Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pauline Hanson, among Islam, Racism and Reclaim Australia

By. Afrianto Daud
(This article was first written for The Australian)

Australian public was rather shocked of a rally by a group of people with a theme of Reclaim Australia on Saturday, 04/04/2015. It was conducted simultaneously in all states of Australia, including Victoria. The movement is strongly supported by a liberal party politician Pauline Hanson. Messages delivered in the rally filled with nuances of hatred against Islam as one of important religions in Australia. Among the themes presented by the protesters were a rejection of the tax for halal certification, the refusal of practice of Islamic law, and a reminder for the phenomenon of Islamization in Australia. The demonstrators even specifically chanted with "no more mosques', or 'no more burqa'.

According to the 2006 census, there are at least five million (24%) of Australians are immigrants with different cultural and religious backgrounds. Approximately 450,000 of them are Muslims from various countries, including Indonesia. So far, all communities can live in harmony. They live with mutual respect for each other's culture under the principle of multiculturalism that becomes an important value of the Australian community.

As a politician, Pauline Hanson seemed to be trying to propitiate the Australian community through this movement. Islam and terrorism is indeed currently becoming a hot topic across the globe. Massive coverage of Islamic state movement (ISIS) has got a special attention from international community. Therefore, the issue on terrorism can be a good commodity for sales in the political market. Pauline's statement that also attacked Abbott’s administrative for not doing any necessary action regarding the potential dominance of the Muslim community in Australia is an indication that what she did is a clear political movement.

Having looked at the track record of this politician, the Reclaim Australia is not the first controversial action undertaken and supported by Pauline Hanson. In a political statement during a campaign season to become a member of the Federal Parliament in 1996, for example, she has been harshly criticized the Australian government's immigration policy. She mentioned that the idea of multiculturalism is risky for the future of Australia. Therefore, the multiculturalism policy should be resisted. She argued that why Australia is filled by many immigrants from Asia was because the idea of the multiculturalism. In the eyes of Pauline, many immigrants cannot be assimilated well with Australian culture. In short, in her stance, these immigrants are only a source of problems.
In 2006, Pauline returned outspoken about the dangers of these immigrants. At that time she was specifically concerned about immigrants from Africa who could be carrying the disease from the country of origin, including the possibility of suffering from AIDS. Pauline mentioned that African immigrants had absolutely no benefit to Australia.

Pauline herself refused to call herself as a racist. She said that what she did was only a way she expressed her criticism for the sake of Australia in the future. However, for those who think sane, Pauline's criticism is very clear that the substance contains racism. This is because she spreads hatred and discrimination against certain groups of people. For this reason, quite a lot of Australians themselves oppose the idea of the Reclaim Australia movement. Some of those who oppose the idea even involved in physical fights with demonstrators last Saturday.

Although Pauline Hanson's racism does not get a proper place in the mainstream of Australian politic, it does not necessarily mean that the idea is without support. Hundreds of people demonstrating simultaneously at a rally last Saturday proved that this racism is not completely dead. They continue to multiply and consolidate themselves.

The idea of 'Reclaim Australia' movement itself does sound strange and was impressed to be silly. There are many loop holes within the idea of this movement. First, the theme has been biased from the beginning. The selection of the word 'reclaim' (retake) does not only mislead as if Australia had been taken over by a particular group politically, culturally, and economically (which is certainly not true), it also spread a wrong message saying that Islam and the Muslims have occupied Australia in many aspects of life. The selection of this word has indirectly put Islam and the Australian Muslims on more powerful and more hegemonic than the actual facts. This is indeed an exaggeration.

Secondly, the theme is also against common sense. Paulin's statement mentioning that the halal food certification in Australia as a way to finance international terrorist is full of ignorance. The halal certification itself is not a dark business because they are easily monitored by the Australian government. Halal certification is growing in Australia along with the increasing demand for halal food because of the increasing number of Muslim communities in Australia (mostly immigrants). Among their main motivation is a purely from a business drive. Therefore do not be surprised if many non-Muslim owned companies also provide halal certificate. Again, the process is transparent. Therefore, the explanation from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) one day after the rally regarding the transparency and certification process could clarify that the allegations by Paulin Hanson is like a fairy tale story in broad daylight.

