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Medan towards 2011: doubt vs hope

MEDAN, December 20, 2010 | Year-end countdown to step closer while breakthrough policies not yet performed by North Sumatera government. On the contrarily, law violations issue seems disseminated mostly by medias; such as graft case that is reportedly to suspect Medan city mayor Rahudman Harahap. North Sumatera governor Syamsul Arifin, even faces worst scenario as Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) declared him a suspect in a Langkat budget embezzlement case, and is still detained in Jakarta. Rumors saying that he might serve the jail period for more a hundred days.

Along with KPK released an index of provincial government performance, national public eventually addressed at North Sumatera province as the most corrupted government compared with provinces evaluated by the anti graft commission. The announcement, actually, not surprising since the Indonesian Corruption Watch has issued similar assesment earlier.

However, it is a questionable stance to find no media willing to link the disappointed ‘achievement’ with North Sumatera’s image among investors and national/International scale community. Instead, the regional government stands firm those cases unlikely ruin the administration affairs.

The economic growth, nationally, is easily to refer from Jakarta’s surveys. But not for those aim to learn economic condition in North Sumatera, particularly in Medan city as the capital. The situation has long caused apathetic stance to regard the interest, mostly from internal side. Rare finding found to hold a deep study investment oppurtunity in the province, that might need to expand more seriously.

Weeks before new Medan mayor Rahudman secured his post. A Medan city’s administration official – who willing to be quoted anonymously – conveyed his doubt that any candidates who competed in the 2010 mayoral election could perform better for developing the city.

“Just call me a big liar, if I said gubernatorial officials are capable to conduct the governmental programs compared with the city’s,” he said, as we had a dialogue at his office, in Medan.

He concerned the quality of Medan mayor candidates when he was invited to a mayoral candidates debate forum. “Confusing to see them fail explaining a good development concept by intensifying prospective city income. Just to say that Belawan, as the economic center for import and export, and to strengthen local agricultures and services points seem so hard to present,” he added.

Give public the information, and let them react

Index survey which is released by KPK, majorly, dealt with public service run by the administration office. As we all know, performance level very likely degraded if a routine and strict supervision fail to hold. In this case, people who vote for the governmental head should have power to control the government. However, the role is not effectively to conduct by all people (such as staring the governmental workers during their duty hours). Media or journalist is empowered to play this unique function; in which some fond to name it ‘fourth pillar of democracy.’

The journalists along with their media, according to the function, must have monitored the programs and services pledged through the development plan. Anyway, the scenario tends to be contradictarily happen. Many city’s officials unwilling to be cooperative, and the rest used to bribe journalists so they just publish positive achievement only.

Out of the bribery practice that could be settled by the journalists’ commitment and being idealist; non-cooperative officials now have no space to defend themselves, following the Law of Access to Public Information issuance. Unfortunately, many journalists who I know, never learnt the effective power over this regulation. They used to implement “divide et impera” strategy, or to threat an embargo for officials who stand against them. The condition eventually last like a power battle.

The Access for Public Information Law is arranged detailly about proper and improper information that journalist should obtain from government. The information is edited and being disseminated to public for the last response. Surely, disappoinment service will trigger a negative reaction, and possibly decreasing government popularity. The triangle control, among; government – journalists – public will be performed efficiently through this regulation.

Public, in the other hand, must learn how to get selective on learning information spreaded by mass media. Public trust for one or more media could be seen from responses that people show to their informations. Passive public reaction will give zero result, since the power of journalists just for spreading news, but not to push them.

Could the government turns better, next year?

The question above is short. Thereafter, the answer should be short too: it depends on people culture in Indonesia to concern mandate as the worker for governmental services, regardless their positions. The implementation might need longer time to realize.

Simple evidence is the bribery practices to gain a position in the governmental office. Many choose to secure the seat through short and unfair procedure. There is no wonder that KPK will announce certain city’s government conducted poor service, since the administration office also recruited the poor staffs.

We don’t have Obama to change Medan as a better city in 2011. But, the struggle needs more ‘Obamas’ to play breakthrough approaches. A change is about willing to leave negative aspects we used to conduct. If the governmental officials and staffs aware their function as the government, instead of the ruler, the dream to have Medan as a good image and service city could be realized.

Medan may not change just by counting down the time, but how could cutting down the weakness and to boost the promising power, particularly in the economic sector. Government, journalist and public should hold the role under routine and strict control. Happy new year in the last tick.


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