Photo: Heri B Heryanto

Providing benefits and gaining people’s trust are among politician Maruarar Sirait’s life principles. The rising star of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) tells Indonesia Tatler that, “Position is important, but it is not everything. It is much more important to always be helpful and trusted by the people, because that is everlasting.”

To this end, he always listens to the hopes and dreams of the people he meets and fights for their interests.

Maruarar Sirait, more familiarly known just as “Ara”, was born in Medan on December 23, 1969. He is the son of Sabam Sirait, a senior politician who was also one of the founders of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) in 1973.

Ara’s political career began in earnest with a position as Deputy Treasurer of the Regional Leadership Council (DPD) PDI Perjuangan West Java in 1999. Subsequently, he occupied the position of Treasurer of DPD PDI Perjuangan West Java in 2000.

Thanks to his dedication and achievements, Ara was appointed Chairman of the Central Executive Board (DPP) PDI Perjuangan in the field of Youth and Sports for two consecutive periods.

In his storied political career, Ara was also elected as a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) with the highest vote over the three periods from 2004 until now from the electoral districts of Subang, Majalengka and Sumedang in West Java. He achieved a remarkable success: around 97 per cent of voters in those cities are Muslim and of Sundanese descent, while Ara is a Bataknese and a Protestant.

“I am grateful to find Muslims who are very friendly, communicative, open and peace-loving,” says Ara. “I am building a long-term relationship with the people, listening to their aspirations and needs, and actualising them by applying strategic policies that benefit the interests of the people,” he continued.

In addition to politics, Ara was also appointed as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the President Cup 2015 and 2017 by President Joko Widodo. As a result, the national football industry is progressing, leading to success.

“In accordance with President Joko Widodo’s direction, the Presidential Cup, among others, must be transparent and fair. In order to realise that, we also teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the tournament. This is so that the transparency demanded by the president can be achieved,” Ara explained.

On top of that, Ara is also the Chairman of Taruna Merah Putih, one of the branch organisations of PDI Perjuangan that has spawned prominent young figures who served as members of the DPR, such as Utut Adianto, Rieke Diah Pitaloka, Nico Siahaan and Charles Honoris, as well as Hendrar Prihadi (Hendi) who is the Mayor of Semarang and Mardani H. Maming, the Regent of Tanah Bumbu in South Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, to maintain diversity and strengthen the unity of Indonesia, Maruarar Sirait also actively hosts a National Parade event, organised by Taruna Merah Putih.

"This national event is an effort to reinforce the values of Pancasila in the life of the nation, especially for the young generation,” says Ara.

Furthermore, to the younger generation who will be future leaders, Ara has some advice: it is important to respect and appreciate the value of history as mandated by President Soekarno. He also encourages the younger generation to create their own positive history for the progress of their beloved nation.

“Continue to excel and be an inspiration for other Indonesian youngsters,” he says.

(Text by: Novranto Huntua)

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