No Bureaucrats in Campaigns: Panwaslu
Lenny Tristia Tambun
High-ranking public officials will face fines of up to Rp 6 million ($635) for campaigning on behalf of any of the candidates in the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election, polling monitors said on Thursday.
Ramdansyah, chairman of the city’s Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu), said all civil servants were required by law to remain impartial.
He pointed out that the 2004 Regional Governance Law prohibited “government official or officials with structural and functional positions or village heads from making a decision or taking an action that advantages or disadvantages a certain candidate during the campaign period.”
Another article in the law stipulates that officials who violate this prohibition can face fines ranging from Rp 600,000 to Rp 6 million.
“So it’s clear that the law requires civil servants to remain neutral, and they can’t campaign on behalf of or against any candidates,” Ramdansyah said at a meeting with representatives from the campaign teams of the six candidates contesting the July 11 election.
He added that civil servants traditionally played a key role in regional elections across Indonesia, with many cases of bureaucrats overtly supporting the incumbent in the hope of some form of reward should the incumbent win re-election.
He said there had already been one case in Jakarta where an official in the Thousand Islands had prevented Hidayat Nur Wahid, the candidate from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), from giving a sermon at a mosque there.
“That’s an example of civil servants disadvantaging a gubernatorial candidate,” Ramdansyah said.
He added that several civil servants in the district claimed that their superiors had threatened to transfer them to less-developed areas unless they voted a certain way, but did not identify the candidate they were told to support.
Ramdansyah said these cases had already been reported to the local elections monitors in the Thousand Islands and would be followed up by Panwaslu.
He stressed the importance of all bureaucrats maintain their neutrality during the election process because they had a responsibility to serve the public regardless of their political ideologies.
He added that Panwaslu hoped there would be no attempts ahead of the upcoming poll to coerce civil servants to compromise their neutrality.