Tag: Basuki Tjahaja Purnama

Jailed Jakarta governor drops appeal against blasphemy conviction

Imprisoned Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has decided to withdraw an appeal against his two-year sentence for blasphemy, his family said.  Continue reading “Jailed Jakarta governor drops appeal against blasphemy conviction”

Jakarta governor’s jailing tests Indonesian unity

Rallying cries by conservative Muslims for the prosecution of Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama have culminated in his imprisonment, sending shock waves through minority communities in Indonesia. Continue reading “Jakarta governor’s jailing tests Indonesian unity”

Ahok concedes defeat in Jakarta gubernatorial election

The governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has conceded defeat in a religiously-charged election to lead the Indonesian capital after unofficial vote counts showed a comfortable lead for his opponent Anies Baswedan.

 

“To our supporters, I know you are sad, but this is the will of God,” Basuki said.

“We still have six months to finish our homework and we will do our best,” he said, referring to his time left in office.
anies
A representative selection of votes surveyed by several pollsters, referred to as quick counts, showed Basuki on 42 per cent and rival Anies commanding 58 per cent.

Anies is backed by conservative Muslims who want Basuki, a Christian of Chinese descent, jailed for a perceived insult to Islam that dogged his campaign.

The apparent margin of Basuki’s loss came as a surprise after polls conducted before the election showed the race to be too close to call.

Basuki won a three-way first-round vote on February 15, securing 43 per cent of the votes compared to Anies’s 40 per cent.

Anies said after the first results came in that he would work to unite the divided electorate.

“We are committed to maintaining unity in Jakarta,” Anies said. “We want to celebrate pluralism and diversity.”

The official tally from the run-off will not be announced until the first week of May, but the so-called quick counts have accurately predicted past elections.

Wednesday’s election was seen by some analysts as a test of secular democracy in the world’s most populous predominantly Muslim country.

“Your vote will determine the direction of Jakarta,” Basuki said after casting his ballot near his residence in North Jakarta.

“Let’s celebrate democracy with joy,” he said.

About 7 million of Jakarta’s 10 million residents were eligible to vote.

Basuki’s bid for a second term was hampered by a blasphemy case triggered by comments he made on the Koran.

Basuki’s remarks that there were people who deceived Muslim voters into believing that the Koran commands them not to vote for Jews and Christians sparked massive street protests by conservatives in November and December.

He was charged with blasphemy and is facing a maximum five-year jail term if found guilty. He remains free and a verdict is expected after the election.

He has apologized for the remarks, and said that he was referring to those who misused religion for political gain.

His campaign has warned that a victory for his Islamist-backed opponent could threaten diversity and pluralism.

“I voted for Ahok because he has proven to be a leader who gets things done and he represents diversity,” said Rudy Pardede after voting at a polling station in central Jakarta.

Security was tight in the capital, with 65,000 police officers deployed to guard against voter intimidation.

Once a clear favourite, Basuki saw his poll numbers falling after the blasphemy accusations, as many conservative Muslims genuinely believe that he insulted Islam.

Conversely, support for the US-educated Anies rose after he met one of the leaders of the anti-Basuki protests, firebrand cleric Muhammad Rizieq Shihab.

Basuki, the first Christian to lead Jakarta in 50 years, has been perceived as an effective administrator in a bureaucracy long plagued by corruption and incompetence.

He has won praise for cleaning up rivers clogged with rubbish in an effort to reduce flooding, a perennial problem in the city.

His administration has also built more parks and playgrounds.

But he has caused resentment with his decision to evict poor residents from their riverbank homes and relocate some of them to cramped, low-cost apartments, where they have to find rent money despite having been separated from their source of income.

Anies, a respected academic, has capitalized on the discontent, vowing to upgrade existing houses instead of evicting.

