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#39908 - 04 Jan 07 09:32 Aceh's New Governor
riccardo Offline
Pujangga

Registered: 12 Oct 05
Posts: 2195
Loc: Jakarta
Aceh's new governor has a tough job ahead,
but the former rebel is determined to pull
the Indonesian province out of poverty and
corruption, writes Fabio Scarpello

On the night of December 11,
as the quick count of the first
direct election in Indonesia's
once rebellious province of
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam showed
that Irwandi Yusuf was -- by far -- the
people's choice, Mr Yusuf was calm. He
spent the night quietly, surrounded by a
few friends in a private room, at the
back of the restaurant of the luxurious
Swiss Bel Hotel, in the provincial capital,
Banda Aceh.
Three weeks later, Mr Yusuf hasn't
lost his aplomb.
"I have no special feelings. It is just
an ordinary day, just more work. I have
a huge job ahead," the 47-year old said.
Bespectacled, short but strongly
built, Mr Yusuf knows his broad shoulders
are carrying the expectations of 4
million Acehnese who entrusted him to
cement peace and bring prosperity to
the province.
Mr Yusuf's election to the role of
governor, which was confirmed yesterday,
is a direct consequence of the
peace deal signed by the Free Aceh
Movement (GAM) and Jakarta in Helsinki
on August 15, last year. The deal
ended a 29-year separatist war that
killed almost 30,000 people. Mr Yusuf,
who was jailed for his association with
GAM, was allowed to run for governor,
thanks to the full amnesty granted by
Jakarta as part of the peace agreement.
In an electoral race that attracted
eight candidates, the former rebel gathered
38 per cent of the votes. It was a
landslide victory and a plebiscite for
GAM that surprised many observers,
but not the winner.
"I expected it," Mr Yusuf said as he
ushered us into a back office at GAM's
headquarters in Banda Aceh. "Actually,
200,000 of my supporters could not
vote. It should have been more," he explained.
Adding to the pressure on the new
governor is also a high degree of world
attention, as many wonder how Mr Yusuf
a former veterinary lecturer turned
rebel and now governor, without any
previous political experience will run
one of the most difficult provinces in Indonesia,
where politics, wealth, corruption,
religion and idealism mix into a
potentially explosive cocktail.
At the outset, Mr Yusuf seems to
have a clear idea of what he wants and
how he is going to achieve it. As he talks
about his vision, worries and expectations,
his frankness and a distinct lack of
diplomacy are two refreshing traits that
immediately strike the listener.
"My main priority," he said, "is the
grass-roots economy. But my most difficult
task is fighting corruption."
Despite vast natural resources, Aceh
is Indonesia's fourth-poorest province.
The region is also the most corrupt in
the nation-archipelago, which is rated
among the most corrupt countries in
the world.
Aceh's plight was worsened by the
tsunami that hit the province in December
2004. Almost 170,000 people
were killed and large chunks of the
infrastructure were destroyed. According
to local watchdogs, corruption has
dented at least 40 per cent of the ongoing
reconstruction projects being carried
out by national and international
organisations.
"It is like gangrene, and I will land
straight into the middle of this plague,"
said Mr Yusuf, describing graft. "It is not
easy to get rid of it. You cannot just walk
in and start kicking people's a****."
In regards to the economy, Mr Yusuf
says Aceh needs to find new markets for
its products.
"At the moment all our products are
sold in Medan, where we are fooled by
Chinese merchants," he said, mentioning
the capital of the bordering province
of North Sumatra. "We need direct
access to foreign markets and to do that,
we need to build ports and airports."
To increase production, and help
the post-tsunami recovery, the new
governor says he will allocate land to
farmers and grant low interest loans to
fishermen who need boats. To improve
the people's general wellbeing, he also
promises free education and better
health care for all.
"We have the budget for that. It
should be achievable," he said.
Besides the economy, Mr Yusuf is
fully aware that he has some difficult
politicking ahead, both in Aceh and in
the province's future dealings with Jakarta.
In Aceh, the new governor will have
to find a way to co-operate with a potentially
hostile local parliament, which
was elected under the old system and is
filled with representatives from national
parties.
"This is my nightmare," said Mr Yusuf,
referring to the local parliament.
"They and I were both elected by the
people, and we should work for the
benefit of Aceh. But I am worried that
they will try to block me.
