Trump partner eyes top job

Pura Tanah Lot in Bali, which the Trump development will overlook. Source: Wikimedia

Donald Trump’s Indonesian business partner says he may run for president in 2019 amid two major Trump developments in the archipelago. 

Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is working on the two Trump Organisation projects, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “If there is no one I can believe who can fix the problems of the country, I may try to run for president,” said the media and property developer, who has his own political party.

“We need a leader with integrity who can bring a solution for the country,” he said.

If Tanoesoedibjo, 51, were to win, it could mean there are two world leaders who have been business partners, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.

“You could have two world leaders that are business partners,” said Richard Painter, who served as an ethics lawyer in the George W Bush’s White House.

“It makes it almost impossible to conduct diplomacy in an even-handed manner. That does not work,” he told the New York Times.

Trump has insisted that “no new deals” would be signed during his presidency and that his two sons would handle his business interests.

Tanoesoedibjo is beginning to work on a Trump project in Lido, West Java, outside Jakarta and another on Bali.

The “six-star” 1,700-acre Javan development would include a luxury hotel, golf course, country club and villas, the Trump Hotels website said.

The Bali development is on a cliff top overlooking a landmark Hindu temple.

Trump companies have a presence in at least 20 countries, including the UK, India, the Philippines and Turkey.

“His family and children have the freedom to do business as long as it is arm’s length and unrelated to the president’s position,” told Tanoesoedibjo told the New York Times.

Trump has forged relationships with “powerful political figures in Indonesia”, including Golkar chairman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Setya Notvanto, who was mired in the 2015 extortion scandal with US mining giant Freeport-McMoran.

“I have access to him [Trump], of course, because we are in cooperation, but I have to limit the cooperation and interaction,” Tanoesoedibjo told the ABC.

Tanoesoedibjo made an unsuccessful attempt to win the nomination as a vice-presidential candidate in the 2014 election and has now started his own party, United Indonesia.

Jakarta has declared it will take a “wait-and-see” approach to Trump, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, rather like everyone else.