No longer an independent, Ahok still seeks volunteers

BINTANGNEWS.com – Even though he is no longer an independent candidate, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama says he will still rely on volunteerism for his campaign.
Ahok said during the inauguration of his campaign team’s headquarter in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Thursday evening that he wanted to keep up the tradition of Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok).
“I want residents to get involved in the campaign. They can take part by donating their money or energy,” he said.
Teman Ahok, which initially pushed the incumbent to run as an independent candidate, claimed to have collected a significant amount of funds by selling merchandise. “Teman Ahok once sold tickets for an event and they earned Rp 1.6 billion [US$121,600],” Ahok said.
Teman Ahok is a volunteer group that helped the incumbent governor gather 1 million ID-backed support forms to nominate him on an independent ticket for the election, slated for Feb. 15 next year.
The formation of Teman Ahok, costing Rp 500 million, was funded by 10 individuals who used to support President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. The names of the individuals remain unknown.
However, after securing a nomination from the NasDem Party, Hanura Party and Golkar Party, the governor dropped his independent bid and accepted the parties’ offer to run as their candidate.
Teman Ahok members, however, have remained loyal to the governor and have become involved in his campaign team.
Ahok said he had told the parties supporting him that he would use Teman Ahok’s strategies, including its volunteers, in his campaign. “I have told them that we will use a different technique,” he said.
Politicians normally hold political rallies to which people are often only invited to carry or wear party paraphernalia. Ahok said he did not want to campaign in that manner.
The governor is seeking to scrap an article in the Regional Elections Law that obliges him to take leave during the campaign period, as he wants to continue working on the city’s many projects.
Teman Ahok spokeswoman Amalia Ayuningtyas, who was selected as the secretary of the campaign team, said Teman Ahok and the political parties were still cooking up a campaign strategy.
“We also have not figured out our position on the team,” she said, adding that a controversial list circulated on social media, allegedly naming Ahok’s campaign team members, including a number of Teman Ahok members and social media activists, was still tentative.
Amalia said the parties were waiting for Ahok to appoint a running mate. “We will start intensifying the campaign once the deputy governor hopeful is already definite,” she said.
Amalia added that Teman Ahok, previously known as an antipolitical party movement, was now helping with campaign preparations. “For example, we helped design the inauguration of the campaign headquarters last night,” she said.
She added that although the group did not hold a strategic position, the three political parties still discussed various matters with its members.
“They also agree that the campaign will continue to rely on volunteerism where residents can get involved actively,” she said, adding that residents could take part in a potluck during the inauguration of the headquarters, for example.
She said a supporter had helped them pay the rent of the headquarters, located in a high-end area in Jakarta. Amalia, however, refused to reveal the name of the supporter.
Nusron Wahid, head of the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI), who is also head of Ahok’s reelection campaign, denied the validity of the list that circulated on social media.
“No, no, the list is untrue. Just wait [until] we release the names,” Nusron, a Golkar politician, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The list consisted of more than 100 figures, including politicians from NasDem, Golkar and Hanura. It also featured social media influencers who are known to support Ahok on Twitter such as Poltak Hotradero, activist Guntur Romli, social media activist Shafiq Pontoh, movie director Fajar Nugros and singer J-Flow.***
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Editing: T. Bintang

source: Thejakartapost

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