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A Few Good Men
Wednesday, 01 February, 2017 | 14:40 WIB
A Few Good Men

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Good men are hard to find, as one saying goes. The proverb proved true once again when Tempo prepared its annual tradition of picking the best regional leaders for this special edition. 

It proved to be a difficult endeavor. According to home affairs ministry data, since the regional autonomy law came into effect in 1999, a total of 361 regional chiefs 343 regents/mayors and 18 governors had been implicated in corruption scandals. The number has yet to include those who were arrested by the anti-graft commission (KPK) at the end of last year. 

Cases varied but most of them were mired in corruption involving budget processes and permit issuance. Lately, a new 'variant' of corruption has emerged in the form of selling and buying positions. The prima donna in the latest such controversy was Klaten regent Sri Hartini. Actually, it is incorrect to describe the practice as 'new' as it has been going on for long and most likely, the Klaten case is not an isolated one. 

Under such circumstances, what criteria did we use for this year's selection? One absolute, non-negotiable prerequisite is being free of corruption, the most severe disease of public officials, manifested in the most despicable act of plundering state funds. The next requirement is the ability to produce innovations or achieve breakthroughs. To avoid placing the spotlight on 'former stars', Tempo added 'no prior overexposure' as the last requirement. 

In the deliberations that involved a number of institutions, the names of Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini, Bojonegoro Regent Suyoto, Bantaeng Regent Nurdin Abdullah, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas, and Batang Regent Yoyok Riyo Sudibyo, often emerged. With all due respect to these chiefs, we believe that if we feature them yet again, it may look like we were running around in circles, with little or no alternatives. 

After multiple layers of screening and various modes of checking and rechecking, Tempo eventually came up with four names, Kulon Progo Regent Hasto Wardoyo, Makassar Mayor Ramdhan 'Dhanny' Pamanto, Tapin Regent Arifin Arpan, and Malinau Regent Yansen Tipa Padan. Just four names from across the wide archipelago! How lonely they must be! Therefore, as 'also-rans', we picked six well-performing regional leaders, who were previously 'sidelined', namely Tri Rismaharini, Suyoto, Nurdin Abdullah, Ridwan Kamil, Abdullah Azwar Anas, and Yoyok Riyo Sudibyo as Model Regional Leaders. 

The four selected figures possess similar fundamental characteristics, i.e. their focus on serving the public and involving the public in policymaking. Transparent policies help restore the public's faith in their leaders. These are actually simple steps but many leaders including those in the regions tend to forget them as they busy themselves to deceive their constituents.

This issue certainly does not rule out the possibility that there may be other good regional leaders who also deserved a place but were overlooked. In the words of poet Chairil Anwar, kerja belum selesai, belum apa-apa, loosely translated as 'unfinished work, no results'. 

We will continue to seek the nation's best sons and daughters who with all of their sincerity, will light a candle in the dark. Despite the chaos and rancor from deplorable political infighting, we are convinced that Indonesia is still a land of hope. (*)

 

Read the full story in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine



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