Our Article in Book Chapter

My department (Department of Governmental Studies) at the University of Brawijaya is very productive in term of writing a book, and articles in the journal. This year we have launched a book entitled Democratization, Decentralization and Local Dynamic in Contemporary Indonesia. We have published more than ten books. But, this is the first international book, in collaboration with the University of Wyoming The United States. There are ten book chapters, 7 from Indonesia writer and three from Wyoming. Happy to share my part in the book chapter. Actually the short version you can read from my post in The New Mandala. This is the long and full version. The research was conducted in 2016, and the printing process took almost than a year since 2017. I had written my part with my colleagues Mayuko Galuh Mahardika and Anggun Susilo, our part in chapter 5 entitled “Clientelism and Local Bureaucracy: A Case Study of Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency”

The book's cover

The book’s cover

The Book's Contents

The Book’s Contents

Clientilism and Local Bureaucracy: a Case Study of Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency

Mayuko Galuh Mahardika, Restu Karlina Rahayu, Anggun Susilo

 Within various studies, clientelism has always been perceived negatively and has become the main stumbling block in developing countries’ bureaucratic reformation, including Indonesia. Several people have attempted to eradicate, or at least to reduce the practices of clientelism. But instead of reducing, the practices of clientelism has been flourishing in Indonesia’s reformation agenda, recently. So far, Traditional definitions of clientelism have always been emphasized on the sector of rational behaviors between clients and their patron. Therefore, this study will explore, and to provide alternatives of descriptions as to why clientelism still exists and correlate positively to the improvement of public services.

 Benalu Reformasi Birokrasi

After the New Order government ended and Indonesia entered the Reformation era, the Indonesia’s bureaucracy also embarked on a new chapter. Throughout the Reformation era, Indonesia’s bureaucracy, especially within the level of local government, a new spirit in the refinement and the improvement of public services is forged. The improvement of public services, is also complemented with the enhancement of institutional capacity and employees’ technical competences. In many areas in Indonesia, these practices has been implemented widely, thus presenting a new hope for significant changes in the bureaucracy.

Apart from the achievement many local government has made, as mentioned previously, there are several things, if are left undone, can lead to demerits. One essential thing, among others that can ruin bureaucratic performance, is the existence of Clientelism phenomenon. In general, clientelism is the practices of preserving the relationship between patrons and clients which is also one of the traditional practices in the political system. It can also be defined as the reciprocal acts by patrons (rulers/elites) for the political supports given by the clients (constituents/supporters). These practices commonly occurs, especially during regional leader elections (Pilkada).

As a phenomenon that appears in the context of bureaucratic reformation in Indonesia, clientelism secures the main spotlight not only in academic debates, but also in public discussions. In many cases, clientelism is heavily criticized as it is basically nothing more than a practice of Corruption, Collusion, and Nepotism (KKN), which became a scourge in the New Order government. However, several facts also show that clientelism is a practice inherent to the culture of the local people. What’s even more interesting, is that many regional leaders in Indonesia (Regent and Mayors) rose up to their positions due to the immense strength that clientelism has. Clientelism that roots deeply are often linked to the improvement of public services and satisfaction. Facts prove that public services improve despite its strong clientelism factor. Based on this phenomenon, this study will attempt to investigate the extent of the relationship between clientelism practices and the improvement of public services within the level of local government.

This study intends to examine clientelism in differing contexts within two different regions, namely Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency. These regions have distinctively contrasting characteristics. Blitar Municipality is a city having a considerably smaller area than Malang Regency. It is known to be a Mataraman region that is not strictly religious, but somewhat a nationalist one. Meanwhile, Malang Regency is regarded as one of the largest regions in East Java with strong sectarianism politics. Malang Regency is one of the regions that still have Islamic boarding schools and mass bases from Nahdlatul Ulama group.

In 2015, both Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency organized a pesta demokrasi through direct regional leader elections. Both Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency declared the continuation of the incumbent for their second term. In Blitar Municipality, there were two candidates who were up against each other in the election for the regional leader, which were the couple Samanhudi Anwar-Santoso and the couple Muhsin-Dwi Sumardiyanto. Samanhudi Anwar-Santoso won the election hands down with a crushing percentage of 92,27%, defeating the couple Muhsin-Dwi. It was one of the highest electoral win scores ever recorded in Indonesia.

