Clan, Ethnicity, and Bad Democracy

Democratization in Indonesia began in 1998, when the Soeharto’s regime was overthrown by the student movement. B.J Habibie, the vice president, took over state leadership. Following the movement, structural and cultural changes had to be made. The transitional government under President B.J Habibie initiated the revion of some rules and regulations. The first revision was the law regarding central-local government relationship. Law number 5/1974 was replaced by Law Number 22/1999; a fundamental change regarding central-local government relationship, from a very centralized system to very decentralized one. From the political point of view, the most important change was the fact that the new Law was more democratic than the old one. Law 22/1999 was implemented for a short period, from Januari 2000 to 2003. In 2003, the Central Government once again revised the central-local government relationship law by implementing Law No.32/2004. 

According to this new Law, local heads who previously were indirectly elected by representatives or local house members will be elected directly by the people through Pilkada for local head which is known as Pemilihan Kepala Daerah or PILKADA. From 2004 to 2010, more than 500 regencies and cities as well as provinces have conducted Pilkada for local head. 

However, the elections did not have any impact in improving local democracy in terms of producing substansial changes such as improving public welfare and services. Based on Central Government evaluation, only a few have positive impacts on the development of good bureaucracy. For example, Musi Banyuasin and Jembrana provided free education for elementary and high school; provided health insurance for poor people; and also provided good access to public services. Theoretically, The clan is thus an informal organization built on an extensive network of kin and fictive, or perceived and imagined, kinship relations. Two principles mark clan relations and identity: Kinship is the core foundation of clan relations and, and a network is the organizing principle of this unit. Multiple individuals are connected by kin-based bonds (sometimes distant and sometimes immediate), with concomitant responsibilities for the members of that identity network. (Collins: 2006, p. 35) Political clans have been changing the style of bureaucracy, from service to the people to service of local “strongman”. 

Only few cases of local governments seem to perform well in serving the people. Therefore, the interesting question is why some do better than others, for example, Musi Bayu Asin and Jembrana regencies. Jembrana and Musi Banyu Asin provide healthcare system and free education for poor people, based on the Law NO.32/2004 there is possibility for every regency to have a different style of policy. So that each personal leadership is consider significant for local development In Maluku Province, for example, democratic elections seem to have reduced religious and ethnic conflict, because candidates realised that their chances of victory increased if they could attract support from both major communities. Case of Lampung The factor of personal quality of leadership, composition of society (urban, rural, ethnic homogenous), level of education have became major issues in this case. The issues of ethnicity and political clans are the main issues in the current local politics in Indonesia. In Lampung, the local politics has been dominated by the Sjahroedin Family. 

The eldest son is the regent of South Lampung regency, the second son is the Member of Senator Republic of Indonesia and the youngest son is the vice regent of Pringsewu regency. Sjahroedin’s sister is a member of the local parliament in Lampung. In 2010, according to the last demographical survey which was conducted by central government, The Lampung population is about 7,596,115. Based on the latest survey, ethnic people of Lampung constitute only 16% of the total population. The ethnic Lampungnese are minority in their own land. It is because, previously, Lampung has been transmigrant area in Indonesia since the colonization era. Therefore, In Lampung Province, Lampungnese attempt form a political coalition with Javanese people to win Pilkada. 

Popular terminology In Indonesian Politics is Jawa and Non Jawa. In The Soeharto era, there were no a Lampungnese appointed as governor, the central government had their own candidate. The relations between local and central government made this possible for Soeharto to strengthen his power. From the recent data shows that although Lampungese are a minority in their homeland they control the power. From the data it is clear that the Lampungnese-Javanese candidates dominated to win the Pilkada. The table also shows that more than 60% the candidates of Lampungnese or political coalitions between Lampungnese and Javanese won the Pilkada. Tornquist (2002) described the present form of democracy in Indonesia as a “bad guys democracy”-benefits local bosses, thugs and corruptors. A weak state is just what the old forces and hardliners want. 

They have been innovative in capturing the new democractic spaces provided by the dismantling of the Soeharto empire and the centralized state. The bureaucracy remains dominated by people trained under the authoritarian regime, so riddled with corruption that it has grown incapable of serving the public interest (Antlov:2003 ,p.72) see also (Aspinal and Fealy:2003) Ethnicity, political clans and buying votes in Pilkada leads a deterioration in the quality of local democracy development in Indonesia. Based on my research, it is clear that there is almost no possibility of somebody being elected as Major or Regent if they do not have a lot of money during the campaign. Totally, it costs more than 10 Billion Rupiah for each candidate if they want to be elected as Major or Regency. As the result, Pilkada tends to be more a contest of popularity than a contest to elect a capable major, regent or governor. Finally, so what will happen with the future of democracy in Indonesia? or let’s the ball rolling?



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