Anies Baswedan sworn in as new Jakarta governor

Academic and former education minister Anies Baswedan (L) shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Presidential palace after his inauguration in Jakarta on Monday, nearly six months after decisively beating the capital's incumbent governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2017
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Anies Baswedan sworn in as new Jakarta governor

JAKARTA: Former Education Minister Anies Baswedan and businessman-turned-politician Sandiaga Uno were sworn in Monday as the new governor and deputy governor of Jakarta at a ceremony held by President Joko Widodo at the State Palace.
Baswedan and Uno will lead the capital of Southeast Asia’s largest economy and manage an annual city budget of roughly 70 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($5.192 billion) for the next five years.
The pair won a 57.96 percent mandate out of a total of 5,591,353 votes, defeating then-incumbent governor Basuki TjaHajja Purnama and his deputy Djarot Saiful Hidayat who gained 42.04 percent of the votes.
“The governor of Jakarta is a governor for all, for those who voted (for me) and those who didn’t vote,” Baswedan told journalists after the ceremony which was broadcast live on national television.
Hidayat later became governor following Purnama’s blasphemy conviction in May. The two-year prison sentence came after Purnama, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, was accused of insulting the Qur’an.
Purnama’s statement triggered a string of mass rallies, involving protesters from other cities calling for his prosecution and a rising wave of refusal to have a non-Muslim leader for a population of some 12 million in the Indonesian capital.
The election turned out to be very polarizing and by far the most religiously charged in Indonesia, pitting a Muslim candidate against a double minority incumbent.
Purnama was deputy for Widodo when the latter was elected governor in 2012 and he inherited the gubernatorial post from Widodo who was elected president in 2014.
“We can’t wait to get to work right away. We have been waiting for six months. Insha Allah, Jakarta will be better,” Baswedan said in his first official speech as governor after a handover ceremony at the city hall during which his predecessor Hidayat was away on holiday in Labuan Bajon in eastern Indonesia.
Both men will have to work hard to meet their 23 campaign promises which include zero down payment for housing schemes and entrepreneurial programs to create 200,000 new jobs.
Yayat Supriyatna, an urban planning expert from Trisakti University in Jakarta, said other pressing challenges for the new leaders were classic Jakarta problems — eviction, traffic gridlock and floods. These problems continue to tarnish Jakarta’s reputation as the diplomatic capital of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with more foreign embassies establishing separate diplomatic missions to the regional bloc.
“We have various masterplans to address those problems; what remains to be seen is their execution,” Supriyatna told Arab News.
Both Baswedan and Uno are known as moderate Muslims.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 25 sec ago
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”