JAKARTA - Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo usually gives brief replies to questions asked by journalists, including during his recent conversation with The Jakarta Post. The Post has published the first part of the interview, which focused mainly on issues concerning Jakarta. The following are excerpts of the last part of the conversation.
Question: During your leadership as Surakarta mayor and then Jakarta governor, you paid a lot of attention to street vendors. When they are appropriately managed, how will they contribute to the local economy?
Answer: We are talking not only about street vendors but also about all people from the low-income bracket. They have been neglected for too long. It's time for them to enjoy a share of economic pie.
Will they boost the city's income, for example?
When talking about a city, a regional administration and budget, I never use an income paradigm. Why would we need an income when all of the people's welfare is guaranteed?
Where did you learn about city planning and administrative affairs, considering most of your career has been spent in the furniture industry?
I sold furniture from one town to another, from one country to another. That time allowed me to have a comparison. I have seen Budapest, Montenegro, Paris and how the city parks were managed in Brussels. I have seen how Singapore manages its housing compounds and how Moscow and Taiwan manage street vendors and so on.
What kind of bureaucracy do you want to build within the city administration?
A bureaucracy that serves [the people], that's all.
What do you think inspires people when they meet you?
I talk to them; I meet with them and listen to their grievances. I ask them what they want, what they need. The KJS and KJP [Jakarta Health Card and Jakarta Smart Card] exist because I listened to them. Most policymakers do not undergo this kind of process so they only issue top-down policies.
It takes great stamina to listen to the people, doesn't it?
Yes it does. It takes enough stamina for a marathon, not just the 10K [Jakarta 10K Marathon]. This is a process that needs to be taken consistently in order to bring good results.
Will you continue with it until the end of your tenure?
Yes, it is part of my job to do so.
How would you assess your work over the past year as Jakarta governor?
I will let other people judge. Whether people see my work as a success or a failure, it's up to them to judge. I'm not going to comment on my own weaknesses or strengths.
I just work and I am not the kind of person who is surprised by sudden change.
I used to manage Rp 800 billion in the city budget [in Surakarta] and now I manage Rp 50 trillion (in Jakarta).
Small or big management are the same: it is still management. Big or small organisations are just the same, they are organisations.
So what would be the difference between managing Jakarta and Indonesia?
There is no difference. People underestimated me when I was vying in the Jakarta gubernatorial election last year because I was only a mayor of a small town. It's actually the same. It's only a matter of size. Whether you manage a small company or a big company, it's the same.
It's about how you plan, organise, implement and control. That's it.
So what you have implemented in Jakarta can also be implemented at the national level?
Yes, it can be done. The process will be the same. [Surakarta] was small and [Jakarta] is big. In case of a country, it will be a very big one.
Those who voted for you in Jakarta will expect you to complete your tenure, but it appears that you may not.
(Laughing) Why do you draw such a conclusion? My job is to work.
Because reports indicate that you will run for president next year.
I've been told the same thing. [People say] I didn't finish my [second] tenure in Solo [Surakarta]- there were two years left - and already I left for Jakarta. The position is a public post and a political post. To me, it doesn't matter where I go when it comes to serving the public.
So does that mean that it's the same being a mayor, a governor and a president?
Yes, it is the same. They all work for the people. But I don't want to talk about [becoming] the president. I haven't thought about it .
Public officials usually attract freeloaders. How do you see people intending to take advantage of you?
I am new in Jakarta. I know no one here. But they will come eventually. Let them come.
How will you handle those who want to benefit from you?
What kind of people? Like investors? Many people helped me in the past, not only one or two. Would you claim that I owed you something because you did a thing or two for me? Not only hundreds, but thousands of people have worked to help me, thus I can't just pay attention to one particular person. Being new in this city is a benefit; it gives me freedom from burden.
I heard that you forbade your family members from participating in government tenders?
All of my family members are in Solo and none of them has ever taken part in a public tender.