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Cablegate: West Nusa Tenggara: High Expectations for Change From The

VZCZCXRO5373
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0133/01 3250749
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200749Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0333
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0318
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0162
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0152
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0338

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000133

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, INR/EAP, DRL/IRF, INL,

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KIRF PHUM KISL EINV ID
SUBJECT: WEST NUSA TENGGARA: HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR CHANGE FROM THE
NEW GOVERNOR

REF: A. SURABAYA 82 (ANOTHER GOLKAR GUBERNATORIAL DEFEAT)
B. SURABAYA 119 (LIFE FOR LOMBOK'S AHMADIYAH SECT)

SURABAYA 00000133 001.2 OF 002


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Elected on an anti-corruption platform,
recently inaugurated Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB)
Muhammad Zainul Majdi remains extremely popular among the local
population of Mataram, the provincial capital. Political
observers, however, are skeptical that he has the skills or
discipline necessary to achieve results. A well-respected
religious leader, Zainul promotes a political vision that
emphasizes religious and ethnical pluralism and focuses on
managing social capital to spur development and attract
investment. It remains to be seen, however, if his
administration can organize itself sufficiently to follow
through. While religiously conservative, NTB's electorate has
traditionally supported Golkar party members in local elections
and supported secular, nationalist candidates with military
backgrounds in the 2004 presidential elections -- preferring
General Wiranto in the first round before supporting President
Yudhoyono in the run-off. Political observers expect that
inclination to continue in the 2009 presidential elections. The
provincial government seems at a loss with how to deal with
members of the Ahmadiyah sect. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During a recent visit to Mataram, the capital of NTB,
located on the island of Lombok, Surabaya Principal Officer was
regaled with stories by average citizens about the positive
change newly inaugurated Governor Muhammad Zainul Majdi had
brought to NTB. Average citizens with whom we spoke were
unanimous in their praise for his anti-corruption efforts.
Political observers were more skeptical, acknowledging his
popularity but warning that, public opinion aside, very little
had changed. Adhar Hakim, NGO activist and journalist,
commented to us that Zainul's administration was still
uncoordinated and chaotic, with little of the discipline
necessary to get things done. Zainul's ability to deliver on
promises remains to be seen.

Presidential and Party Politics
-------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Adhar commented that NTB's enthusiasm for the new
governor, a Tuan Guru (religious teacher), did not mean that NTB
voters were inclined to support a religious leader or candidate
from an Islamic party for president. Given a choice, he
explained, NTB voters preferred a secular nationalist, usually
with a military background, to lead the country. In the 2004
presidential election, NTB gave the majority of its votes to
General Wiranto in the first round. In the second round, they
supported President Yudhoyono. He added that Golkar remains the
most popular party in NTB at the local level, with Golkar
members filling most local parliamentary and local government
seats. However, in the NTB governor's election, like so many
recent elections throughout Indonesia, personal characteristics
and issues drove voters, not party membership. Zainul --
supported by the Islamic Prosperous Justice (PKS) and Crescent
Star parties (PBB) -- was elected governor over the Golkar
candidate because he was well-known, respected, and running an
anti-corruption campaign against an incumbent accused of
embezzlement, not solely because of his religious credentials
(Ref A). (Note: In late October, the NTB Prosecutor's Office
arrested former Governor Lalu Serinata on corruption charges.)

Government Priorities
--------------------------

4. (SBU) Apologizing that the Governor was still in a meeting
with the Secretary General from the Ministry of Education, Vice
Governor Badrul Munir outlined for us Zainul's priorities.
Noting that Zainul wanted to develop NTB as a `province with
faith,' Badrul said that the issue of religious and ethnic
pluralism was paramount in all of the Governor's priorities. The
Governor pledged to provide up to nine years of free education
to the poor; provide free basic health services though existing
local health clinics; build and repair infrastructure; develop
the agro-industry; and support micro businesses, the `people's
economy.' Badrul noted that NTB currently ranks 32 out of 33
provinces on the Human Development Index, but ranks ninth in
purchasing power. Improving NTB's ranking on the Human
Development Index is a priority.

Tackling Corruption -- Attracting Investment
--------------------------------------------- ----------

SURABAYA 00000133 002.2 OF 002

5. (SBU) The Governor signed an MOU with the Prosecutor's
Office, the provincial Police, and the Finance and Development
Supervisory Board to work cooperatively to eradicate corruption.
The local community has direct access to the local government
through a special mail box and phone number to report incidents
of corruption. As part of this effort, Zainul wants all public
services to be open, transparent, accountable, and secure. This
anti-corruption drive is also designed to give investors greater
confidence in working in NTB.

6. (SBU) Asked about the provincial government's relationship
with Newmont mining, which operates a gold mine on the NTB
island of Sumbawa, Badrul said relations were very good.
Government and Newmont officials have met four times since the
new Governor was inaugurated. While revenue from the mine goes
directly to the central government, Newmont has an active
community development program in the area. NTB is looking to
increase domestic and foreign investment in seaweed farming,
fisheries, and livestock, but has yet to develop an `investment
profiles guide book' to distribute to potential investors. NTB
is building a new international airport, scheduled for
operations in late 2009, and hopes to boost tourism in the
province as an alternative to neighboring Bali. An investor
from Abu Dhabi is building a family-friendly resort aimed at
Middle Eastern tourists on Lombok's south coast, hoping to take
advantage of Lombok's Muslim culture and undiscovered beaches.

Ahmadiyah
---------------

7. (SBU) Following up on Ref B, PO noted the USG's concern about
treatment of the Ahmadiyah community and asked about the
Governor's plans for the Lombok Ahmadiyah community living in
temporary accommodations in Mataram. Badrul said the local
government was providing food to the 150 refugees living in the
Transito camp and trying to help them return to their home
villages. He stressed however that the government's efforts
were complicated by the Ahmadi's insistence that they remain an
`exclusive' community with little interaction with other groups.
Badrul did not explain why this specific request made it
difficult for the Ahmadis to return home or how the provincial
government planned to proceed.
MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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