Anies Returning to Jakarta: A Greater Impact on Nation and Diversity

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SHOULD Anies Baswedan run for the gubernatorial election in Jakarta in November 2024 or consider other options?

Let’s compare the impact on the nation and the country: As the Governor of Jakarta, Anies would oversee nearly 60,000 civil servants under the Jakarta Provincial Government, with an annual budget of 70-80 trillion rupiahs. His authority would specifically affect 10 million Jakarta residents and, more broadly, 30 million residents of the Jakarta metropolitan area (Jabodetabek) and even Indonesia (through inter-provincial food supply cooperation and other initiatives). Jakarta contributes a significant portion of the economy and serves as Indonesia’s business center, garnering national and international attention.

In contrast, if Anies were to become a rector and academic at a large university, he would manage 300 permanent lecturers plus administrative staff, with an annual budget of 200 billion rupiahs. His influence would extend to around 10,000 active students and Scopus publications.

Both roles are important and beneficial to many people. However, it is clear that becoming the Governor of Jakarta is far more strategic. Especially after Jakarta ceased to be the capital, according to Law No. 2 of 2024 concerning the Jakarta Special Province, Jakarta is projected to become the national economic center and a global city.

Anies Baswedan’s excellent international and economic track record makes him an ideal leader for Jakarta, projected to be the national economic center and a global city. Continuing his leadership—despite being hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic—Anies, a doctorate holder from the Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, USA, has brought many changes in sustainability during his two-year term for Jakarta.

Furthermore, a greater impact on diversity and national reconciliation can be expected if Anies leads Jakarta.

Contrary to the perception that Anies is intolerant, his track record during his five-year term as Jakarta Governor says otherwise. Statements must be disregarded if they do not align with reality, as Anies once told the writer.

In fact, during his tenure as Governor of Jakarta from 2017 to 2022, Anies Rasyid Baswedan issued IMB permits to 55 places of worship, including 3 temples, 19 mosques, and 33 churches. The IMB permits issued by Anies included churches that had been waiting for decades, such as the Catholic Church of Christ the Peace, which finally received its IMB after a 35-year wait, the Protestant Church in Western Indonesia (GPIB) Pelita, which received its IMB after a 40-year wait, and the Hindu Tamil Indian Ethnic Temple, which finally received its IMB after a 65-year wait.

For the first time in Jakarta’s history, only during Anies’s era, Christmas carol songs were performed openly in public spaces in Jakarta during the Christmas Carol event, from MRT stations to Bundaran HI. Additionally, operational assistance for places of worship (BOTI) was also provided to more than 1,300 churches throughout Jakarta, alongside other places of worship.

Jakarta experienced a peaceful and serene atmosphere under Anies Baswedan’s leadership. It is no wonder that, due to Anies’s role, one of the leaders of the Christian denominational association in Jakarta once said, “We owe Anies Baswedan!”

* Freddy Mutiara, an academic and journalist in Surabaya, baptized at Bethel Indonesia Church (GBI) Jakarta

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