In Blitar Municipality, the mayor received a high level of legitimacy from the public, while Malang Regency experienced a decline in its legitimacy. According to the data by the Commission for General Election (KPU) at the election of regional leader for Malang Regency in 2015 based on C1 form data scan result, voter participation showed a percentage of 58,38%, which consisted of 570.809 male voters and 632.927 female voters, summing up to 1.203.736 in total. The Permanent Voter List (DPT) for Malang Regency stated that there were 2.075.729 voters. Result shows, the first political couple, Rendra Kresna-Sanusi who were the incumbent, came out as the winner with 605.817 votes. Then, in second place, the couple Dewanti Rumpoko-Masrifah Hadi received 521.928 votes. Lastly, the couple Nurcholis-Muhammad Mufidz only received 45.723 votes.

The two regions both presented victors from the incumbent, but with a different participation level. Samanhudi was counted on to be a pro-public mayor that implements programs and policies which cater the need of the poor thoroughly. As for Rendra Kresna, his performance didn’t seem as significant as Samanhudi’s. Therefore, based on this background, this study aims to compare the practices of clientelism in two different regions, to question the existence of clientelism in the two places, and to reveal the impact of clientelism to the people in each regions.

Identifying Clientelism

Literature reviews regarding clientelism has dominantly been about the discussion of general elections, both on national level and even more so, at the local level. Commonly, clientelism is defined as the reciprocal relationship between a patron with their client, by giving or other similar things, especially in the context of general elections. Clientelism, in short, can be found in the discussion concerning democracy. In the United States, clientelism is the practice of redistribution from a political party to its ideological supporters[1]. Even further about the issue of redistribution, Robinson and Verdier (2002) argued that redistribution can be inefficient, particularly when redistribution is intended to be some form of work given to the client as an exchange[2]. In addition to it, these two people stated that client’s political commitment towards their patron relies on the kind of work they are offered[3].

Moving to the context of Indonesia, decentralization and democracy didn’t necessarily eradicate the practices of clientelism. In fact, Joshua Barter (2002) indicated that a radical decentralization, which drastically reduced central jurisdiction, will result in the blossoming of clientelism practices if accompanied with weak controls at the local scale. What’s even more interesting from Barter is when he mentioned that the patron-client relationship in terms of clientelism, is not always exploitative[4]. Clientelism can be mutually strengthening and beneficial. In its practices, clientelism is not as simple as offering rewards to political supporters. The rewards given by the patron to their clients depends on two things, which are a) State’s financial resources which can be manipulated and b) obstacles in doing rent-seeking[5]. Even more so, the high intensity of rent-seeking is the result of the large amount of manipulable budget and little amount of obstacles in doing so[6].

There’s a good thing in perceiving clientelism and its correlation with political party funding. In regard to this, there are several cases which perfectly illustrates the point, such as the governance of Aburizal Bakrie and Yusuf Kalla with each of their own’s party. This is one of the characters of clientelism in Indonesia as expressed by Andres Ufen (2010). Under their very own governments is where clientelism survived. Even though the attempts to cut down clientelism had been extensively carried out through the continuous practices of economic and governance liberalization. Nonetheless, most people are in favor of clientelism because to them, this is their primary strategy to survive[7].

Clientelism, is a phenomenon that is widely happening in developing countries, especially those implementing democratic system. The process of direct general election became a political agenda reeked with practices of clientelism. Deasy Simandjuntak (2012) argued that “corrupt practices and electoral democracy could be two sides of the same coin, especially in societies where patron-clients relations are significant”. Corresponding to this, are ways to describe the emergence and the continuation of clientelism practices in developing countries, particularly in Indonesia. Majority of experts suggest that the political transitions in Indonesia were caused by factor of civil society powers and also the drive for economic growth. However, a different explanation reveals that the political transition in Indonesia:

“…was induced not by an assertive civil society, but by Suharto’s excessive centralization of patronage network, which had the effect of alienating an increasing proportion of political elites and widening the cleavages between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’[8].

Even more so, the patron-client relationship can be interpreted through the terminology ‘gifts and promises’ (Simandjuntak 2012). It is undeniable that this patron-client relationship is as if it is ‘institutionalized’ within political parties’ campaigning procession by offering political gimmicks and promises by parties involved in the general election.

Addressing the issue, Dirk Tomsa and Andreas Ufen (2013) stated that the political parties in Southeast Asian countries have unfavorable reputations because of their constant failures to aspire the dynamics in social reformations and to continuously identify themselves with practices of clientelism at the same time. Indeed, the public needs to realize the fact that, the fundamental changes in the political system—in this case, decentralization—lead to consequences which can result in the deconstruction of decentralization itself.

