Category : Cover Story, GlobeAsia Lists, WHO'S WHO
Grace Natalie’s new Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) has been dubbed the party by and for millennials because of the youth of its members and the innovative ways they are approaching the world of politics. By Gilang Al Farisi
Already a seasoned player in the media business and a successful consultant, Grace Natalie has recently added aspiring politician and party leader to her resumé.
The graduate of the Indonesia Institute of Business and Information (IBII) school of accounting has come a long way since SCTV scouted her during a school event. The current political situation and what she sees as a shift in public sentiment and expectations of government has inspired Grace to make the jump to the world of politics.
Her new Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) has been dubbed the party by and for millennials because of the youth of its members and the innovative ways they are approaching the world of politics. Grace aims to involve the younger generation of Indonesians in order to change the way people view politics, and also how politics is conducted right up to the national government.
“We started to campaign and recruit people from social media not only to receive their applications, but also to get their feedback on the new party.”
Her initial inspiration to venture into the world of politics came when President Joko Widodo was elected to office. “I was inspired by how a person with virtually no political connections was able to be elected to the nation’s number one position” she told GlobeAsia. “What made me more certain about jumping into politics was how he involved the people of the nation in achieving his goals of rebuilding the country.”
Observing how the president works, she was impressed by what he has achieved and the transparent manner in which he governs the nation. By making transparency in government her goal, she began recruiting people via social media, as Indonesians are now digitally literate and active in the online world.
“We started to campaign and recruit people from social media not only to receive their applications, but also to get their feedback on the new party” she explained. “We do not yet have any assets in recruiting people or campaigning in a traditional setting, putting up banners, touring the nation or giving public speeches, so we use the digital space to do that.”
She believes that using social media has enabled the party to get in touch with the people most qualified to hold government positions and help the party to develop in line with the ideals of its citizens.
This will serve as capital to compete with other, far better funded political machines. “With the efficiency of the people in using the digital space and gadgets we are inclined to use it to push for transparency in government. We are in the process of developing an application to seek opinions, criticism and ideas from the people to the representatives of our party to better improve their efficiency in representing the people.”
PSI, she made clear, is not a vehicle for people to get jobs in government. “In order to better represent the public we need individuals who are the best in their respective fields – activists, journalists, professors - all those people who had careers prior to becoming eligible for a representative position.
Should the people who are elected treat the post as another job, we feel that their interests will be in conflict with their obligation to the public,” said Grace. The political party has no assets but uses the business concepts of Airbnb and Go-Jek, seeking funds for party activities by crowd-funding. “I am glad to see that people in general have put their trust in our party to further build the infrastructure of our country and refresh the way we do politics. That’s why I, along with other representatives from PSI, felt confident to present our eligibility to run in the 2019 election for positions in the House of Representatives.”
At the least, the ideas it presents and the transparency she says the PSI is demanding of the national government promise to create changes in the way Indonesian politics has been conducted up until now.