Religion may sway Jakarta’s second round election

Millions of Jakarta residents are set to cast their votes in a heated second-round gubernatorial election on April 19 that is both a test of secular democracy in Indonesia and of President Joko Widodo’s political clout in delivering back to office one of his chief lieutenants, the incumbent, an ethnic Chinese-Christian, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

Arrayed against Ahok is Anies Baswedan, a former education minister supported by conservative Muslims. He is backed by the powerful political machine of Prabowo Subianto, the president’s chief rival in the 2014 election, as well as several Islamic organizations that have capitalized on the discontent and said they will create equality for the city’s poor.

The race is considered too close to call according to recent opinion polls. A survey conducted on April 12-14 by polling firm Indikator showed Anies with 48.2 percent support versus 47.4 percent for Ahok, with 4.4 percent undecided. The Jakarta-based Charta Politika survey showed that 47.3 percent of nearly 800 respondents favored Ahok and deputy governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat while 44.8 percent supported Anies and running mate Sandiaga Uno, a businessman.

The race has been complicated by a blasphemy case filed against Ahok over comments he made last September on the Quran that were deemed insulting to Islam in what is regularly described as the world’s most populous predominantly Muslim country. The Jakarta governor, in a public speech, said there are people who deceive Muslims into believing the Quran commands them not to vote for Jews and Christians.

That resulted to massive street protests by conservatives in November and December, with continuing rallies and protest as the runoff has neared, an indication of the growing conservatism among Indonesia’s Muslims.

Although he has apologized for the remarks and at one point broke into tears publicly, Ahok was charged with blasphemy, which many regard as a political use of the courts, and faces a maximum five-year jail term if found guilty. He remains free and a verdict is expected after the election, after the police asked the court to postpone the reading of charges.

Jokowi, as the president is known, has thrown his political resources into the race to aid Ahok, who was his deputy governor when he rose to the presidency in October of 2014 and subsequently took over the job.

Ahok won a three-way first-round vote on Feb. 15, securing 43 percent of the votes, while Anies Baswedan came second with 39 per cent. However, after the first-round election, congregants in some areas in Jakarta installed banners calling for Muslims not to vote for an “infidel.” The banners also warned that those who did so would not receive Islamic rites when they died.

“Honestly, I am confused of whom to vote for, unlike the presidential election in 2012 when I was confident of voting for Jokowi,” Indriaty Octarina, a housewife in South Jakarta told The Parrot. “What I want from a governor is someone who can deliver good results, anti-corruption, firms with all regulations so that we can have a better Jakarta,” she said.

“I think Ahok is doing a good job as a governor, but obviously he has a problem of controlling what’s coming out of his mouth; he is too arrogant” Octarina said, adding that although Anies Baswedan is not her favorite either, when it comes to religion, she wants to “be a good Muslim and follow Islamic teaching,” a belief that the Quran commands her not to vote for Jews and Christians as leaders. “Most of my family members feel the same about this election,” she said.

Octarina’s story is shared by millions of Muslim voters in Jakarta, who despite agreeing that Ahok is doing a good job as governor, won’t vote for him in the coming election. A research by Pollmark Indonesia recently shows that as many as 21.6 percent of voters say that their vote will be based on their religion.

As many as 7.9 percent of respondents remained undecided according to face-to-face interviews conducted between April 7 and 12 by pollster Charta Politika.

Ahok, the first Christian to lead Jakarta in 50 years, has been perceived as an effective administrator in a bureaucracy long plagued by corruption and incompetence. He has implemented a raft of infrastructure projects including parks and transport, with efficient services becoming commonplace after decades in which political hacks ruled the sprawling city. He has won praise for cleaning up rivers clogged with rubbish, thereby reducing annual flooding in the capital city of 10 million people.

His administration has also built more parks and children’s playgrounds.
However, he has caused resentment with his decision to evict poor residents from their riverbank homes and relocate some of them to low-cost apartments, where they have to find rent money despite having been separated from their source of income. He has also drawn criticism for going ahead with a plan for the reclamation of Jakarta Bay to create 17 artificial islands, which has been criticized as benefitting the Chinese conglomerates and adding to the economic inequality in the country.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Police released announcement on Monday prohibiting mass mobilization that could result in physical or psychological intimidation of voters on April 19. KPU Jakarta commissioner Dahliah Umar said too much security might make citizens feel uneasy when they come to polling stations to cast their votes.