In larger countries such as Indonesia, destructive practices like clientelism has been found in many remote areas as stated by Joshua Barter (2008), where he mentioned “…in remote regions and specific sectors, decentralization has meant a weaker state, more clientelism and continued environmental destruction”. Interestingly, Barter expressed that the patron-client relationship, in terms of clientelism, is not always exploitative (Ibid). Clientelism can be mutually strengthening and beneficial. In its practices, clientelism is not as simple as offering rewards to political supporters. The rewards given by the patron to their clients depends on two things, which are a) State’s financial resources which can be manipulated and b) obstacles in doing rent-seeking.

Furthermore, a challenge within the democracy system (Including the decentralization model) is voter’s involvement in the process of general elections. Instead of strengthening the middle class, what often happened—and had a strong correlation with clientelism—is the strengthening of patron-client relationship through vertical communication paths, even more those that target the poor (Roberts 2016). The term ‘money politics’ is often used to refer the practices of ‘buying votes’ which are done by the candidates to their possible voters. For practices like this, the poor are exploited more due to their immediate need for money and on the other side, the candidates needed their votes.  As a matter of fact, they are often recruited to the candidates’ ‘succeeding team’; an informal team made to triumph a certain candidate[9].

Another interesting thing to point out is the duration of the patron-client relationship. So far, literatures revealed that the strength of the patron-client relationship relies on the patron’s ability to provide concession to their client as agreed during the campaigning period. The arguments offered are the existing policies determine whether personal has a specific choice[10]. Another important matter, and a quite complex one, is to explain the correlations among the political parties, the candidates, and the voters-to-be. Several arguments tried to observe political parties’ characters while others attempted to describe voters’ behavioral patterns. In the context of Indonesia, it is found to be quite challenging to draw a clear demarcating line between the two of it. However, what matters to be made into conclusion is that the political systems and parties in Indonesia can’t be separated from the tradition of clientelism[11].

There’s a good thing in perceiving clientelism and its correlation with political party funding. In regard to this, there are several cases which perfectly illustrates the point, such as the governance of Aburizal Bakrie and Yusuf Kalla with each of their own’s party. This is one of the characters of clientelism in Indonesia as expressed by Andres Ufen (2010). Under their very own governments is where clientelism survived. Even though the attempts to cut down clientelism had been extensively carried out through the continuous practices of economic and governance liberalization. Nonetheless, most people are in favor of clientelism because to them, because this is their primary strategy to survive[12].

According to Jonathan Hopkin, Clientelism is a form of personal exchange characterized by the presence of obligations and even an unequal power relations between them, and indicated with patron’s activities that provide access to client in the form of specific means and facilities, ultimately forming a reciprocal relationship (a mutually beneficial exchange)[13].  Meanwhile, according to Magaloni, clientelism is a two-way, asymmetrical, and reciprocal personal relations between a patron and a client by giving materials to be exchanged with the supporting loyalty from the client.[14]

Looking deep into the core, clientelism is a form of dyadic and personal exchange which is often showed by a sense of obligation, and much more frequently, by an unequal power between those involved[15].  Furthermore, as stated by Kitschelt and Wilkinson, Clientelism is considered to have diverse networks and perpetual or long-term relationships. A further explanation can be seen as shown below:

“Dalam banyak sistem yang ditandai dengan tingkat kemiskinan yang relatif tinggi seperti di Thailand, India, Pakistan, atau Zambia, patron langsung menilai kesetiaan kliennya dengan imbalan uang, minuman keras, pakaian, makanan, atau barang lainnya yang dapat dikonsumsi segera… Jauh lebih sering daripada transaksi tunggal. Bagaimanapun juga, jaring pertukaran, kewajiban, dan timbal balik yang berkelanjutan membutuhkan waktu yang lebih lama, dimana patron harus menyediakan barang pribadi atau kebutuhan kelompok untuk klien mereka” (Kitschelt dan Wilkinson, 2007: 19).[16]

 “In many system marked with relatively high poverty level such as in Thailand, India, Pakistan, or Zambia, patrons directly evaluate their clients’ loyalty through money, liquors, clothes, foods, or any other direct consumables… Far more often than single transactions. However it may be, exchange networks, obligations, and reciprocity which are sustainable, requires longer time, where patrons must provide personal things or group needs for their clients”

