Agus Yudhoyono promises cash aid program for city’s poor, Ahok: That’s not social justice

With all the controversy surrounding incumbent Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s alleged blasphemy against Islam, news about Jakarta’s gubernatorial candidates’ actual campaign platforms and promises have been largely drowned out.

But one promise by candidate Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono has become somewhat controversial. While campaigning in Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands) yesterday, the son of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged that, if victorious, he would start a direct cash aid program that would entitle the city’s poor to Rp 5 million per year, on top of Rp 50 million in cash as capital to poor citizens who want to start a business.

“We want to help the needy. That’s the constitution’s mandate,” he said, as quoted by BeritaSatu yesterday.

Agus also addressed criticism that such a program could be seen as rewarding the poor with cash for voting for him.

“This is not money politics. This is business capital. We want to increase the quality of life of the people,” he said.

Agus’ rival, Ahok, said no such program has ever existed during his governance, and it never will.

“I’ve always said that I will not give direct cash aid. The fifth principle [of Pancasila] is social justice, not social help,” he said while campaigning in Pulomas, East Jakarta yesterday, as quoted by Detik.

“It’s possible that cash is misused by citizens under a cash aid program. It could end with poor people not actually receiving aid.”

Ahok said he would stick with the Smart Jakarta Card (KJP) and Jakarta Health Card (KJS) programs, which enables bearers to digitally pay for education or medical services using financial aid from the Jakarta Provincial Government.

It appears that Ahok is the only candidate not to favor a direct cash aid program. Sandiaga Uno, vice governor nominee for Anies Baswedan, also pledged to give cash aid to the poor should they win the election.

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