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Military man: Gubernatorial candidate Maj. gen. (ret.) Hendardji Supandji (left) and running mate Ahmad Riza Patria after registering at the Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta). JP/P.J. LeoIn the old days, Jakarta was led by former generals.
It was not until long-time bureaucrat Fauzi Bowo won the first direct gubernatorial election in 2007 that the capital, after 43 years, finally got a civilian with no military background as its governor.
It is therefore no surprise that Maj. Gen. (ret) Hendardji Soepandji is now vying for the city’s top position that was once held by his predecessors in the military.
But doubts remain, as the former general is not a party card-carrying politician and, as an independent candidate, he is facing tough competition from other contenders who are believed to have more political clout and bigger financial resources.
The 60-year-old retired general is a Class of 1974 graduate of the Military Academy, graduating the same year as Great Indonesia (Gerindra) Party chief patron Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto and Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. (ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, among others.
Hendardji is proud of his military class, even going so far as to put his graduation year in his Twitter account profile @Hendardji74.
His surname, meanwhile, is well-known among political observers. Hendardji’s older brother, Hendarman Soepandji, is a former attorney general who currently chairs the National Land Agency (BPN), while his younger brother, Budi Soesilo Soepandji, is currently the governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas).
As a high-ranking officer, Hendardji was known for his crackdown on the hoarding of basic commodities (sembako) in Jakarta in 1997, as well as his successful rescue of around 300 Ambonese people who were trapped in Gajah Mada Plaza in Central Jakarta during the May 1998 riots.
The pinnacle of Hendardji’s military career was arguably his promotion as chief of the Military Police (Danpuspom), a position he held in 2006 and 2007.
Apart from his career in the military, Hendardji is the chairman of the Indonesian Karate Federation (FORKI), which scored an impressive feat in last year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta.
Through Hendardji’s leadership, Indonesian karatekas surprisingly swept a total of 10 gold medals in the event, far exceeding their pre-Games target of seven golds.
Hendardji also has “small-scale” know-how in city planning, as he once spearheaded commercial developments in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, during his tenure as president director of the Kemayoran Complex Developers (PPKK) from 2010 to 2011.
Developers claimed that Hendardji’s leadership brought a windfall for Kemayoran’s economy, with the PPKK reportedly seeing an almost tenfold increase in revenue from Rp 128 billion (US$13.57 million) to Rp 1 trillion in merely one year of his tenure.
Among the six gubernatorial hopefuls, the 60-year-old retired general is the third-richest candidate based on wealth assessments conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), with his total assets valued at Rp 32.18 billion. Suspicions over the origin of Hendardji’s wealth arose as his money and assets two years ago were valued at Rp 5.99 billion, or one-fifth of his wealth in 2012.
“The Rp 20 billion increase in my wealth is due to the increase in property value,” Hendardji said when asked by The Jakarta Post for the reason his wealth had increased in a relatively short period of time.
The running mate of Hendardji, Ahmad Riza Patria, is a businessman with ties to several political parties.
Riza, who runs a consulting firm on construction and engineering, is believed to be among the co-
founders of the Nasional Democrat mass organization, which later spawned the Nasdem Party, as he was among the attendees during the mass organization’s establishment.
Riza was beaten twice by Golkar politicians in his quest to become the chairman of the Indonesian National Youth Committee (KNPI). Riza, who was the chairman of the organization’s Jakarta branch, was trounced in 2002 by Idrus Marham, now Golkar secretary-general, at the KNPI convention, and was beaten again in 2008 by Golkar politician Ahmad Doli Kurnia.
Despite running on an independent ticket, Riza is a member of the Great Indonesia Raya Movement (Gerindra). Riza said that his nomination was supported by party chairman Prabowo, despite the fact that Gerindra has officially thrown its support behind the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo – Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ticket.
Among other governor and deputy governor hopefuls whose assets have been assessed by the KPK, Riza stands at the bottom of the list, with his total worth valued at Rp 2.79 billion.
Analysts have said that Hendardji is the election’s underdog, as various pollsters and surveys have named him as the least popular candidate.
Hendardji and Riza’s electability, according to various surveys, is estimated at less than 2 percent of the vote.
However, the surveys were conducted before the pair introduced their groundbreaking campaign slogan of “Berkumis”, which attracted widespread media and public attention.
The slogan, an abbreviation of berantakan (messy), kumuh (grubby) and miskin (poor) but by itself meaning mustached, was believed to have helped bolster the pair’s popularity. However, it was met with staunch opposition from the incumbent governor’s camp, who deemed the slogan a direct attack against the mustached Fauzi. (sat/lfr)
Place / date of birth: Semarang, Central Java; Feb. 10, 1952
• Ratna Rosita (wife)
• Bambang Wicaksono,
• Bagus Adhita (sons)
• Brig. Gen. (ret) Soepandji,
• Roesmiati (parents)
• Military Academy (AKABRI), graduated in 1974
• School of Military Law (STHM), graduated in 1997
Rank: Major General
Non-military career :
• Deputy chairman of KONI Pusat 2007-2011
• Commissioner president director of the Kemayoran Complex Developers (PPKK) 2010-2011
• Chairman of FORKI 2010 – present
• President of South East Asia Karate Federation (SEAKF) 2011 – present
• Board of Commissioners of PT Chaya Kalbar (Wilmar International Group) 2010 – present
Ahmad Riza Patria
Place / date of birth: Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan; Dec. 17, 1969
• Elisa Sumarlin (wife)
• Aisha Safa Putri Callista,
• Aqila Khiaranisa and Athila Hannadhira (daughters)
• Amidhan, Rasyidah (parents)
• ISTN Jakarta, graduated with degree in civil engineering in 1974
• Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), graduated with Master’s in Business Administration in 2008
• Member of the KPU Jakarta (2003-2008)
• Director of the Fatwa Center (2007-present)
• Chairman of the Darul Muttaqien foundation (2010-present)
• President director of PT Gala Ariatama (1997-present)
• President director of PT Gala Ray Pratama (1999-present)
• Board of commissioner of PT Penta Derma Gala (1999-present)
• Board of commissioner of PT Indoproperti Galaraytama (2001-present