Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The name Surya Paloh in recent months has been in the public spotlight. This is due to his position as General Chair of the Democratic National Party (Nasdem) which brought Anies Baswedan to become Indonesia’s presidential candidate.
The latest news regarding Surya Paloh was heard again after news circulated that he was nominating the presidential candidate Anies Baswedan with the General Chair of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Muhaimin Iskandar, as vice presidential candidate. It is said that the news that this nomination was decided was not based on the agreement of the coalition parties (PKS and Democrats), but rather Surya’s unilateral decision.
Apart from that, it is interesting to trace Surya Paloh’s figure, especially regarding his business story. Everyone knows that Surya is a businessman who owns two major media outlets in Indonesia, viz Indonesian Media and Metro TV.
From his mastery of the business, he is said to have trillions in assets. Even so, the media business has only been run by Surya half of his life’s journey.
But did you know that his initial business was not media but a supplier of police equipment? What’s the story?
In the biography written by Usama Hisham entitled Surya Paloh: The Sun of Restoration, The Ideologist (2014), the business started in 1975 under the flag of PT Ika Mataram Coy. He started the business thanks to the help of Widodo Budirdarmo, the National Police Chief for the 1974-1978 period, whom he has known since the days of being the North Sumatra (North Sumatra) Regional Police Chief.
Due to his high trust in Surya, Widodo asked him to supply police equipment, such as handcuffs, batons, bicycles and other police attributes. “From this business, Surya is like a durian falling. He has succeeded in pocketing a profit of IDR 25 million,” wrote Usamah Hisyam.
At the same time, Surya’s business is not only as an equipment supplier, but also as a cement distributor within the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government project. Coincidentally, he knew Cokro Supriyanto, the son of the Governor of DKI Jakarta for the period 1977-1982 Tjokropranoto, so he could be trusted to take care of the provincial government’s projects, including obtaining the construction project for Jalan MH Thamrin.
The contract value is not playing. At the age of not yet 30 years, Surya is already holding a project with a value of Rp 2.5 billion per month.
Of course this figure was fantastic in the 1970s. From there, Surya began to cultivate his wealth.
Slowly, Ika Mataram’s business is getting bigger after becoming a distributor for BULOG’s sugar procurement and becoming the sole agent waterproof paint in Indonesia in collaboration with a factory from Canada, Kryton. When he became a distributor of sugar, the company made a profit of Rp 5 per kilogram.
At that time, Surya became a distributor of 200 tons of sugar per month. This means that the benefits are extraordinary.
In his official biography, Surya does not deny that the beginning of his business came from a relationship he knows. However, he is also aware that relationships are dynamic. Long story short he wanted to get out of those relationships and set up his own business. Because, if you depend on this relationship, Ika Mataram’s business can stop at any time.
As a result, in 1979 he started a catering business. The catering business started when Surya took over the management of PT Indocarter’s catering company. It should be noted that PT Indocarter was originally owned by the Waas family, one of whom married Surya’s sister.
Regarding the catering business, Surya actually does not know the mechanics of this business at all. The reason is, when he was still in his teens he was already in touch with the food business, namely when he became a supplier of staples for the community.
In exposure Surya Paloh’s Life Editorial (2001), Surya said that in 1966 he marketed salted fish, vegetables, and so on to workers around his house. So, quoting Surya Paloh: The Sun of Restoration, The Ideologist (2014), when starting the catering business, Surya had no difficulties and instead developed rapidly.
His expertise in diplomacy and finding successful relationships has made Indocarter agree to contracts for millions of US dollars per year in a number of national oil companies, from Pertamina, PT Arun LNG, Mobil Oil, Pupuk Kaltim, and so on. In fact, during the process of oil exploitation in Bontang in the 1980s, Surya received large projects worth US$ 176 thousand to US$ 8.4 million.
The initial business was actually simple. Surya only provides food and drink to the workers.
Even so, Surya doesn’t want to only provide those two things, but also facilitate other services, such as laundry, mini-market shops, recreational arenas and so on. Thanks to all this and the satisfactory results from clients, Surya’s catering business is growing.
In fact, he has successfully collaborated with Grandmates. This is the largest catering company in Europe which has made Indocarter increasingly classy.
It is not known how much Surya’s wealth was at that time. However, seeing the large contract values, both in the PT Ika Mataram and PT Indocarter businesses, it is certain that Surya is wallowing in wealth.
The business success made Surya then dare to play in a new industry, namely the media. He ran the business in the 1980s and 1990s. It is recorded that he had Priority Daily And Indonesian Media which had fallen up and down during the New Order era.
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