The award was given by Singaporean newspaper the Straits Times. President Jokowi was chosen by all editors of Singapore's influential newspaper.
"Congratulations to the President who has been named the Asian of the Year 2019 by Straits Times Singapore," Foreign Minister Retno said during the 2019 Bali Democracy Forum meeting in Bali, Thursday 5 December 2019.
Retno explained that one of President Jokowi's leadership milestones was the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific. Retno said the success shows Indonesia's leadership in the region.
The Indo-Pacific framework was adopted by ASEAN last June. It reaffirmed ASEAN centrality in the region amid esclating competition between the United States (US) and China.
"Earlier this year, Jakarta hosted a regional meeting that first proposed the Asean Outlook on Indo-Pacific and played a key role in getting the document adopted by Asean leaders at a Bangkok summit in June," the Straits Times said.
"As the steward of a vast and disparate archipelagic nation that has more than 17,000 islands that faces Australia at one end and India at the other, he confronts many challenges, he has shown dexterity and nous in navigating the tricky cross-currents of domestic politics and international affairs," it noted.