New Youth Party Urges Indonesian Youngsters to Get Political

BY : SARAH YUNIARNI

OCTOBER 02, 2017

Jakarta. Former TV presenter Grace Natalie, now the chairwoman of Indonesian Solidarity Party, or PSI, a new political party established after the 2014 Indonesian presidential election, is urging young people in the country to enter politics and change the country's stagnant political landscape.

"We invite young, highly-principled Indonesians to help improve this country by joining our political party," Grace, a former TV One news anchor, said during a discussion at Balai Kartini in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Saturday (30/09).

The event carried the theme "The Future of Indonesian Political Scene" and featured Mohammad Guntur Romli, an activict from the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) and Nahdlatul Ulama — Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, and Rian Ernest Tanudjadja, a former legal staff of ex-Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama who is now serving a two-year sentence for blasphemy against Islam.

Both Guntur and Rian were members of the Ahok-Djarot campaign team in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and have signed up with PSI to become the party's legislative candidates in the 2019 general election.

Grace said it is only through a political party that young Indonesians can rise to power by snaring the youth votes and securing parliamentary seats in the election.

"It's time for young people to make a breakthrough and create policies that benefit the Indonesian people," Grace said.

She said politicians play an important role in building the country, since they are the ones who can change and create policies. They also indirectly control state finances, since once in power they will employ their colleagues in the government, who will have to make sure that state funds are not corrupted.

"One of the main reasons I decided to become a politician is because I've seen how the existing political parties work," Grace said.

Indonesian politics has allowed too many people for too long to seek power for their own interests, and not to serve the interests of the people, she added.

Guntur said the Jakarta gubernatorial election earlier this year showed that some political groups had succeeded in pushing their own agenda by claiming it represented the interests of the majority of Indonesians.

Instead of promoting unity and nationalism during the election campaign, these groups unashamedly played the race, religion and ethnicity card — known by its acronym SARA.

Guntur said he does not want seats in the parliament be filled by these groups of people in 2019.

"Do not let Indonesia fall into the hands of people who want to change what our founding fathers have worked so hard to achieve," Guntur added.

During the Balai Kartini event, PSI also organized "Patungan Rakyat Akbar," a fundraising for the party, that has said one of its goals is to fight corruption, collusion and nepotism, or KKN — the three deadly sins of Indonesian politics.

Every participant of the discussion on Saturday donated Rp 250,000 ($18) to PSI.

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