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Jakarta Post

Hundreds protest over Prabowo’s remarks on ‘ojek’ driver job

  • Aman Rochman

    The Jakarta Post

Malang   /   Sat, November 24, 2018   /   10:46 am
Hundreds protest over Prabowo’s remarks on ‘ojek’ driver job 'Ojek' drivers wait for passengers. ( halim)

Hundreds of app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers staged a protest on Friday in Malang, East Java, condemning presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto for his remarks on their profession, which he called a “cruel reality” young Indonesians have to face.

The Gerindra Party chairman showed a meme from the internet on a young Indonesian going from elementary school to graduating from high school, and then becoming an ojek driver.  

“I’m not happy with this kind of career path. I want young Indonesians to become entrepreneurs, technicians, pilots, to own a cafe, a company, a plantation, not [just be low-skilled] labor in their own country,” he said at a seminar.

The coordinator of the online ojek drivers group, Wibby Kristanto, called Prabowo’s statements derogatory and demanded an apology.

“In a political year like this, we hope Prabowo can release good, encouraging statements to the public. Don’t look down on people’s economic conditions. Because of this profession, we can feed our families,” he said while leading the rally in front of the Malang Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu Malang) offices.

The group also reported the case to the elections watchdog.

Ride-hailing companies like Go-Jek and Grab have led the rise of the digital economy in the country by employing millions and connecting small businesses to customers. The success of Go-Jek has made it one of just four so-called unicorns in the country, startups worth more than US$1 billion.

There has also been some criticism of the firms over what some say is a lack of benefits for the drivers and over reports of crimes, including theft and murder.