Public donations are growing, Faisal says
Faisal Basri. JP/R. Berto WedhatamaIndependent gubernatorial candidate Faisal Basri said that he was optimistic his campaign team would be able to collect enough money from the public to finance his campaign.
Faisal, a noted economist who is running with native Betawi figure Biem Benyamin, said that his election team had secured at least Rp 10 billion (US$1.06 million) in donations from Jakarta residents.
Political campaigns in Indonesia rarely rely on donations from potential voters, and instead draw support from a handful of business interests. Faisal’s ability to reach private donors is indicative of broader grassroots support.
“We are not that poor,” he said during his visit to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, dismissing the widely held perception that independent tickets were no match for party-backed candidates, who are thought to be more financially resourceful.
His campaign developed an online donation system on their website, www.faisal-biem.com, so residents could submit donations using their credit cards. “As of today, there are around 400 people who have donated amounts ranging from Rp 20,000 to Rp 5 million online,” Faisal said. “Some of them don’t want to be known by public, but I will surely report their donations to the audit agency.”
Knowing that he is facing a tough competition ahead, Faisal said that he had managed to book 70 TV advertisements during the campaign period, which is slated to run from June 24 to July 7.
Faisal estimated that his campaign, including operational funds, could cost up to Rp 30 billion. “We just have around Rp 10 billion now, so we have to collect Rp 20 billion more,” he said.
In an attempt to stretch the campaign funds on hand, Faisal said that his team worked on a voluntary basis and would not produce massive campaign materials, including T-shirts, stickers and flyers. Instead, he would utilize social media and direct interactions with Jakarta voters.
To boost his popularity, Faisal said that he would talk directly with as many residents as possible. He said that he had the advantage of being an independent candidate, as he had approached voters earlier than other gubernatorial hopefuls.
“I started nurturing relations with residents a year ago. Our team secured almost 500,000 voter IDs. This is not a small number,” he said.
When they go to the polls on July 11, Jakartans will see two independent candidates running for Jakarta’s top office, the first time in the city’s election history.
Faisal and Biem secured their place on the ballot after collecting 487,150 verified signatures, much higher than the requirement of 407,340. Another independent ticket, Hendardji Supandji and Ahmad Riza Patria secured more than 417,000 IDs.
Faisal, who was assigned ballot nomination number 5, promises to advance public transportation, create more green and open-air spaces, and create more business centers outside Jakarta. “Jakarta should not develop too fast and leave other surrounding areas untouched,” he said.