Indonesia’s four richest people as wealthy as 100 million poorest

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Inequality got a new meaning in Indonesia with the release of a recent country study on Indonesia by non-governmental organisation Oxfam that determined that the wealth of the four richest Indonesians is around equal to that of almost 100 million people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Indonesia, with a population of more than 250 million, has the sixth-worst inequality in the world, the report stated. Within Asia, only Thailand is more unequal. In 2016, the wealthiest one per cent of the Indonesian population owned half of total wealth, the report said. In just one day, the richest Indonesian man can earn from interest on his wealth over one thousand times more than what the poorest Indonesians spend on their basic needs for an entire year.

The four richest Indonesians are banking and tobacco magnates Budi and Michael Hartono with an estimated wealth of $8.1 billion and $7.9 billion, respectively, as well as retail czar Chairul Tanjung with $4.9 billion and polyester tycoon Sri Prakash Lohia with $4.2 billion, according to Forbes.

In turn, close to 100 million Indonesians still live on less than $3.10 a day, which is defined by the World Bank as the moderate poverty line.

Oxfam cites “market fundamentalism” that has allowed the richest to capture most of the benefits of nearly two decades of strong economic growth, concentration of land ownership and pervasive gender inequality. Furthermore, the report points out that Indonesia’s tax collection rate is the second-lowest in Southeast Asia and the tax system is “failing to play its necessary role in redistributing wealth.”

To increase the tax take in order to allow more spending on public services such as education and health, Indonesia needs a higher tax rate on the top incomes, higher corporate and inheritance tax and a new wealth tax, Oxfam recommends.

It also criticised that Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has so far failed to fulfill pledges to fight poverty, a target his government originally set as a top priority.

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Inequality got a new meaning in Indonesia with the release of a recent country study on Indonesia by non-governmental organisation Oxfam that determined that the wealth of the four richest Indonesians is around equal to that of almost 100 million people at the bottom of the pyramid. Indonesia, with a population of more than 250 million, has the sixth-worst inequality in the world, the report stated. Within Asia, only Thailand is more unequal. In 2016, the wealthiest one per cent of the Indonesian population owned half of total wealth, the report said. In just one day, the richest Indonesian man...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Inequality got a new meaning in Indonesia with the release of a recent country study on Indonesia by non-governmental organisation Oxfam that determined that the wealth of the four richest Indonesians is around equal to that of almost 100 million people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Indonesia, with a population of more than 250 million, has the sixth-worst inequality in the world, the report stated. Within Asia, only Thailand is more unequal. In 2016, the wealthiest one per cent of the Indonesian population owned half of total wealth, the report said. In just one day, the richest Indonesian man can earn from interest on his wealth over one thousand times more than what the poorest Indonesians spend on their basic needs for an entire year.

The four richest Indonesians are banking and tobacco magnates Budi and Michael Hartono with an estimated wealth of $8.1 billion and $7.9 billion, respectively, as well as retail czar Chairul Tanjung with $4.9 billion and polyester tycoon Sri Prakash Lohia with $4.2 billion, according to Forbes.

In turn, close to 100 million Indonesians still live on less than $3.10 a day, which is defined by the World Bank as the moderate poverty line.

Oxfam cites “market fundamentalism” that has allowed the richest to capture most of the benefits of nearly two decades of strong economic growth, concentration of land ownership and pervasive gender inequality. Furthermore, the report points out that Indonesia’s tax collection rate is the second-lowest in Southeast Asia and the tax system is “failing to play its necessary role in redistributing wealth.”

To increase the tax take in order to allow more spending on public services such as education and health, Indonesia needs a higher tax rate on the top incomes, higher corporate and inheritance tax and a new wealth tax, Oxfam recommends.

It also criticised that Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has so far failed to fulfill pledges to fight poverty, a target his government originally set as a top priority.

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