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Jakarta Post

Nominees vie to be Anies’ right hand man

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 12, 2020   /   09:00 pm
Nominees vie to be Anies’ right hand man Gerindra Jakarta executive board chairman Mohamad Taufik (‘right’) and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) head at City Council Muhammad Arifin (‘left’) pose with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan as they hand over the official paperwork for the new candidates for the vacant deputy governor post at City Hall on Jan. 21. (Kompas.com/Nursita Sari)

Both candidates for the Jakarta deputy governorship are convinced they can fulfill the demands of the vacant post and ease Governor Anies Baswedan’s official burdens. 

A confirmation hearing for the 2020-2022 deputy governorship is slated for March 23.

The candidates have submitted administrative documents to Anies, marking their first personal meetings with the governor. They acknowledged having lobbied political parties with members on the City Council’s voting committee for support.

Gerindra Party executive Riza Patria, one of the two candidates for deputy governor, together with the party’s Jakarta executive board members, visited Anies on Monday, enclosing in his files an approved resignation letter from the House of Representatives.

“I will work with the governor to run policies optimally. I will be closely in touch with the city councillors to accommodate their aspirations and put them forward to Anies,” Riza told reporters.

Gerindra said the Golkar Party had openly backed Riza. Golkar Jakarta deputy chairman Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita had extended the support on behalf of Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto, Riza said.

Riza said he had been on “political trips” to various Council factions including the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to gain support, although the faction said it had not made a choice.

The PDI-P dominates the 106-strong Council with 25 seats, followed by Gerindra with 19 and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with 15.

PKS executive – and the other deputy governor hopeful – Nurmansyah Lubis submitted his paperwork on Monday. He said Anies told him to make maximum effort in the campaign but to play fairly.

He said he had gained the support of City Council Deputy Speaker Abdurrahman Suhaimi, a former PKS Jakarta Sharia Council head who was previously designated for the deputy governor post by the party but whose application was not processed for uncertain reasons.

During a recent interview with The Jakarta Post, Nurmansyah said he was not too worried about being thought to stand alone in the Council or about his opponent’s claims of more robust support.

“Since the voting will be close, party members will not feel obliged to choose the same person [that the party has officially chosen]. So, I’d rather take a personal approach. I have about 40 friends at the Council who are ready to send some support,” he said, declining to identify them.

Despite his view of Anies as a visionary leader, Nurmansyah thinks the Governor has been overwhelmed by Jakarta’s many problems since the deputy seat was left empty by Sandiaga Uno, who decided to become the running mate of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in 2019.

“Anies has a holistic point of view as a character of his leadership. He needs a companion who thinks in detail to complete his tasks in the city effectively,” he said. “When elected, I will form a harmonious relationship with him.”

Neither candidate wanted to be a “spare tire” for the governor for the remainder of his administration. They wanted to revamp the programs of their focus.

In addition to dealing with rampant flooding, both said they were determined to create more integrity in human resources and build systems that guaranteed transparency to encourage city officials to be more responsible.

After administrative verification, the two candidates will advance to a fit and proper test where they will present their visions and missions to all Council members. After a break, the councillors will then vote.

Eneng Malianasari, a member of the voting committee from the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), said the new deputy governor would be expected to help direct policies, at least those listed in the mid-term regional development plan (RPJMD).

“As the Governor always says: ‘collaboration’. Hopefully, he and his new deputy can share their tasks and not beat each other up. They must work together to address the problems for the people’s sake,” she said.

Indonesia Political Review executive director Ujang Komarudin said the new deputy governor would be in an important position as the Governor had been distraught dealing with the mounting problems in the capital city.

“Besides, the new deputy governor must also play a role in communicating with the public because, so far, Anies has seemed rather evasive when asked certain questions. A deputy should make his burden lighter,” Ujang said.