"However, if they do, I have millions
of people behind me. I can mobilise
them," he said. "I am thinking of civil
protests."
Mr Yusuf is also very conscious of
how his intention to push for a revision
of the Law on Governing Aceh (LoGA)
may set him on a collision course with
Jakarta. The LoGA is the translation into
law of the Helsinki agreement, as approved
by the national parliament.
"I don't care what Jakarta thinks.
The clash may be unavoidable," he said.
"If we do not push ahead with our
plan to get a better LoGA, then there
may be problems for the Acehnese in
the future. There are too many loopholes
at the moment.
"Now is not a problem because I
trust President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla,
and I don't think they will lie to us. But if
their successors are very nationalistic,
Aceh will receive nothing and this may
lead to another rebellion.
"On the other hand, if we get all that
was promised to us in Helsinki, we will
have achieved 90 per cent of what we
fought for and we will be happy."
The peace agreement called for
GAM to relinquish its call for independence
in exchange for wider autonomy
that includes control over 70 per cent of
the income generated by natural resources
in the province, and the right to
form local political parties, which is
banned elsewhere in Indonesia.
The LoGA reduced Jakarta's role in
the province to handling foreign relations,
defence, national security, monetary
and fiscal policy, the justice system
and certain aspects of religious affairs.
However, on a range of critical
issues, such as fiscal matters and the
powers of the Indonesian army stationed
in the province, the LoGA is
weaker than agreed in Helsinki.
"What we have to do now is to test
the LoGA. Test it to the extreme, until
we stumble onto something that is not
clear. Then we will know what the problems
are," he said, adding that the revision
of the law will go through the proper
channels.
"The central government promised
me verbally that only the Holy Book
cannot be changed. The constitution
can be changed and the LoGA can also
be changed."
Mr Yusuf has also been called on to
mend bridges with the GAM leadership
in exile in Sweden, and put a stop to the
advancement of Islamic law, known as
sharia, in the province.
"The problem with GAM's prime
minister Malik Mahmud is easy to
solve. When the dust has settled, I will
personally visit him," he said.
The rift within GAM followed Mr Yusuf's
decision to run for governor, after
Mr Mahmud committed his support to
the pairing of Hamid Humam and Hasbi
Abdullah, the latter the brother of
GAM's foreign minister, Zain Abdullah.
Mr Yusuf contested Mr Mahmud's
decision because "the pair was not
strong enough, and it was running under
the flag of a national party".
His argument won the full support of
the GAM commander in the province,
who disobeyed the leadership and voted
for him in block.
"But if Mr Mahmud still does not
want to reconcile, then it will be up to
him," Mr Yusuf said.
The former rebel says he will also
choose diplomacy in dealing with the
ulamas, or religious leaders, who are
pushing for an increasingly stricter implementation
of sharia.
"GAM has always been a secular
movement. We never wanted sharia but
I cannot stand up against the ulamas
very publicly as this will make me unpopular
even with the grass roots," he
said. "We have to find another way."
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia
where sharia can be applied in full.
However, although implemented partially,
concerns are growing about it
being biased against the poor and
women.
In the past 15 months, 135 people
have been beaten for crimes such as
drinking alcohol, gambling or having illicit
relations with the opposite sex.
Women also face lashes for not wearing
their headscarves properly in public.
While Aceh was in full election
swing, the religious authority drafted a
law that called for chopping the hand of
thieves.
"I will not sign this law," Mr Yusuf
said. "You cannot punish someone before
you educate him. And you cannot
amputate the hand or punish a thief
when the state is not running well and
there is hunger among the people," he
said.
"The purpose of sharia should be to
increase people's welfare, wellbeing
and education."
Then, holding his hands as if in
prayer, he said: "In five years' time,
what I would really like is to see a corruption-
free Aceh, where people do not
have to worry about where they are going
to get their next meal.
"I am going to work very hard for
that. This much I can promise."
"You cannot amputate the hand or punish a thief
when the state is not running well and there is
hunger among the people" Irwandi Yusuf Aceh governor


Top
#39983 - 05 Jan 07 08:11 Re: Aceh's New Governor [Re: riccardo]
Macan Tutul Offline
Pujangga Muda

