Ahok, “The Mad Man” of Jakarta, Tells Us More about His Views on Entrepreneurship and Jakarta (2- end)

ahokAhok previously touched on plurality and creativity as the nation’s potential.

He was again pissed off as he found out a shocking fact. Upon knowing it took several days for a letter to reach his working desk, he casually went curious and questioned his subordinates. “I want all of the letters for me came to me right away no matter what. How many people in charge of letters are there?,”Ahok recounted. Twenty five people were known to be in charge of it. We all can imagine how ineffective the bureaucracy of Jakarta has been and we somehow don’t think it’s too surprising but having 25 people to handle letters in an office for a governor is undoubtedly a waste of resources.

Needless to say, he was enraged at the inefficient approach. Ahok later opened a single desk for all letters written for him as the governor. He wants to read these letters as soon as they arrive. “I want no one from my staff filters any letters for me,”Ahok firmly stated.

He fervently wishes there will be more entrepreneurs a.k.a. job creators in town. And to attract more entrepreneurs and encourage them to set up businesses in Jakarta, Ahok conveyed a message of change to all of business folks: Jakarta is changing.

Ahok is deeply concerned about the low sense of trust grassroots give nowadays to public officials like him. And he knows to well he has to work hard to change it.

“All we (Jakarta) have is location, to be frank,” he spoke. If people have a creative idea, are trained, permitted to operate, they might as well get funded by the government. “We also subsidize fledgling entrepreneurs who need to exhibit their products or services.”

Under Ahok’s command, the government of DKI Jakarta has begun a local, culinary-focused business incubator at Monumen Nasional (Monas), Central Jakarta. There are 339 people (micro businessmen, street vendors) trained in the incubator. They were trained to cook and serve foods more hygienically and professionally. Once they have funds and want to expand, they should move out of the location.

Ahok can’t be fooled so easily. Some of the street vendors tried to take advantage of this facility generously provided for them. Ahok found out that these dishonest people sold their kiosks at Monas for 200 million rupiahs. They sold the space to others instead of truly running their culinary business there to come back to their hometown only to remarry women and build a decent house. And what happens next? These people come back to Jakarta and sell foods like what they did before the government trained and funded them.

“That’s why we now are really really stringent!” Ahok explained. Knowing Indonesian law enforcement is too weak to prevent such cases from recurring in the future, Ahok had an idea. A brilliant one, I should say. All these street vendors are to have ATM cards issued officially by Bank DKI as their identity cards. That way, any violations can be taken to court, only this time with more severe, more serious punishment. Ahok knows it’s against the law to
counterfeit ATM cards and if these street vendors – who have been trained, funded and provided a strategic space to run businesses – forge the cards, they should get prepared of being put behind bars for at least 12 years. “They said I’m so cruel. I said,’Now you all know!'”

He later emphasized Jakarta is the best opportunity for entrepreneurs. They provide one-stop service for handling the business permits. “No need to bribe. You can tell me if you’re told you must bribe,” he said. “I work for this, to have fights against all these violations. For the sake of you all.”

Ahok promised for entrepreneurs to give space to ‘show off’ products at Monas, which he assumes to be the most commercially attractive landmark of all. He is committed to help entrepreneurs who can produce something. To fund potential entrepreneurs, Ahok will push Bank DKI to provide more capitals for them.

Speaking of the traffic jam issue and city plan, Ahok likened Jakarta to Chicago in 1920’s. It was all chaotic and messy with buildings and properties erected with no certain guidance. To add to the mess, the traffic was worsening from time to time. Not to mention, the Chicago goverment was as corrupt as we all are now.

He also challenges all of Indonesian public officials to implement and ratify the United Nations advice on combatting corruption in the public government. He strongly advocates this idea to be applied in Indonesia. “But there needs to be raises in salaries at first,” he said in an understanding tone.

Thus far Ahok, apart from his being a minority, has managed to show his capability of working as a competent public official. Yes, he is blatant, overly outspoken most of the time, so outspoken he annoy and offend some. But as we all realize we really need this type of man to drag our people forward. This donkey needs to wake up and work his way up, stop complaining and start achieving. And Ahok is ready with his whip so the donkey stand up and start to run, to become a stallion, or even better, a unicorn flying to the sky.

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