While President-Elect Donald Trump has promised no new foreign business deals while he’s in office, projects already underway will go ahead, including two big developments in Indonesia. Now, Trump’s Indonesian business partner says he wants to run for President himself. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.
Media mogul and property developer Hary Tanoesoe dibjo is building two projects to be branded with the Trump name and managed by the Trump Organization, one outside Jakarta, the other on the resort island of Bali. Questions about conflicts of interest arise immediately because Hary Tanoe, as he’s known, is also a major political figure. He ran for vice president in 2014, established his own political party, and told the ABC that he wants to follow in Trump’s footsteps and run for president in 2019. “Not for myself,“ he told the Australian broadcaster, “for the country.”
He introduced Trump to another important politician, Setya Novanto, at a meeting at Trump Tower during the early stages of the US presidential campaign. Shortly afterwards, Setya was forced to step down as Speaker of the House of Representatives, after he was heard in an audio recording soliciting a four billion dollar bribe from the US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan. Setya just returned to his post after a court ruled that tape inadmissible.
Hary Tanoe is of Chinese Ancestry and a Christian… which could pose a problem for his political ambitions. In the past few weeks, as many a half a million Indonesians turned out at rallies to demand prison time for the Christian Chinese governor of Jakarta who faces trial for blasphemy on charges that he insulted the Koran.