Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016 803
THE EFFECT OF BASUKI “AHOK” TJAHAYA PURNAMA LEADERSHIP
STYLE ON INDONESIA DEMOCRACY (2012–2016)
Lecturer of International Relations, President University
The writer attempts to describe analytically the figure-based leadership effect on Jakarta sustainable democracy. On
28 November 2014, the inauguration of Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, as governor of Jakarta is a constitutional.
All efforts to block his oath-taking ceremony, including claims that the governor must be elected by the Regional
House of Representatives (DPRD) are unconstitutional. In Indonesia legal system, the DPRD has no authority to
block Ahok's inauguration. The presidential system shows that the president, governors, mayors, and regents must
be elected directly by the people, not through parliament. The installation of Ahok as governor is a victory for
pluralism. For the first time Jakarta is governed by an ethnic Chinese and Christian. This is reflection of equal
political rights for all citizens being implemented. The Pancasila community was born on the basis of mutual respect
of one's citizenship, from whatever ethnic group the person comes from or which religion he or she adheres to.. The
people opposing Ahok's rise to the governorship seem to have a mental block about Jakarta being governed by a
non-Muslim. He happens to be a double minority, which he is a Christian and a Chinese. The appointment of Ahok
effectively destroys all efforts towards ice-block of sectarianism. To conclude, in the future, state officials must be
people who have the capacity and the integrity, without considering their minority position. Jakarta needs to return
to order and stability, from cleaning up squatter settlements to getting rid of criminal elements like gangsters,
bureaucracy inefficiency, and continue with the spirit begun by former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin.
Keywords: leader, leadership, pluralism, political rights, democracy
asuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) became Jakarta governor in 2014. He has has shown little patience
for incompetent bureaucrats or alleged “budget irregularities”, which is the local term for corruption.
His new target is a political system run by aloof oligarchs.
Ahok, 49 years old, has vowed to run to stay in office in February 2016 as a political
independent. His goal is to separate himself from the powerful national parties that have emerged during
Indonesia’s transition to democracy, which began with the collapse of the military-backed dictatorship of
President Suharto on May 20, 1998.
Thus, he has long been considered a political outsider, partly because he is a Christian religious
background, and an ethnic Chinese steering the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim majority
nation, which his decision to run without a party affiliation has shaken the country’s political
Since Indonesia began holding free elections in the late 1999, independent candidates have won
lesser local government and legislative posts, but Ahok’s breakaway is by far the most significant. Based
on the central statistics bureau data (BPS, 2015), Jakarta is the country’s political, social and economic
center, accounting for 16 percent of the national gross domestic product in 2015. Most of the 10 national
political parties that have seats in the country’s Parliament and cabinet are run by political dynasties,
former Army generals or business tycoons who bankroll them. The rest are Islamic-based groups whose
political ideology changes depending on which of the bigger parties they can latch onto in a coalition.
Currently, dominant regional level politicians are mostly beholden to their political masters at
national offices in Jakarta, who can accept or reject their planned candidacies even if they are doing well
804 Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016
in opinion polls. Also political parties usually demand that candidates pay a fee to run and require them to
finance their own campaigns.
Ahok’s effect, has figured himself as an alternative to a national political system that many in
Jakarta are fed up with hypocrite leaders. Ahok positive leadership image has served him well for Jakarta
governor election on 17 February 2017.
Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, the Jakarta governor is the grandson of a tin miner from Guangzhou,
China, has a reputation for bluntness. He has his detractors, including squatters whose slum
neighborhoods have been demolished to make way for public works projects and commercial
developments, and political adversaries who have questioned a land reclamation project in North Jakarta
which is still under investigation by the country’s anti-corruption agency (Komisi Pemberantasan
However his unique leadership style has won over many Jakarta local people minds and hearts,
particularly potential younger voters and the lower middle class families.
Indonesia’s Democracy & 1st Ethnic Chinese Leader
Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama has taken over as acting governor of the Indonesian capital
Jakarta. He is the first ethnic Chinese to do so in a country that is 95 percent native Indonesian and has the
world's largest Muslim population.
A Christian-born family, Ahok succeeds Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who has stepped aside to run for
the presidential election on 9 July 2014 , which opinion polls suggest he will win. Automatically, Ahok
will take over to complete Jokowi's five-year term if he does win (2012-2017).
Currently, Indonesia's Chinese make up only about 2 percent of the 240 million populations.
