Playing to his strengths, former academic Anies Baswedan woos the youth vote as he


EAGER TO BURNISH ISLAMIC CREDENTIALS 

Mr Anies’ formal and academic manner was also noticeable when meeting about a thousand volunteers at a local auditorium in Bengkulu in the afternoon.

Upon his arrival, a throng of middle-aged women stormed into the hall, wanting to take selfies with Mr Anies or shake his hands.

They hysterically squeezed themselves in, almost stepping on this reporter who was following Mr Anies and was right behind him.

Standing on a podium at the auditorium’s centre, Mr Anies said he was glad to be back in Bengkulu.

The grandson of Abdurrahman Baswedan –  a national hero of Arab descent who fought for Indonesia’s independence – Mr Anies highlighted his Islamic credentials by saying that he was grateful to return to Bengkulu and to be able to perform ablution with Bengkulu water again.

He repeated the same line a few days later when campaigning in a different town. 

“I ask you all, why are we gathered here today?

“Why? Why? What for? What for? What for? For change! Change! Change!” he said to the crowd passionately.

“Remember, we are gathered here today because we want change,” Mr Anies told the audience – many of whom wore attributes from the Islamic coalition parties like the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and PKB, which support him.

“We want justice in Indonesia and a prosperous Indonesia for all.”

He added that the people should vote for him because life in Indonesia is now difficult.

Before heading to his next stop, Mr Anies asked his volunteers to pray together, ending it with a scream of “Amin”, which apart from meaning Amen, is actually also an abbreviation for Anies and Muhaimin.

Amin is their campaigning name, catchy to a lot of Indonesians.

Mr Anies’ last stop in Bengkulu in the second week of Indonesia’s 75-day presidential campaign was at a local beach to meet fishermen.

Right when he arrived, it started to drizzle.

Despite the rain, hundreds of fishermen gathered at the beach to see Mr Anies.

They enthusiastically welcomed him and gave him a traditional conical hat made of bamboo to protect him from the pouring rain.

Mr Anies took the opportunity to assert his support for the fishermen by ensuring the availability of affordable diesel fuel for them to go fishing should he be elected as Indonesia’s eighth president. 

An ice-cream seller at the beach, Mr Zainal Sapiin, was thrilled to see Mr Anies.

The 55-year-old man said that he would vote for Mr Anies. 

“Because to me, what is important is that he is (a) Muslim and (is) pious,” he told CNA.

“Many of our people in Bengkulu like Anies. Congregants at the mosque say Anies is good.”



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