The stigma of Indonesian Legislative candidates of Chinese descendants was attached to economic animal but they responded to it with hope and expectation of change toward the General Election on April 9 next. The stigma of economic animal meant that the Chinese ethnic group were simply in pursuit of profit in doing business in Indonesia; but the chase for profit was not accompanied by Love for the country in heart and soul. "The stigma of economic was at large in the era of Suharto Government. Not a single Chinese sat in Parliament. Even if there was any, there were merely Golkar puppets" Hartono Chairman of the National Democratic Forum [Fordeka] disclosed to BusinessNews. 11/41 [Footnote: in the Suharto era there was a wave of anti-China trend in Indonesia, the reason was because China was allegedly involved in the G-30-S coup d' etat in 1965. The hatred was addressed to China's Communism not the Chinese, but many people mis interpreted Suharto's opposition as racial hatred until RI and PRC normalized relationship in 1986.
The stigma motivated the Indonesian Chinese to propose as Legislative Candidate. They saw the Partliament not as a goal but medium of change. Change could only be discoursed on national political stage. Mathematically the number of House members of Chinese origin was still not ideal, because they numbered only around 10 - 15 persons. Ideally the number of Chinese politicians were around 40 people. "But that's only theory. It is hard to reach an ideal point. This year Chinese candidates were spread out in nearly all political parties except PKS, and PBB, In PPP there is Angel Lelga of Central Java electoral zone.
Meanwhile member of the Press Council Yoseph Adi Prasetyo saw that the stigma of economic animal was not only underrating but also a sign of officials tendentious remarks. The role of Chinese ethnics was not only in the economic sector but also and law, press, researchers, sports etc. All the non economic professions indicated sense of nationalism. In the era of the New Order they were driven to be mere businesspeople. In journalism, law, education, research, polictics, they were non existent. And yet Oey Tjie Tat was once a minister, and Awyong Peng Koen set up Kompas daily" Yoseph disclosed to Business News.
In another location Chinese candidates allocated campaign budget from Rp 0 to Tp 1.1 billion, or even more. Fordeka noted there were around 350 candidates of Chinese descendants in 2014 election. Some candidates were open, but some tend to close their campaign budget. BusinessNews made some inventory record during socializing session of Fordeka. The biggest campaign budget was that of the Hanura Party Carrel Ticoalu Moe Soanliongl. He claimed to have spent Rp 1.1 billion one week before election. "Probably the amount keeps increasing because the calculation is on day-to-day basis [30/3]. Other candidates including me still had the chance to run campaign," Carrel disclosed to Business News.
The least campaign budget was of candidate of the Nasdem Party. He who refused to reveal his name stressed that budget did not determine campaign's success. On the other hand the campaign strategy background and credibity of candidates was determinant factor in winning. The Nusantara Daily disclosed that there were two Nasdem candidates who allocated measly budget of Rp 5 million. The two candidates made their statement in the get-together session run by Fordeka led by Hartono. They originated from zone 10 of West Jakarta and Central Jakarta Election zone. West Jakarta included the district of Grogol Petamburan, Taman Sari, Kebon Jeruk, Palmerah and Kembangan. Central Jakarta included Kemayoran, Cempaka Putih, Sawah Besar, Gambir, Tanah Abang, Menteng, Senen and Johar Baru. "I am optimistic to win and to sit as DPRD member in spite of limited budget."
Carrel who was Lawyer of Demokrat Party Anas Urbaniungrum stated that campaign budget was drained for making atributes and meetings. Carrel admitted that campaign seemed simple and not iuxurious. He was also running meetings in small restaurtants. "I went down the market to run meetings in North Jakarta [Tanjung Priok, Penjaringan, Pademangan]. I had to pay for their lunch and give them some money."
Having spent Rp1.1billion, he admitted that he was ready to lose. He felt sure that even if he failed to be elected as legislative member he would not go bankrupt. :"I still have to support my family". But even if he was chosen as Parliament member, he needed not to 'return favors'. Meaning, he did not have to spent his salary as House member to cover up campaign expenses spent. "I don't have to return favors to cover up campaign expenses. God blessed be with a good profession and a decent family, so I do not expect material advantage if I was elected"
The Rp1.1 billion expense was taken from his own pocket. He claimed that he never received money from sponsors or sympathizers. He only believed in God's might who made his life better day after day.
At the same location, a Caleg of Jakarta DPD Eddy Sadeli allocated maximum budget of Rp500 million which was taken from his own pocket, from sponsors, and sympathizers. "During my office as House member in 2009 - 2014, I received a salary of Rp60 million, but if I participated in legal discussions I had extra fee. My total income was Rp 100 million or more. I gather them and use them for campaign expenses. My target is Rp500 million at the most" Eddy told Business News.
Other Caleg of the Nasdem Party Ulung Busman admitted it was most economical to allocate fund for campaigns. He would not take the trouble of printing brochures, business cards etc. "I thought if I spread around printed materials they might end up as trash. It is simply waste of money. I would rather run joint campaigns, the way Surya Paloh Chairman of Nasdem Party met cadres and constituents at Gelora Bung Karo stadium when I participated. TheParty's Central Command asked every Caleg to mobilize around 400 people. I had to procure logistics and transportation" Ulung disclosed to Business News.
A caleg friom Hanura Party Johnny Putra stated that money was not the only determinant factor of victory, but two thinngs were most important logistics and transportation. A Caleg would mobilize constituents and the masses. They need money for car rentals and consumption during campaigns. "I am a businessman, I know how to manage budget for any activity," Johnny told Business News.
Chairman of Fordeka claimed he had given illumiation to Calegs. They were told not to borrow money here and there for campaign expenses. Such was prone to corruption and stress. "If a caleg had too much debt - even if he were elected - he might be corrupted. His salary might not be enough for paying debts for campaign expenses" Hartono disclosed to Business News.
On the other hand if a Caleg was not chosen, he might be stressed. The risk could be double he had to pay debt and be dissappointed at the same time. After two or three Elections Fordeka saw increased intelligence among Calegs. They were able to set up Mission and Vision and they avoid debts. "The way I see it the average capacity is Rp100 - Rp200 million; some even below Rp50 million. They would think that to support a framily is more important than to pursue political ambition."
To learn from experience of trying to be elected in 1999, 2004 , 2009 Fordeka felt sure there would be no Tionghoa candidate that turned stressed; but some of them had broken spirit, twice candidating but was never elected, so they would not take the risk of throwing money around. "I have personally warned them: I they failed, their families must accept faith. Every struggle has its risk, including how to become Caleg. They must be ready to accept victory of their opponents although they were both Tionghoa. Some competing Tionghoa calegs were of the same election zone" (SS)
Business New - April 4, 2014