Kamis, 22 Maret 2012

Jakarta candidates look to exploit ethnic backgrounds
Lutfi Rakhmawati and Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 03/22/2012 7:57 AM
With stiff competition expected to characterize the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election, political parties may attempt to use candidates’ ethnic backgrounds as potential leverage in the campaign — a move that might backfire more than it energizes the electorate.

The verbal attacks made in the past few days pointed out numerous “out-of-towners” in the poll, slated for July 11.

Two of the six pairs of candidates who entered the race — Alex Noerdin and running mate Nono Sampono, and aspirant Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his partner Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama — have been painted as complete outsiders.

Alex, though born in Jakarta, is currently serving in his ethnic home as South Sumatra governor, while his running mate Nono is a retired Marine general of Maluku ethnic origin.

Jokowi, ethnically Javanese, is the incumbent mayor of Surakarta, Central Jakarta and Ahok, a Chinese-Indonesian, is a lawmaker at the House of Representatives from Belitung in southern Sumatra.

The latest remark on the candidates’ ethnic backgrounds was made on Wednesday by Democratic Party deputy chairman Max Sopacua, in response to Ahok’s statement saying that he had garnered support from many Jakartans.

Max said that Ahok should not generalize all people of Chinese descent as Jakartans. “It was an arrogant statement. He comes to Jakarta only to make a profit in trading. Does he think Jakarta is only filled with Chinese-Indonesians? It’s not easy to make it in Jakarta.”

Max, however, told The Jakarta Post that his statement was not meant to insult Ahok’s ethnicity. “I said that Ahok should not be too arrogant by saying that he was supported by many Jakartans. Jakartans are not only Chinese, but also Javanese, Batak, and many more,” Max clarified.

The Democratic Party endorsed incumbent Fauzi Bowo, who is half Betawi — the “native” people of Jakarta.

Some media outlets had reported that Fauzi believed that out-of-town candidates could “ruin” the city
instead of developing it.

Yunarto Wijaya, political observer with the think tank Charta Politika, said on Wednesday that candidates’ ethnicity should be the last thing to be considered among elites and city residents.

“The term ‘imported candidates’ is disturbing,” he said, adding that politicians and voters should instead focus on the candidates’ platforms and strategies to develop the city. “However, there may be some groups who will use the issue of ethnicity seriously.”

Jakarta, just like any capital, has never been the exclusive home of one ethnicity. Today’s Jakarta is a demographic melting pot, with ethnic Betawi residents comprising only 27.65 percent of city’s 9.6 million residents. According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), 35.16 percent are Javanese and 15.27 percent are Sundanese.

Ahok, who is supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said on Tuesday that the city deserved a “young leader” who would provide innovations and breakthroughs in the city’s development planning processes. “It is not always right that the older leader knows better.”

Alex, who is nominated and supported by a coalition of the Golkar Party, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS), also lashed out at his critics who have questioned his ethnic background.

He said that although he was not Betawi, he was born in Jakarta.

“I am putra daerah [a son of the region] too as I was born in Jakarta. I love Jakarta and all of Jakarta’s residents, including the Betawi,” he said prior to presenting his vision and programs before Golkar Party lawmakers at the House compound on Wednesday.

According to Alex, appealing only to the Betawi sentiment was too narrow, artificial and naïve because Jakarta at present was a home to almost all ethnicities and a variety of foreigners.

In my opinion anyone who later would become Governor of Jakarta realize their duties should not just promises. The use of ethnic background of potential candidates as leverage in the campaign not necessarily would facilitate a candidate to be elected as governor of the city . Because basically people already made disappointed by election was in fact only tell promises only . Basically the ability not only can be measured from the support provided, ethnic background and culture of the old youth person in her life experiences in the realization of development but the seriousness of the present by giving evidence of a real and not mere promises.

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