Joko Nettles Fauzi in TV Debate
The undercurrent of animosity between Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and Solo Mayor Joko Widodo surfaced on Friday night when the incumbent lashed out several times at his challenger in the first debate between the two ahead of next Thursday’s gubernatorial runoff vote.
The debate, aired live on JakTV and TVRI, was held on the same day as the start of the official campaigning period and started out with each candidate and their running mate expounding on their programs on a variety of issues.
Once the panelists began their questioning of the candidates, however, the atmosphere quickly grew heated.
When the moderators cut off Fauzi to allow Joko a chance to respond to the question of bureaucratic reform and transparency, the incumbent snapped.
“I haven’t finished talking. This is my show,” he said in a raised voice.
He went on to take issue with Joko quoting data from the government’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) identifying Jakarta as the most corrupt city in the country.
“My administration has shown its commitment to good governance, including on the issue of corruption. So it’s inappropriate for a candidate like you [Joko] to cite data that’s not true,” a visibly agitated Fauzi said. “The PPATK never said that. In fact, it corrected the figure.”
Fauzi flared up later in the debate when addressing the issue of complaints about the slow and often bribe-addled process to apply for an identity card, or KTP.
“If we’re talking about transparency, there’s no way the Jakarta administration isn’t transparent,” he said, swatting at the mic on his podium. “Everything can be [monitored] through the Internet now.”
Joko continued sticking it to Fauzi, including on the governor’s track record on poverty alleviation.
“How much was the poverty rate really when Fauzi came into office, and how much is it now? Has it just dropped to 3 percent or was it always 3 percent?”
He later questioned the lack of tangible, significant improvements to the city despite its total budget of Rp 138 trillion ($14.5 billion) over the past five years.
“The city’s budget is enormous, so there should be something to show for it after five years, like an MRT [mass rapid transit rail line] or a monorail,” he said.
“I may be simple-minded, but that’s what I’d be thinking.”
Just hours earlier, Joko was the target of taunts by Nachrowi Ramli, Fauzi’s running mate, who accused him of trying to curry favor with low-income residents by identifying with them.
Nachrowi said Joko had no right to assume such a position because he had the backing of “big figures” such as former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is also the chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) co-founder Prabowo Subianto.
He especially criticized Joko’s frequent references to himself as a lowly citizen or even “an ant.”
“That is only an attempt to make it sound as if he were being victimized. Aren’t Megawati and Prabowo big figures? And the PDI-P is a big party led by Megawati, who is a former president,” Nachrowi said on the sidelines of a campaign stop in East Jakarta.
He also referred to a TV ad featuring Prabowo in his capacity as the chairman of the Indonesian Traditional Market Traders (APPSI), which endorsed Joko and his running mate, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
“They can afford to put out a TV ad, which is expensive. Does that signify small people? There’s no need for Joko to act as if he were a poor guy. That’s played out,” Nachrowi said.