Middle East

MBS most popular foreign leader for Indonesians, survey shows

The foreign world leader who Indonesians have the most confidence in, out of all others, is Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, a survey by a think tank has found.

In the survey published by the Australia-based Lowy Institute this week – titled ‘Charting their own course: How Indonesians see the world’ – it stated its finding that a majority of Indonesians, at 57 per cent, “have confidence in Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud”.

Furthermore, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed came second, with 52 per cent reportedly having confidence in him. Both leaders came after Indonesia’s own President, Joko Widodo, of course.

Although it is not entirely clear why a majority of Indonesians hold support for the Saudi and Emirati leaders, in particular, the survey cited the possibility of a religious element.

READ: Saudi Crown Prince has little popularity in royal family, says ex-CIA official

“Indonesians appear to hold Islamic countries in particularly high regard,” it said. “Saudi Arabia tops the ‘feelings thermometer’, which measures Indonesians’ perceptions about countries and territories on a scale of 0° (coldest feelings) to 100° (warmest feelings).”

On that thermometer, “Saudi Arabia receives a very warm reading of 70° from Indonesians, as does the United Arab Emirates at 64° and the Palestine territories at 63°.” The survey did, however, state that the Indonesians expressed “high levels of confidence, regardless of their stated religion.”

The survey by the Lowy Institute – which is funded officially by the Australian government, private sector companies, and international philanthropists – also shows that, in comparison to the high levels of support for MBS and MBZ, only a small minority of Indonesians hold confidence in regional leaders in south-east Asia.

READ: Israel says it hopes for ties with Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, but no deals imminent

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