In a bid to protect democratic principles, Said Abdullah, the economic sector leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has voiced the party's objections to the proposed presidential appointment of the Governor and Deputy Governor of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta (DKJ). This stand by one of Indonesia's major political entities has raised the stakes in the ongoing debate over the city's special status.
Challenging the Status Quo
Abdullah, in his argument, emphasized four key points. He rejected the notion that Jakarta's unique status as a historical and financial hub justified the presidential appointment. Instead, he argued that such a move bears no relevance to the city's distinct character. A presidential appointment, he proposed, would undermine the democratic rights of Jakarta's residents and potentially give the governor more authority than those in other autonomous regions, thereby clashing with the principles of democracy.
Appeal for Autonomy
Abdullah's third point was an impassioned plea for Jakarta's full autonomy. He emphasized that with the capital city's role having ended, the principle of fairness dictates that leaders in Jakarta's districts and municipalities should also be elected through direct regional head elections. He contended that Jakarta should be more than an administrative area; it should be a self-governing region with its leaders chosen by its residents.
A Step Backwards?
Lastly, Abdullah warned that the proposition of a president-appointed governor and deputy governor was a throwback to less democratic times. He reminded his audience that Jakarta's gubernatorial elections have historically acted as a benchmark for national democracy and have produced noteworthy national leaders. To revert to a system reminiscent of the New Order's authoritarian era, he argued, would be a retrograde step.
Abdullah's articulate opposition to the proposed changes encapsulates the concerns of many who fear for the future of Indonesia's democracy. His statements have added weight to the debate and have underlined the importance of Jakarta's political autonomy in Indonesia's democratic landscape.