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Basuki Tjahaja Purnama

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama

Indonesian politician
The basics
About
Occupation Politician
Country Indonesia
AKA Ahok, Zhong Wanxue
Date of birth Bangka Belitung Islands, Sumatra, Indonesia
Stats
Height: 1.8 m
Education Trisakti University
Political party Golongan Karya Party, Great Indonesia Movement Party
Authority Wikitree id VIAF id ISNI id Library of congress id
The details
Biography

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (born 29 June 1966) is an Indonesian politician and former governor of Jakarta. He is also known by his Hakka Chinese nickname Ahok (Chinese: 阿学), and from January 2019 has requested to be known as 'BTP'.

Basuki was a legislator in the Indonesian People's Representative Council and Regent of East Belitung. He was elected to the House of Representatives for the 2009–2014 term but resigned in 2012 to run for the deputy governorship of Jakarta, to which he was elected. In November 2014, he became governor of Jakarta, as his predecessor Joko Widodo had become president. During campaigning for re-election for Governor, allegations of blasphemy were commenced in October 2016. He was later defeated by Anies Baswedan and was then controversially jailed for insulting Islam.

Basuki was the second governor of Jakarta with Chinese ancestry and also the city's second Christian governor, following Henk Ngantung, who was governor from 1964-65.

Early life

Family and personal life

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (EYD: Basuki Cahaya Purnama; Chinese: 钟万学; Tjung Ban Hok; pinyin: Zhōng Wànxué; Hakka Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Chûng Van-ho̍k) was born on 29 June 1966 and grew up in Manggar, East Belitung. He is the first son of Buniarti Ningsih and the late Indra Tjahaja Purnama. Basuki has three siblings: Basuri Tjahaja Purnama, Fifi Lety, and Harry Basuki.

Basuki married Veronica Tan on 6 September 1997, and the couple has three children: Nicolas Sean, Natania, and Daud Albeneer. They divorced in 2018, gaining custody of the two younger children.

In 2019, Basuki plans to marry Bripda Puput Nastiti Devi, a police officer who previously served as the aide of his ex-wife, Veronica Tan.

Education

Basuki attended Trisakti University, majoring in mineral resources and technology. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in geological engineering in 1989 and returned to his hometown in Belitung to build a company that dealt in mining contracts.

After two years of working in the company, he decided to pursue a master's degree in financial management at Prasetiya Mulya Business School in Jakarta. He graduated with a Master of Business Administration.

Political career

Early involvement with politics

Basuki entered politics in his home region of Belitung. He contested the 2005 East Belitung regent election with Khairul Effendi as his running mate and was elected with 37.13% of the vote. He was hopeful Indonesia was breaking with its long and often violent history of prejudice and resentment. He is nicknamed "The Father" and "The Law" for strong actions against corruption. After a month in office, Basuki confronted key issues related to traffic congestion, labor, corruption and bureaucracy. He mediated a minimum wage increase, proposed incentives for street vendors to move to designated markets in order to reduce congestion, migrated poor villagers to new flats, launched sudden inspections of government offices, and proposed installing closed circuit cameras to improve accountability.

2007 Bangka-Belitung governor election

Basuki resigned from his position as East Belitung regent on 11 December 2006 in order to run in the 2007 Bangka-Belitung gubernatorial election. He later credited former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, for convincing him to run for public office. Wahid supported Basuki's candidacy and praised his healthcare reforms. However, Basuki was defeated by Eko Maulana Ali.

In 2008, Basuki wrote a biography titled Merubah Indonesia (Reforming Indonesia).

Parliamentary career (2009–2012)

In 2009, Basuki was elected to the House of Representatives, as a Golkar politician. He was elected with 119,232 votes, and was assigned to the Second Commission. In 2011, he created a controversy during a visit to his local constituency. He was recorded by the local media condemning local tin mining businesses for causing environmental damage. The comment was regarded as an insult by a local youth NGO, who reported him to the House Ethics Committee.

Jakarta's deputy governor (2012–2014)

An election flyer from the campaign of Joko Widodo and Basuki during the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election.