Third, the attacks and discrimination against Muslims in Australia can be easily understood as an action which is contrary to the principles of multiculturalism as important values of Australians, as discussed above. Australia is a country which was built on the basis of respect for this diversity. Thus, the racism movement by Paulin, if left unchecked, will not only spoil the harmony of life of the plurality of the Australian society, it can also tarnish the Australian culture in the eyes of the international community. Although the number of supporters today is not significant, the core message is very dangerous.

Considering the potential serious side effects, I think the Australian government and the community need to perform special measures in dealing with the issue of racism. Sentiment towards Islam could develop into sentiment against other immigrants. Today they are targeting Muslim community; it is highly likely that they are also targeting the existence of other groups in the near future. Therefore, it is reasonable if the vice president of the African Community Association of Australia, Edward Solo, said that the yesterday's rally as something painful. "It is really a fearful message," he said as quoted by The Guardian (06/04/2015).

Politically, the Abbott’s government needs to make an official statement that the government cannot allow the attitude and behaviour of racism to happen. Abbott needs to make clear that the government is committed to respecting all forms of cultural uniqueness of its citizens, including by providing a protection to the Australian Muslim community. Otherwise, what is feared by the secretary of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Ghaith Krayem, who called Abbott government's silence on the racial acts as a form of injustice shown by Abbott’s administrative in dealing with racial attacks and extremism is true (The Age, 04/07/2015).

At the same time, the Muslim community and all immigrant groups have to think of better ways that promote a more intensive and effective activities to build mutual understanding among all groups who live in Australia. This is because the racism is likely happen due to lack of communication and interaction between these diverse groups. Pauline Hanson's statement saying that Muslims do not need the halal certification, because whole foods can be permissible only by reciting a prayer (bismillah) is a crystal clear example that Pauline does not really understand what Islam and Muslims are.

* The writer is a scholar at Monash University, former president of Monash Indonesian Islamic Society - MIIS.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

From Curriculum Revision to LPTK Regulation

By: Afrianto Daud*
(This article was first written for The Jakarta Post)

In our rush to reform education, we have forgotten a simple truth: reform will never be achieved by renewing appropriations, restructuring schools, rewriting curricula, and revising texts, if we continue to demean and dishearten the human resource called the teacher on whom so much depends (Palmer, 1998)

In the last few months or so the education in Indonesia again stuck on the old debate on curriculum, especially when the new government decided to stop the implementation of Curriculum 2013 (K13) which has just launched at the end of the SBY administration. Although the implementation of the pilot program of the new curriculum in 6221 schools still continues, the dismissal of the implementation in all non pilot schools still trigger wide polemics.

Some deplore the attitude of the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture who seemed to be in hurry in making such a big decision; but on the other hand, the government argues that many schools and teachers seem to have a lack of preparation to run the K13. In addition, there has been no comprehensive study on why Curriculum 2006 should be replaced. Therefore, the new government assumed that the Curriculum 2006 was still fit for use.

I do not intend to continue the debate on whether to continue K-13 or re-use the 2006 curriuclum, as the decision has been taken place. This article is intended to remind the government and education policy makers in Indonesia not to spend too much energy on the debate about what kind of curriculum that we shall use.

Polemics about the curriculum should not make us forget one important thing to be taken seriously in order to improve the quality of national education, which is how we could constantly prepare qualified prospective teachers. At the end, we have to admit that, as the strong quote from Palmer (1998) on the epigraphs, education reform will never succeed if we only focused on techincal issues such as school restructuring program or rewrite the curriculum. No matter how great the curriculum, it will never run well in the field if it is not supported by qualified teachers. Yes, because the the teachers are indeed the keys and the major players for successful implementation of a curriculum.
In regard to our endeavor on preparing qualified teachers, there is a good point left by the previous government. Along the enactment of Law No.14 / 2005 on teachers and lecturers, some programs of SBY administration as a part of restoration of the teacher as an honorable profession in community deserve to be continued and improved.

Teacher certification program that has been going on for almost seven years gradually began to have a positive impact on our education, especially in the increased interest of Indonesian youths to choose the teaching profession as their career choice. Unlike what happneed in the past when student teachers were more those who failed to choose another field of study (non-educational), now many student teachers deliberateley chose education as their top choice. This occurs because the teaching profession began to be regarded as not only socially and culturally respectable, but also financially promising.

