In Indonesia, parking attendant hits road to politics

Regional legislative candidate Sudarianto says he's running for office to represent those living in poverty.

By M. Taufan S.P. Bustan for Khabar Southeast Asia in Palu, Central Sulawesi

February 28, 2014
Reset Text smaller larger

Central Sulawesi resident Sudarianto parks vehicles for a living. The street in front of the traditional market in Sigil Biromaru is his office, as the 48-year-old parking attendant hopes to rise to higher office as a candidate in the 2014 Indonesian elections.

  • Legislative candidate Sudarianto (right) meets with a local resident in Loru village, Central Sulawesi, on January 30th. [M. Taufan S.P. Bustan/Khabar]

    Legislative candidate Sudarianto (right) meets with a local resident in Loru village, Central Sulawesi, on January 30th. [M. Taufan S.P. Bustan/Khabar]

He is running for the Sigi District legislative assembly in Central Sulawesi as the National Democratic Party's (NasDem) fourth candidate. Sudarianto now campaigns busily, meeting with voters throughout his district.

"I want to be a candidate because of all the support given by locals here," he told Khabar Southeast Asia.

A people's representative

Sudarianto's participation in the race is inspiring many Indonesians.

"I think it is very impressive that he is willing to pursue a political career. I believe people trust him to be their representative," Palu resident Rustanti Rahma Dani said. "I think his commitment to reducing poverty and to improving accessibility to education will potentially give him a winning ticket."

Sudarianto would make a good example of a people's representative, said Palu religious leader Muhammad Hasyim Al Bashari.

"I hope Sudarianto will also make it a priority to promote tolerance in the region because tolerance will decrease violence here and will help our students study peacefully," he told Khabar. "We hope people in Palu will make a wise decision."

"I only have courage"

Though he has no college degree, Sudarianto's stated commitment and his familiarity with the area's people help make him a popular candidate.

Despite financial constraints that prevent him from mounting expensive media campaigns, Sudarianto pounds the pavement in old-style, grassroots politicking. He's gone door-to-door in the community, handing out stickers, t-shirts, calendars and other promotional items.

Sudarianto's wife Risma Wati supports her husband's candidacy. Because of their limited budget, the couple takes advantage of local gatherings, such as weddings, religious meetings or town hall meetings to campaign for his election, Risma told Khabar.

"I do not have any money to be a public legislator. I only have courage," Sudarianto said. "If elected, I will make all my promises come true."

Reader Comments
CLICK HERE to Add a Comment
    • supriyanto
      March 15, 2014 @ 06:03:46AM
    • That shouldn't be a problem. It would be good if every profession had representatives, for example, pedicab drivers, public transport drivers, motorcycle taxi drivers etc.
    • m.yahya khadafi
      March 14, 2014 @ 07:03:09PM
    • There is nothing wrong with commitment but it is better to refrain from giving promises. We might be unable to keep them and we would be indebted even in the afterlife, right?

Add A Comment (Comments Policy)* denotes required field



The most important issue in Indonesia's presidential election is:

Photo Essay

Mariyah Nibosu, whose husband was shot dead in 2009 by unknown gunmen, stands outside her home in September 2013 in the state-run 'widows' village' of Rotan Batu, 20km from Narathiwat.

As Thailand's Deep South insurgency drags on, families suffer, persevere