Rizky Amelia & Ronna Nirmala
As Jakartans prepare to go to the polls next month to elect a governor, the national antigraft agency is urging voters to pay special heed to the candidates’ respective track records on corruption.
Irawati, an official from the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) public education and services unit, said on Sunday that integrity was the main quality that voters should look for in candidates.
“We’re trying to get the public to understand about integrity, so that we can build a better political system,” she said at a public education fair hosted by the KPK at Gelora Bung Karno in South Jakarta.
“Thirty percent of the voters will be going to the polls for the first time. We need to raise awareness among these youths about integrity, which we define as matching one’s thoughts, words and deeds with one’s conscience.”
Adnan Pandu Praja, a KPK deputy chairman, echoed the call for voters to choose the candidate with the highest integrity.
“Jakarta needs a leader with integrity so that it can have smooth [traffic] flows, be clean, better-developed, greener and, most importantly, free of corruption,” he said.
He added that the question of integrity also applied to the voters, in reference to the issue of vote-buying that mars most regional elections in the country.
At an antigraft awareness event on Saturday, the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) also warned against vote-buying in the lead-up to the July 11 election.
“Poor people tend to be less educated, which makes them more easy to manipulate with promises of cash, free food and so on,” said Adi Prakoso, a PBHI official.
“We’re trying to give them a political education and raise their awareness about this problem.”
He said Saturday’s awareness-raising program was carried out in 10 communities throughout the city, with students from three local universities serving as volunteers.
The event included discussions with residents and training workshops.
Adi said the ultimate aim was to get voters to understand that they played an important role in shaping the future of the city through the choices they made at the ballot box.
“They need to realize that the political right that they exercise when they vote will contribute to the changes in Jakarta,” he said.
The PBHI has been running a series of awareness programs during the past several weeks about the gubernatorial election, which Adi said had been showing promising results.
“At the very least, voters are beginning to realize that it’s crucial for them to choose a candidate with true integrity,” he said.