The rise interest can be tracked from the large number of applicants currently enrolled into the Institute of Teachers Training and Education (LPTK). As reported by Alhumami (2013), data from the Joint Selection State University (SBMPTN) in 2013, for example, showed that there were 407,000 (69.4%) out of 585.789 participants chose a course in LPTK. This figure increased significantly compared to 2012, which previously numbered about 350 thousand participants. The number of applicants for LPTKs through the National Selection of State University (SNMPTN) also increased sharply in 2013. It even reached 300% higher than the preceding year. This figure was the highest record in the history of LPTKs. This data did not include yet those who enrolled at private LPTKs which could be two to three times more than state LPTKs.

The growing interest of the younger generation of Indonesia to study at LPTK is certainly a good signal that the government's campaign to restore teaching as a respectable profession is significantly achieved. This certainly could be an entry point to improve the quality of teacher education. When there are more and more candidates, the competition to join with LPTKs will be harder. This competition then allows LPTKs (especially the state ones) to have better prospective teachers in terms of their academic quality. In the long term, good quality of teacher candidates is highly strategic in our efforts to advance the quality of national education through the provision of qualified teachers.

However, this recent booming could also be a dangerous 'ticking time bomb' if the government did not immediately impose a strict regulation and take control on the selection process as well as on the quality of a learning process in LPTKs. Of the main challenges are related to the ratio of the number of student teachers with our need for teachers in ten or fifteen years to come; and the quality of the learning process in LPTK itself.

According to data from Kemdikbud, currently there are at least 429 LPTKs with 1.440.770 students. It is estimated that each year there will be a minimum of 300,000 new undergraduates with Bachelor degree in education. In fact, we would need a new teacher only about 40,000 people per year. This means that every year there will be an excess supply of teachers as many as 260,000 people. Think of five or ten years to come, how many excess we are going to have. This figure is certainly potential to add to our unemployment rate as well as social problems.

Another serious challenge is how to monitor the quality of the educational process in the LPTKs, especially in many private LPTKs which currently grows in large numbers. As explained by Muchlis Samani (2013), there is even a few LPTKs operating before obtaining license from the Ministry of Higher Education. Some of these LPTK tend to accept students in large numbers, exceeding their capacity for qualified lecturers and necessary facilities.

Such conditions can certainly result in a lower quality of graduates. Therefore, the government’s plan to create a National Standard of Teacher Education (SNPG) certainly is the right step. This standardization is expected to minimize some potential problems as I mentioned above. The standardization is further expected to be not only as a reference for all LPTKs to play their roles as institutions for “teachers production’; but also as a selection to determine which LPTK deserves to be keept operating.

To be more specific, there are at least two issues that need to be clearly defined in this SNPG. First, the government must be firmed in setting up quota limits for the number of students to be accepted in each LPTK considering their available resources and capacity. The quota limit also needs to be applied in to student teachers for Professional Teacher Education program (PPG), which is already underway.

Furthermore, the government must make strict criteria in the selection process of prospective students. The criteria should enable the LPTKs to have students from the best high school graduates. In this context, we can have a look at how some developed countries, such as Finland, South Korea, and Singapore select their student teachers. These three countries consistently apply a very strict system in their student selection process in which they apply a merit based selection system. They only recruit students from highest-achieving (high) school graduates. So, they only accept student teachers with brilliant academic achievement.

In the Indonesian context, the strict criterion is not new. Since the era of independence until 1960s, the government used to apply strict criteria for accepting prospective students to be educated in teacher training institutions. To be accepted in the SGB (School Teacher B) and SGA (School of Higher Teachers), for example, candidates must be the best graduates from the School of the People (Sekolah Rakyat). The same pattern also applied when the government made a new institution, the School of Teacher Education (SPG), which also accepted students with the best academic background. I think there is no harm if the government re-adopts this strict recruitment system for todays teacher education.

In regard to the quality of learning process in LPTK, although article 9 of Regulation No.19/2005 on National Education Standards states that the each LPTK is given the freedom to develop their own curriculum system, I would argue that the national curriculum for teacher education which comprise  Content Standards and some basic competences is also important. Through this national curriculum the government enacts to make sure that every LPTK is on the right track in developing the four competencis as professional teacher mandated by laws; pedagogical competence, professional competence, personal competence and social competence. The dormitory system within teacher education and intensive training we used to have are also worth to be considered as an alternative model of the learning process for our teacher candidates.

