The net wealth of the 150 richest has risen from USD 46.6 billion to USD 69.3 billion with an average wealth rising from USD 311 million to USD 488 million and the average age of the list has risen from 43 to 44.
The most obscene, yes obscene, mover on the list is the now Coordinating Minister of Peoples' Welfare, one Aburizal Bakrie, who has seen his family's wealth jump from a meagre USD 1.05 billion to a much more staggering figure of USD 9.2 billion. Much of this is the result of growth in the energy sector and the demand for commodities. Yet, it is worth noting that he also has extensive interests in property and telecommunications. Why is this obscene? He is the Coordinating Minister of Peoples' Welfare and his welfare is so much better than everyone else's. I do not begrudge rewards for people who work hard and I am sure that he makes his contributions to charity and the like.
Nevertheless, to see such a huge jump in wealth while the people of Sidoarjo continue to be shuffled about from one place to another and never being paid the compensation that they are due for the catastrophe that is the mud flow, seems to me to be just plain wrong. By most accounts one of the Bakrie family companies is responsible and the Presidential Regulation seems to suggest that the Bakrie family company is to blame and has apportioned blame to them (whether a Presidential Regulation can do this is a different argument for a different post). Yet, it seems that the Bakrie's are having trouble meeting the compensation payment schedules as mandated under the Regulation.
I have to say this is obscene because the man and his family are making their wealth predominantly exploiting Indonesian resources, natural and human, yet despite assurances to the contrary, do not seem to be able to make reparations to those that have suffered in the Bakrie Family's pursuit for cash!
The other notable entry for my mind on this list is Hutomo Mandala Putra, or Tommy Soeharto, at No. 61 with a net worth of USD 253 million. This is not bad for a fella who is allegedly corrupt, who is a convicted felon as a result of his ordering the assassination of a Supreme Court judge hearing one of his cases, and failed rally driver (don't know why the last one is important in terms of wealth but what the hey). If there is anything positive to say about the Soeharto children it is that the rich list clearly highlights they are no longer holders of influence and riches like they once were. However, maybe all the wealth is still stashed away overseas in secret bank accounts -- my guess is that the family will always be comfortably filthy rich!
There will be more to follow on this rich list and what it means as I see it (not that any of you care how I see it -- it's my blog so I can do what I want, right?)