Tight race for Jakarta governorship after divisive campaigning

Jakarta’s residents will choose between a beleaguered Christian incumbent and a rival supported by conservative Muslims in a religiously charged gubernatorial election on April 19.

The election, which sees Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, take on former education minister Anies Baswedan, is seen by some analysts as a test of secular democracy in the world’s most populous predominantly Muslim country.

Ahok’s bid for a second term has been dogged by a blasphemy case triggered by comments he made on the Qur’an that were deemed insulting to Islam.

Ahok won a three-way first-round vote on February 15, securing 43 per cent of the votes. Anies came second with 39 per cent.

Latest polls suggest that the race for the run-off is tight, with Anies leading by about percentage point.

“A defeat for Ahok could be a bad precedent because political parties would be led to believe that the politization of religion is effective,” said Tobias Basuki, a political analyst at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Ahok’s remarks that there were people who deceived Muslim voters into believing that the Qur’an commands them not to vote for Jews and Christians sparked massive street protests by conservatives in November and December.

Ahok was charged with blasphemy and is facing a maximum five-year jail term if found guilty. He remains free and a verdict is expected after the election.

He has apologized for the remarks, and said that he was referring to those who misused religion for political gain.

His campaign has warned that a victory for his Islamist-backed opponent could threaten diversity and pluralism.

But in some neighbourhood mosques, congregants installed banners calling for Muslims not to vote for an “infidel,” in reference to Ahok. The banners warned that those who did so would not receive Islamic rites when they died.

Once a clear favourite, Ahok saw his poll numbers falling after the blasphemy accusations, as many conservative Muslims genuinely believe that he insulted Islam.

On the other hand, support for the US-educated Anies rose after he met one of the leaders of the anti-Ahok protests, firebrand cleric Muhammad Rizieq Shihab.

Ahok, the first Christian to lead Jakarta in 50 years, has been perceived as an effective administrator in a bureaucracy long plagued by corruption and incompetence.

He has won praise for cleaning up rivers clogged with rubbish, thereby reducing flooding, a perennial problem in the city of 10 million people.

His administration has also built more parks and children’s playgrounds.

But he has caused resentment with his decision to evict poor residents from their riverbank homes and relocate some of them to low-cost apartments, where they have to find rent money despite having been separated from their source of income.

Ahok has also drawn criticism for going ahead with the reclamation of Jakarta Bay to create 17 artificial islands for business and recreational purposes.

Anies, a respected academic, has capitalized on the discontent.

He has vowed to upgrade existing houses instead of evicting, and to cancel the reclamation of the bay, saying that the project threatens the environment and the fishermen’s livelihood.

He has denied accusations that he was complicit in sectarianism, arguing that perceived injustice and growing social division were the underlying problems.

“To bring unity, we need to tackle the issue of disparities. Disparities between the haves and the have-nots … and between the educated and the not-educated,” he said.

Indonesian artist says career is over after Marvel comic controversy

Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf has hinted that he has been fired from his job after he inserted political and religious references tied to a blasphemy case that has embroiled Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama into a new Marvel comic. Continue reading “Indonesian artist says career is over after Marvel comic controversy”

Massive “212” Jakarta rally shows strong Muslim solidarity

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Protesters performed Friday prayer under the rain during a peaceful rally on 2 Dec, 2016. Photo: The Parrot/Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata

Strong solidarity among Muslims was apparent during the massive rally in Jakarta on Friday, December 2, 2016. Continue reading “Massive “212” Jakarta rally shows strong Muslim solidarity”

Indonesian police warn of treason

Indonesian police have warned Muslims angry about the government’s handling of blasphemy accusations against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama not to go ahead with planned rallies. Continue reading “Indonesian police warn of treason”

Jokowi blames political opponents for rally violence

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has blamed political opponents for the violence that marred  an otherwise peaceful protest by Muslims in Jakarta demanding the arrest of the city’s governor. Continue reading “Jokowi blames political opponents for rally violence”

Jakarta Governor Ahok seeks to break Indonesia’s political mold

Denied an endorsement by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama says he will run independently in next year’s gubernatorial election, upsetting a time-honored tradition in which politicians pay parties for the privilege of running.

