The Jakarta Post
Dozens of activists calling themselves the Urban Kampung Forum have written an open letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri to ask them not to endorse Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in next year’s gubernatorial election.
“We are multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners… we want to contribute to the development of cities and urban kampungs in Indonesia according to democracy values, humanity, justice and sustainability,” they said. “First, we would to like emphasize that our focus is on policies and their impact, not on the person himself.”
They said Ahok’s policies and their impact were not in line with PDI-P’s vision, arguing that forced evictions, especially those using violence, contradicted PDI-P’s claims to be the party of the “little people.”
Besides evictions, they also claimed Ahok’s policies leaned toward corporations, as evident in the Jakarta Bay reclamation project, with the artificial islands to serve mostly as upscale gated communities.
“We are sure there is no moral and ideological basis for PDI-P to endorse Ahok. Democracy, justice, and siding with the little people are PDI-P’s ideology, which cannot be found in this candidate,” the letter said.
Among the activists were people working on urban issues like Sandyawan Sumardi of Ciliwung Merdeka and Wardah Hafidz of the Urban Poor Consortium. Several other work for education institutions, like Rita Padawangi, a researcher at the National University of Singapore, Amalinda Savirani, a lecturer at Gadjah Mada University’s School of Politics and Government, and Thamrin Amal Tomagola of the University of Indonesia. (evi)
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