In 2011, Basuki considered running for Jakarta governor as an independent candidate. However, he opted not to run, as he was pessimistic about his chances of receiving 250,000 signatures, a requirement for running as an independent gubernatorial candidate in Jakarta. He then became the running mate of Joko Widodo in the 2012 election. The pair won 1,847,157 (42.6%) votes in the first round, and 2,472,130 (53.82%) in the second round, defeating incumbent governor Fauzi Bowo. The ticket was nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra). On 10 September 2014, Basuki left Gerindra because he opposed the party's proposal to scrap direct elections for local leaders. Since then, he has been politically unaffiliated.

Governorship (2014–2017)

When Joko Widodo took a temporary leave from his post as Jakarta governor to campaign for President, Basuki became the acting Governor of Jakarta from 1 June to 22 July 2014. Following Jokowi's victory, he succeeded him as governor and was sworn into office on 18 November 2014.

Jakarta governor election, 2017

Basuki initially had declared to run for the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election as an independent candidate with Teman Ahok (Friends of Ahok), a group of volunteers responsible for collecting over one million Resident Identity Cards, representing over one million supporters required by Indonesian law to be eligible to run from independent ticket. Due to a new state regulation that stricken independent candidate's requirements to run for gubernatorial election, Basuki is set to run from political party ticket from three political parties, who previously declared endorsements earlier in 2016. The three political parties consisting Golkar, People's Conscience Party, and Nasdem Party. On 20 September 2016, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) declared its support for Basuki.

In the first round of voting on 15 February 2017, Ahok secured passage to the second round run-off between two candidates, having secured approximately 43 percent of the vote, ahead of Anies Baswedan with 40 percent, and well ahead of Agus Yudhoyono with 17 percent.

Quick counts for the 19 April runoff indicated that Anies Baswedan was elected as governor; Ahok conceded defeat hours after the polls closed. The official results of the runoff was published by General Elections Commissions (KPU) in May, and Anies Baswedan was elected as the new governor of Jakarta.

Racism against Ahok

A candidate and a member of a minority ethnic group, Basuki has become the subject of occasional racist comments. During the 2017 gubernatorial campaign, he was regularly targeted by ultra-conservatives and supporters of rival candidates for being of Chinese descent. Furthermore, Basuki's "double minority" background, being both a Christian and of Chinese descent, makes him a target of the hardliner Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI). The group called for the revision of the Jakarta constitution to remove some of the governor's responsibilities for government-affiliated Islamic organizations.

On 15 March 2016, for instance, Indonesian Army General Surya Prabowo commented that Ahok should "know his place lest the Indonesian Chinese face the consequences of his action". This controversial comment was considered to hearken back to previous violence against the Indonesian Chinese.

Allegations of religious blasphemy

Incident

Islamist protests against Basuki in Jakarta, 2 December 2016

On 27 September 2016, while introducing a government project through a speech in front of citizens of the Thousand Islands, Basuki realized and acknowledged that it was understandable that some citizens would not vote for him because they were being "threatened and deceived" by some groups using Verse 51 of Al-Ma'ida and variations of it," referring to a verse that some groups have cited as grounds to oppose him. The provincial government of Jakarta uploaded the video recording to YouTube in a channel which often featured Basuki's activities. The video was later edited by a university lecturer, Buni Yani and one word was omitted from that video to create a misinterpretation of Basuki's statement, and went viral as some citizens were considering it an insult on the Quran. The video became viral, Basuki received threats to be lynched, and widely criticized in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

There are Change.org petitions about his case. Petitions initiated by alumni of Harvard, Stanford, Washington, Berkeley, Michigan, etc. and the general public supporting him garnered tens of thousands of signatures, while those criticizing him also gained tens of thousands of signatures.

Protests

Some groups, like several extremist organizations including the FPI, or the local chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council, reported Basuki to the police, accusing him blindly of having violated Indonesia's Law on Misuse and Insult of Religion. On 10 October 2016, Basuki publicly apologized to those he offended with his statement, stating that it was not his intention to do so, and that some of his policies that he said had benefited Muslims, such as granting permits for Islamic schools, providing Jakarta Smart Cards (KJP) to the students, and building a mosque in the City Hall complex. He also pointed out that during his September 7 speech in the Thousand Islands in which he mentioned Surah al-Maidah, verse 51 of the Quran, the residents were not insulted, and even amused during his recitation.