The decision is causing consternation in political circles in Jakarta. But it is at one with the changing political tides in Indonesia as the old order, dominated by the elites and political parties, begins to fade.  Basuki himself served in the local government of a tiny island province before joining to run Jakarta with Joko Widodo, previously the mayor of Surakarta. Jokowi went on to be the first Indonesian president who did not emerge from either the army or the country’s political elite.

Without the support from PDI-P, Ahok, as Basuki is known, will not pair up with his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat in the race, set for 2017. Instead, his running mate will be his subordinate at the Jakarta Financial and Asset Management Board (BPKAD) head Heru Budi Hartono.

With Basuki’s decision to run as an independent candidate, the PDI-P is likely to pick its own candidate. After the news broke, Basuki, widely known as Ahok, explained that one of his reasons for not pairing with a political party was that he might not have enough money to fuel the party machinery, a prerequisite for candidates.

“Teman Ahok” — the support group under which Basuki will run as an independent candidate, has announced that they have collected nearly 700,000 validated signatures in support of the governor’s candidacy, more than enough required by the law for independent candidates to run.

Ahok initially told his supporters to pick the PDI-P’s Djarot as his deputy but the group advised him to pick another because Djarot needed permission from the PDI-P. That angered the party’s leaders, who have accused Ahok of trying to delegitimize the longstanding influence of political parties in the Indonesian political scheme.

The word deparpolisasi (“delegitimize political parties”) has now become part of the new lexicon.

Despite being seen as a controversial figure because of his frequent strong comments in public on corruption and other issues, as well as his personal background as an ethnic Chinese and a Christian in a predominantly Muslim country, Ahok, by his strong, corruption-free stint as governor, is considered the strongest candidate in the race. He beat back an attempt to impeach him by city council members in 2014 when he cleaned up what were euphemistically known as “budget irregularities” that appeared to be going into council members’ pockets.

Other small political parties seeking to get a splash of his popularity have tried to persuade Ahok to use to them as his political vehicle, with other politicians attempting to use his religion as a way to block his appeal with voters, who are mostly Muslim.

Ahok came to office when he was picked by Jokowi, as the president is known, during the gubernatorial election in 2012. Once Jokowi left after being elected president, Basuki took over as governor in 2014. His popularity has risen as he has built on Jokowi’s enviable record as governor. It spiked after he closed down the infamous red-light district of Kalijodo in North Jakarta.

The city administration, backed by 5,000 personnel from the Jakarta police and the Indonesian military, demolished buildings from the morning onwards using heavy equipment. Local television aired pictures of big excavators tearing down cafés, residences and houses of worship.

The historic red-light district came into the public spotlight following a drunk-driving accident in which four people were killed in early March. The accident occurred after the driver and his friends had spent a night drinking in Kalijodo, which is known for its cafes and pubs, prostitution services as well as gambling.

Despite the harsh warnings Ahok said that evicted residents who had Jakarta ID cards would be relocated to subsidized apartments, moreover, Ahok said that he will also provide some residents with soft loans of up to Rp10 million (US$741) with only 1 percent monthly interest for them to start new businesses after their existing employment ended amid the wreckage of the district.

No security disturbances occurred during the eviction process as many had feared would happen. Police and TNI officers were assigned to prevent disturbances and arrange traffic.

Basuki has set his eyes on developing a large children’s park on the cleared land as part of the administration’s ambition to improve green spaces and public facilities in Jakarta.

The Kalijodo shutdown also said to play a key role in Jakarta’s flood management, the governor said, adding that water always flows from South Jakarta to North Jakarta as it is the meeting point of the Angke and Item Rivers and the East Flood Canal.

Jakarta, which lies at the confluence of several rivers, regularly floods almost every year during the rainy season.