* The writer teaches at the Faculty of Teachers Training and Education of Riau University, currently pursuing his doctoral degree in the Faculty of Education, Monash University Australia.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lessons learned from the Sydney hostage taking

By. Afrianto Daud*

(This article was first published in The Jakarta Post, December 19, 2014)

The siege involving a number of people by an armed man at the Lindt Chocolate Café in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia on Monday has come into the spotlight of the world community.

The incident, which ended with the loss of three lives (including the perpetrator) and injured several hostages, received public attention worldwide not only because it happened during the day in the heart of a big city like Sydney, but also because it was committed by a Muslim man who unfurled a banner with a tawhid (Islamic belief in one God) sentence — La Ilaha illal Allah Muhammad Rasululllah — on it.

The banner with the Islamic symbol, which was displayed through the café’s window, easily provoked speculation that the culprit was representing an Islamic militant group. In fact, when the New South Wales state police were trying to free the hostages at noon, some online media had already mentioned that the gunman was linked to a group of Australian Muslims who supported the Islamic State (IS) movement.

This speculation is understandable as the stigma of Islam as a religion that condones violence is quite effectively formed in the minds of many people in the Western world.

In addition to the 9/11 terror attacks, a series of bombings have occurred in several parts of the world with Muslims behind them, including two occurrences of bombings in Bali and three times in Jakarta.

Not to mention that a stark picture of the warring factions in the Middle East, including acts of violence by IS, have confirmed the stigma in the minds of most citizens of the world.

For some people, this unwanted fact justifies the label of Islam as a “religion of violence” in which its adherents display barbaric behavior. Islam is perceived as having religious texts that produce and export militant terrorists (Edward Said, Covering Islam).

Such a stigma often subsequently evokes anti-Muslim sentiment in many places. Indeed, Islamophobia is a very subtle symptom felt especially in countries where Muslims are in the minority.

Apart from the Bali bombings, there are at least two cases that provoked the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia.

First, the bloody unrest triggered by a group of Muslim protesters against the film Innocence of Muslims in Sydney in September 2012; and second, the news of potential violence against civilians by IS that was extensively spread by the Australian media.

Reports of individual Australian Muslims who left the country to join IS and most recently the hostage incident have exacerbated the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

However, the Sydney incident has also taught us some lessons. The most interesting lesson is how civilians in Australia were united by the #illridewithyou hashtag, which is the most beautiful hashtag I have ever seen. The hashtag went viral throughout the world and became a trending topic on Twitter a few hours after the hostages were taken.

The concern shared by Muslims in Australia that the incident would adversely impact their lives is reasonable. Some recent incidents indicate that Islamophobia exists. Islamic organizations in Australia reported at least 30 attacks on Muslims since the counterterrorism raids were launched in Sydney and Brisbane.

Vandalism targeting an Indonesian mosque in Brisbane, an attack on a Muslim lady aboard a train in Melbourne, vandalism at a mosque in Perth as well as an assault on a mother and her baby in Sydney are among examples indicating the symptoms of religion-based sentiments down under.

One important message behind the #illridewithyou hashtag is that those who love peace and mutual respect are far greater in number than those lunatics who — for whatever reason — act against common sense.

Extremism and crimes can be committed by anyone and for any reason. On the basis of human values, we have a responsibility to fight against it. This is the message that has been perfectly shown by Australians in dealing with the hostage crisis.

The hashtag also reflects typical Australian culture that respects pluralism. Australia in general is the prototype of a country where people can live together in diversity. It is a country with a huge number of immigrants.

According to the 2006 census, there are at least five million Australian immigrants, or 24 percent of the population, with different cultural and religious backgrounds. Approximately 450,000 of them are Muslims from various countries, including Indonesia.

The hashtag can also be understood as a genuine display of solidarity by the majority with the minority. It circulated on social media in a natural way.

I noticed that the movement did not only happen in the virtual world, but also in the real world when a group of Australians shared #illridewithyou pins with Muslim passengers at Flinders Street train station in Melbourne two days after the siege ended.

The second lesson was about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s political wisdom. It was interesting to notice how he addressed the hostage-taking.

In a press conference a few hours after the incident, interestingly Abbott avoided the use of sensitive words, like “Muslim”, “terrorists”, “jihadist”, or “IS”. He referred to the siege as “a very disturbing incident” perpetrated by “an armed person claiming political motivation”.

