Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has been taking a lot of heat this week over his administration’s “solution” of curtaining over the fetid Sentiong Canal, located next to the dormitories for athletes visiting for next month’s Asian Games. He received particularly sharp criticism over his assertion that his administration “inherited” the problem of Sentiong due to the neglect of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama (an excuse that doesn’t fly for several reasons).
Yesterday, Anies spoke at a ceremony inaugurating the beautifully revitalized Lapangan Banteng park in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta. Work on the park was started in 2016 under Ahok’s administration and was built entirely using IDR77 billion (US$5.3 million) in funds donated by several private companies’ CSR programs including Sinar Mas and McDonald’s Indonesia.
According to this viral post by entrepreneur Ryan Gozali, who says he was involved with the CSR project from the start, things were running smoothly under Ahok’s administration but progress became very slow after Anies’ administration began and the date of the inauguration had to be pushed back several times.
Resharing foto ini karena ada yang klaim lapangan banteng dirancang dari 0 oleh bapak anies.Projek lapangan banteng…
It is one of many such parks that were built due to Ahok’s negotiations (another one being Taman Kalijodo, which the current administration has recently been criticized for allowing to fall into disrepair).
As seen in this video, during Anies speech last night cries of “Hidup Ahok!” (Long live Ahok) “Ahok terbaik!” (Ahok is the best) and “Hanya Ahok bisa berkarya” (Only Ahok could accomplish this) can be heard coming from the former governor’s fans that came to attend the inauguration.
At one point, the Ahok supporters unfurl two banners. One read “Inherited from the Former Governor” (a reference to Anies’ excuses about the Sentiong) while the one read “Thank you Basuki-Djarot for your work revitalizing Lapangan Banteng” (Djarot referring to Ahok’s vice governor, Djarot Saiful Hidayat).
Security officers at the event can be seen trying to stop the Ahok supporters from disrupting the event but it seems no official action against them was taken.
When asked about Ahok’s supporters following his speech, Governor Anies said, “Every citizen has the same right to enjoy this place [Lapangan Banten] and hopefully it will become a place of interaction for all, from any background and with any viewpoint,” Anies said, as quoted by Merdeka.
Many of Ahok’s supporters still hold a grudge against Anies for the way he campaigned during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial race. One of Anies’ campaign managers recently admitted that they took advantage of the 212 protest movement started by the trumped-up blasphemy charges against Ahok as part of their winning strategy. That movement ultimately led to Ahok’s current two-year prison sentence