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Jakarta Post

Jakarta set to get its first Chinese-Indonesian leader

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 14, 2014   /  09:52 pm

With the quick counts from several prominent pollsters crowning non-active Jakarta governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo the winner of the presidential race, Jakartans may soon welcome not only a new president, but also a new governor '€” Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama.

Should the General Elections Commission (KPU) officially announce Jokowi the winner later this month, Ahok, who is now serving as acting Jakarta governor, would by law take over the leadership of Jakarta until 2019, becoming the first Christian of Chinese descent and the second Christian Jakarta governor, after Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung (1964-1965), to take a gubernatorial seat in Jakarta or in any other province.

Ahok told reporters after casting his vote in Pluit, North Jakarta, that he would not feel any special emotions if he became governor.

'€œI don'€™t think there is a difference from the position that I serve now as acting governor,'€ he said.

Ahok has been serving as acting governor while Jokowi focused on the presidential campaign.

As a member of a minority group, Ahok said he was not fearful of opposition from particular groups. '€œIf we don'€™t do anything wrong, why should we be afraid?'€ he said.

If certain groups call for his resignation, Ahok said he would not back down. '€œI would only resign if the constitution required me to,'€ he said.

Ahok also said he had prepared an agenda for if he became the governor. '€œFirst priority is professionalizing civil servants like the employees of private firms,'€ he said.

The city has begun to reform its bureaucracy by conducting open recruitment for certain positions like subdistrict and district heads, school principals, community health centers (Puskesmas) and one-door integrated service agency officers.

'€œAfter that, we will discuss social welfare, including low-cost apartments for low-income families and street vendors,'€ he went on.

Furthermore, the acting governor said he would address transportation and flooding concerns, saying that if progress accorded with his goals, the city would be better in 2016.

As in previous remarks, Ahok said he would remove agency and working unit heads whom he considered to be under performing.

According to Ahok, Public Works Agency head Manggas Rudy Siahaan and Jakarta Financial Management Body (BPKD) head Endang Widjajanti were top on his list of leaders to replace.

For his future deputy, Ahok said he would hand over the matter to the ruling party. '€œHowever, I need someone who is firm and will do blusukan [impromptu visits],'€ he said.

Boy Sadikin, the chairman of the Jakarta branch of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) that endorses Jokowi, said that his party had not yet discussed possible candidates for deputy governor.

'€œWe are still focusing on the presidential election,'€ he said.

Boy said the decision of naming deputy governor would fall to PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Boy said, however, that his party would fully support Ahok as governor. '€œWe hope he will continue the programs he and Jokowi set in motion,'€ he said.

Public policy expert Agus Pambagio said that if Ahok became governor, he hoped he would comply with all the regulations. '€œIf he considers that a regulation hampers development, he should change it, not just clash over it,'€ he said.

Agus further said Ahok should involve the public when changing regulations. He added that Ahok should also treat civil servants well and that he should not scold them in public.

'€œCivil servants won'€™t be openly resistant to their superiors, they just become reluctant to work,'€ he said.

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