Ahok plans to host his own talk show after his term ends as Jakarta governor

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama attends his ongoing trial for blasphemy at a court in Jakarta on April 25, 2017.
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama attends his ongoing trial for blasphemy at a court in Jakarta on April 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - Outgoing Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama plans to host his own talk show when his term at City Hall ends this October.

"I don't want to be a minister, I don't want to be a presidential staff," Mr Basuki told reporters on Thursday (May 4). "I want to host the 'Ahok Show' on one of the television stations."

Ahok is Mr Basuki's Chinese nickname and the programme he was referring to is a web video featuring dialogues with residents, which his team had produced and posted online during his campaign for governor.

Mr Basuki lost what is widely regarded as a highly divisive gubernatorial election to former culture and education minister Anies Baswedan, who will take over at City Hall later this year.

There has been speculation that Mr Basuki, who is close to President Joko Widodo, may be given a ministerial post or be appointed as a government official after his loss to Mr Anies.

But he dismissed the rumours, saying he is now only interested in business, and told reporters in jest that he is accepting advertisements for his TV talk show.

It has been a roller-coaster year for Mr Basuki, who went from being a shoo-in for the election to being soundly defeated by his rival. 

The election commission on Friday officially declared Mr Anies and his running mate Sandiaga Uno the winners of the election on April 19. According to the official count released by the commission, Basuki and his deputy Djarot Saiful Hidayat received 42 per cent of the vote versus their rivals’ 58 per cent.

Mr Basuki also still faces charges of insulting Islam and the court is set to rule on the blasphemy case against him on May 9.

The case involves a speech by Mr Basuki to constituents in September last year in which he was heard referring to a verse in the Quran when telling them that they should not be misled by opponents urging Muslims to reject a non-Muslim leader. Mr Basuki is a Christian.

Prosecutors have recommended that he be sentenced to two years' probation in lieu of a suspended jail term. But if he commits the same offence during probation, he should serve one year in jail, prosecutors told the court in their closing arguments.

Muslim conservatives, however, have continued to call for Basuki to be jailed, with thousands taking to the streets in Jakarta to rally against him on Friday.

The 505 protest, in reference to the date it is being held, is organised by the National Fatwa Guardians of the Indonesian Ulema Council (GNPF-MUI).

It took place after Friday prayers but turnout was lower than the hundreds of thousands that thronged the streets of downtown Jakarta during other rallies led by the GNPF-MUI and Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, leading up to the elections.

The protesters gathered at Masjid Istiqlal, the city's central mosque, before marching to the Supreme Court complex nearby.

The police closed several roads and stationed more than 15,000 officers to secure the capital.