 Abbott’s statement indicated his carefulness in describing what was happening. He was aware that his choice of words would be a reference point and would be quoted internationally. The impact of any inappropriate words could be extensive and serious. Abbott showed maturity as a political leader in a multicultural country like Australia.

Abbott’s wise attitude could be a result of intensive communication between his government and various Muslim groups in Australia recently in connection with the handling of terrorism.

Clear statements and condemnation by Muslim groups, such as by Imam Ibrahim Abu Mohamed shortly after the hostage-taking, and the huge sympathy of Australian Muslims to the victims may have also contributed to Abbott’s gentle attitude.

Although some Australian media from businessman Rupert Murdoch’s networks — such as The Sun and The Daily Telegraph — keep trying to frame the tragedy as inseparable from the hard-liners of Islamic groups, overall it could be said that the clear stance of Abbott’s government has significantly contributed to the conducive situation in the aftermath of the Sydney siege.

I think other world leaders need to learn from Abbott on how to address such a sensitive issue like the Sydney siege. Prudence and extra caution are the key words.

A wonderful cooperation and solidarity among citizens in fighting the crime and the state’s maturity in dealing with difficult situations like the Sydney incident are good examples of responses to acts of violence. At this point, violence in any form can be addressed and solved properly.
The writer, a scholar at Monash University, Australia, is a member of the board of the Indonesian Muslim Community of Victoria (IMCV).

‘Mengadili’ Kabinet Kerja Jokowi

Oleh: Afrianto Daud

(Artikel ini diterbitkan oleh harian Padang Ekspress, 29 Oktober 2014)

Satu pekan setelah dilantik, Jokowi-JK hari Ahad (26/10/2014) akhirnya dengan resmi mengumumkan susunan kabinetnya di depan istana negara. Pengumuman ini memang sudah ditunggu-tunggu oleh banyak pihak, baik dalam dan luar negeri. Besarnya animo masyarakat yang menanti pengumuman skuad pembantu presiden ini adalah wajar, mengingat besarnya harapan sebagian masyarakat terhadap janji perubahan yang ditawarkan Jokowi-JK pada musim pilpres yang lalu. Komposisi menteri tentu bisa menjadi indikasi paling awal untuk melihat seberapa besar kemungkinan harapan perubahan revolusioner yang dijanjikan Jokowi itu menjadi kenyataan.

Dipilihnya istana negara sebagai lokasi pengumuman susunan kabinet adalah tentu keputusan yang baik, setelah sebelumnya terjadi polemik tentang pilihan lokasi yang tidak biasa – pelabuhan priok; yang kemudian akhirnya dibatalkan. Selain tidak harus mengeluarkan biaya yang tak perlu, bagaimanapun istana presiden adalah simbol penting institusi negara. Karenanya, akan lebih tepat memang jika pengumuman itu sendiri dilakukan di istana presiden, sebagaimana tradisi baik yang telah dilakukan semua presiden sebelumnya.

Pemberian nama kabinet sebagai Kabinet Kerja oleh Jokowi-JK mengindikasikan semangat pemerintahan baru ini untuk tancap gas langsung bekerja segera setelah dilantik. Semangat kerja ini salah satunya juga bisa dilihat dari the language of attire (bahasa pakaian) presiden dan pembantunya yang cenderung sederhana dan kasual – kemeja putih lengan panjang dengan lengan dilipat. Ini tentu cara berpakaian para menteri yang keluar dari tradisi pejabat kebanyakan yang biasanya menggunakan jas rapi. Dari pilihan cara berpakaian ini, Jokowi-JK ingin menyampaikan pesan penting kepada khalayak bahwa pemerintahan terpilih sudah siap bekerja melayani masyarakat sejak malam pengumuman itu.

Suasana informal yang diciptakan Jokowi saat pengumuman adalah juga menarik untuk diperhatikan. Beberapa kali dia menyelipkan joke saat memperkenalkan menterinya. Beberapa menteri dia suruh bergegas berlari ke dalam barisan, tapi pada saat yang sama sang presiden melarang menteri lain untuk berlari. Jokowi juga tidak memberikan instruksi yang sama kepada beberapa menteri yang lain, sehinga mereka bebas berkespresi. Mau berlari tergopoh ke barisan, atau memilih jalan santai, seperti yang dilakukan Puan Maharani J. Mungkin ini tidak terlalu penting untuk dibahas. Tapi, tetap menarik diperhatikan jika ingin memahami suasana kebatinan pemilihan dan pengumuman menteri sebagai sebuah teks untuk ditafsir.

