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Jakarta Post

2 women of Chinese descent to square off in Singkawang election

  • Severianus Endi

    The Jakarta Post

Pontianak, West Kalimantan   /   Sat, February 11, 2017   /  10:29 pm
2 women of Chinese descent to square off in Singkawang election Observance -- A Confucian prays at Tri Dharma Bumi Raya Vihara in Singkawang, West Kalimantan, on Jan. 28. Singkawang residents will head to the polls for the 2017 mayoral election on Feb. 15. (Antara/Jessica Helena Wuysang)

Known for its large population of people of Chinese descent, Singkawang, a West Kalimantan city, will see two female candidates of Chinese descent compete for the mayoral post on election day on Feb. 15.

Singkawang mayor Awang Ishak’s wife, Tjhai Nyit Kim, also known as Malaika Fitri, will fight for the mayoral seat with running mate Suriyadi. The pair is backed by a coalition of three parties comprising the Golkar Party, the United Development Party and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI).

Meanwhile, Tjhai Chui Mie, who once served as Singkawang Legislative Council (DPRD) speaker, will also fight for the mayoral post with her running mate Irwan. They are supported by four parties, namely the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the NasDem Party, the Democratic Party and the Hanura Party.

They will compete against two other candidate pairs. One pair, Abdul Mutalib and Muhammadin, have received support from three parties: the National Awakening Party (PKB), the Gerindra Party and the National Mandate Party. The other pair, Andi Syarif and Nurmansyah, will run as independents.

Tanto Yakobus, a member of Tjhai Chui Mie-Irwan’s campaign team, said campaigning by using the Hakka Chinese dialect became one of its strategies to connect to older voters, who still use this language in their daily lives.

The Hakka dialect is one of three main languages, including Malay and Dayak, used in the city.

“There is no [regulation] prohibiting the use of the Hakka Chinese dialect during the campaign [period], is there not? Many older voters cannot speak the Indonesian language fluently,” said Tanto, who is also a member of DPRD West Kalimantan from the Democratic Party. 

There will be 405 polling stations set up in five districts across the city. (ebf)


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