Editorial: Jokowi Must Draw a Lesson From Basuki

JANUARY 20, 2015

President Joko Widodo does not have to look further than his former deputy, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, to draw a lesson so that he can do the right thing and solve the problems he is facing now.

Basuki shows him that he was not afraid of parting with political parties previously supporting him.

Basuki dumped the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) after he believed that the party had betrayed the people by supporting a law slashing the direct election system. He showed that he’s not afraid of challenging Prabowo Subianto, Gerindra’s chairman and founder, who is feared like a god among the party members.

Why can’t Joko follow Basuki’s example? He can quit the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) without having to worry about anything at all, and break out from Megawati Soekarnoputri’s shadow. He is the president of Indonesia who is voted in by the people.

If he quits, other political parties will be in line to be his supporters. Or, if he wants to get total control, he can establish his won political party easily, just like what his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done.

PDI-P and Megawati will continue to be his nightmare — forcing bad policies and appointments for their own interests. He will not be able to control the party as he is not in Sukarno’s bloodline.

As the governor Basuki, without backing of any political party has been able to challenge the city councilors, many of whom have been notorious of being corrupt politicians.

If Basuki, a Chinese Christian who runs a predominantly Muslim Jakarta, dares to take a stand against corrupt politicians, then why can’t Joko, who is a much more popular figure across the archipelago?