Registered: 02 Dec 05
Posts: 1502
Loc: Jungle and cage ;)
Quoting: riccardo
Aceh's new governor has a tough job ahead,
but the former rebel is determined to pull
the Indonesian province out of poverty and
corruption, writes Fabio Scarpello

On the night of December 11,
as the quick count of the first
direct election in Indonesia's
once rebellious province of
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam showed
that Irwandi Yusuf was -- by far -- the
people's choice, Mr Yusuf was calm. He
spent the night quietly, surrounded by a
few friends in a private room, at the
back of the restaurant of the luxurious
Swiss Bel Hotel, in the provincial capital,
Banda Aceh.
Three weeks later, Mr Yusuf hasn't
lost his aplomb.
"I have no special feelings. It is just
an ordinary day, just more work. I have
a huge job ahead," the 47-year old said.
Bespectacled, short but strongly
built, Mr Yusuf knows his broad shoulders
are carrying the expectations of 4
million Acehnese who entrusted him to
cement peace and bring prosperity to
the province.
Mr Yusuf's election to the role of
governor, which was confirmed yesterday,
is a direct consequence of the
peace deal signed by the Free Aceh
Movement (GAM) and Jakarta in Helsinki
on August 15, last year. The deal
ended a 29-year separatist war that
killed almost 30,000 people. Mr Yusuf,
who was jailed for his association with
GAM, was allowed to run for governor,
thanks to the full amnesty granted by
Jakarta as part of the peace agreement.
In an electoral race that attracted
eight candidates, the former rebel gathered
38 per cent of the votes. It was a
landslide victory and a plebiscite for
GAM that surprised many observers,
but not the winner.
"I expected it," Mr Yusuf said as he
ushered us into a back office at GAM's
headquarters in Banda Aceh. "Actually,
200,000 of my supporters could not
vote. It should have been more," he explained.
Adding to the pressure on the new
governor is also a high degree of world
attention, as many wonder how Mr Yusuf
a former veterinary lecturer turned
rebel and now governor, without any
previous political experience will run
one of the most difficult provinces in Indonesia,
where politics, wealth, corruption,
religion and idealism mix into a
potentially explosive cocktail.
At the outset, Mr Yusuf seems to
have a clear idea of what he wants and
how he is going to achieve it. As he talks
about his vision, worries and expectations,
his frankness and a distinct lack of
diplomacy are two refreshing traits that
immediately strike the listener.
"My main priority," he said, "is the
grass-roots economy. But my most difficult
task is fighting corruption."
Despite vast natural resources, Aceh
is Indonesia's fourth-poorest province.
The region is also the most corrupt in
the nation-archipelago, which is rated
among the most corrupt countries in
the world.
Aceh's plight was worsened by the
tsunami that hit the province in December
2004. Almost 170,000 people
were killed and large chunks of the
infrastructure were destroyed. According
to local watchdogs, corruption has
dented at least 40 per cent of the ongoing
reconstruction projects being carried
out by national and international
organisations.
"It is like gangrene, and I will land
straight into the middle of this plague,"
said Mr Yusuf, describing graft. "It is not
easy to get rid of it. You cannot just walk
in and start kicking people's a****."
In regards to the economy, Mr Yusuf
says Aceh needs to find new markets for
its products.
"At the moment all our products are
sold in Medan, where we are fooled by
Chinese merchants," he said, mentioning
the capital of the bordering province
of North Sumatra. "We need direct
access to foreign markets and to do that,
we need to build ports and airports."
To increase production, and help
the post-tsunami recovery, the new
governor says he will allocate land to
farmers and grant low interest loans to
fishermen who need boats. To improve
the people's general wellbeing, he also
promises free education and better
health care for all.
"We have the budget for that. It
should be achievable," he said.
Besides the economy, Mr Yusuf is
fully aware that he has some difficult
politicking ahead, both in Aceh and in
the province's future dealings with Jakarta.
In Aceh, the new governor will have
to find a way to co-operate with a potentially
hostile local parliament, which
was elected under the old system and is
filled with representatives from national
parties.
"This is my nightmare," said Mr Yusuf,
referring to the local parliament.
"They and I were both elected by the
people, and we should work for the
benefit of Aceh. But I am worried that
they will try to block me.
"However, if they do, I have millions
of people behind me. I can mobilise
them," he said. "I am thinking of civil
protests."


