Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 12/28/2008 8:33 AM
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on the nation to stay optimistic in facing the coming impacts of the global economic crisis, while highlighting the importance of promoting harmony among followers of different religions.
In his speech to mark the national celebration of Christmas at the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday evening, the President said the nation should remain united in dealing with the economic crisis.
“We have to be positive that our country will not plunge into crisis if we build togetherness and solidarity,” he told thousands of Christians during the event.
He added that as well as the economic crisis, the global community has to deal with various problems, such as terrorism, natural disasters and poverty.
The world should take concerted action to address these issues, he added.
Yudhoyono reiterated the importance of building religious harmony and tolerance among different groups, taking into account that Indonesia is a plural nation.
“We should not perpetrate anarchic actions against those with different faiths,” he said.
At the end of his speech, the President highlighted the government’s commitment to improve religious-based development as a foundation for the country’s advancement.
He also said how pleased he was over the peaceful celebration of Christmas nationwide on Thursday, saying it proved there was harmony and trust within the nation.
Among those attending the Christmas celebrations were Vice President Jusuf Kalla and his wife Mufidah Kalla, Cabinet ministers and representatives of neighboring countries.
On Thursday, Yudhoyono and several members of his Cabinet attended a Christmas celebration in Manado, North Sulawesi.
Christmas celebrations across the country were marked in a smooth and peaceful manner on Thursday, with tight security measures in place ensuring no major incidents.
Police said they had worked with church officials to keep the festivities safe.