Ronna Nirmala & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
In a swipe at Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, independent candidate Faisal Basri said on Wednesday that the city’s bureaucracy was generally competent but needed better leadership to push it in the right direction.
“I’ve seen the city administration and how many good people there are, so I’m optimistic that with the right touch the bureaucracy can function how we want it to,” he said.
He likened bureaucracy to a fish, saying that if the head was rotten, the body was bound to follow.
“But on the whole, the body is good, so it will take a good head to bring out that potential,” he said.
Faisal was speaking after discussing the city’s governance with Deputy Governor Prijanto. Though still technically Fauzi’s second-in-command, Prijanto has long distanced himself from many of the governor’s policies.
Prijanto tendered his resignation last December but the City Council has refused to accept it. In January, he released a book explaining that he chose to quit because of ethical problems and financial mismanagement in Fauzi’s administration. He also publicly lent support to an antigraft activist who reported allegations implicating Fauzi to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Faisal said he and Prijanto also discussed the rundown condition of tenement buildings in Tambora, West Jakarta, where the candidate met with residents earlier in the day.
“Those buildings are no longer fit for habitation,” Faisal said. “That needs to be fixed, but not at the cost of evicting the residents.”
The issue of evictions is expected to be a key factor in the election.
It is a big issue for the Rawasari Eviction Victims Action Group, which represents petty traders who were forced out of an empty lot in Rawasari, East Jakarta, in 2008 and claim to have not received full compensation to date.
Ferry, the group’s coordinator, said the members were deeply disappointed with Fauzi for failing to make good on his promises to compensate and relocate them.
“We were evicted through lies,” he said. “They told us the area would be turned into a park. But now they’re building apartments there.”