Jakarta's new governor says it is 'time to work'

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (far right) and his deputy Sandiaga Uno greeting the media before being sworn in at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta yesterday.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (right) and his deputy Sandiaga Uno greeting the media before being sworn in at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

After divisive election, he seeks to deliver on campaign promises

New Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and his deputy, Mr Sandiaga Uno, were sworn into office yesterday by President Joko Widodo, six months after the opposition pair won a hotly contested and divisive election.

The new team at City Hall proclaimed that it was "time to work", as they prepare to deliver on the 23 priority programmes promised during the campaign.

These include creating more jobs, offering paternity leave, increasing home ownership among the poor by scrapping down payments for flats, and blocking a major land reclamation project supported by the current Joko administration.

"We are ready to start working," Mr Anies told reporters after the inauguration ceremony yesterday. "The campaign is over, the preparation stage is over, and now it is time to fulfil all our promises."

More than 7,000 police officers were deployed in the capital to secure the inauguration held at the Istana at 4pm local time, but activities to mark the event started hours earlier. To ensure that their supporters could experience the pomp and pageantry of the ceremony, the Anies-Sandiaga team prepared 30 virtual reality, or VR, goggles that were distributed to people gathered at City Hall and 12 other places across Jakarta to allow the public to witness the inauguration, picked up by 360-degree cameras.

There were musical performances by a local dangdut band, and a Betawi welcoming procession, where about 3,000 packets of free food were prepared and distributed to spectators.

UNIFYING MESSAGE

Jakarta governor is for everyone, those who voted for me as well as those who didn't. The election was just a mechanism to make a decision on who would be governor, but once a governor is elected, he carries a constitutional and moral mandate to serve all.

NEW JAKARTA GOVERNOR ANIES BASWEDAN

Large screens were set up to allow those who were not able to get close to the action, to watch.

"Jakarta governor is for everyone, those who voted for me as well as those who didn't," said Mr Anies. "The election was just a mechanism to make a decision on who would be governor, but once a governor is elected, he carries a constitutional and moral mandate to serve all."

Mr Anies and Mr Sandiaga will need to work hard to meet the high bar set by their predecessors Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and Mr Djarot Saiful Hidayat, said observers.

Basuki is now in jail after being found guilty of blasphemy against Islam in May just weeks after losing to Mr Anies on a highly charged campaign that many said threatened Indonesia's values of pluralism.

But Basuki and Mr Djarot hand over Jakarta after successfully cleaning up the city's rivers, turning a local mafia-run red-light district called Kalijodo - infamous for prostitution, gambling and alcohol sales - into a bike and skateboard park, and initiating a transparent project procurement system called e-budgeting, which eradicates project cost mark-ups.

University Paramadina academic Hendri Satrio said the Anies-Sandiaga team must now unify Jakarta residents while delivering on their campaign promises after what has been a divisive election.

"Their first hundred days will be important, and they promised to stop the land reclamation... (provide) zero down payment for homes and 5,000 rupiah (50 Singapore cents) rides on public transportation," he added. "These are all what Jakartans have been waiting for, so they must deliver."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Jakarta's new governor says it is 'time to work''. Print Edition | Subscribe