Jakarta. The local chapter of the Indonesian Solidarity Party, or PSI, held a public gathering on Saturday (03/03) to raise funds in support of its Jakarta Regional Legislative Council candidates.
Michael Victor Sianipar, chairman of the PSI's Jakarta chapter, said the party is promoting a more transparent way of funding political campaigns as part of efforts to reduce corruption that result from politicians trying to recoup the massive amounts spent on campaigns for seats.
The PSI seeks to raise up to Rp 20 billion ($1.45 million) ahead of next year's simultaneous national and regional elections. Saturday's fundraising activity, which took place at Aryaduta Hotel in Central Jakarta, was the party's fourth, with the Jakarta chapter having raised Rp 1.3 billion.
"We have seen many regional government heads arrested by the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission]. We say yes, it is bad, but shouldn't we ask what is actually the root of the problem? It is a question of how they raise their campaign funding," said Michael, who worked as a personal assistant to former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama between 2012 and 2017.
"The Patungan Rakyat Akbar [great public fundraising] held by the PSI was to provide an example of how we can have healthy campaign funding. The root of the problem of corruption is political funding, and the way to solve this problem is by conducting public fundraising for political campaign activities in a transparent way," said Michael, who is graduate of Yonsei University in Seoul.
During Saturday's activity, the PSI also held a panel discussion on political funding, attended by its Jakarta Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) candidates, including Giring Ganesh, a former member of now-defunct pop group Nidji; former television presenter Isyana Bagoes Oka; and Rian Ernest, another of Ahok's assistants during his governorship.
"We understand that many among the youth and the middle class are apathetic about politics. We understand their reasons, but is it not so helpless to go on silently when bad things are happening in your country? We are calling on the youth and the middle class to speak up now," said Michael, who also holds a master's degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
The PSI, along with 14 existing and new political parties, has passed a factual verification process by the General Elections Commission (KPU), which allows the party to participate in next year's legislative and presidential elections.
The party is supporting 106 candidates in the Jakarta election.
The PSI, founded in 2014, is led by chairwoman Grace Natalie, a former TV presenter. The party is targeting the youth and urging them to care more about politics in a bid to change Indonesia's stagnant political landscape.
The party opposes intolerance and corruption, while supporting moves to increase the number of women in the House of Representatives.