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State Apparatus Must Maintain Neutrality During Elections

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By: Devi Putri Anjani )*

Elections are a five-year event to determine the next leadership. Therefore, neutrality is needed from all election organizers and state apparatus so that the leadership succession can run smoothly.

In every General Election (Pemilu), the biggest challenge is always related to the neutrality of the State Civil Apparatus (ASN). Minister for Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), Abdullah Azwar Anas, believes that the increase in the number of non-neutral ASNs in the 2024 elections is not a surprise. This year’s simultaneous elections, which also coincide with the presidential election, have triggered an increase in political events that require greater vigilance.

Responding to this situation, Abdullah Azwar Anas invited the public to actively play a role in maintaining the neutrality of the State Civil Apparatus (ASN). In a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (11/1/2024), Anas emphasized the need for serious attention to this problem. Anas suggested that the public report findings related to neutrality violations to the State Civil Apparatus Commission (KASN).

Previously, KASN had issued a prediction that violations of ASN neutrality in the 2024 elections were expected to reach 10 thousand cases. This figure refers to a significant increase from the 2020 simultaneous regional elections which recorded more than 2,000 cases of violations in 270 regions. With the 2024 elections covering 548 regions, the challenge of monitoring neutrality is increasingly complex.

Realizing the importance of ASN neutrality, the Bangka Belitung Islands Provincial Government has taken firm steps. This effort was carried out as a commitment to maintain and make the 2024 elections honest, fair and peaceful. The State Civil Apparatus (ASN) Pledge of Neutrality was an important moment as a manifestation of the provincial government’s seriousness.

Along with the pledge ceremony, the provincial government issued a Circular Letter from the Governor of Babel as an instrument for implementing neutrality for ASN and contract employees within the provincial government. This initiative is a follow-up to the Letter from the Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia which emphasizes the importance of ASN neutrality in the 2024 Election

. Joint Decree of the Minister for Civil Service Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Head of the State Civil Service Agency, the Chair of the State Civil Apparatus Commission, and the Chair of the Supervisory Agency General elections are a pillar that strengthens the rules of neutrality.

In its provisions, all ASN employees are required to maintain neutrality in dealing with political situations and not be influenced by other parties to carry out partisan activities.

The neutrality of ASN must not be hampered by loyalty, allegiance, debt of gratitude, or power ambitions of a particular person or candidate. In the context of elections, practices that violate neutrality can emerge without realizing it or intentionally, especially through mass media and social media which have now become a significant political field.

The importance of socialization in preventing violations of ASN neutrality cannot be underestimated. This effort must be carried out massively by relevant regional apparatus and government agencies. All ASN and contract workers in the Bangka Belitung Islands Provincial Government need to understand and internalize the importance of neutrality in the context of holding elections.

The Circular of the Governor of Babylon regulates concrete steps if there are indications or suspected violations. In this case, reports can be submitted via the official provincial government website. The Joint Ministerial Decree mandates that civil service development officials must follow up on any alleged neutrality violations, whether based on recommendations from KASN or from other parties.

In line with the spirit of maintaining neutrality, Gorontalo State University (UNG) together with the General Election Commission (KPU) and the Gorontalo Province General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) are collaborating. This collaboration is seen as an implementation of the Tri Dharma principles of higher education which strengthens education, research and community service.

Eduart Wolok, Chancellor of Gorontalo State University (UNG), emphasized the importance of the key role of universities in educating students about participation in a democratic system. Wolok emphasized his commitment to continue improving the quality of democracy, by ensuring that higher education institutions remain independent, neutral, and always prioritize scientific studies in education.

Chairman of the Gorontalo Province KPU, Fadliyanto Koem, appreciated UNG’s contribution in supporting the implementation of the 2024 Election. This is a collaborative step which is expected to provide positive encouragement for the entire academic community. This collaboration is also a means of providing students with an understanding of the limitations and actions that ASN and PNS should not take in carrying out elections.

Chairman of the Gorontalo Province Bawaslu, Idris Usuli, expressed his hope that this collaboration could be a breath of fresh air for the entire academic community. Through this collaboration, it is hoped that outreach and other activities can provide the academic community with a better understanding of the rules and prohibitions that apply to ASN and PNS in the election context.

The 2024 elections bring major challenges in maintaining ASN neutrality, especially with the increasing number of simultaneous elections and the intensification of political events. High commitment from the government, institutions and educational institutions is the key to facing this challenge. Massive socialization, strict implementation of regulations, and cross-sector cooperation are strategies that cannot be ignored.

It is important for every element of society, from the government to educational institutions and the general public, to unite in maintaining the integrity and neutrality of ASN. The neutrality of ASN is not only the government’s responsibility, but also a collective responsibility to realize quality, fair and democratic elections.

Through awareness of the neutrality of ASN, we can realize high quality elections that reflect the will of the people. Let’s unite, report violations if we find them, and together we will strengthen the foundations of Indonesian democracy. Clean elections are the right and honor of all of us.

)* The author is a Media Ambassador Contributor

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