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Jakarta Post

'Ojek' driver in Medan achieves mother's dream, wins seat in city council

  • Nurni Sulaiman

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Mon, May 13, 2019   /   06:30 pm
'Ojek' driver in Medan achieves mother's dream, wins seat in city council Erwin Siahaan. (Antara/Septianda Perdana)

Erwin Siahaan, 36, an app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver from Medan, North Sumatra, has won a seat in the Medan Legislative Council for the 2019 to 2024 term, the Medan General Elections Commission (KPU) vote count has revealed.

"This is proof that legislative seats are not only for the wealthy," Erwin said.

Erwin, a member of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), campaigned in Medan’s electoral district V that covers Medan Johor, Medan Polonia, Medan Maimun, Medan Tuntungan, Medan Selayang and Medan Sunggal.

Erwin said he was not so sure he would win a seat because he did not have much money to fund his campaign. "Before I worked as an app-based ojek driver, I was a driver of public transportation, I did whatever I could for my family. I never imagined I would become a councilor," he said.

He said he entered politics to follow his mother’s wish. Unfortunately, shortly after expressing support for her son as a legislative candidate, Erwin's mother died.

After grieving, Erwin said he and his three siblings received funds from their mother's insurance. "The insurance funds were used for my mother's funeral, and the rest I used as campaign funds," he said without disclosing the amount.

He also cashed in his pension fund from a company he worked for a number of years ago to fund the campaign.

Erwin said he visited neighborhoods while continuing to transport passengers. In between, he distributed printed materials of his profile. "I had strong determination,” he said. Even though some people underestimated him and did not give their support a friend even tore up his name card during the campaign Erwin said he persisted.

He said he would continue to work as an ojek driver so he could listen to people's aspirations.

The father of two said he wanted to celebrate his victory by giving free rides for a week.

Erwin is not the only ojek driver to win a legislative seat this year. Lincoln Bellvicro Napitupulu, also from PSI, also won a seat in the Medan Legislative Council.