It is indeed an honor to be in the presence of this very distinguished group.
As a professional soldier, never did I dream, much less expect, that I would be a recipient of an award strange to my profession. It is, therefore, with a feeling of humility that I express my most profound gratitude to the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation in general, and to the members of the Board of Trustees in particular, for having been granted the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.
I recall that I was none too happy when, on the 28th of April 1966, I was appointed Governor of the City of Djakarta. I was aware that the task entrusted to me was one which was completely foreign to my background and experience. I embarked upon the task as the community was going through a transitional period, infected with mutual distrust.
Under these circumstances it became my obsession, in exercising the multifarious duties of Regional Chief Administrator, to place public interests over and above group or personal interests.
I found, in the first few weeks of my administration, a city replete with confusion and not properly managed. Social welfare programs were nonexistent. Population growth proceeded at a high rate and the community was heterogeneous—technically and socioeconomically. The administration system and apparatus was an instrument of the spoils system, peculiar to the political condition and atmosphere at that time. The political-psychological climate was highly unfavorable due to the deteriorating confidence of the people in the city administration.
Such a situation required a pledge on my part to provide leadership dedicated to the restoration of the people’s confidence in the administration. A leadership that could attend meticulously and properly to the needs of the community. A leadership that could take positive decisions, timely and accurately, and furnish adequate and effective measures to cope with any contingency. A leadership based, to a large extent, on humanitarian principles and respect for individual rights regardless of social status, political conviction or religious affiliation. A leadership able to formulate pragmatic political policies aimed at minimizing ideological controversies which, as history taught us, hampers national progress and more often than not, leads to disaster.
As I started the administration of the city, I found out that charisma alone is not enough leadership-quality to surmount the enumerable problems of the city.
There were calculated risks I had to take and I had to neutralize challenges to my program of public order and improvements. At the same time, I had an open mind on constructive criticism and an open heart to chose that wished me well. It was indeed difficult and crying to introduce new ideas, especially to a community reluctant to accept a change because of its culture, background and exposure.
I had imposed upon myself, as Governor of the City of Djakarta, the dual role of administrator and community leader. The accomplishment, modest as it might be, of the mission to “modernize and develop” the city was a direct result of combining the two basic functions.
As in any city in the world, the maintenance of peace and order is a requisite to progress. There were times when, in the discharge of this responsibility, I had to risk personal popularity because I stepped on many political toes. It was and still is my determined aim to be firm of purpose and free from vacillation and timidity insofar as political interference is concerned on matters inherent to the tranquility of the city.
Please allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to add with all sincerity that the achievements during the last five years, judging by the needs of the people, are yet far from satisfactory. We feel that we are still lagging 10 to 15 years behind other neighboring metropolises on infrastructure and development. But we will try to catch up, in our own Malayan way.
Whatever success we have so far achieved, we have done so, firstly, on the basis of the attitude we have adopted and the management policies we have pursued which could very well be the guidelines of my successors; and secondly, on the basis of the people’s renewed faith and confidence in the administration and leadership of his Excellency, President Suharto.
Again, let me thank you for your indulgence.
May God Almighty shower blessings upon all of us today and henceforth.