 Theoretically, referring to James Scoot’s opinion, the cause of clientelism’s intensifying, among others, can be seen below:

 “Pertama, sumberdaya penting dikelola dan dikontrol oleh kelompok tertentu di dalam masyarakat, bentuk sumberdaya tersebut biasanya berbentuk alokasi ekonomi. Kedua, sang patron secara sangat kuat meminta atau mensyaratkan adanya layanan balik yang bisa disediakan oleh klien. Ketiga, Kelompok-kelompok klien secara keseluruhan akan dicegah untuk bisa memperoleh akses terhadap sumberdaya yang dikontrol oleh kelompok patron. Keempat, tiadanya etika alokasi publik yang diimplementasikan secara efektif. Yang dimaksud etika publik ini adalah sebuah mekanisme atau sistem yang didalamnya sumberdaya publik dialokasikan dan dipertukarkan berdasarkan kriteria-kriteria universal dibanding kriteria-kriteria personal atau privat”[17].

 “Firstly, crucial resources are managed and controlled by a specific group within the society, these resources are often in the form of economic allocations. Secondly, the patron firmly requests or demands a service in return that the client must provide. Thirdly, groups of clients are collectively restricted to receive access towards the resources controlled by the groups of patrons. Fourthly, the absence of public allocation ethics that are effectively implemented. What is defined as public ethics, is a mechanism or system which, inside it, public resources are allocated and exchanged based on universal criteria, instead of personal or private criteria” [18].

This means, the politics of clientelism is not exclusive as a tool to solve problems, it is the “ways to provide” which shows the role of patrons as the constituent element of client which understands what the clients want, it is the central dimension of work and perseverance of patronage[19]. The previously explained definitions of Clientelism above, at least provide an idea of the differences that lies between the concepts of patronage reviewed beforehand with this concept of clientelism.

In its development, clientelism experienced a phase where a new form emerges and is called as the new clientelism. Old clientelism is the form of social and politic exchanges, in the sense of “it involves certain principles that an individual grants extra treatments to another individual, and despite there are general expectations for a reward in the future, its certainty is not stated ahead of time[20]. While new clientelism resembled the exchange of “economy” or “market”, where the clients tries to maximize utilities regardless of the obligations for, or identifications with, other actors[21].

This new clientelism commonly appears within societies who are inside a more-advanced economic structure and who give different impacts towards the existing party politics[22]. This new clientelism emerges on the conditions that the role of the state is strong and is expanding in various economic activities and social live in the society. Aside from that, looking at the patron’s side, where the old clientelism emphasized more towards autonomous individuals and had powers within a more traditional society, on the new clientelism, the roles of autonomous patrons are replaced by political parties.  At local scale, both political party actors and its leader don’t have influence as strong as the autonomous individuals at the old clientelism, because of their dependency towards the political party itself. As stated by Hopkins:

 Dalam klientelisme baru, patron adalah organisasi partai, bukan individu-individu di dalamnya. Perlakuan khusus klientelistik dibagi-bagikan oleh anggota organisasi partai, yang pada gilirannya menerima otoritas untuk kegiatan ini dari tingkatan atas dalam hirarki partai. Klientelisme karena itu menjadi birokratis, dan kurang personal, meskipun kontak pribadi antara perwakilan partai dan pemilih individu tetap penting untuk mempertahankan hubungan. Dalam hal ini, klientelisme partai massa adalah titik tolak yang signifikan dari klientelisme tokoh[23].

In new clientelism, the patrons are party organizations, not the individuals in it. Clientelistic specific treatments are distributed by the members of party organizations, where in turn, they receive authority for this activity from the higher level of party hierarchy. Thus, clientelism became bureaucratic, and less personal, even though personal contact between party representative and individual voter remained essential in order to sustain the relationship. In this case, mass party clientelism became the significant starting point of figure clientelism[24].

Edward Aspinall and Mada Sukamajati explained the difference between patronage and clientelism, which is:[25]

Patronase merujuk pada materi atau keuntungan lain yang didistribusikan oleh politisi kepada pemilih atau pendukung. Sebaliknya, klientelisme merujuk pada karakter relasi antara politisi dan pemilih atau pendukung.

Patronage refers to materials or other benefits that are distributed by politicians to the voters or supporters. Conversely, clientelism refers to the relation character between politicians and voters or supporters.

