10 March 2012

Industries of Democracy and Bureaucracy Get the Remote Region in Indonesia

There is no word other than "amazed" to describe how industrial democracy and industrial bureaucracy penetrate remote areas of Indonesia

Arief Wicaksono | BoilingSpot | 10 March 2012


One of the industrialization menu that grow fast shortly after the fall of Suharto is the democracy’s industry. Political consulting firms can be found in various regions in Indonesia. Acceleration of growth (and expansion) of these type of industry was facilitated by the aggressiveness of political parties in Indonesia in expanding coverage of their voters through the establishment of new administrative areas.

In one of newly established district, which built on mangrove swamps in the southern region of Papua, Asmat Regency, democracy industry has penetrated the region since 2004. Type of services the industry employed is consistent regardless of geographical boundaries as well as the natural condition of the region. Multi-level marketing in building constituency is one of powerful approach used by the political consulting firm.

In local government-owned hotel, Hotel Assedu, where I stay, is filled by residents from remote villages, which are mobilized by the political consulting firm. Some of them even have to take a five-hour travel through river by motor boat from their villages to arrive in the capital city of the regency. The hotel conference room is full of people with vigorous face. They come with the lure of status, control and power, one of the democracy industry attraction.


When the meeting started fanatical atmosphere was palpable. The spirit of the meeting is about the victory. Whatever the circumstances presented, whether it concerns the real situation on the ground pr just assumption of the speakers,the constituents of one of Papua's governor candidate responded with enthusiasm to win.

I had a little chat with one of member of the political consultant team who organized the meeting. Apparently the team is sub-contractor of a leading consulting firm in Jakarta. Amazing!

At the same hotel there is also another team from Bandung. But the team is not part of the political consulting firm. They are part of a bureaucracy industry. One menu of industrialization of countries that are just freed themselves from dictatorial regime to free market democracy. It's about service in the development planning, which are always identical with the budgeting process.

An old friend who is now a bureaucrat in the regency is kind enough to give me the opportunity to attend the final exposure of the team to "consult" their work with the local government agencies. I tried hard to sit back nicely during the process of "consultation" took place. I felt a tremendous sadness.

The team repeatedly refer to themselves as a facilitator of the planning process. The team also said that the content of the plan are the property and responsibility of the regency government officials. But what I observed was not a consultative process, or even a facilitative meeting. I think the meeting was a public lecture about the development plans according to the applicable rules and regulations.

I had occasion to chat with the team when lunch break. It turned out they have an exceptional geographic range of services. Especially the new established districts, which in their opinion, require assistance from the regional administration expert, so that the development bureaucracy can be held properly.

Free-market democracy in Indonesia of post-Suharto’s dictator regime, along with all the inevitable consequences that arises, whether planned or unplanned, has become a snowball throughout the country. Free-market democracy rolls off like consumptivism of industrial goods and services that have destroyed the unique system of local production-consumption. The need for democracy and bureaucracy consultancy services may be as strong as the needs of the modern consumer goods like mobile phones, instant food and beverage, and so forth.

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