Salient to Investors:

William Pesek writes:

Indonesians are outraged over bikinis but not over the right target of obscene levels of graft, and policies that have made the rupiah Asia’s most pathetic currency. The more voters obsess about exposed skin, the less the fraudulent class has to worry about being exposed.

The risk of Indonesia plummeting into free fall, like in 1997, is quite small because its banks are much healthier, the government is far more transparent, and the central bank is sitting on $93 billion of currency reserves, while short-term foreign-currency debt levels are manageable.

Foreign-direct investment trends still suggests Indonesia has a bright future, with vast stores of natural resources and 26 percent of the population of 250 million under 15.

The widening deficit and current account in shortfall for 7 straight quarters is causing hot money to flee.

Inadequate ports, highways, refineries and power grids are squandering Indonesia’s chances of attracting manufacturing jobs that are now going to China, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Corruption remains rampant. In 2012, Indonesia fell 18 places in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

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