I support you Mr.Yusuf for this resolutions....fight for all those rats who get "lucky" from the other sufferings.



Mr Yusuf is also very conscious of
how his intention to push for a revision
of the Law on Governing Aceh (LoGA)
may set him on a collision course with
Jakarta. The LoGA is the translation into
law of the Helsinki agreement, as approved
by the national parliament.
"I don't care what Jakarta thinks.
The clash may be unavoidable," he said.
"If we do not push ahead with our
plan to get a better LoGA, then there
may be problems for the Acehnese in
the future. There are too many loopholes
at the moment.
"Now is not a problem because I
trust President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla,
and I don't think they will lie to us. But if
their successors are very nationalistic,
Aceh will receive nothing and this may
lead to another rebellion.
"On the other hand, if we get all that
was promised to us in Helsinki, we will
have achieved 90 per cent of what we
fought for and we will be happy."
The peace agreement called for
GAM to relinquish its call for independence
in exchange for wider autonomy
that includes control over 70 per cent of
the income generated by natural resources
in the province, and the right to
form local political parties, which is
banned elsewhere in Indonesia.
The LoGA reduced Jakarta's role in
the province to handling foreign relations,
defence, national security, monetary
and fiscal policy, the justice system
and certain aspects of religious affairs.
However, on a range of critical
issues, such as fiscal matters and the
powers of the Indonesian army stationed
in the province, the LoGA is
weaker than agreed in Helsinki.
"What we have to do now is to test
the LoGA. Test it to the extreme, until
we stumble onto something that is not
clear. Then we will know what the problems
are," he said, adding that the revision
of the law will go through the proper
channels.
"The central government promised
me verbally that only the Holy Book
cannot be changed. The constitution
can be changed and the LoGA can also
be changed."
Mr Yusuf has also been called on to
mend bridges with the GAM leadership
in exile in Sweden, and put a stop to the
advancement of Islamic law, known as
sharia, in the province.
"The problem with GAM's prime
minister Malik Mahmud is easy to
solve. When the dust has settled, I will
personally visit him," he said.
The rift within GAM followed Mr Yusuf's
decision to run for governor, after
Mr Mahmud committed his support to
the pairing of Hamid Humam and Hasbi
Abdullah, the latter the brother of
GAM's foreign minister, Zain Abdullah.
Mr Yusuf contested Mr Mahmud's
decision because "the pair was not
strong enough, and it was running under
the flag of a national party".
His argument won the full support of
the GAM commander in the province,
who disobeyed the leadership and voted
for him in block.
"But if Mr Mahmud still does not
want to reconcile, then it will be up to
him," Mr Yusuf said.
The former rebel says he will also
choose diplomacy in dealing with the
ulamas, or religious leaders, who are
pushing for an increasingly stricter implementation
of sharia.
"GAM has always been a secular
movement. We never wanted sharia but
I cannot stand up against the ulamas
very publicly as this will make me unpopular
even with the grass roots," he
said. "We have to find another way."
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia
where sharia can be applied in full.
However, although implemented partially,
concerns are growing about it
being biased against the poor and
women.
In the past 15 months, 135 people
have been beaten for crimes such as
drinking alcohol, gambling or having illicit
relations with the opposite sex.
Women also face lashes for not wearing
their headscarves properly in public.
While Aceh was in full election
swing, the religious authority drafted a
law that called for chopping the hand of
thieves.
"I will not sign this law," Mr Yusuf
said. "You cannot punish someone before
you educate him. And you cannot
amputate the hand or punish a thief
when the state is not running well and
there is hunger among the people," he
said.
"The purpose of sharia should be to
increase people's welfare, wellbeing
and education."
Then, holding his hands as if in
prayer, he said: "In five years' time,
what I would really like is to see a corruption-
free Aceh, where people do not
have to worry about where they are going
to get their next meal.
"I am going to work very hard for
that. This much I can promise."
"You cannot amputate the hand or punish a thief
when the state is not running well and there is
hunger among the people" Irwandi Yusuf Aceh governor


Agree
_________________________
" Don't be shy with yourself, you have lots of talent without you notice....that's human, just be who you are."

(Memoirs of 3/3/2007)

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