PKS has Jakarta seeing
white, as others pile on
the promises

In a show of confidence, some 100,000 Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) supporters thronged Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Monday in a rally billed as the largest held since the campaign season kicked off two weeks ago.

Brushing aside the party’s hard-line Islamic image, the crowd, clad in white PKS attire, followed the tunes of top bands like Gigi, Cokelat and singer Ipang, who performed during the rally.
PKS chairman Tifatul Sembiring asked the crowd to help the party to back-to-back wins in the capital.

“We won in Jakarta in 2004. Let’s make it happen again on April 9 and fight for victory in the rest of the  country,” Tifatul said.

In the 2004 polls, the PKS won 24 percent of total votes in Jakarta, and this year has set a target of securing  more than 50 percent of votes.

During the rally, Tifatul touted the PKS’s “clean” image, with the party relatively untouched after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found no evidence to implicate PKS legislator Rama Pratama in a recent bribery case involving dismissed National Mandate Party (PAN) legislator Abdul Hadi Djamal.

“Yesterday, the KPK confirmed to the party that Rama was clean,” Tifatul said.

The KPK arrested Abdul earlier this month for receiving an alleged bribe of US$90,000 (Rp 1 billion) and Rp 54 million ($5,000) from a Transportation Ministry official.

During the investigation, Abdul claimed Rama and Jhonny Allen Marbun from the Democratic Party also took the money, which was provided by businessman Hontjo Kurniawan to develop a pier and airport project in eastern Indonesia.

Monday’s rally was considered the nation’s biggest ever.

Novri, a PKS member who works as an engineer at a multinational oil and gas company in Jakarta, said he took a day’s leave to attend the rally.

Nia Kurniawati, a lecturer at a private university in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, said she traded her teaching schedule with a colleague to join the rally.

“I planned the trade two weeks ago,” Nia, 25, told The Jakarta Post.

In Bandung, the PAN and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) pledged a slew of promises to woo support during their respective rallies.

PAN chairman Soetrisno Bachir told party supporters in Tegallega field that the party would urge the government to give every village in Indonesia a Rp 1.5 billion annual budget to support development projects. (hwa)

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