Jakarta gubernatorial election candidates are using every trick in the book to surreptitiously conduct money politics. The Elections Supervisory Committee seems to turn a blind eye.
A big announcement is pinned on the gates of a building that serves as the campaign headquarters of Alex Noerdin-Nono Sampono, one of the six tickets running for the Jakarta gubernatorial election. The building lies just across the Metropole Theater in Central Jakarta. It reads: "Today is your last chance to receive volunteer honorarium payments." Up until Thursday evening last week, a long line snaked outside this headquarters, a house owned by Titiek, daughter of former president Soeharto.
Beneath the announcement, another piece of paper was attached to the gate. It contained the names of communities scheduled to receive such payments. They included members of the Nahdlatul Ulama (the largest liberal Islamic organization in Indonesia), the Panca Marga youth group, the people of Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta, and retired Navy pensioners.
These "honorarium payments for volunteers" have been carried out even before the official campaigning began. Volunteer Sunarto said that he got his turn three weeks ago. "I received an insurance card and Rp150,000," the Manggarai fruit vendor told Tempo. The bright yellow card—the color of the Golkar Party which is backing Alex Noerdin and Nono is worth Rp5 million of free health services.
Before handing over the money and the insurance card, the committee members making out these honorarium payments provided the "volunteers" with a briefing: what to expect on July 11, which is the day of the elections, how to carry out the voting at the polling booth, and which picture of candidates they are to vote for. Obviously, they were advised to select picture no. 3 which carries the photographed faces of Alex and Nono.
These volunteers are promised everything from cars, motorcycles, Rp90 million in cash, to minor Islamic pilgrimages, locally known as Umrah, to those who successfully manage to recruit the most voters for Alex and Nono.
The team supporting Alex-Nono claimed that giving away prizes, money, and insurance was exclusively for volunteers, so it cannot be considered as money politics. However, the reality is a different matter altogether. During his speech, on a volleyball field on Jalan Akasia in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, Alex offered five refrigeration units. Of course they were not given out for nothing: the people had to answer quiz questions correctly.
Previously, the pair handed out envelopes containing cash and insurance certificates, each worth Rp5 million, to 100 orphans in Ulujami, South Jakarta. The same insurance was given out to the people who attended their campaign in Cilincing, North Jakarta.
Candidates running for Jakarta governor always seem find a way to "smuggle" money to their voters. While campaigning in the Jongkok traditional market of Semper, North Jakarta, Joko Widodo bought five soyabean boards. Instead of paying the regular price, Jokowi handed over Rp100,000 to the vendor, and told the vendor to keep the change.
As for the Fauzi Bowo-Nachrowi Ramli (Foke-Nara) ticket, they have their own skill-sets to display. A person who looked like a campaign volunteer handed out stickers with pictures of Fauzi-Nara to homes at Cipinang Cempedak subdistrict in Jatinegara, East Jakarta. Those who agree to stick the stickers on their doors will receive a Rp100,000.
In Ciracas, Nachrowi was reported over money politics, because he gave money to some ladies from the Family and Welfare Empowerment Group (PKK) during his campaign. The head of the East Jakarta Election Supervisory Board, Hendri Basri, said that the ladies sang the song Iwak Peyek—with some alterations to the lyrics to state their support for Fauzi-Nara. Nachrowi was amused and gave Rp300,000 to his aide, who then gave it to the ladies.
The Fauzi-Nara success team has already been reprimanded by a member of the Election Supervisory Board. "The excuse given by the success team was that giving out money is considered a culture of the local community," said Hendri.
The Head of the Independent Election Monitoring Committee, Wahyu Dinata, saud that handing out door prizes is a way for success teams to get around the restriction of money politics. Something that can be converted into a certain value can be categorized as money politics if given out during a campaign. "That includes door prizes, veils, daily necessities, and others."
The Hendardji Soepandji-Ahmad Riza team has also prepared insurance certificates for 15,0000 observers. The head of their media team, Karel Susetyo, did not mention the value. "It is not a part of money politics," he claimed.
His was evasive and claimed that insurance is a form of appreciation and protection for volunteers. He saw it as form of appreciation. They felt the important thing was to hand out insurance only to volunteers. This differs from money politics which is usually done in massive proportions.
Karel's statement was verified by Ramdansyah, the Head of the city's Jakarta Governor Election Monitoring Committee. His reason was that the activity of handing out money was an internal issue of the candidates, conducted at command posts, and outside the campaign time. The Gubernatorial Election Monitoring Committee did not prohibit this because candidates must prepare two witnesses for each of the 15,029 voting locations. "It is only slightly different from money politics," said Ramdansyah.
The candidates believe that handing out money is prohibited, but giving money to pay for transportation and other related fares is fine. Tempo's research found the Fauzi-Nara success team at Tanah Abang actively recruited the neigborhood (RT) and community (RW) administrators in becoming a member of their success team. One of the members of the success team at Kebon Melati, Tanah Abang, known as a member of the Betawi Rempug Forum, gathered the administrators in one of the community centers two weeks ago.
Those who joined were given Rp500,000 per person. But those who were civil servants were not permitted to join. This incentive was considered as compensation for hanging the Fauzi-Nara banner in their areas, exactly one day before the campaign began. Other success teams referred to this as the "dawn attack."
The Joko Widodo-Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Jokowi-Ahok) success team runs quiz programs on four radios: Kiss FM, Bens Radio, Mustang, and RKM. The quizzes contain questions about Jokowi-Ahok are aired on 50 episodes of each radio. "The initiator was Hasan Hasbi, the Director of Cyrus Network," said M. Taufik, head of the Gerindra Party, who now leads the Jokowi Success Team. The Cyrus Network is a survey institution that coordinates volunteers for Joko Widodo.
The regulation covering the ban on money politics is Law No. 32/2004 on Regional Governments. It is also stated in Law No. 12/2008, replacing the previous regulation.
Indonesia Corruption Watch researcher, Abdullah Dahlan, said that the dimension of money politics in regional elections should cover all stages. Handing out money or items before the campaign begins can also be included in this category. "Not just during the campaign," he said. "Anyone can be convicted. It does not only have to be a member of the success team."
By Kartika Candra, Gustidha Budiartie, Nur Alfiyah
No. 45/12, July 03, 2012
Residents receive money after registering to be volunteers for the Alex-Nono ticket’s campaign on June 12.