In less than three weeks, 7 million people in the capital will have the chance to exercise their voting rights in the runoff of one of the fiercest gubernatorial elections in the city’s history. While recent elections in the capital have been largely free of conflicts, this time a large mass movement called Tamasya AlMaidah (Al-Maidah Tour) has cast lingering fear among voters, especially with hard-line group Islam Defenders Front (FPI) expected to join the movement. Named after a verse in the Quran that is often used by conservative Muslim political groups to urge Muslims to vote for political candidates of the same faith as themselves, the movement aims to deploy at least 100 volunteers to supervise 1,000 polling stations that they consider prone to foul play on election day on April 19. Al-Maidah Tour initiator Farid Poniman claimed that more than 100,000 people had joined the movement and others would follow suit.
When The Jakarta Post checked the apps on Sunday evening, more than 5,000 people had downloaded Al-Maidah Tour from Google Play Store. Farid said such a large number of supervisors was needed because he was certain that the potential for fraud on election day was great.
Furthermore, the movement aimed to attract at least 1 million people who could monitor all 13,032 polling stations in the capital. “Besides trained volunteers, we will also deploy our top members at each polling station,” Farid said.
Al-Maidah Tour also asked its volunteers to wear white attire for men and full black attire for women and recite Quranic verses and Takbir (praise to Allah) at their assigned polling stations.