Jakarta

Jokowi stands by Christian
subdistrict head

Intolerance: Around 100 residents staged a protest against newly appointed Lenteng Agung subdistrict head Susan Jasmine Zulkifli in front of the subdistrict office in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta, on Wednesday. Susan’s religion was the reason behind the protest. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
Intolerance: Around 100 residents staged a protest against newly appointed Lenteng Agung subdistrict head Susan Jasmine Zulkifli in front of the subdistrict office in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta, on Wednesday. Susan’s religion was the reason behind the protest. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo confirmed on Wednesday that he would not move the Christian head of the Lenteng Agung subdistrict in South Jakarta in spite of some residents’ demands for her dismissal, which according to him was a result of an internal rift.

Speaking to reporters at the City Hall on Wednesday, he stressed that he installed leaders of districts and subdistricts based on their performances and achievements and that he, therefore, would not remove nor transfer local leaders who were inaugurated in June.

Lenteng Agung subdistrict head Susan Jasmine Zulkifli, a Protestant, was among the 415 local leaders inaugurated in June by the governor after passing a series of tests in an open-call selection.

Jakarta Employment Agency head I Made Karmayoga said that Susan, who was previously a logistics division head at Senen subdistrict office, had shown a good performance as a subdistrict leader.

“She is good. As a member of staff at a subdistrict office, her performance was satisfactory,” he said, adding that “we have to respect the open-call selection results.”

“The employment agency only evaluates one’s capability, integrity and works,” Karmayoga pointed out.

Jokowi made his Wednesday statement in response to a protest by some Lenteng Agung residents demanding that the Jakarta administration dismiss their newly installed subdistrict head for not being a Muslim like the majority of the residents.

Representatives of the residents submitted last week a list of 2,300 names and 1,500 photocopies of their IDs to City Hall as a show of support for her dismissal. About 100 of the residents, who call themselves the Forum of Lenteng Agung Residents Rejecting the New Subdistrict Head, staged a demonstration outside the subdistrict office on Wednesday morning, demanding that the city administration respond to their aspiration.

“I have received a report indicating that the rejection might be triggered by internal competition,” Jokowi told reporters on Wednesday.

A member of Formala — an organization supporting Susan — told The Jakarta Post that the residents who demanded Susan’s replacement were apparently afraid Susanmight discover many illicit acts committed by the previous subdistrict administrations.

R. Nio Soeprapto said that his forum had collected valid evidence and data about the wrongdoings and showed them to Susan.

“However, she has refused to take action against the wrongdoings because she realizes that she is a new leader here and she needs to get along with the residents first,” Nio said.

Coordinator of the demonstration Naser Nasrullah said that his group objected to the city administration’s decision to appoint Susan as the new subdistrict head without considering the subdistrict’s social and cultural conditions.

“Because the majority of residents are Muslim and the new subdistrict head is not, she will not be able to join many religious events at mosques here,” Naser said.

He said his group members were disappointed because the city government did not respond to their aspiration.

Despite the demonstration, the subdistrict office kept on serving the residents.

Susan said that she was okay with the demonstration because it was an aspiration from her residents and she would let the city government decide whether she should stay serving as the subdistrict head or not.

“I only want to accomplish my job as well as I can, as mandated by the city government,” she said. “About the fact that I cannot join such religious events, I have already said that I would always send my deputy head or other officials to meet the residents at their events.”

Resident Usbandiyah, 33, who came to the subdistrict office on Wednesday to process her family card said, “I don’t see any problem with the new subdistrict head,” she said. “The public services in the subdistrict office have become faster and more efficient under her leadership.”

Nio said that as a resident, he felt ashamed because the public would know that some residents were still resistant to diversity and tolerance as the country’s identity.

“This is not a Muslim country, this is a country of law, where a leader is not someone who leads prayers in a mosque, but someone who always listens to and serves the public,” he said. (ian)

Paper Edition | Page: 10

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.