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Ahmadiyah refugees denied voting rights
Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram
More than 80 Ahmadiyah members who have taken refuge in the Wisma Transito shelter, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), did not cast votes in the Mataram mayoral election Monday — even though they lived in the region for four years.
“Every eligible voter at Wisma Transito has not been registered. They have no voter cards. The government probably thinks Ahmadiyah members are invisible,” Ahmadiyah advisor Saiful Uyun told reporters at a polling station in Pejanggik, Mataram.
Ahmadiyah’s followers have struggled to maintaining their existence because their teachings are deemed as straying from Islam.
The Mataram mayoral election is one of six regency and mayoralty elections held in NTB on Monday.
The other elections were in Central Lombok, North Lombok, Sumbawa, Dompu and Bima.
Syahidin, a coordinator for the Ahmadiyah refugees, said on Monday they had been deprived of voting rights since the West Lombok regency election in 2008.
“We are no longer regarded as citizens. We are Indonesian citizens but have no proof because we don’t have identity cards,” he said.
The Mataram Central Statistics Agency registered them as Mataram citizens during last month’s national census, he added.
They previously complained to the Mataram municipality office, and were told that the refugees had been entrusted to West Lombok and were under the NTB provincial administration, Syahidin said.
“West Lombok says we are under Mataram, which says we are under NTB, which says we are under West Lombok,” he said.
In February, 2006, around 136 families, made up of 157 Ahmadiyah members, were driven from their homes in Ketapang, West Lombok, to Wisma Transito. Thirty-three families (numbering 126 people) still live in the shelter.
Meanwhile, four of eight regencies holding elections in Semarang, Central Java, have seen incumbent top officials fail to retain their positions. The four are Mahfudz Ali (Semarang deputy mayor), Yudhi Sancoyo (Blora regent), Siti Nurmarkesi (Kendal regent) and Nashiruddin Al Mansur (Kebumen regent).
Hasyim Asya’ari, a political observer from Diponegoro University, told The Jakarta Post that the results demonstrated the public’s disappointment in their leaders.
“People learn lessons from past elections. Those who have failed in their administrative performance are no longer elected,” he said.
In Kendal’s elections on Sunday, Widya Kandi Susanti-Mukh. Mustamsikin from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), won with 170,972 votes (41.16 percent) according to a quick count. Golkar’s Siti Nurmakesi-Indar Wimbono recorded 22.27 percent.
Widya is the wife of former regent Hendy Boedoro, who is currently in prison in connection with a graft case.
In Kebumen, Buyar Winarso-Djuwarni led incumbent Nashiruddin AM-Probo Indartono 226,110 votes (50.85 percent) to 218,591 votes (49.15 percent).
Sigit Widyonindito-Joko Prasetyo collected 43.64 percent to hold an upper hands over Budi Prasetyo- Kholid Abidin (36.56 percent), Budiyarto-Titiek Utami (14.36 percent) and Koentjoro-Rahayu Enny Rahajeng (5.44).
In Malang, East Java, the poll monitoring committee threatened to disband because the its operating funds have not been disbursed.
Committee chairman Muhammad Wahyudi said they proposed a Rp 4.4-billion budget but the Malang administration office had not endorsed it.
Abdul Malik, the administration secretary, said that they would only provide Rp 1.2 billion, as was endorsed previously by legislative councilors.
He hoped the committee would accept the amount but Wahyudi said it was impossible.
“That sum would only last until the end of June. Even if it was allocated only for members’ payments, we would still incur a deficit of Rp 150 million,” Wahyudi said.
The committee has 700 members in more than 390 villages.
Elections are being contested by Rendra Kresna-Ahmad Subkhan, Muhammad Geng Wahyudi-Abdurahman and Wahyu Agus Arifin-Abdul Mudjib Dzazili.
— Suherdjoko, Agus Maryono and Wahyoe Boediwardhana contributed to the story from Semarang, Purwokerto and Malang.