Trying to woo investors, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday promised to step up efforts to combat corruption, terrorism, bird flu and other threats to the stability of Southeast Asia's largest country.
Addressing about 400 company executives and diplomats at a business conference in Singapore, Yudhoyono also said his government was committed to the process of democratization and to creating a more favourable climate for investment.
"With the successful reforms, Indonesia will be an easy, attractive and profitable place for businesses, local and foreign, to grow," Yudhoyono said in a luncheon speech at the Forbes Global CEO Conference. "I promise to do all I can to make it one of your best investment decisions."
Yudhoyono said his administration has been taking concrete measures to tackle an endemic corruption problem that has chased businesses away in the past.
"My government has now launched an anti-corruption campaign that is perhaps unprecedented in our nation's history. Our anti-corruption measures have spared no one from the arms of the law," he said.
Yudhoyono said his country would continue to intensify its fight against terrorism through direct operations as well as by tackling poverty.
He also said that Indonesia, the country worst hit by bird flu, has been taking steps to curb the virus's spread and prepare for the possibility of a flu pandemic, by vaccinating poultry and stockpiling flu medicines. He acknowledged, however, that more needed to be done.
To attract investment, he said, lawmakers were working to revise legislation and policies. He added that the government was "fully committed" to lowering corporate taxes while expanding the country's tax base.
"In our new draft bill, we plan to lower corporate tax from 30 per cent down to 25 per cent by 2010," Yudhoyono said. Yudhoyono, who took office in October 2004 as Indonesia's first directly elected president, was also to meet later on Monday with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with whom he would discuss regional and bilateral issues.