TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria refuted the allegation that Governor Anies Baswedan's letter to the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Michael R. Bloomberg, was aimed at asking for anti-tobacco campaign funds. According to Riza, the letter was in the context of Jakarta's collaboration with other healthy cities in the world.
“No request for funds. This is a form of collaboration. Jakarta is a city of collaboration,” said Riza at the City Hall on Monday night, October 4.
He reiterated that the letter proves Anies's commitment to reducing the prevalence of smokers in the capital. The ultimate goal, he continued, is to make Jakarta a healthy city.
As reported earlier, the letter written by Anies to Bloomberg was widely discussed on social media, especially Twitter. Anies was accused of 'asking for funds’ for the anti-tobacco efforts, and it was even linked to the 2024 presidential election.
In the letter circulating on social media, Anies congratulated Michael for being appointed as the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. Anies also thanked Bloomberg Philanthropies for their role in making Jakarta a part of the Partnership for Healthy City with 54 other cities in 2017.
Anies said that thanks to the support from Bloomberg, Jakarta is 100 percent free of cigarette advertisements on billboards and will scrap indoor cigarette ads. The letter was signed on July 4, 2019.
Riza Patria claimed to have no concern about the allegation. He opined that in a democratic country, people are allowed to express their opinions. However, they must be fair. “We are open to constructive criticism. But, it must also be fair. If there is an achievement, it should be recognized instead of ignoring it,” he said.