JAKARTA: Donald Trump’s Indonesian business partner has revealed he may follow the example of the brash US billionaire and run for president, a report said Monday.
Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is building two Trump Organization projects, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he was considering becoming a candidate in Indonesia’s 2019 presidential elections for the sake of the country.
“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 mogul and property developer, who has his own political party.
“We need a leader with integrity who can bring a solution for the country,” the 51-year-old billionaire added.
If Tanoesoedibjo were to be successful, it could mean there are two world leaders who have been business partners, raising fresh concerns about potential conflicts of interest related to Trump’s business empire.
Trump, who will be inaugurated on January 20, has sought to allay worries by insisting that “no new deals” will be struck during his presidency and that his two sons will manage his companies.
In Indonesia, Tanoesoedibjo is working on a Trump project outside Jakarta and one on the resort island of Bali, with both in the early stages.
The project close to Jakarta is a 700-hectare (1,700-acre) development that includes a luxury hotel, a golf course, a country club and villas, according to the Trump Hotels website.
The Bali resort will be built on a clifftop overlooking a famous Hindu temple.
In an earlier interview with the New York Times, Tanoesoedibjo insisted he did not believe the projects represented a conflict of interest for the president-elect.
“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,” he said.
The businessman, whose interests include media company MNC Group, said he has access to Trump although his day-to-day contact is mostly with the children.
“I have access to him, of course, because we are in cooperation, but I have to limit the cooperation and interaction,” he told the ABC.
Tanoesoedibjo has long had political ambitions. He made an unsuccessful attempt to win nomination as a vice-presidential candidate for 2014 elections and has now started his own party, United Indonesia.