Austere leader: Indonesia's new president flies economy class to meet his son in Singapore

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Jakarta, Nov 22: Meet Indonesia's new president who has become the talk of the internet world after he opted to fly economy class to watch his son's high school graduation in Singapore ! Joko Widodo's act of austerity has drawn both criticism and praise online.

On Saturday, Widodo and his wife Iriana avoided all security and VIP facilities and queued for check-in at Jakarta airport to take economy class tickets.

Widodo said he did not use the presidential private jet or the VIP terminal because he was travelling for personal reasons. He and his wife were travelling to Singapore to meet their youngest son, 19-year-old Kaesang Pangarep, who is studying in Singapore.

Widodo, who was sworn in as the president of Indonesia last month, is known for his simple and modest lifestyle. When other passengers came to know about Widodo's presence at the airport, they swarmed around him to shake his hand and take selfies on their phones. Praising Jakowi's act, many urged other government officials to follow suit.

"Jokowi sets a good example by flying economy. Hopefully other officials can follow in his footsteps," tweeted Anita Tobing.

While many praised the president's choice, several people criticised it as an act of publicity stunt.

"Why should he go through the metal detector, join the queue, etc? Sir, stop polishing your image, just act natural," Rangga Aditya commented on news portal Detik.com, said a ABC news report.

Harry Azet tweeted: "Living a fake life is difficult: Jokowi went to Singapore flying economy but slept in an expensive hotel."

According to an AFP report, Widodo stayed in a five-star hotel on Orchard Road, Singapore's busiest shopping area.

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