During President Soeharto presidency (1966-1998), for more than fifty three years, resented for their wide
control over trade and business, and suspected of loyalty to China, Indonesian-Chinese have been
deliberately kept out of the political and military hierarchy for most of the country's almost 70 years of
The resentment, which has burst into bloody riots in the past, appears to be on the wane, although
it's not over. Even critics of Jakarta's acting governor complain mostly about what they see as his abrasive
style of governance, not based on his previous leadership background in Belitung local district.
Post 1998 national reform, Indonesia’s democracy is enlightened with people power to voting for
a good leaders’ candidate track record. It is not all about the race or religion or belief background, or
some primordial idea of who should run the country.
Jakarta & Ahok Leadership
For more than hundred years, a leadership style is a reflection of one’s personality and mission in
life. It is important that people take the time to reflect upon national leadership actions. The better
leadership style always serves to guide every thought and action that as an inspire leader, we need to take
care various followers (people) each day; therefore, the selection of leadership style will greatly
determine leadership success or failure as a leader in the city authoritative management setting.
The Jakarta urban people have been swayed by Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaya Purnama committed
administration’s policies, including fast-tracking infrastructure projects, which among them a mass rapid
transit system development, the sprucing-up of a city of more than 10 million people with a small army of
street sweepers and the institution of a smart card program to subsidize health care and education for the
poor people (Kartu Jakarta Sehat and Kartu Jakarta Pintar). Jakarta needs a leadership figure that is able
Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016 805
to consistent in policy execution, and having serious commitment to handle the complexity of Jakarta
such as: traffic jam, floods, social welfare, and how the One-door Integrated Services (Pelayanan Terpadu
Satu Pintu/PTSP) implemented.
Thus, recent polls have indicated that Mr. Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, popularly known as Ahok,
has double digit leads over several other possible candidates for the February 17 DKI Jakarta’s election,
and that more than 80 percent of probable voters want him to run as an independent candidate.
However, the governor can thank one particular group of young people for helping him to buck
politics as usual. A grass-roots volunteer movement that is autonomously backing his plan says it has
already collected the signatures of the 525,000 Jakarta people, which is roughly 7.5 percent of the city’s
eligible voters, and needed to cement his place on the ballot.
The group “Friends of Ahok” or “Teman Ahok, says it will not stop until it gets a million
signatures, which must be verified by the country’s General Elections Commission. Working out of a
one-story house in South Jakarta, the group’s members have been remarkably resourceful. They have
created an app, for example, enabling motorcyclists to pick up signature forms and deliver them to the
group’s office at no cost.
Therefore, in order to pay for its campaign activity operations, regularly the group of “Friends of
Ahok sells Ahok merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and bracelets. Even tough, this group did
receive an initial donation of 500 million rupiah (USD37,000) from a political consultancy in Jakarta to
help it get up and running.
Mr. Basuki Tjahaya Purnama and “Teman Ahok” group leaders have separately said that they are
not collaborating with the Jakarta governor candidate and that they have only met in person only three
Ahok, who was previously deputy governor of Jakarta, assumed the city’s top position in
November 2014 after his boss and predecessor, Joko Widodo, was sworn in as the country’s seventh
president on 20 October 2014. But as he waited to become governor, he resigned from his political party,
“the Great Indonesia Movement Party”, known as Gerindra, after it pushed through legislation in
Parliament eliminating direct elections for provincial governors, mayors, and district chiefs.
Many critics called the legislation, which was later overturned, a mean spirited attempt to keep
regional leaders under the control of Jakarta by having them appointed by local legislatures dominated by
major political parties. Indonesia President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) himself, despite being president, is
only a rank-and-file member of his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDIP, and has
at times been hamstrung in carrying out policies and appointing senior officials because of opposition
from party leaders.
Apparently Basuki Tjahaya Purnama (Ahok) did not want to suffer the same fate. He spurned an
offer to run under the PDIP umbrella, whose chairwoman is Megawati Sukarnoputri, a former president
(2001-2004), the daughter of Indonesia’s founding father, Sukarno (1945-1966), and a leading member of
the country’s political elite.
The party has made it clear that it will try to stop what senior members have called de-political
party alienation (de-parpolisasi), an Indonesian term meaning the weakening of the political monopoly of
large parties by independent candidates of Ahok.