Imam Mohammad Tawhidi of Australia made a request to defend Basuki during his blasphemy trial. Tawhidi argued that the aggrieved Islamic groups had incorrectly interpreted the verse of the Quran that Basuki had allegedly referenced in a blasphemous manner. Tawhidi stated that there is nothing wrong with non-Muslims leading a Muslim-majority country. Tawhidi said he has received death threats from FPI.

Trial

On 9 May 2017, Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison by North Jakarta District Court after being found guilty of blasphemy and inciting violence. The panel of judges rejected Basuki's defense that he made reference to a Quranic verse to highlight political discrimination.

Based on the court hearing, the panel of judges said that the speech by Basuki in Thousand Islands, North Jakarta on 27 September 2016 contained elements of blasphemy. The chief judge maintained that Ahok's statement considered the Al-Maidah verse as a tool to deceive or a source of lies. He said the verse is part of the Koran, and that anyone who quotes it should not have any intent of deception. The judges took into consideration a book Basuki had written in 2008 titled Changing Indonesia. His book was judged as proof that he understood the verse in question. They determined the word aulia in the verse could be defined as leader, thus declaring that Basuki's remarks to be degrading and insulting to the Koran. They also agreed with expert witnesses in the trial that Basuki's remarks were a blasphemous offense.

Because of this case, Basuki was unable to finish his term as governor of Jakarta and was replaced by his deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, who was acting governor until the administration completed its term in October 2017. Basuki and his lawyers decided not to appeal against the verdict. In an unusual move, the prosecutors filed an appeal against the verdict, arguing the sentence was much heavier than the 1-year imprisonment they had requested.

The verdict delivered by the panel of judges was met with scrutiny, condemnation and heavy criticism by many Indonesians and observers in the international community, in a case widely seen as a test of religious tolerance and free speech. Many said the verdict was politically driven, retaliatory in nature, and the judges had succumbed to pressure from extremist Islamic groups, disgruntled corrupt business groups, and politicians and officials who were previously criticized by Basuki's administration. The promotion of three judges from the panel a few days after the verdict also raised suspicions and spurred criticism from many Indonesians.

Aftermath

The singing protest for Ahok arranged by Addie MS.

Basuki's jailing has been condemned by several human rights groups, including Amnesty International. Several civil society groups protested his imprisonment. Renowned music composer and conductor Addie MS conducted a singing protest in front of the Balai Kota. Candle-lit vigils were held in various cities. Many observers and individuals both inside and outside of Indonesia have also petitioned the Indonesian government to amend the blasphemy law on the basis that it is discriminatory and targets minorities.

Basuki initially wished to appeal his sentence, but withdrew his appeal on 22 May 2017. He served his jail term at Cipinang. In February 2018, he filed a case review request to the Supreme Court, with his lawyers citing a conviction for tampering with the video footage which was used as evidence against him. On 26 March, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Before his arrest, Ahok had said that one day he wanted to be president of Indonesia. Although a parole was possible in August 2018, Ahok stated that he would serve his entire sentence before leaving prison.

He was released on 24 January 2019 due to remissions granted at Indonesian Independence Day and Christmas. Soon afterwards, he joined the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Awards and achievements

