Don’t let the DPD become a vehicle for the ‘old’ politicians

Kompas – September 10, 2003
Partnership for Governance Reform consultant Bambang Widjojanto (baritopasisia)
Partnership for Governance Reform consultant Bambang Widjojanto (baritopasisia)

Jakarta – It is hoped that society will be on its guard against the possibility that Regional Representative Assemblies (DPD) will not become an platform for “old” politicians to make a come back. Throughout the period leading up to the day when votes are counted therefore, exposing the political track record of a perspective candidate members of the DPD must be part of the educational material [provided to the public] so as to produce shrewd and rational voters.

“The phenomena of ex-state officials followed by their relatives who are dominating those who have registered as prospective candidate members for the DPD indicates that there is a desire on the part of “old” politicians to participate in Indonesia future political process”, said Bambang Widjojanto, a consultant from the Partnership for Governance Reform, speaking to journalists on Tuesday September 9 in Jakarta.

Of late, these ex-state officials, wives of state officials, businesspeople and social figures have been registering themselves to become DPD members. In relation to this Bambang warned that [society] must anticipate the possibility that they are not considering what their contribution will be through the DPD but are only thinking about repositioning their political power.

Block the black politicians

Bambang grouped prospective candidate members of the DPD into four categories, that is those people who truly have an interest in making a contribution, the “old” politicians who have been sidelined, “questionable” people who are hoping for certain kinds legal cover and people who wish to build or maintain their political networks.

Considering the various motives of prospective candidate members of the DPD, Bambang went on to warn that there is a need to educate voters so that they are more shrewd and rational in making their choice. Voters must be offered election indicators to avoid choosing improper candidates.

The vice-coordinator of Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), Luky Djani also agreed, [saying that] the phenomena of the return of old politicians to the public stage through the institution of the DPD must be accompanied by a movement in civil society to expose the track record of perspective candidate members of the DPD. If indeed there is valid data on the bad track record of a perspective candidate, that data can be publicised openly as a campaign to prevent the entry of “black” politicians into representative institutions.

Perspective candidates who are “good” must also be motivated to have be courage to compete head-to-dead with the “old” politicians which have a bad track record. “This is our hope, don’t let the DPD instead become the Regional Retirees Assembly” (Dewan Pensiunan Daerah), said Luky.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski.]