During Jakarta’s 2012 governor’s race, when Mr. Basuki was Mr. Joko’s running mate as the
candidate for vice governor, opponents made issues of his ethnicity and religion. It indicates that nearly
two-thirds of the city’s residents felt ethnicity and religion would not be major and provocative issues in
the February 2017 election. Sandiaga Uno, a prominent businessman who is likely to be one of Mr.
Basuki’s opponents, has acknowledged that the governor’s independent run should wake up the political
establishment (The New York Times, 2016).
806 Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016
Sooner or later, Indonesia political parties need to come up with a strategy to attract the best
The Importance of Servant Leadership, 2017-2022
On 12 September 2015, the Governor of DKI Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama at SBM ITB
Leadership Night 2015 in Jakarta clearly stated: “Our task is to administrate social justice. As a governor,
I have several principles. First is do not corrupt, so you never break the rules. Second is to be neutral, not
taking side with any even with political parties. Why I dare, because I am not afraid to lose my position as
a governor. Becoming a leader, we need to be brave”.
Based on researcher point of view, Jakarta does not needs a smart person who knows all about.
But, it needs how to finding solution on any various mega city problems, such as: solution for the traffic
jam is to build mass rapid transportation (MRT), and to limit the individual vehicles entering the
downtown with applied expensive tariff parking and the electronic road pricing system (ERPS).
Therefore, this idea can be encourage and enforce people to use efficient public mass
transportation. While, to overcome flood, Jakarta city authority management must work together with
surrounding local authorities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek), in relocating those
people who live on the riverside by building appropriate-for-living subsidized apartment, called rumah
Suppose, if the Jakarta local city government can presence and exists to administrate the social
justice, there will be no more conflicting public interest and business entities.
For two years (2012-2014), Ahok has been the bad cop to Jokowi's good cop. In contrast to the
typically soft-spoken and Javanese Jokowi, Ahok has gained ‘a bad reputation’ for being a tough guy not
afraid to shake up the city's sleepy bureaucracy.
Jakarta should have to fix the city management bureaucracy by testing and evaluating their
performance. He has served as Jokowi's right-hand man since winning the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial
election when the pair toppled the incumbent with their ‘can-do’, transparent ideas on fixing the many
problems of the chaotic city, including chronic traffic and flooding. Videos of Ahok losing his temper
with inefficient bureaucrats have gone viral in Indonesia, but the public has been largely supportive of the
acting governor's no-nonsense style in a country bedeviled by corruption and bureaucratic inertia
Thereafter, when running in the 2012 Jakarta election, Ahok, who is from the resource-rich
Bangka-Belitung province, faced smear campaigns from rivals. But the at times blatant racist attacks had
little effect and Jakarta residents voted in the Jokowi-Ahok team with a 55 percent majority. Indonesia,
the world's third largest democracy after the United States and India, has a history of communal tensions
that have at times boiled over into violent attacks specifically targeting the ethnic Chinese minority.
The archipelagic country witnessed one of the most horrific attacks on the Chinese community in
1998 as Indonesia descended into political and economic chaos following the Asian financial crisis.
Rampaging mobs targeted Chinese-owned businesses and in some cases killed and raped Chinese-
Indonesians, forcing hundreds to flee the country.
While hardline Muslim groups, who is in 2013 protested the appointment of a Christian woman to
a Jakarta district office, have also threatened to protest Ahok's rise to power. Still, Ahok believes
Indonesia is becoming more pluralist society. In his perspective, one day soon Indonesia will be ready for
a non-Muslim or ethnic Chinese leader, even presidential position (Reuters, 2014).
Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016 807
For Jakarta people, a leader seems like a captain on a ship who will lead and direct the ship
towards the destination. It is not an easy matter for Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, who comes from
minor ethnic to become a leader in DKI Jakarta where there once a massive race riot happened.
Thus, the matter that later comes into view is how perception of DKI Jakarta citizens toward the
figure of Ahok as a leader and the political communication he does. The research seeks to analyze the
perception of DKI Jakarta citizens towards both the figure of Ahok as a leader and combination of
leadership style with his political communication agenda, where in which Ahok is one of the leaders who
engages the internet, in this case is social media, as a means of communication to the citizens leads.
Descriptive method is applied in this research. That is a method which analyze the situation and
condition of which then the result is elaborated in the research report. In this problem we analyzed, the
descriptive method we used is a literature study. The research showed that in choosing a leader, people in
Jakarta did not concern about the race, religion, or tribe, but it's more to the boldness in executing the
policy and the obedience to the norm and regulation. People concerned Ahok covers all those criteria.
