In recent years, Indonesia’s political stage is far from quite, corruption rages on in the parliament, political scandals, and leadership disputes inside local parties, medias have been covering about this non-stop. For young generations, so exposed to social medias and news, it’s a worrying sign, it made a perception, that politicians are not to be trusted, and local parties are the symbol of that.
Those perceptions are by no means unproven, according to Indonesian Corruption Watch, from 2005-2015 KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) has apprehended 82 members of local parties, most of which are parliamentary members.
Both local parties and parliamentary members has been dubbed the most untrusting political body in Indonesia, according to SMRC, a think-tank. Perceptions seemed to cloud the minds of our generations so that they are better off working at a cubicle rather than doing politics.
Indonesia, a country where younger generation is a majority, need to make amends to this situation. Rather than creating a pessimistic culture towards politics, it needs to create an opportunistic one.
With the recent corruption crackdowns orchestrated by KPK and other justice institutions, it is an opportunity for younger generations to finally have a say in Indonesia’s political stage. The corrupt governing officials are being caught, parliamentary seats are opening up for youngsters craving change.
The political wind is beginning to change also, favoring the young ones. The Indonesian Solidarity Party (ISP), the only new party that went through the selection of legal entities by the ministry of justice and human rights after 2014 presidential elections is expecting change in Indonesia’s political landscape.
It claims to fill the party with youths, most of its party members are only 20-30 years old, championing virtue and diversity. This party represents a symbol of the younger generations that is tired and worn out by the current political situation in the country.
The recent political movement in France, the rise of En Marche! a centre-left party run by the newly-elected president of France, Emmanuel Macron (39) is the perfect example of a successful youth political movement.
During the 2017 presidential election, their party embraced diversity and younger educated voters, served as a platform for youths that is tired by the old established parties that has dominated the country’s political landscape (Parti socialiste and Les Républicains). In result, the party won 66 percent of the vote and have a majority seat in the parliament. Indonesians must take note and follow suit, for its upcoming 2019 presidential election, expecting to have this core of young voters dominating the election.
Those changes, means nothing if Indonesia’s youngsters could not change the way they think. One of the first step on changing the perception of politics is to get them to care first, the government needs to get involve. The minimum voter’s age is 17 years old, it is around high school or college in Indonesia’s average educational age, frankly, at this time of age, the young voters are not informed enough on the country’s political stage, this lack of information occurred because they have simply become ignorant on politics, this is a worrying sign.
The government needs to apply some basic political exercises on Indonesia’s educational system, it is on the time of 15-17 years old (High School) where they need to engage on more mature political discussions and argument, to find their political voice, this can be done by, for example, essays or on-class discussions about recent world or national events.
Hopefully by this way, they are “forced” to care on the importance of politics. This basic understanding of politics will ignite arguments, critical thinking, and ideas among Indonesia’s young generations across the archipelago, and among other things, create a willingness for them to join and make a change on Indonesia’s political scene.
For all the times that democracy ever existed, young generation formed the backbone of the system. They represent fresh ideas, hopefully representing the will of the people.
Indonesia’s youth generation (15-54), representing the biggest percentage of the population, is a big opportunity for the country to revolutionized the political scene into a more modern, tolerant and subsequently less-corrupted one. This needs some extra effort from the government and the youths themselves, time for Indonesia to make way for the new.