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Capital Markets

Asia: Mulyani rides to Indonesia’s rescue (again)

Recalled from Washington by a reform-minded president struggling to fulfil his election promises, Sri Mulyani Indrawati is pushing through a wholesale reform of Indonesia’s tax system. But it is not just about boosting revenues; for Mulyani it also symbolizes the beginning of a new era for the country.



Mulyani paper plane-600

Illustration: Kevin February



Indonesians well remember the moment when their popular finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati unexpectedly resigned her post in 2010, defeated by the country’s venal money politics, her reform work unfinished. It was a dark time, as Indonesians fretted that their most trusted public official had been crushed and, with her demise, so too their hard-fought struggle to reform after generations of kleptocratic dictatorship.

Bruised and, for that moment at least, bowed after losing a brutal battle with the country’s powerful oligarchs, Mulyani responded in time-honoured local style. She sang.





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