Hospitals Across Indonesia Ready Psychiatrists for Indebted Election Candidates

Supporters of Siti Hediati Suharto, daughter of former Indonesian President Suharto, shout slogans during a Golkar party campaign in Sleman, near Yogyakarta, March 29, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Dwi Oblo)

Supporters of Siti Hediati Suharto, daughter of former Indonesian President Suharto, shout slogans during a Golkar party campaign in Sleman, near Yogyakarta, March 29, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Dwi Oblo)

Jakarta. As Indonesian voters prepare to go to the polls on April 9 to vote for a new crop of legislative candidates, hospital staff and psychologists at hospitals across the archipelago are readying themselves and preparing extra beds for a new batch of losing candidates.

“Most of the legislative candidates who will be prone [to depression] are beginners who are not ready to lose,” Fadhilah Masjaya, the director of Atma Husada Hospital in Samarinda, said in the East Kalimantan capital on Thursday. “Some of them probably have spent Rp 1 billion [$88,000] alone — then it’s wasted and they become distressed.”

Fadhilah added that most candidates would not, however, suffer from major depressive symptoms.

“We’ll treat them no different to other patients,” he said.

In Balikpapan, a booming mining city on the East Kalimantan coast, the local health agency has instructed community health clinics, known as Puskesmas, to make the necessary preparations.

“We’ve opened special posts at all Puskesmas; they’re ready to treat legislative candidates who are mildly or heavily depressed,” Balikpapan Health Agency head Dyah Muryani said. “We’ve also prepared [psychiatrists]. Doctors at Puskesmas can refer patients to hospitals or to psychiatrists.”

In the East Java district of Bojonegoro, the local state-run Sosodoro Djatokoesomo Hospital said it had prepared special psychiatric wards for ill candidates.

Bojonegoro reported two cases of depression after the 2009 legislative elections. Two lawmaker hopefuls from the town, identified as Iskandar Panip and Mashudi, were treated at An Nawawi Islamic boarding school in the subdistrict of Balen. The school reportedly provides alternative, spiritual treatment for mentally ill patients.

Seeing the amount of money spent by local candidates for the upcoming legislative elections, Bojonegoro anticipates a repetition of depression cases.

“Basically we’re ready [to treat psychiatric patients],” Sosodoro spokesman Thomas Djaja told Indonesian news portal tempo.co.

And if it’s a severe case of depression, Sosodoro said, the patients will be referred to psychiatric hospitals in Surabaya or Malang.

The local health agency in the East Java district of Situbondo said a community health center in the subdistrict of Mlandingan was prepared to accommodate depressed legislative candidates.

“We’ve prepared three rooms,” agency head Abu Bakar Abdi told tribunnews.com. “Aside from the rooms, we’ve also prepared medical workers.”

More than 6,600 candidates from 12 political parties will fight for 560 seats at the House of Representatives this year. For the entire legislative councils down to district and municipal level, a total of 19,699 seats will be fought over by approximately 200,000 candidates from throughout the archipelago, according to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

In the aftermath of the 2009 legislative elections, when parties began randomly recruiting legislative candidates to lure voters, the Indonesian media was packed with reports of depressed also-rans admitted to psychiatric wards, suffering public breakdowns and committing suicide. Most of the cases were attributed to losing in the elections after huge spending, which rendered many of the candidates heavily indebted.

To anticipate recurrence, Social Services Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri last month called on hospitals across the regions, particularly the mental health hospitals, to allocate special wards to treat such patients.

“We predict that there will be a lot of distressed legislative candidates, especially those who lose, after the elections,” Salim said, according to republika.co.id. “Therefore we’ve coordinated with local administrations and hospitals to prepare special wards.”

  • gadfly

    If we have them processed at the KPK headquarter to investigate the source of their election campaign money, they might even pass out indefinitely, thus saving us some space in the already crowded hospitals.

    • billy

      haha…what a joke this all is….. why not just arrest them before they loose then we all win…..
      ive never heard anything like this…getting room ready for them in hospital???? do the yget room ready for the poor ill people living in the streets ?
      come on get a life !!!!! who really gives a damn a bout some idiot that looses a election?? do you ?? does anyone else ? i think not !!!!
      what a joke!!!!!

      • Max Headroom

        Actually Billy – read about this crazy idea already a couple of days ago in the “other” English news site – it specifies there that the rooms to be readied for those “poor” candidates who need psychological help after their defeat (I wonder though how many would actually need already in the first place psychological evaluation) are first-class facilities – so it was never and will never be about the “little” people but always, in good old brownie-nose feudalism mentality prevalent here, about the self-proclaimed elite.

        And yes, for you and me, we don’t care about those losers of course – didn’t care about them in the first place – but hospitals probably still smell the money they can gather and suck it out of them. Once you got a billion (or more) in debt for campaigning (and then losing) who really cares about a couple of million up or down anymore….

        • mauriceg

          There are new friends to be made in these hospital wards. Sympathies given, ‘tokens of esteem’ exchanged. Those poor souls, deprived by that nasty, evil, unfair democratic thing called votes, are surely suggestible now, and willing to chat about their situations. If the KPK were to infiltrate these places, what an interesting time could be had afterwards. Of course, admissibility of evidence, by probably bereaved and/ or deranged ex-candidates may not be so easy, by internally, could be the source of who knows how many hitherto unsuspected nefarious goings-on to be investigated?

  • PakLe

    Is this article a joke?

  • The Hangman

    A cleansing in some cases!

  • http://al-terity.blogspot.com/ Alterity

    Losing out on a potential jackpot is always gonna be a real downer.

  • cranberry

    Likely Indonesian psychiatrists are as unqualified as your pharmacists, medical doctors and dentists. If people get so depressed about losing an election, they shouldn’t run. If the person can’t handle the loss they probably would make a poor politician anyway. I gather they are so depressed because of the failure of receiving corruption money in the future, rather than the actual job. Voters seem to have forgotten that the candidate who wins is actually their employee, that is the winner works for the people.

  • The Doc

    What a pathetic joke politics has become.
    Hopeful inept candidates borrow huge amounts to run their campaigns.
    Are these campaigns designed to advance the quality of life for the average Indonesian?

    Not on your life these sleazy power drunk half educated fools want a seat in the national assembly for one reason only.

    They run so as to get access to the tax payer funded corruption trough.
    They exist only to steal all they can get their grubby little fingers on.

    The only candidate that can prove otherwise would be Jokowi.
    Megawati pushed him forward so she can claim the only honest presidential candidate running for the presidency.
    Let all of the would be thieves get depressed and despondent, with luck they will then commit suicide and do the people of Indonesia a real favor.