January 19, 2024
JAKARTA – Presidential candidate Anies Baswedan promised that he would reinstate civil servants who were demoted and fired for choosing to remain neutral if he became president.
“We will restore all those who were considered to be not following orders,” Anies said on Tuesday in Makassar, South Sulawesi, as quoted by tempo.co.
The candidate added that Indonesia did not need to splurge to maintain neutrality in government agencies.
Anies said that working with civil servants, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police would demand additional efforts from the country leaders.
“If [you] stay neutral, there’s nothing more that needs to be done, and I believe civil servants, the TNI and the National Police will remain neutral,” he said.
He said he believed that not everyone was so easily influenced by others in making decisions, saying that government employees could implement the neutrality mandate for the coming election well.
“I believe the President’s instruction and direction will be implemented, and we, as Indonesian citizens, will witness [the election] on Feb. 14,” said Anies.
There have been several instances where regional officials have used their authority to instruct their subordinates to vote for certain presidential candidate pairs.
In Takalar regency, South Sulawesi, a video went viral showing the acting regency secretary allegedly driving support for a presidential candidate pair during a meeting with teachers in the province.
In another instance, a voice recording was released of the Batu Bara regent in North Sumatra allegedly instructing local officials to vote a certain presidential candidate pair.
Meanwhile, the South Sulawesi Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has investigated 46 civil servants in the province suspected of violating the 2024 law on electoral neutrality.
South Sulawesi Bawaslu head Mardiana Rusli said on Nov. 29, 2023, that the agency had dismissed two of those 46 civil servants in East Luwu and Bantaeng.
She said the violation in Bantaeng was conducted by a village head who joined a political party and had become a legislative candidate.
“A village head cannot join practical politics, just as civil servants can’t,” she said, as quoted by detik.com news portal.
Mardina added that Palopo and Parepare were two cities where the most cases took place, without specifying the number of cases in each city.
She said the number of violations in the province had decreased after the declaration of civil servants’ neutrality by South Sulawesi acting governor Bahtiar Baharuddin.
Mardiana suspected that the violation of the neutrality mandate among civil servants was most likely caused by a lack of knowledge regarding the Elections Law.