Matter of New Jakarta Deputy Governor for Basuki Gets Messy

Sarwo Handayani,left, is Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s choice to be the new deputy. She has no party affiliations. (Antara Photo/Ujang Zaelani)

By : Lenny Tristia Tambun& Markus Junianto Sihaloho | on 11:10 PM August 24, 2014
Category : News, Jakarta, Politics, Featured

Sarwo Handayani,left, is Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s choice to be the new deputy. She has no party affiliations. (Antara Photo/Ujang Zaelani) Sarwo Handayani,left, is Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s choice to be the new deputy. She has no party affiliations. (Antara Photo/Ujang Zaelani)

Jakarta. The party of Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo says it has the sole right to appoint a deputy governor once he leaves office to be inaugurated as president in October.

Joko and his deputy, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, were nominated in 2012 by a coalition of their respective parties — the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, and the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or Gerindra — and that, argues PDI-P deputy secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto, gives the PDI-P dibs on finding a new deputy.

“In politics, more specifically within the context of the cooperation with Gerindra, the deputy governor post should be the right of the PDI-P,” he said on Sunday as quoted by “Willing or not, we [Gerindra and PDI-P] must sit together for this.”

Those talks could be difficult to achieve, given how hostile the parties have become to each other after nominating rival candidates for the presidential election — Joko from the PDI-P and Prabowo Subianto from Gerindra.

Hasto recommended either Boy Sadikin, a city councilor and son of the late Ali Sadikin, a former Jakarta governor, and Saiful Hidayat, the mayor of the East Java town of Blitar, as suitable candidates for the position of deputy governor once Basuki was promoted to governor.

Both Boy and Saiful are members of the PDI-P.

Hasto described Boy as “a clean figure not easily swayed by political interests,” and cited Saiful for his achievements in budgetary and bureaucratic reforms.

“This shows that the PDI-P has a lot of potential leaders,” he added.

PDI-P deputy chairman Effendi M.S. Simbolon agreed with the choice of Boy, but also recommended anti-corruption activist Teten Masduki, also a party member, as another potential candidate.

Both Hasto and Effendi, though, acknowledged that the matter of Basuki’s deputy could only be decided after the inauguration of the new City Council, scheduled for today.

Effendi said the PDI-P was ready for the matter to go to a vote if needed, but called such a contingency “unethical” if it resulted in a Gerindra official

“Please, go ahead, if that’s what Gerindra wants,” he said. “It will be unethical, though, to appoint a deputy governor from Gerindra when the governor is Basuki,” who is also from Gerindra.

The PDI-P won the most seats at the City Council in the April 9 legislative election, with 28 out of 106, but the parties in Prabowo’s coalition control a majority of 57 seats.

Tjahjo Kumolo, the PDI-P secretary general, said his party would discuss the matter with Basuki. He stressed the need to choose someone who was clean, honest, hard-working and committed to their job, as well as able to get along with Basuki.

“It’s all for the purpose of supporting Jakarta’s development,” Tjahjo said. “There’s no need to be distinguish between politicians or bureaucrats.”

Basuki’s choice

The governor-in-waiting, though, has already expressed his preference, saying that if he had his way, he would pick Sarwo Handayani, an assistant to the governor on development matters, to be his deputy.

“If I could choose, I would choose Bu Yani [Sarwo]. She is hard-working, honest and dedicated. She’s good,” Basuki said on Friday. “Yes, if I could choose, I would definitely choose her as my deputy.”

Basuki said he wanted someone with experience in the bureaucracy, and Sarwo, formerly the head of the Jakarta Development Agency, had that experience.

“How would I know if a person is fit to be a deputy governor if they’ve never held an executive position?” he asked.

But Basuki said he would let his party decide on the matter.

“My only condition is that I want an honest and hard-working person. If the person is not willing to work hard and I have to make them work from morning to late at night, there can be fights,” he said.

“What matters is the person’s character has already been tested; if they’re honest or not, if they can prove that their wealth matches with the money they’re supposed to earn.”

M. Taufik, the head of Gerindra’s Jakarta chapter, said it was “too early” to discuss who should replace Basuki as Jakarta deputy governor.

“It’s too early, it’s unethical. The governor [Joko] is still serving as the governor, and hasn’t yet officially resigned. Why are you already looking for the next deputy governor?” Taufik told on Saturday. “When the time comes, we’ll talk about this.”

Taufik, though, already indicated that Gerindra might not want someone from the PDI-P to fill the post.

“Although the governor will be from Gerindra, the deputy doesn’t have to come from the PDI-P,” he said. “Gerindra has the right to propose a name. As to who will end up [being deputy governor], it will depend on the City Council.”

While the PDI-P insists it has the prerogative to appoint the new deputy governor, a previous appointment in Surabaya has proved controversial.

The party, blamed by Mayor Tri Rismaharini of putting undue pressure on her to approve plans for an Rp 8 trillion ($680 million) toll road — which she eventually rejected — went on to appoint as her deputy (after the incumbent resigned to stand in another election) a city councilor who had previously led a vote of no-confidence in her, less than a year after she came to office in 2010.

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