the evening which an adjudicator confidently assures us is to ensure "transparency".
Prabowo is off...

Most of Indonesia's money is going abroad and is not benefiting the country.

Indonesia produces nothing on it's own.


On the campaign trail I met so many optimistic voters. Mothers, millennial, farmers, fishermen.

He met Ibu Nurjana in Langkat.
Who is Ibu Nurjana?

"We are improving infrastructure all over Indonesia not just Java. We are not Java-centric, we are Indonesia-centric."

Good line.

Jokowi is now showing off a series of cards which are linked to various programmes to help Indonesian citizens with education, employment and food subsidies.

We've now reached the questions part of the night - 43 minutes after the debate started.

Theme: Economy.
Question: what concrete policies do you have in place to keep prices of commodities stable?

We need to make sure we don't just export raw products.

We have to twin our online ecosystems with our offline ecosystems.

The problem is that our economy is going in the wrong direction.

There is no strategy in place by the government.

Why has Jokowi approved so many imports?

We need a reorientation of our strategy to stop money flowing abroad.

Prabowo and Sandi need to understand the differences between micro and macro industries.
Jokowi is giving both a dressing down and an education on the differences and how it's not easy to address these issues.

Prabowo and Sandi have frozen smiles.

I'm not faulting Jokowi.

We as citizens have failed and we need to turn things around. We need to be brave and plan for the future.

This is a big problem but I don't blame Jokowi, all the previous presidents before him are also responsible.

Next question.

Theme: Welfare.
Q: What concrete schemes do you have to involve women in the workplace and how will you counter discrimination and harassment?
Prabowo: "We chose a female president."

This is a reference to Megawati Sukarnoputri who was not democratically elected.


Women in Indonesia need easier access to work opportunities and support.

He brings up OK-OCE.

Ma'ruf Amin speaks!

"Beribu-ribu ibu-ibu merasa tolong".

We are going to give training to women so they can receive "classic knowledge" as many don't have mentors.

We will help them to get permits to operate business from home which at the moment is difficult. We will do this using...

[all together now]


We want to see Indonesian women being productive with their own businesses and have put programmes in place for the past 2 and a half years to assist with this.
Next question.

Theme: Finance and investment.
Q: How would you raise with the tax ratio in Indonesia?

We should be getting 400 trillion from taxes but we only receive 200 trillion, so 200 trillion is going missing.

In 1997, at the time of the New Order, the tax ratio was higher and now we are losing 60 milliar per year.

If we take too much in taxes it will lead to an economic shock.

We already had a tax amnesty.
Prabowo: I didn't say we should suddenly raise taxes.

We need to widen our tax base. We need to be brave and chase people who avoid paying their taxes.
Sandi: We are going to lower taxes for individuals who will feel this immediately in their pockets.
Jokowi: I read that Prabowo is going raise taxes from 10% to 16% but whatever.

Jokowi then goes on to say that the policies Sandi and Prabowo have put forward for businesses for ex to file taxes already exist called "e-filing".
Next question:

Theme: Trade and industry.
Q: What is your concrete strategy to realise the economic potential of shariah finance?

We want Indonesia to become an Islamic Finance Centre.

We will do this using Fintech and with products that are more "market friendly".

We want to stimulate the halal industry not just in Indonesia but abroad. Our halal standard is now a global standard.
Sandi: We need to position ourselves as a country that can produce halal products. We need an ecosystem to do this.

We have so many shariah products here. I just met with producers of herbal shariah products who need help to export them.

We need should not rely on imports.
Ma'ruf: We have long been building our halal product industry and Islamic finance.

Our halal products are more numerous than other countries.

Jokowi: Next week we are unveiling a "halal park" in Jakarta.
Sandi: We are the most populous Muslim nation on earth, why is Jakarta not the center of shariah finance?
We now move to my nemesis - the "open portion" of the debate.
They just go on and on and on and on and on and on...
First question from Jokowi - what is Prabowo going to do to digiltalise the export industry? (e-ports).

Oh that is harsh. Everything Prabowo hates in one sentence.

He wisely passes the question to Sandi.
Sandi: We want to get back to entrepreneurship. The key is making it accessible.

Don't let Indonesia just focus on imports. We need to facilitate the government to work with young people to train them. We need an ecosystem based on the digital economy.

