Yesterday (1 June) morning, a few important Indonesians showed up in Singapore.

This is unusual, because yesterday was the Pancasila Day, commemorating the five principles that define the Republic of Indonesia. President Jokowi hosted a ceremony in Jakarta:

Around lunchtime, the sad news came. Ani Yudhoyono, the wife of former Indonesian President (2004-2014) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, passed away in the National University of Singapore Hospital, aged 66.

Ms Yudhoyono was admitted in February for leukaemia, and Mr Yudhoyono has been by her side since, even during the hotly contested presidential election in April. 

Ms Yudhoyono, with birth name Kristiani Herawati, was born in Yogyakarta in 1952. She was Javanese, same as Mr Yudhoyono and Jokowi. Daughter of General Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, Ms Yudhoyono had her own personality and was decisive.

When Mr Yudhoyono was president, Ms Yudhoyono was active in SME development, education, poverty eradication, women’s rights, arts and so on. She was once appointed deputy chairman of Democratic Party, which is headed by Mr Yudhoyono. Rumours at some point of time indicated that she might run for presidency herself.

At the personal level, Ms Yudhoyono loved orchid. Singapore, which sees orchid as the national flower, once named a breed after Ms Yudhoyono.

She also loved photography and had 6.5 million followers on Instagram:

She did not forget to vote from her ward during the presidential election this year:

Nonetheless, her conditions worsened in May and she passed away before Eid.

Her body was flown to Jakarta the same night:

President Jokowi went to visit the family:

And she will be buried at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today.

Political legacy

Mr and Mrs Yudhoyono have always been grooming Agus, their eldest son. After leaving the army, Agus joined the 2017 Jakarta Governor election but lost to more experienced Anies Baswedan.

Before the current elections, Mr Yudhoyono supported Prabowo’s bid. Many believed it was the common military background that brought the two close. However, Mr Yudhoyono was also helping Agus.

During the campaigning, Mr Yudhoyono watched the developments from Singapore, and once criticised Prabowo for being “too exclusive”.

The election has settled, Agus will continue his pursuit in politics, and the father will continue to help him.

Maybe, the Yudhoyonos and Jokowi will become closer, which will bring pivotal support for the massive reform and infrastructure building that Jokowi seeks to realise in his second term.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].