Anies Baswedan, a distinguished communicator, and Sandiaga Uno, a noted businessman, should form a strong leadership team as the new governor and deputy governor of Jakarta from next October. Anies’ communications skills are urgently needed to heal the racial and religious divisions that marred the gubernatorial election campaign over the past eight months. In fact, good communication is the key to leadership, and is needed to both inspire people and to connect them, through a keen understanding of their needs.
While healing these divisions should be the top priority of Anies-Sandiaga’s program, their next task, to improve the city’s public governance, is equally challenging and is needed to support and strengthen the role of Jakarta as the nation’s capital and the administrative capital of the ASEAN economic community.
Even though outgoing governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, has done a great job, the challenges facing Jakarta have grown in scale and complexity as a result of continued under-investment in public infrastructure and utilities. Lack of access to suitable sanitation, proper housing, transportation and clean air and water continues to plague the city.
Dealing with these challenges will require urban development to be combined with strategic spatial planning in order to integrate public sector functions and to address the interrelated issues of rapid urbanization, urban poverty, informality, slums and access to basic services.
Making the city more livable requires a balance between the imperatives of economic growth, social harmony and environmental protection, to ensure sustainable growth in the long run.
Since municipal budget resources are severely limited, private investment and businesses should be further invigorated to create jobs and generate increased tax revenue for public-sector financing. Hence, the role of Sandiaga, given his acumen, will be to prioritize the development of services and the creative industry, notably information technology-based businesses, as the city is no longer suitable for large-scale labor-intensive manufacturing.
The new municipal government should also pay added attention to the development of institutional and physical infrastructure in order to encourage more multinational companies to establish their regional, ASEAN, headquarters in Jakarta.
The new governor must also realize that managing Jakarta does not only mean concentrating on the 10 million people who live the city, but also taking into account the Greater Jakarta area (Jabodetabek), which houses a combined population of almost 30 million people. Millions of people from Jakarta’s surrounding areas come to the city for work, and other needs, daily, or as often as once a week or once a month.
Jakarta and Jabodetabek, though different administrative areas, cannot be separated where public interest is concerned, because people commute between the city boundaries every day. The local administrations may be different, but to the people concerned they are the same.
Jakarta is the gateway to, and the economic locomotive of Jabodetabek and beyond, Bekasi, Depok, Bogor and Tangerang should all enjoy the fruits of Jakarta’s development.