INDONESIA – Former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, widely known as Ahok, officially resigned from his position as the President Commissioner of Pertamina Ltd., a state-owned oil and gas company, on Friday (2 Feb).
Ahok, also a politician of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), which supported presidential candidate pair number 3, Ganjar-Mahfud, conveyed his resignation through a memorandum posted on his social media account, Twitter @basuki_btp.
In the memorandum, Ahok instructed the Secretary of the Board of Commissioners to send his resignation letter and accountability report as the President Commissioner of Pertamina Ltd. to the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) and copy it to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).
“This post is evidence of the receipt of my resignation letter as the President Commissioner of Pertamina Ltd., which I submitted today, 2 February 2024,” Ahok wrote.
In his post, Ahok revealed his reason for resigning from his position as President Commissioner of Pertamina Ltd. With his resignation letter, he reaffirmed his support for presidential and vice-presidential candidate pair Ganjar-Mahfud in the 2024 presidential election.
“By this, I declare my support and will campaign for the presidential candidate pair Ganjar Pranowo and Mahfud MD. This is to avoid any confusion regarding my political direction,” he wrote. Ahok’s resignation is said to clarify his political direction, eliminating confusion among the public.
The post garnered numerous comments from netizens, predominantly expressing support and admiration for Ahok’s principled decision. @coklatkh*** commented, “Salute to this gentleman.”
@lilst0*** write an encouraging comment, “Keep the spirit up, Sir. Success and good health always.”
“Respect!”@kakaknyahaech*** remarked with a fist-bump emoji.
“From the start, I believed this person would step down with dignity. Keep fighting, Mr @basuki_btp,” @mas*** cheered.
Meanwhile @ChisJ_2*** wrote, “Money can be earned, but integrity is above all. A salary of millions cannot deter him from defending what is right. Salute!”
“Proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. I’m sure this is not Ahok Vs Jokowi and not showing political stances and views, but an effort to correct something that is claimed to be right above the law but not felt true. May you always be under His protection,”@Ditdit9285*** commented.
Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Erick Thohir, respected Ahok’s decision, “Mr Ahok contacted me that he wanted to join the Ganjar-Mahfud team. That’s a choice. We are in a democratic country,” said Erick after an event at Djakarta Theatre, Central Jakarta, on Saturday (3 Feb).
When asked about who would replace Ahok, Erick said they were still searching for the right candidate. “Not yet, it’s just yesterday. Later, we will look for someone good,” he said.
Ahok’s resignation adds to the list of ‘close’ people who have left President Joko Widodo’s circle. Ahok became the 7th figure to leave Jokowi’s circle after Mahfud Md previously resigned from the Jokowi Cabinet.
These seven individuals resigned for the same reason: they wanted to fully support presidential candidate pair number 3, Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md in the 2024 presidential contest.
It is worth noting that Ahok once served as Vice Governor while Jokowi was Governor of DKI Jakarta from 2012-2017. Jokowi-Ahok was endorsed by PDI-P and the Gerindra Party. Ahok then succeeded Jokowi as governor after Jokowi was elected president in 2014.
Those who decided to leave Jokowi’s circle are:
- Andi Widjajanto, Governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas), officially chose to resign from his position on Monday (16 Oct). “This step must be taken to maintain Lemhannas’ neutrality,” he said. On Wednesday (11 Oct), Andi Widjajanto was inaugurated as Deputy of the Political 5.0 National Campaign Team for Ganjar President.
- In the same month, the Commissioner of PT PLN (State Electricity Company), Eko Sulistyo, announced his resignation from his position after being appointed as vice-chairman of the National Campaign Team (TPN) for Ganjar-Mahfud. Eko previously served as Deputy IV of Political Communication and Information Dissemination of the Presidential Staff Office. Eko is even known as a close associate of Jokowi when in Solo.
- Andi Gani, the President Commissioner of State-owned Enterprise Housing Development (Limited Liability Company). or PT PP, officially resigned on Friday (24 Nov) after nine years in office.
- Abdi Negara Nurdin or Abdee Slank, a member of the Slank band, announced his resignation from Commissioner of Telkom Indonesia after declaring support for presidential candidate pair number 3, Ganjar Pranowo and Mahfud Md, on Saturday (20 Jan). During the 2014 Presidential Election, Abdee initiated the “Salam 2 Jari” (Two-Finger Salute) Concert to support Jokowi. During the 2019 Presidential Election, Abdee was also involved in the “White Concert United Towards the Victory of Maju Indonesia” at GBK, Jakarta on 13 April 2019.
- Mahfud Md, Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, officially confirmed his resignation from the Indonesian Onward Cabinet (KIM) on Thursday (1 Feb).
- On the same day as Mahfud, the Deputy V of the Presidential Chief of Staff, Jaleswari Pramodhawardani, announced her resignation effective 1 February. Jaleswari joined the National Campaign Team for Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md in November 2023.
Adi Prayitno, Director of Parameter Politik Indonesia (PPI), analyzed that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok’s resignation indicates Ahok’s desire to differentiate himself from President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in this election.
For Adi, Ahok is closely identified with Jokowi, especially after the Jokowi-Ahok duo won the Jakarta Governor Election in 2012, which was considered a breakthrough in Jakarta’s political status quo.
Ahok’s resignation strengthens his position as being diametrically opposite to Jokowi’s political line. And Ahok chooses to stand with PDIP rather than Jokowi.
Moreover, Ahok’s resignation from Pertamina’s Commissioner is considered a form of solidarity with Ganjar-Mahfud. According to Adi, Ahok’s political work would not be maximal if he remained as the Commissioner at Pertamina.
Ahok’s stance is also seen as a criticism of others. Adi mentioned that Ahok’s resignation also means he avoids conflicts of interest.
“It seems to be a form of criticism towards pair number 2 (Prabowo-Gibran), especially their supporters who hold public positions and openly show political support but don’t resign from their functional positions. Public officials should avoid conflicts of interest. If they don’t resign, at least they should take leave. At least, that’s what can be interpreted from Ahok’s resignation message,” he said.
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