Just a few days ahead of Indonesia’s general election, Go-Jek Founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim offered words of support for the incumbent Joko Widodo (Jokowi), according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Makarim, speaking at the company’s ceremony for its drivers, merchants and other partners, said he was grateful for the “working cabinet” and expressed gratitude that the the government viewed technology as a key contributor to economic growth.
Jokowi leveraged the event to make a campaign stop and said that the digital economy is key to the future of Indonesia. He also congratulated the startup for achieving Decacorn status (being valued over US$10 billion).
Widodo is hoping that the support from Indonesia’s largest startup can help him regain momentum in the polls, especially amongst millennials, whose support remains uninspired. For example, according to the article, Jokowi publically defended Bukalapak after the CEO Achmad Zacky criticised the government.
To him, the startup ecosystem in Indonesia is one path for Jokowi to regain a bit of the ‘cool factor’ he has lost as President.
For Makarim, supporting the Widodo administration is a calculated risk. The business community is often hesitant to dive headfirst into politics, under the logic that if things go astray it could hurt their company.
A notable example of this is AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, who had to publically apologies for backing Najib Rajak during the 2018 Malaysian election. AirAsia shares also tumbled after Mahathir Bin Mohamad won the campaign.
Although Jokowi is considered the favourite ahead of tomorrow’s polls, it is not a foregone conclusion that he will win.
As for the competition, Prabowo Subianto is working to woo the business community by proposing an eight per cent corporate tax cut. According to the article, local business leaders are dubious that he can follow through with this campaign promise.