Kompromi Maksimal: Nihil Transaksional?
Memperhatikan jumlah kementerian dan deretan nama yang telah diumumkan, sepertinya ini adalah kompromi maksimal yang telah dilakukan Jokowi-JK terhadap berbagai kepentingan politik yang ada di sekitarnya. Secara umum, tidak ada yang terlalu luar biasa dari formula susunan kabinet kerja Jokowi ini. Kurang lebih jumlah dan komposisi kabinet sama dengan apa yang dilakukan SBY pada kabinet Indonesia Bersatunya yang mengakomodir berbagai kepentingan secara proporsional; partai pendukung, kalangan professional (yang belum tentu) murni, keterwakilan perempuan, Indonesia barat dan timur, termasuk keterwakilan agama. Oleh karena itu, sebagian kalangan menyebut bahwa susunan kabinet ini tidak begitu sesuai ekpektasi publik yang besar kepada Jokowi-JK yang pada saat kampanye berjanji akan membikin kabinet yang ramping dengan mentiadakan politik transaksional.

Meminjam istilah koran berbahasa Inggris The Jakarta Post, kabinet Jokowi kurang memiliki ‘wow factor’ (Jakarta Post, 27/10/2014). Degan kata lain, TJP menilai ini adalah kabinet ‘biasa saja’. Pengamat politik sekaligus Direktur Lingkar Madani, Ray Rangkuti, bahkan memberi nilai enam dari skala sepuluh untuk komposisi kabinet ini. Ini karena komposisi kabinet ini muncul dalam bentuk wajah dan formula politiknya yang asli. Bahwa politik adalah bagi-bagi kekuasaan, bagi-bagi kursi menteri; siapa mendapatkan apa. Anda berinvestasi dan ‘saya bayar’ dengan imbalan kursi.

Dari catatan Kompas, sedikitnya ada 15 orang menteri dari politisi partai pendukung Jokowi-JK pada piplres yang lalu. Yang paling banyak tentu adalah PDIP, diikuti PKB, Nasdem, dan Hanura. Bahkan, parpol yang masuk belakangan, setelah ‘membelot’ dari Koalisi Merah Putih, PPP pun dapat satu jatah menteri. Dipertahankannya Lukman Hakim di Kementerian Agama bisa dipahami sebagai ‘balas jasa politik’ kepada PPP yang telah berdiri bersama KIH pada pemilihan pimpinan DPR dan MPR terakhir.

Ini tentu belum dihitung mereka yang menyebut diri mereka sebagai kalangan professional, namun juga berpolitik dengan cara mereka. Saya lebih cenderung menyebut mereka sebagai kelompok ‘professional (setengah) murni’. Mereka memang tidak merepresentasikan parpol secara resmi. Namun, aktif terlibat sebagai tim sukses yang membantu Jokowi-JK saat pilpres lalu. Nama-nama menteri seperti Anis Baswedan, Andrianof Chaniago, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Ryamizard Ryacudu adalah deretan nama dalam tim sukses Jokowi-JK. Bahkan termasuk Prof. Pratikno yang dikenal sebagai orang dekat Jokowi selama kampanye Pemilu Presiden 2014.

Saya tidak punya akses informasi mendalam terhadap beberapa menteri yang disebut dari kalangan professional murni itu. Namun, dalam politik tidak ada yang benar-benar gratis. Sangat mungkin, mayoritas mereka yang ditunjuk di jajaran kabinet kerja adalah mereka yang sudah berjasa dengan cara mereka di pilpres yang lalu, termasuk dengan cara menjadi donator kampanye. Lihatlah kembali misalnya berita dengan pesawat apa Jokowi kampanye pada 3 April 2014 yang lalu. Kini sang pemilik pesawat telah ditunjuk menjadi salah seorang menteri.

Menghilangnya nama Prof. Saldi Isra dari susunan kabinet dan kemudian digantikan politisi PDIP pada posisi MenkumHam adalah juga indikasi kuat bahwa apa yang diperoleh sesuai dengan besar investasi politik yang diberikan. Prof. Saldi barangkali dianggap tidak memiliki saham politik yang cukup, walaupun banyak orang yang mengakui kepakaran dan integritasnya.

