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Jakarta Post

Jakarta administration urged to be impartial on political use of public space

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 30, 2018   /   06:49 pm
Jakarta administration urged to be impartial on political use of public space People wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangethePresident) campaign slogan pose for a photograph at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta during the Car Free Day event on Sunday. ( Aprialdo Rachman)

The Jakarta administration should maintain impartiality and fairly evaluate the use of public space for political activities, observers said on Monday, following a case of alleged intimidation against supporters of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the Car Free Day event.

On Sunday, a group of campaigners wearing T-shirts reading #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangethePresident) reportedly intimidated others wearing T-shirts displaying the hashtag #DiaSibukKerja (#HeIsBusyWorking).

Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno was quick in his response to the incident, saying the administration was considering deploying security personnel to make sure there were no political activities during the weekly Car-Free-Day event.

Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama issued a gubernatorial regulation restricting political activities in Car-Free Day zones.

“Government officials should not become partisan and should stand on the people's side. City Hall should [also] be neutral," Hendri Satrio, a political observer from Jakarta-based Paramadina University, said on Monday.

Hendri was referring to two politics-related activities that took place at City Hall. The first one was a celebration of the Prosperous Justice Party’s (PKS) 20th anniversary on April 15, the second was a speech by National Mandate Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais that appears to have been facilitated by City Hall.

The PKS is a party that backed the winning pair in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election last year, while Amien Rais is widely known as an outspoken critic of Jokowi.

Amien was a speaker at an event of female Muslim clerics at City Hall last week.

Amien reportedly discouraged the women from participating at events supporting Jokowi in the upcoming presidential election.

Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said the administration should fairly evaluate the use of public space for political activities. (fac)