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Jakarta Post

Budget saga sees Ahok'€™s popularity soar

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 16, 2015   /  07:05 am
Budget saga sees Ahok'€™s popularity soar

Support for Ahok: A resident writes her signature on a large banner to show support for Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama on Sunday. A recent survey says that the governor'€™s dispute with the City Council over the draft budget has increased Ahok'€™s popularity. JP/DON

Jakarta-based pollster the Cyrus Network has revealed that the recent city budget saga has boosted the popularity ratings of Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama among Jakartans.

Hafizul Mizan, the opinion director of the Cyrus Network, said on Thursday that according to the March 2 to 7 survey, in which 1,000 people were interviewed, Ahok'€™s popularity has soared.

'€œAhok'€™s popularity is 95 percent and likability 66.6 percent,'€ he said in a presentation over the weekend.

Hafizul said the approval rating for the governor was also high. '€œAbout 62 percent of respondents feel that Ahok would be suitable to be the governor for another term,'€ he said.

He added that only 26 percent of the respondents felt he did not deserve to be the governor while 12 percent did not know.

The survey was conducted through one-on-one interviews with a 3.1 percent margin of error.

The survey also revealed that more than half of Jakartans, or 54.8 percent of those interviewed, were aware of the budget saga, while 45.2 percent said they had not followed the story.

Hafizul said from the 54.8 percent of those aware of the matter, 63 percent trusted Ahok while 8.6 percent sided with the City Council.

The budget saga surfaced in February when the councilors accused Ahok of submitting to the Home Ministry a draft budget that was illegal as it had not been approved by the City Council.

The City Council then announced that it would exercise its right of inquiry to investigate whether Ahok had breached regulations regarding the draft budget.

In response, Ahok revealed that the City Council'€™s version of the draft budget was full of questionable allocations. He also reported the alleged irregularities, as well as those in the 2012 to 2014 budgets, to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Hafizul said Jakartans had also been reluctant to support the councilors'€™ right of inquiry against the governor.

'€œInstead of exercising the right of inquiry, 32.27 percent of the respondents urged the city councilors to prove their allegations about the governor,'€ he said.

Cyrus Network executive director Hasan Nasbi Batupahat called Ahok'€™s move against the councilors a political anomaly. He said it was common knowledge that some of the city budget was misused, a practice that had been going on for years.

'€œPolitical figures [like provincial leaders] usually do not want to risk arguing with councilors over the city budget,'€ he said.

Hasan said Ahok'€™s boldness had won the hearts of the public. He added that what Ahok had was individual power. '€œHe does not have political party backing or any mass organization,'€ he said.

Hasan said that if Ahok'€™s efforts for city budget transparency were successful, the public in other regions would demand similar action.

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