Moreover, he applies a new way of having a political communication with the common citizen
through the internet, social media, twitter, and cell-phone. Through people think that Ahok is such a bold
leader in making some innovation in political communication, he still needs to improve the way he talks
of which is so frank, and highly toned and even concerned rude. Because as a leader, Ahok is responsible
to serve people in Jakarta and making them live comfortably.
The phrase of servant leadership was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an
essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, he said: "The servant-leader is servant first. It begins
with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire
to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first; perhaps because of the need to
assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions……Thus, the leader-first and the
servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the
infinite variety of human nature”.
"The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other
people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those
served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous,
more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society?
Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”.
Indonesia Democracy & Jakarta Multicultural Society
On 27 November 2014, the inauguration of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama alias Ahok as governor of
Jakarta is a constitutional victory. All efforts to block his oath-taking ceremony, including claims that the
governor must be elected by the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) are unconstitutional.
Thus, in national legal system, the Regional House of Representatives does not have any
authority to block Ahok's inauguration. Indonesia presidential system shows that the president, governors,
mayors and regents must be elected directly by the people, not through parliament. If the anti-Ahok group
appeals to the Supreme Court for a judicial review, their behavior becomes ever clearer. The installation
of Ahok as governor is also a victory for pluralism society. For the first time Jakarta is governed by an
ethnic Chinese who is a Christian. It is a reflection of equal political rights for all citizens being
implemented. The Pancasila community was born on the basis of mutual respect of one's citizenship, from
whatever ethnic group the person comes from or which religion he or she adheres to.
Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaya Purnama becoming governor is also a victory for pluralism in another
way. The people opposing Ahok's rise to the governorship seem to have a mental block about Jakarta
being governed by a non-Muslim. Ahok happens to be a double minority, he's ‘a Christian and a
808 Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016
Chinese’. The appointment of Ahok effectively destroys all efforts towards 'ice-block of sectarianism'. In
the future, state officials must be people who have the capacity and the integrity, without considering their
The excuse that Ahok's leadership will harm Islam seems absurd and paranoid. Ahok has been
accused of many things, for example of not allowing ‘a tablig akbar’ or Islamic mass prayers, or banning
the sacrificial slaughter of sheep and cattle in elementary schools. We know that objection to a tablig is
not a rejection of a celebration, but the closure of roads that would cause so much traffic congestion.
Jakarta needs to return to order and stability, from cleaning up squatter settlements to getting rid
of criminal elements like gangsters. The bureaucracy has not been efficient about this. Jakartan local
people hope Ahok will continue the spirit begun by former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin, who practically
restructured the city, got the bureaucracy working and was unafraid to face up to all kinds of bad guy
criminals, ‘Mafioso’. The public yearns for such a leader, who is firm and unwilling to compromise.
In facts, Ahok's leadership style reality is not as tough as that of Ali Sadikin. Jakarta local elders
people still remember how he would slap employees he caught shirking. He also slapped a contractor who
was late in supplying cement and a ticket tout at the Lapangan Banteng bus station. Ahok's temperament
is nothing like that. However, Ahok would be well advised to keep his temper in check. No matter what, a
governor must be able to control himself. In a short time, if Ahok is elected in 2017 Jakarta governor
election, still he will likely carry out big changes among his staff, develop more infrastructure, and
increase social welfare. To ensure an efficient rotation system, Ahok is expected to demonstrate a
management style that is positive. It would not be ethical to 'shame' a staff that is publicly made to move
One thing that Ahok should be aware of are the Jakarta DPRD plenary sessions. His opponents
are bound to play their game in the council particularly when it comes to approving the local budget or
certain new regulations. He will need to hone his political communication skills. He should refrain from
being easily baited into an argument, which could lead to disastrous consequences. His principle of 'you
sell I buy' which he often refers to perhaps should be gradually discarded, otherwise, he will run out of
steam fast, from having to face the resulting unnecessary tension.
Jakarta: A Good Leader & Quality Leadership
Throughout the period we are always dealing with the countries leaders from the lowest level in a
state as well as the highest level of government within a government as president. During this time, we
already know, understand, assess and see clearly that many country leaders had failed in realizing the
aspirations of the people even disappoint the people in general.
Currently, we are faced with a worthy leader to lead a country. He is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. He
has a style, model and unique leadership and experience extraordinary impact for the people. Jakarta
needs a good quality leader.
