SARA issues expected to be rampant in five provinces: Minister

Yogyakarta – Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said that there are five provinces where political campaigners are more liable to resort to raising sensitive issues (SARA) related mainly to religious faiths and ethnicity to win more votes in the forthcoming regional elections.

Indonesia will hold simultaneous election in 171 electoral areas for new head of provincial, district, and city administrations in 2018, followed by legislative and presidential elections in 2019

“SARA issues are expected to be most rampant in Papua followed by West Java,” Tjahjo stated, after attending the wedding party of the daughter of Minister at the State Secretariat Pratikno, here on Saturday.

Not all people in Papua are aware of the election regulations that prohibit the use of SARA, he noted.

In West Java, the countrys most populous province, all political parties are expected to campaign hard to win as many votes as possible there, he explained.

“Some campaigners are liable to forget ethics and resort to any methods to garner votes,” he added.

The other three provinces where SARA issues are prominent are Central Java, East Java, and West Sumatra, he revealed.

He stated that the government, including police, the TNI (Indonesian military), and the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) have taken precautionary steps to prevent violation of election regulations, including the use of SARA issue.

“I am optimistic that the elections would run smoothly. Evaluation of the results of the regional elections would determine the pattern of the legislative and presidential elections in 2019,” he explained.

The minister expressed hope that the police would act firmly against all violations of election regulations, including the use of SARA.

The people are also expected to refuse committing SARA campaigns and be active in reporting any unfair campaigns act, he revealed.

He added that the people should not commit slander, libel, and hate speeches and must get themselves used to fair practices.

“It is indeed not easy to prevent the use of SARA issue, but the people should not hesitate to report any illegal practices in the pre-election campaigns to the police,” he pointed out.

Many observers have alleged that the SARA issue had been effectively used in the last gubernatorial election in Jakarta, which resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), the popular incumbent candidate, a double minority Christian, and ethnic Chinese.

Source: Antara News