Prabowo seeks 90% support in Ciamis

Mr Prabowo speaking in Ciamis yesterday, where he promised, if elected, to cut electricity costs within his first 100 days in office. A crowd bidding farewell to Mr Prabowo Subianto in Ciamis regency after his campaign stop there yesterday. The modes
A crowd bidding farewell to Mr Prabowo Subianto in Ciamis regency after his campaign stop there yesterday. The modest town in West Java is a special place for Mr Prabowo, who said he expects no less than 90 per cent of the people there to vote for him as he seeks an upset win over incumbent President Joko Widodo at the April 17 polls.ST PHOTO: LINDA YULISMAN
Mr Prabowo speaking in Ciamis yesterday, where he promised, if elected, to cut electricity costs within his first 100 days in office. A crowd bidding farewell to Mr Prabowo Subianto in Ciamis regency after his campaign stop there yesterday. The modes
Mr Prabowo speaking in Ciamis yesterday, where he promised, if elected, to cut electricity costs within his first 100 days in office.ST PHOTO: LINDA YULISMAN

He hopes backing in W. Java province, his traditional stronghold, helps deliver upset win

It was an arrival befitting a king.

A crowd had gathered as the helicopter carrying presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto started its descent towards Ciamis, a regency in West Java province.

As the helicopter hovered over an open field to land, people had to be held back and told to wait until its rotors came to a stop.

They were anxious to rush forward to greet the former army general as he made another campaign stop in his bid to be the next president at the April 17 election.

Hundreds of supporters, including students, some clad in brown scout uniforms, reached out to touch the candidate's hands when they saw him, while chanting in unison: "Prabowo, Prabowo!"

Other enthusiastic supporters were also waiting on the streets to just wave or take pictures as Mr Prabowo made his way to Lokasana field in Ciamis for a rally.

Supporters of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto taking pictures in front of a poster of him (left) and his running mate Sandiaga Uno at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium yesterday, a day ahead of his mega rally there.
Supporters of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto taking pictures in front of a poster of him (left) and his running mate Sandiaga Uno at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium yesterday, a day ahead of his mega rally there. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

  • 10 days to Indonesian elections: The final push to win votes

  • SEEKING SUPERNATURAL HELP

    • Some candidates for the Indonesian legislature are reportedly turning to the supernatural for help to win big at the April 17 elections. According to The Jakarta Post, these politicians have been visiting the graves of respected figures, or praying to their ancestors for divine intervention in their political careers.

    • While candidates are worrying about losing at the polls, some Indonesians may not even get a chance to cast their ballots after the Ministry of Home Affairs reported that three million eligible voters had yet to register for the elections, which will be held in 10 days.

    ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

    • Today, a million people are expected to show up at the "Great Campaign" rally to catch presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto, and his running mate Sandiaga Uno, at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

    • Mr Prabowo was born in the capital in 1951, and the rally at the venue of last year's Asian Games would be akin to a homecoming event for the former army general.

    • President Joko Widodo will be in Banten province, where he will be receiving the endorsement of a group of local sporting legends.

    WHAT DO SURVEYS SHOW?

    • Just under half of about 600 people surveyed across six provinces on Java island, from March 27 to April 2, said they would vote for Mr Joko and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin.

    • The 49.3 per cent of support they garnered in the survey by the little-known Sabang Merauke Institute was 6.6 percentage points higher than the 42.7 per cent scored by their rivals. But almost 8 per cent of respondents remain undecided, said the institute at the release of its survey results yesterday.

The laid-back area, with about 1.4 million residents, shares a border with Central Java and is clearly a special place for Mr Prabowo. 

 

He said yesterday that he expects no less than 90 per cent of voters in the area to support him, which is in line with the support he attracts in other parts of West Java.

The province, with more than 33.3 million voters, is his traditional stronghold, and where he hopes to do well as he seeks an upset win over incumbent President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin at the upcoming polls.

"Please set up a communal kitchen (on polling day). Mothers, please make rice snacks, coffee and tea. We will celebrate April 17 as the day of the people's victory, the day of Indonesian people's awakening," he said in a speech to around 20,000 people who braved the scorching sun to see him.

During the rally, which kicked off around 10.30am yesterday, Mr Prabowo promised, if elected, to cut electricity costs within his first 100 days in office, and to lift the wages of civil servants and build factories for made-in-Indonesia cars to create jobs in the longer term.

"I will pick the best sons and daughters of Indonesia. We will build hundreds of new factories in Indonesia. We will produce made-in-Indonesia cars," he said.

But the 67-year-old also told his supporters that to meet his goals, he will need to eradicate corruption in the bureaucracy, which, quoting data from Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission, he said has resulted in 2,000 trillion rupiah (S$190 billion) in potential state losses annually. "I swear to you that I will not seek advantages of my own or my family from this (presidential) post. My aspiration is to establish an anti-corruption government, a government without corrupt officials," Mr Prabowo said.

He added: "I will call the future ministers, interview them one by one, and will require them to sign contracts to ensure they will not accumulate wealth for themselves, their families and friends for five years of their tenure."

On the sidelines of the rally, some people, including a representative from the Indonesia Millennial Movement, were on hand to deliver donations to Mr Prabowo to support his election campaign.

On the return flight to Jakarta from West Java, Mr Prabowo told The Sunday Times that one way to eradicate corruption was for the central government to have a tighter rein on the state budget and to raise the salaries of high-profile officials, such as ministers and judges. He cited Singapore as an example of a clean government, saying that its success in tackling graft was correlated with ensuring its top officials were well compensated.

"I'm convinced we can make a big impact, just like in Singapore where Lee Kuan Yew didn't tolerate any corruption, and where their ministers are the highest paid in the world," he added.

Although most electability surveys show Mr Joko poised to win a second term in office, Mr Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno have managed to close the gap between them and the President's team with just 10 days to go before polls open.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'Prabowo seeks 90% support in Ciamis'. Print Edition | Subscribe