Anies-Cak Imin are at the forefront of spearheading a transformative ‘Second Wave of Reform’, challenging the current status quo and energized by a grassroots movement. #aminkanIndonesia
N 1998, the New Order regime collapsed, or more accurately, was overthrown. The people and students demanded President Soeharto’s resignation. With a statesman’s spirit, Soeharto eventually stepped down, handing over the country’s leadership to B.J. Habibie.
Why did Soeharto have to be overthrown? From this question, we can understand the motives and spirit behind the people’s decision to overthrow Soeharto.
First, Soeharto had been in power too long, 32 years. The people were tired and bored, yearning for something new, fresh, and young. This is a normal, reasonable, and healthy psychology. Hence, a change was necessary. Election after election failed to produce a presidential change. The only option left was to overthrow the New Order, despite the substantial social, economic, and political costs.
Second, during the New Order era, people felt oppressed. Democracy was intimidated. The people were silent and scared to speak out. With the fall of the New Order, people wanted freedom of speech and expression.
Third, the Soeharto era was marked by significant corruption. Salaries were small, and corruption was everywhere, in all government institutions and agencies.
Fourth, nepotism was rampant in the New Order. The Cendana family and their colleagues were accused of vulgarly controlling the national budget allocation. They dominated business circles, with no one daring to control or prevent it.
Fifth, elections were not fair. The outcomes were predetermined. Golkar always won, while PPP and PDI were minimized. The people were forced to choose Golkar, so it always won as the ruling party. The election atmosphere was tense, far from a joyful celebration.
Sixth, the New Order was an era of centralization. Everything was controlled from the center. Local governments did not receive a fair and proportional share according to their expectations.
These are some reasons why Soeharto was forced to resign. After his resignation, the reform era was born. Freedom was opened up, and the 1945 Constitution was amended, even four times in a row: 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. Recently, there has been talk of another amendment, sparking pro and contra debates.
After the birth of the reform era, has Indonesia become better?
In the New Order era, corruption was rampant. Now, it’s no less pervasive. It’s hard to find a state institution or agency that isn’t corrupt. Corruption has become even more massive. There’s an anecdote:
“in the past, people corrupted under the table. Now, the tables themselves are being corrupted.”
During the New Order, people were angry about nepotism. What about now? Several parties are controlled by families. This was not the case during the New Order. After 9 years of presidency, the president’s in-laws, children, and son-in-law hold important positions in government.
During the New Order, elections were controlled. How are elections in the reform era? The 2019 election saw many irregularities. 894 KPPS officers died. After the election, dozens of protesters were arrested. Ahead of the 2024 election, there are many indicators of state instruments being mobilized to support certain candidates.
Megawati, the chairwoman of PDIP, said: “this era is like the New Order”. This statement is validated and supported by Cak Imin, Vice Presidential candidate of Anies Baswedan.
The situation, increasingly distant from the spirit of reform, is what motivates Cak Imin to champion Reform Chapter 2. The first wave of reform failed. It didn’t reform anything, except appearing like the New Order, or even worse.
Corruption worsened after the KPK Law revision. Elections are constrained. State instruments are used as a winning machine. Freedom of opinion is intimidated. The economic, educational, and health sectors are far from change. Development is directionless.
In this context, the New Order was much better and measurable. Decentralization has been reverted to centralization. So, what benefits can be reaped from reform other than replacing Soeharto?
“We need a Second Wave of Reform,” said Cak Imin at the youth declaration event at Smesco last night (29/11). Cak Imin knows well that Anies Baswedan is a reformer with convincing integrity and competence. His track record, endeavors, and ideas show his capability to make changes and initiate a Second Wave of Reform.
This is not mere talk. First, it is evident from the track record and achievements of Anies Baswedan. Second, it can be discerned from his mastery of national issues in various talk shows, discussions, and seminars.
Third, it can be read from his ideas for the nation’s future. The ideas of Anies-Muhaimin are comprehensive, partly summarized in hundreds of pages of a book. An idea, when presented to the public, means being ready for discussion and testing. This readiness has not yet been seen in the other two opposing candidates, both Prabowo-Gibran and Ganjar-Mahfud. Moreover, both candidates want to continue Jokowi’s path. There is no offer of change from these two candidates, except focusing on how to win the election.
From this, it’s evident how Anies-Cak Imin are the most ready figures to make changes for a Second Wave of Reform. The spirit of Reform Chapter 2, championed by Anies-Cak Imin, is currently confronting the status quo. Can the Anies-Cak Imin pair, relying on a people’s movement, reclaim the baton of reform long sabotaged by the regime?
* Dr. Tony Rosyid, Political Analyst and Columnist