Life is a special gift bestowed upon people to choose freely in what they do and make of it. Thus, life is about making choices, giving every person the opportunity to always try, do, and finally make the choice to live their lives to the full. This simple understanding is reflected in the character of Dr Ferry J. Juliantono, the Indonesian politician who now serves as Vice Chairman of the Central Executive Board (DPP) of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).
“For me, the political world is a strategic path and an important initiative in realising the ideals of the founding fathers of the nation and the mandate of the constitution, which is how to achieve prosperity for all Indonesian people,” Ferry says in conversation with Indonesia Tatler.
Known as an intelligent, consistent, and courageous figure, Ferry was born in Jakarta on July 27, 1967. He has been actively involved in various organisations since his early academic years. In high school, he was one of the management members of OSIS (an intra-school student organisation). During his studies at the Faculty of Economics at Padjadjaran University in Bandung, Ferry was also involved in political activities such as organising the defence of farmers’ rights against government and business interests in Badega in Ujung Genteng, West Java. He also defended and advocated for the peasant community when it was faced with the construction of Kedung Ombo Dam in Boyolali in Central Java.
Ferry’s journey as an activist who has voiced the interests of many people through demonstrations certainly has had its risks. In 1993, during the New Order period, Ferry was arrested for opposing President Soeharto’s re-nomination. Then in 2008, during the reform, or “Post-Soeharto” era, he was also incarcerated for a year as a political prisoner for leading a demonstration to refuse an increase in fuel prices during the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla.
“The spirit of my resistance always erupts while witnessing injustice and suffering due to government policy that incriminates and harms the people,” Ferry says. “Hence, I am always prepared to face any consequences, including going to jail.”
Ferry, who is of Central Javanese Kudus and Kebumen descent, has matured through traversing the intricacies of the social and political worlds in Indonesia. In Ferry’s view, after 73 years of independence, the greatest challenge of the nation’s future is how to realise the ideals of the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence itself, which is a fair and prosperous society as well as social justice for all Indonesian people.
Until now, he says, the nation is still struggling with fundamental issues that hamper the ideals of independence, such as poverty, unemployment, the high cost of education, the lack of proper healthcare, declining purchasing power, corruption, economic disparity, and much more.
Ferry, who earned a doctorate degree in sociology from the University of Indonesia, further explains that the agricultural sector, which is the main life support system for most people in Indonesia, has not received full attention from the government. He suggests that a comprehensive agricultural policy that can provide welfare and added value to farmers, should be developed.
This story appears in the August 2018 issue of Indonesia Tatler. For the full story, grab the copy at your nearest newsstands, or subscribe here.