Don Page and Paul Wong (2000) created the earliest servant leadership survey, the Self-
Assessment of Servant Leadership Profile (SASLP). Page and Wong’s goal was to develop a valid and
reliable measure for servant leadership. They developed a conceptual framework for assessing servant
leadership; and through a study of the literature, they generated a list of descriptors and classified the
descriptors into 12 categories: Integrity, Humility, Servanthood, Caring for Others, Empowering Others,
Developing Others, Visioning, Goal-Setting, Leading, Modeling, Team-Building, and Shared Decision-
Page and Wong (2003) identified authoritarian hierarchy and egotistical pride as the opposing
forces to servant leadership, and they wanted their new instrument to reflect these two new factors. By
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rearranging and modifying some of the original items, Page and Wong created the Servant Leadership
Profile – Revised (SLPR). The SLPR contains 62 items divided into 7 factors:
(1) Empowering and Developing Others
(2) Vulnerability and Humility
(3) Serving Others
(4) Open, Participatory Leadership
(5) Inspiring Leadership
(6) Visionary Leadership
(7) Courageous Leadership (Integrity and Authenticity)
These seven factors are based upon leaders’ actions, and they have allowed researchers to
operationalize servant leadership by exploring specific actions that leaders take to act upon their servant
leadership beliefs. Four of the factors: Humility, Serving Others, Courageous Leadership, and Visionary
Leadership, involve a leader’s personal character and actions. Three of the factors: Empowering and
Developing Others; Open, Participatory Leadership; and Inspiring Leadership, involve a leader’s
interactions with others.
Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was the regent of East Belitung, Indonesia from 2005 to 2010
and a member of the country’s House of Representatives from 2009 to 2012. He built a good reputation of
strict but efficient leadership during his tenure and in 2007 won the national anticorruption figure award.
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, then the mayor of Surakarta, selected Ahok as his running mate in the
2012 Jakarta gubernatorial elections in a move that consolidated support from the Gerindra party of
former general Prabowo Subianto and the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), led by former
president Megawati Sukarnoputri. Both Prabowo and Megawati are likely contenders for the 2014
Jokowi and Ahok carried a surprising lead in the initial round of voting, and beat incumbent
Fauzi Bowo in the 20 September 2012 runoff election. Given Jokowi and Ahok’s reform minded
reputations, their election was seen as an indictment of corruption and entrenched elites in Jakarta
politics. Then, Ahok was inaugurated October 16, 2012 as Jakarta’s deputy governor.
Just only a month into office, Ahok has confronted key issues related to traffic congestion, labor,
and the bureaucracy. He successfully mediated a minimum wage increase, proposed incentives for street
vendors to move to specified markets in order to reduce congestion, launched surprise inspections of
government offices, and proposed installing closed circuit televisions to improve accountability.
Ahok’s double minority background has made him a target of the hardliner Islamic Defenders
Front (FPI). The group called for the revision of the Jakarta constitution to remove some of the deputy
governor’s responsibilities for government-affiliated Islamic organizations. Jokowi quickly ameliorated
the tensions by promising a revision of Ahok’s responsibilities.
For two years, the isolation of groups such as FPI suggests that party politics rather than ethnic-
religious issues will determine Ahok and Jokowi’s success. The pair is eager to take advantage of their
political capital. While the small number of parliamentary seats held by their primary backers, PDI-P and
Gerindra, could limit Ahok and Jokowi’s success, their popularity might dissuade former governor
Fauzi’s supporters in the ruling coalition from retaliating against the newly elected administration.
Ahok and Jokowi will likely leverage popular support for large-scale reform. In so doing, the pair
will attempt to avoid transactional politics associated with past administrations and preserve their political
In a country where corruption is as rife as it is in Indonesia, credible government leaders are a
rarity. Many credible people migrate overseas or choose to work in private sectors. Even though there are
leaders who seem to be free from corruption, many of them lack the quality to be an effective change
810 Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016
maker. Hence, this systemic problem in the government persists. Fortunately, there are a number of
promising leaders who have emerged recently. One of them is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Governor of
As a leader, Basuki has shown signs of a good leadership. Not only does he try to ensure that he
is free from corruption, he also wants to ensure that the system is free from corruption. Moreover, unlike
many leaders, he has the strong political will to carry out his programs, showing signs of results within
his first year in the office. To improve bureaucracy, he relies a lot on technology. For example, Basuki
introduced e-Budgeting and e-Catalog, in an attempt to increase supervision over the city budget and to
simplify the process of procurement of goods.
