Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Banten gubernatorial race

Hold your breath for the Jakarta gubernatorial race which is a year away. Let's talk about the breathtaking race in the newly established Banten province at the western tip of Java island only weeks away. Who are the candidates?

Three pairs to contest:
First, Rt Atut Chosiyah (Golkar) endorsed by PDI-P as governor candidate. She won the PDI-P Banten chapter convention, beating PDI-P's own cadre and popular artist Mrs Marissa Haque (PDI-P legislator). Mrs Atut also won Golkar Party's convention in Banten to make her the front runner in the election.
Second, Dr Zulkieflimansyah (legislator from PKS). His running mate is Mrs Marissa Haque (PDI-P).
Third, Tubagus Iman Aryadi (Golkar executive), endorsed by president SBY's Partai Demokrat.
The election is worth attention as Banten is the stronghold of Golkar party which won the 2004 election with 16 seats at the local legislative (DPRD), followed by PDI-P (12), PKS (11), Partai Demokrat (8), and PPP (8).
Banten is the home of many multinational investments. Cilegon regency is the largest center of chemical industry in Indonesia. Mitsubishi Chemical, for example, operates the largest purified therepthalic acid (PTA) plants of South East Asia in Cilegon regency. Chandra Asri (olefin center), Titan's PENI (polyethylene), Tri Polyta (polypropylene), Asahi Chemical's EDC to PVC plants, Cabot's carbon black, Amoco Mitsui's PTA plant, Polyprima's PTA plant, Polychem's glycol, Bayer MaterialScience, etc. Cilegon is also the steel-related industry center with the largest steel manufacturer PT Krakatau Steel and Australia's BHP Steel facilities there.
The much-talked-about Bojonegara port is also there with efforts to make it a special economic zone (SEZ). The Merak port is main access linking Java and Sumatra islands.
Banten raised public's attention on social issues when Tangerang, Banten's most populous municipality, under the spotlight after the issuance of a controversial bylaw to eradicate prostitution in 2005. Bylaw No. 8/2005 bans people in public places, places visible from the street or in red-light districts, from persuading or coercing, either through words or gestures, others into acts of prostitution.
The municipality's council also promulgated bylaw No. 7/2005 which bans the distribution and the sale of alcoholic drinks, except in three to five-star hotels and licensed restaurants for on-the-spot consumption.
There's so much at stakes, but I have no clues in which directions these governor candidates would take the province to. Anybody?

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