Jokowi: We need to quickly respond to change. Like AI, virtual reality, bitcoin (and some others I didn't catch).

We need to build a healthy ecosystem for gamers to improve the gaming industry.

Jokowi is too tech for me - I have no idea what he's talking about.
Prabowo: I am going to focus my wisdom on things like food needs, farmers, fishermen, teachers.

Digital is good but people need food at low prices! That is what I'm going to focus on!
Sandi...(thank God he's there) steps in quickly.

He's telling a story about a millennial he met who was selling rice or something and how we can make the farming sector online so everyone is happy.
Sandi is up now with a question: what is your strategy to make us powerful so we can export not just import and open our markets like previous governments?
In 2018 we indeed had a deficit of USD 8 billion.

We are working on replacing the things we now import, we have set up refineries. The key is to grow our industries in-country. Industrialisation is the key and we need to force this with knowledge.

We need transfer pricing.
Sandi: If we open the doors wide for imports then prices in-country will go up.

We have a "Big Push Strategy".

We have plans so farmers can get fertilizer cheaply (and other stuff).

Stop imports!
"Big Push Strategy"

Oh not this again...

Jokowi says Prabowo and Sandi are confused about the differences between micro and macro industry.

They are very different. We need to understand.

Prabowo and Sandi, to their credit, smile genially when accused again of being dense.
Oh no...more questions...

Sandi: Sorry Mr. President. I met Ibu Nujana (of the aforementioned Langkat). The people want economic change. They gave us a letter.

He's reading the letter...
OK so the question was how are we going to make BUMN (the Minsitry of State Owned Enterprises) world class?
Jokowi: We need to open the field up so private companies can access capital more easily.
Prabowo: Blomberg did a study about the break even point of aircraft and how many seats needed to be filled to do so.

Garuda (the state airline) was found to have needed 120% capacity. Which is impossible.
What is this study? Someone please tweet it at me - don't have time to look.
Jokowi: We have accrued the majority of Freeport, BUMN needs to do more acquisitions of this kind.

If we always look at things pessimistically we will never advance. We must be optimistic.
Ma'ruf now with a question: Elites have the majority of wealth. Maybe both of you [Prabowo and Sandi] are part of these elites.

Ouch. But true.
Prabowo: I always say I'm part of the 1% - I've never tried to hide it. Don't look at my wealth, look at my principles.

I am 1% who loves my country, I am 1% patriotic, I am 1% who sticks up for the people.

I am more TNI than TNI (OK he didn't say that - that was last time).
Sandi: With our E-KTP we will have a single identification number. This will help us decrease poverty. We will help framers which will decrease poverty. We will revitalise the food and energy industries.

With our OK-OCE programme will open 2 million new businesses. (?!?)
In short they will fix everything.
Right- summing up.

Ma'ruf Amin: Infrastructure and reform, we [this government] have been working on these for years. We have been working on social welfare.

But our work is not yet done. We need to continue in order for Indonesia to prosper. We are sure we can do it.
Jokowi: Poverty is now in single digits. We should not be afraid of the challenges and problems ahead. We need to face them.

Don't be pessimistic, don't give up easily, we need to always be optimistic.
We need to encourage everyone we know to go to the polling stations on 17 April and exercise our right to vote.
Sandi: We want to thank Indonesia. We promise we will not receive any salary if we are chosen to serve Indonesia.

This is about the future for our children and grandchildren.
He has a catchy slogan which he is repeating over and over again:

TPS (Tusuk Prabowo Sandi) which means "Stab Prabowo Sandi" [on the voting paper obviously].

Sandi ends with "Your turn bro" to Prabowo.
Prabowo is refuting a number of things Jokowi brought up in his answers, such as the acquisition of Freeport.

He thanks everyone who helped in the campaign including the ulama and everyone who donated money.

Ends with "Prabowo Sandi will defend all of you".
Weak endings from both imo.

This was the last debate before Election Day and I wanted rousing speeches and definitely shrieking and pounding the podium from Prabowo.

Subdued - all of 'em.
Best of the night - by a mile in my opinion - was Sandi.

Presidential material one day for sure...but am not sure I see a vice-presidency in his near future.
It's hugs and kisses all round and I'm bereft it's over for another 5 years.

From the 5 debates we were treated to, the polls, and the rest of the campaign fodder, I don't think Jokowi has anything to worry about.

See you back here on 17 April to test that theory.

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