In terms of employment and promotion, he does not hesitate to promote someone who is young
and does not have much experience to a higher position as long as one is dedicated and shows that one is
capable. He is confident that by implementing the right system, he will be able to change the slow, rigid,
and corrupt work culture in the administration to be more efficient and clean. It has shown that many
government officials are more disciplined and diligent. Some may do so out of fear, but there are many
who do it because they see that their leaders are doing the same. Such a trait is desperately needed in
Indonesia in order to fix the systemic problem in the government.
As a Chinese and a Christian, Basuki has a clear disadvantage in Indonesian politics. However,
this did not stop him from entering it. He believes that people will not judge their leaders based on race or
religious background, but by their performance. In the situation where many have lost confidence in the
government official, Basuki took the opportunity to become the Vice Governor of Jakarta in 2012,
because he wanted to show the people that there are still good government officials around.
He began by declaring all his income online and posting the recordings of both his and the
Governor’s meetings and outreaches. He wants to instill trust and show the public that he is not just an
ordinary, corrupt, and inefficient government official, but one who is reliable. The 3 key words that he
wants to uphold are ‘clean, transparent, and professional’. His actions show a good leadership trait as he
is leading by example. This is necessary for a leader because a leader is often seen as a symbol in the
society. People would follow what the leaders do and if the leaders are showing the good examples, many
will follow suit eventually.
Perhaps, Basuki’s most distinctive trait is his honest remarks. He is unafraid to publicly scold
anyone, be it his staff, journalists, or even protesters. He was even caught using swear words in front of
the camera several times. While his straight forward speech style contrasts with the typical politicians’
polite and restrained speech, Basuki defended his action, saying that it is his honest opinion and that he
always has valid reason whenever he does that. He always says that he “obeys Constitution, not
constituent”, and on this basis he is not afraid to challenge anyone openly in the media, even the higher
authority, if he is sure that he is right. Even though such leadership style could be considered to be rather
extreme, given the condition in Indonesia, such a treatment might be just what the country needs in order
Another good leadership trait that he has is his willingness to make himself approachable for
everyone and to work hand in hand with other officials in times of crisis. Even before he entered politics,
he was actively involved in helping the community around him. Coming from a respectable business
family, he and his big family often help those who are in need. As he enters politics, his openness to
people does not change. His trademark is to give out his name cards to everyone. During the recent
flooding in Jakarta, Basuki went down to help the flood victims near his area, sourcing for boats from
both the official and the private sectors in order to evacuate the victims. He was on the field for most of
the time during the crisis, a stark contrast to many officials who make use of visits as an opportunity to
boost their popularity. His approachable nature and willingness to work together with other officials,
regardless of hierarchy and official titles, show that he is really a leader who wants to help his people and
Proceeding The 1st International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities (ICSSH), LIPI, 2016 811
the one who will not hesitate to go down to the field and give all that he can give for the betterment of the
society if it is necessary.
Looking at the different traits of Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, it is evident that he is really a
respectable leader who is willing to work for the betterment of his people and one who has good
The mark of an exemplary leader lays in the legacy he or she leaves behind. Indonesia’s current
leaders are blazing a trail and pursuing proactive policies that will shape the lives of generations to come.
Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, incorruptible, fearless, and outspoken person. These are just
some of the words that incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has been associated with.
Even his opposition can’t deny the truth in these words. More intimately known as Ahok, Jakarta’s
governor is as efficient as he is straightforward.
During his thus-far short tenure as governor of Jakarta, he has already done more than any of his
predecessors. He has resettled slum-dwellers into low-cost apartments while cleaning out waterways and
drains, greatly reducing Jakarta’s annual flooding. He has improved traffic tremendously by resettling
street vendors and illegal mass parking into corresponding buildings.
Under his leadership, Jakarta also has seen its slums turned into green open spaces comprising
parks and recreational spaces. Taman Waduk Pluit is one such transformation: this area went from a
dumping ground for the surrounding slums to a green area complete with sports and exercise facilities.
A good leader with leadership quality must care for other persons, the more able and the less able
serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was
largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions, like Jakarta city management to
be managed by visionary leader. It is quite often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always
competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one
that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the
capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative
forces operating within them.
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