Interview

Johannes Suriadjaja

President Director of PT Surya Semesta Internusa

If you look at our track record, we have always been at the forefront of Indonesia’s development. We like to be the pioneer, both in national development and in our industry.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: What are your expectations for President Joko Widodo’s second term in Indonesia?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: The right policies are in place to move Indonesia forward. Human resource development is the first priority of this government. That is why a young cabinet has been appointed to employ new approaches in addressing the challenges.

The second priority is infrastructure development. Indonesia needs a lot of infrastructure investment so this is a continuation of President Jokowi’s first term.

The third area to improve are the regulatory aspects, because the central and local governments are not fully aligned yet. There are still some challenges on the implementation level, and there can be a lack of understanding and alignment between these two administrative entities.

The final key point is to bring up the standards of living across the whole archipelago.

We support these policies, but the execution remains a challenge. Our corporate belief is to be a profitable company while supporting the social aspects of the country’s development, such as education, and we are contributing through our CSR activities. Most of these social aspects are also in line with the government’s objectives.

As a private sector company, Surya Internusa is playing its own role to implement smart and sustainable living into our developments. Sometimes there can be hurdles to realize our company’s vision, as there may be a lack of understanding of what the private sector needs in terms of regulatory frameworks. That is why we are working together with central government bodies and we have received their cooperation to facilitate and support our business.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: Can you give an overview of the company?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: If you look at our track record, we have always been at the forefront of Indonesia’s development. We like to be the pioneer, both in national development and in our industry. Our company is involved in commercial, residential and industrial development, while ensuring that social interests are protected. We constantly ask ourselves: how can we bring value to the public as a corporate citizen of Indonesia?

Our vision is to help the country develop the ecosystem of future cities, which is our most exciting effort currently and will be launched next year. We want to make a statement that even the private sector can help solve social issues – whether it is human resources or infrastructure development. Eventually, our company aims to help channel more welfare to the people. This is our dream, and we are working hard to transform it into reality.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: Can you highlight one of the future developments of Surya Internusa?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: Currently, we are developing a township in Subang, which is about 85km east from Jakarta and it is scheduled for groundbreaking in November 2020. The end result will be a futuristic and advanced city. It is our intention to build up a whole ecosystem where people can live in a city of the future, whereby life is not only convenient, but everything is efficient and in harmony. People have access to education, healthcare facilities, and ease of mobility. This would be a smart and sustainable city.

We are now developing a 2,000ha area. The first part that we aim to enhance is the education system of the city. In order to do that, we are in talks with other parties, such as the Government of Singapore, to understand how they improved the education ecosystem to develop skills needed in Industry 4.0.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: Is the company open to form new partnerships?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: Yes, we are interested to explore new partnerships if there is added value in bringing technology and knowledge to Indonesia.

We were recently in Japan to discuss about working together with companies in energy and power supply, because it is our vision to have our own renewable energy resources and we must first understand the possibilities based on the latest technology. We also went to Scandinavia to learn about best practices in waste management, because environmental issues are pressing here in Indonesia.

There is a Swiss organization that is willing to work with us to design school curriculums and there is another party in Germany who is assisting us with technology in precision tools used in healthcare. These are some examples of how we are establishing strategic partnerships to ensure we implement the best knowledge in our developments.

Our strategic partners also trust us to work with local parties and foreign entities, as well as aligning their interests to realize our vision.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: How does Surya Internusa add value in the market, and what is your long-term strategy?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: We are a prudent and high integrity company, and it shows in the trust that we have gained in the market. Our projects have a good track record – in our nearly 50 years of existence, we have delivered what we promised.

For example, the industrial area in Karawang (West Jakarta) is one of the pioneer industrial areas that has attracted foreign direct investments (FDI) and, as a result, wages and labor productivity is much higher there. We have contributed to building up this area. This is an example of what we can do. We differentiate ourselves by looking to the future, and we establish strategic alliances that can help us use the best technology and get the best knowledge. Now, our main goal is to improve on sustainability in our projects so that we can deliver long-term value.

ASEAN BUSINESS LEADERS: How does Surya Internusa work on sustainable development?

JOHANNES SURIADJAJA: Indonesia has many opportunities for sustainable development across the archipelago. Our main focus is in Java Island, where there is still plenty of room for improvement. There are many areas that are still underdeveloped, and we see openings for us to contribute to the socio-economic development of local lives.

Meanwhile, we are also looking to enter the tourism and leisure market, and we have identified eastern Indonesia as a base to develop a resort. Of course, in line with our commitment to be ecologically friendly, we will need to educate talents in the hospitality industry as such or the business will not be sustainable.

Some people argue that it is not worth it to invest in green or sustainable development, because investments like waste management systems are huge. In reality, it actually does not cost that much in the long run. But the challenge is changing mindsets. Investing in sustainable technologies and making a change in the existing market is beneficial in the long term, because our business can protect the social and environmental interests of our customers, partners, and government. They will, in turn, support our company.