Known as a dynamic and successful young entrepreneur, Sandiaga Uno is now on a political stage in which interesting differences between the two oft-intertwining branches are apparent. “In business, we have to keep promises and everything is about loyalty to reduce uncertainty,” said Sandiaga. “In politics, it’s quite a challenge to keep promises and there’s almost no loyalty in a game of uncertainty— the more uncertain a condition is, the harder politicians work.”

However, Sandiaga promised to be the best leader for Jakarta following three criteria— the first being honesty, authenticity and not being pretentious in any governance aspects. Fairness in addressing inequality and disparity is also important. “The lower class have started to question chances for upward mobility,” said Sandiaga, “The SMEs [small- to medium-sized enterprises] are facing difficulties such as in getting permits, human resources and, lately, unfairness in financial services.”

Anies Baswedan, the governor candidate, and Sandiaga have prepared a programme called “Oke Oce”, which means one entrepreneurial training centre in one subdistrict to boost the economy and reduce inequality by pushing forward SMEs and entrepreneurship. “Young people nowadays  have a lot of ideas but no means to expand their potentials,” said Sandiaga. “This is why the ‘Oke Oce’ programme will serve as a centre of growth and place of job creation.”

This leads to a leader who can relate to all layers in the society and be a bridge in between. “Our research shows that 87.8 per cent of Jakartans wishes for a leader who is present in their midst, cares about what they’re going through and can emphatize,” Sandiaga said. “A leader has to be fair in executing policies and capable to deliver the promises by being close to the people.”

About the traffic issue, Sandiaga said that, “It’s all about infrastructure, for which we’ll continue ongoing plans and accelerate the building of more mass public transportation systems,” Sandiaga said. “This is not ‘business as usual’, but an emergency.” He’d like to ensure that the mass transportation system—from MRT, LRT and on to TransJakarta—is all integrated down to the administrative villages.

Sandiaga continued to say that the soft infrastructure, or the people’s mindset, also needs to be built. Although effective transportation systems may not be ready yet, the middle- to upper-class segment of society needs to start using public transportation slowly and surely—him included. “Leaders need to be the example so the public will follow suit,” said Sandiaga. If successful, this work would be divided between Sandiaga, to make sure the hard infrastructure runs well, and Anies—in charge of the soft infrastructure with his background in education.

Braving the change into political play and staying optimistic about it is not enough to unite the city without strong work ethics and leadership characteristics. “My work ethic is working hard, working smart, working thoroughly and working sincerely,” said Sandiaga, “These work ethics—with Pancasila as the guide through the diversity—will create optimistic and rational young Indonesian entrepreneurs to develop the country well.”

Empathy is also important for a leader as shown in comforting words and problemsolving actions. Sandiaga declared that he doesn’t intend to seek power or position; all the pay and support he’d be receiving, should the Anies-Sandiaga pair were trusted to lead, would be given back to the poor and orphans. “I’ve been blessed with abundance,” Sandiaga said. “This is how I contribute back to the society and nation.”

(Text by Edith Emeralda, Photo by Heri B. Heryanto)

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Tags: Society, Profile, Sandiaga Uno