Political tensions in the country are expected to abate after the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election as citizens would accept whoever the winner is, a political think-thank said on Saturday (11/03).
“This is because Jakarta voters are mostly well-educated. This would show that we are heading toward a mature democracy,” Charta Politika executive director Yunarto Wijaya told the Jakarta Globe.
He added however, that the political tensions might need time to ease.
“This happened before, like during the 2014 presidential election. Before the election, political tensions were raising and it was the first time that people were so divided about their preferences,” Yunarto said. “After a while, people moved on with their lives and became distracted by other political issues.”
He said foreign investors also require stability in Indonesia and that they are currently adopting a wait-and-see attitude amid the ongoing political tensions, especially in the capital.
Yunarto pointed out that the conflict in the Jakarta gubernatorial election is not ordinary friction, as it involves anti-foreigner sentiment, in addition to affecting the rights of minorities.
“Foreign investors deem the dispute as being unfriendly to them,” he said on the sidelines of an event at the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX) on Friday (10/03).
His comments came after a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham) showed that the executives of European businesses investing in Indonesia are less confident about the country’s future as growing political instability threatens to delay or undo recent progress in infrastructure and economic reforms.
Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said foreign investors see an escalation in political tension, which prompts them to delay investment decisions.
“However, I talked to many foreign investors whose businesses have been established here for a long time and they are still quite confident about business prospects in Indonesia,” Rosan said at the same event.
He said foreign investors who have been doing business in Indonesia for many years are not too worried because they have already calculated the risks before investing here.
“Those who have long-term investments here do not worry too much about the future of their businesses,” Rosan added.
Yunarto said this is where the government is being tested to see whether it can uphold its reputation of being supportive to business development by showing that it supports unity and that it can maintain stability in the country.
He said a win for incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in the second round of the gubernatorial election will greatly ease the political situation, especially because his rival, Anies Baswedan, is supported by hardline religious conservatives.
“This will send a strong message to the public that the government can handle the situation well,” Yunarto said.