Secara umum, bisa dikatakan bahwa PDIP sebagai partai dengan investasi politik paling besar mendapatkan ‘kue pemerintahan’ terbesar dalam kabinet. Lihatlah posisi Puan Maharani yang ditempatkan sebagai Menteri Koordinator Pembangunan Manusia dan Kebudayaan. Dengan demikian Puan akan mengelola APBN dan portfolio yang sangat besar di sektor kesehatan, pendidikan, dan kesejahteraan sosial. Mengutip The Jakarta Globe, portfolio ini telalu besar untuk ukuran Puan. “The shoe is too big for her”, demikian tulis editorial the Jakarta Globe hari ini (27/10/2014)

Dengan demikian, koalisi tanpa syarat seperti yang dijanjikan Jokowi-JK saat pilpres yang lalu (perhatikan satu capture berita kampanye di bawah) nyaris terbantahkan oleh susunan kabinet ini (untuk tidak menyebut sebagai omong kosong). Wajar memang. Karena politik memang sering begitu. Yang tidak etis adalah menjadikan isu koalisi tanpa syarat ini hanya sekadar janji manis pemilu. Atau digunakan sebagai isu untuk menyerang Prabowo dan tim suksesnya pada pilpres dulu. Sakitnya itu di mana ya?

Beberapa Terobosan
Meskipun mendapat kritikan tajam terhadap postur kabinet yang akomodatif dan transaksional, adalah juga menarik menyaksikan beberapa terobosan yang dilakukan Jokowi-JK. Dipisahnya Kementerian Pendidikan Dasar dan Menengah dan Pendidikan Tinggi adalah terobosan yang baik, mengingat kompleksnya muatan dan masalah pendidikan yang harus diselesaikan di kementerian ini. Dijadikannya kelautan sebagai salah satu fokus kerja kabinet juga adalah tradisi baik yang telah dilakukan SBY dan memang mesti diteruskan, karena sektor maritim adalah kekayaan Indonesia yang belum tergarap secara maksimal. Ditunjuknya kaum wanita Indonesia dalam jumlah signifikan menjadi menteri, bahkan sekelas menteri luar negeri adalah juga keberanian dan terobosan Jokowi-JK yang patut diapresiasi.

Kita tentu belum bisa menilai kinerja pada menteri ini. Terlalu pagi untuk bicara tentang apa dan bagaimana program yang akan mereka jalankan. Akan lebih bijak jika kita memberi waktu kepada kabinet ini untuk bekerja maksimal melayani rakyat. Pada saat yang sama, rakyat tentu berhak berbicara dan menilai performa pemerintah, melalui kinerja para menteri ini.

Tantangan kabinet Jokowi-JK ke depan tentu tidaklah mudah. Pertumbuhan ekonomi yang relatif baik (di atas 5 persen) sebagai prestasi yang ditingalkan pemerintahan SBY adalah tantangan tersendiri bagi pemerintahan Jokowi-JK untuk berbuat lebih baik. Kita belum lagi bicara dari tantangan dinamika politik, mengingat parlemen dikuasai oleh kelompok oposisi.
Di luar parlemen, adalah fakta politik bahwa lebih dari 60 juta orang Indonesia tidaklah memilih Jokowi-Kalla. Ini tentu adalah angka yang tak bisa dianggap sebelah mata. Mereka yang juga rakyat ini bisa sangat kritis dan bisa bergerak kemana mereka mau setiap waktu. 

Terjadinya hujan kritik pada tampilan pribadi menteri baru yang merokok di depan publik adalah bukti bahwa mereka yang berpotensi resisten dengan pemerintah tidaklah sedikit.
Kita berharap pemerintahan Jokowi bisa perform dan mampu melakukan perubahan yang lebih baik secara signifikan. Semoga kabinet ini bisa bekerja dengan standar terukur, dan bisa bekerja sama; bukan yang penting kerja atau hanya sama-sama bekerja. Saya sendiri akan tetap berusaha adil dengan pemerintahan baru ini. Saya akan apresiasi jika Anda bekerja sepenuh hati dan berprestasi. Namun, saya akan tetap kritis dan bersuara keras jika pemerintahan mandul dan (kembali) ingkar janji.

Selamat bekerja para pelayan rakyat!