No Award from Award category / Award name Award Information
1 WWF National Earth Hour Capital 2015 High commitment to low-carbon development in a number of significant sectors
2 WWF National Earth Hour Capital 2016 High commitment to low-carbon development in a number of significant sectors
3 PT. Telkom Indonesia Smart City Nusantara Condition of infrastructure connectivity, content presented and collaboration with the community
4 Indonesia Green Award 2016 The Most Inspiring Increasing Green Open Space (Ruang Terbuka Hijau) in DKI Jakarta
5 Bappenas Best MDGs Achievement of the Highest MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) of 2015
6 Bappenas Best I Provincial Category (2016) Best planning
7 Bappenas Best I Provincial Category (2016) Innovative planning
8 Bappenas Best I Provincial Category (2016) Progressive planning
9 Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) Families Gus Dur Awards 2016 Brave, assertive, anti-corruption and clean figure just like Gus Dur
10 Bappenas MDGs Best achievement
11 Bappenas MDGs Most indicator achievement
12 Bappenas and LKPP National Procurement Awards Success and leadership in electronic procurement transformation
13 Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi Anti Gratification Awards Succeeded in encouraging gratification control within Jakarta Provincial Government
14 Basarnas Honorary Citizens of Basarnas Have the privilege to use special facilities from National SAR Agencies (Basarnas)
15 Alzheimers Disease International Champion Alzheimer's Disease Support and care for various awareness raising activities of Alzheimer's disease, dementia and caring for the elderly
16 Bung Hatta Anti Corruption Awards Anti Corruption Figures Integrity and innovation in campaigns achieve budget transparency
17 Democracy Awards Democracy Awards Successful regional heads play the role of strengthening regional autonomy within the framework of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI)
18 Serikat Perusahaan Pers SPS Political Figures Awarded in the event of Indonesia Public Relations Awards & Summit
19 MNC Group Controversial Figures Awarded in the event of Anugerah Seputar Indonesia
20 MURI Record of the PTSP Service Within a year managed to publish more than 4 million licensing services
21 MURI Record of the Terrorism Socialization Socialization of terrorism prevention involving 7,200 peoples with National Agency for Counter-Terrorism (BNPT) and Coordination Forum on Terrorism Prevention
22 MURI Record of the Robot Assemble As many as 1,000 students of kindergarten in West Jakarta were busily to assemble the tree robots together
23 LEPRID Record of Achievement Receiving the appreciation of congratulations, sympathy and gratitude in the form of the most flower boards (recorded until 3 May 2017, as many as 5228 flower boards) from the citizens who send it for him and his deputy governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat
24 MURI Record of the Longest Flower Boards Parade Receiving the longest flower boards starts from Jakarta City Hall (which is located on the South Medan Merdeka road) to Monas and surrounding areas (including behind the Jakarta's Parliament Building), even declared as a world record by MURI
25 Bappenas Best II Provincial Category (2017) Best planning
26 Bappenas Best I Provincial Category (2017) Best innovation in planning
27 Foreign Policy Global Thinkers 2017 For standing up to Indonesia’s creeping fundamentalism

Criticisms

Eviction of illegal squatters

Basuki was accused by various human rights group and academics to have violated human rights in implementing his public housing programs by employing forced evictions to the illegal squatters who had been occupying public facilities & government lands, and moving them to newly-built modern public housings, improving their livelihood & living standards. Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation noted that at least 16,000 illegal squatters families have been displaced in the two years during his administration. There were 193 forced evictions alone in 2016, compared to 113 in 2015.

Human rights groups noted that Basuki's forced evictions were not done in accordance to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) convention. The covenant is ratified by Indonesia with the issuance of Law No 11/2005. One of the conditions of the covenant requires a dialogue prior to an eviction and compensation for any damaged property. Basuki also deployed police and military personnel in most of its evictions.

Basuki claimed that his policies only evicting illegal squatters to uphold Rule of Law, but human right groups have argued that according to Indonesian land policy, the so-called illegal squatters should have received land certificate instead for living there more than 30 years. Basuki relocated the evicted dwellers to the privately funded public housing, but the relocation has drawn criticism for not meeting basic standards of living and having a very expensive living expense. Living expenses jumped from the equivalent of about $10 to $20 a month to $70 to $100.

Basuki was also accused of employing double standards in the evictions. Rujak Center for Urban Studies researcher Dian Tri Irawaty said, Basuki's harsh evictions did not apply to commercial areas and elite neighborhoods in Jakarta. She cited the Taman Anggrek mall in West Jakarta, the neighborhoods and commercial areas in Kelapa Gading and Pluit in North Jakarta. Those areas were also built on water catchment areas.

When confronted, Basuki firmly brushed it off. He claimed that he had a different concept of human rights. The leader of human rights group KontraS, Haris Azhar, criticized Basuki for this statement, claiming that his anti-corruption image was "nothing but a publicity gimmick" for Basuki's lack of awareness in human rights.

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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