A relationship marked by the giving of economic or political resources from the patron often has a power which is personal and expects loyalty and political supports from the beneficiary[26]. This political exchange pattern is known as the form of clientelism in the domain of politics. Political clientelism, in its simplest definition, is described as the distributions of selected benefits to the individuals or groups clearly identified, in exchange for their political supports[27].

The use of the term clientelism itself remains highly controversial due to the wide and varying nature of the patterns of political exchanges, which can be described with this term. Clientelism is a form of personal exchange and is usually characterized with the presence of several obligations and, even, an unequal power relations between those involved[28]. The pattern of this relationship is indicated with patron’s activities to provide access to client in the form of basic subsistence means and facilities, ultimately forming a reciprocal relationship with the client through activities which combines the funding service for the provision of economic goods.

Three additional features which distinguish the patron-client relationship that is implied by the definition, is their basis in inequality, their character when meeting face to face, and their expanding flexibility[29]. There are, at least, two important and inherent elements which are embedded in clientelism activity[30]. The first, reciprocity (type of exchange in a relationship). On the exchange type in a relationship, two groups are involved in the provision of goods and service, and share benefits which mutually advantage in a relatively voluntary condition, which means clientelism activities couldn’t be discovered in a total authoritarian political system or in relationship models of slavery and mastery. Patrons exchange resources (works and protections) with votes, supports, and client loyalties. The two are interconnected through fabric of interest and “friendship”. The second, there lies an inequality which occurs in the exchange because the patron has various resources, and the client transforms that relationship pattern into a vertical pattern, a pattern requiring superiority of one over another inside the relationship.

A more complete definition of clientelism, at least contains three components, according to Aspinall and Sukmajati referring to Hicken[31]. Firstly, contingency or reciprocity is the giving of goods and services from a party (patron or client) which is a direct response from the giving of benefits from another party. Secondly, hierarchy is the presence of the emphasis on an imbalance or unequal power relation between a patron and a client. Thirdly, repeating aspect is the clientelistic exchanges that occur repetitively.

Clientelism in Regions

Ever since regional autonomy was implemented in Indonesia, local government had the authority to regulate its household affairs and the jurisdictions to implement the wheel of government in their own region. Based on the Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 23 of 2014 on Local Government Article 1 Section 6, Regional Autonomy is the right, authority, and duty of the autonomous region to regulate and manage their own government affairs and public interests in the system of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia”[32]. The article firmly stated that the local government has the obligation and authority to manage its own household affair.

The presence of granting authority from central government to local government, indirectly hands over a strong and strategic position to the local Regional Leader. Both Samanhudi and Rendra Kresna entered their second period of their leadership as the local regional leader. Samanhudi defeated his only competitor by a great margin of 92%. As for Rendra Kresna, he had to compete against 2 other couples and was almost unable to advance to the regional leader election due to problems faced by Golkar. Which means in the end, Rendra shifted his position to the Nasdem Party. The number of votes that Rendra received are 50,3%; only 7% higher than his nearest competitor, Dewanti-Masrifah who received 43,4% of the votes. The political participation level in Blitar Municipality was high, where in Malang Regency, the number of voters didn’t reach 50% of the enlisted voters’ amount.

Comparing Blitar Municipality with Malang Regency in terms of demography, is like comparing watermelon with orange; David vs. Goliath. But on the aspect of leadership, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Samanhudi, who leads the relatively smaller city, doesn’t have a strong character. His backgrounds which originated from the lower segment of people drove him to devise pro-poor work programs. Meanwhile, Rendra Kresna, who leads a region which has much higher potentials and local government income and spending budget (APBD) than Blitar Municipality, didn’t seem to show significant changes in Malang Regency. Eventually, what mattered is not how big a region is, but how effective a regional leader’s performance and leadership style. Admittedly, governing the second largest region in East Java Province is far more challenging than a region that is only a tenth in size of Malang Regency. Behind the difficulty, Malang Regency also has a far greater potential deep within.

Clientelism can be formed by a strong and dominant leader figure. Through this strong figure, a pattern or patron is formed. Therefore, employees become more obedient to the figure due to imbalances in exchanges or transactions. Client obedience can be obtained by the leader through granting of positions, work programs, even funds. This sort of leadership character is, ultimately, what causes the existence of patrons and clients.

Different atmospheres were visible upon seeing the government instances of Malang Regency and Blitar Municipality. The bureaucrats at Malang Regency tended to be more bureaucratic and less-friendly when assisting researchers. Requests for data were not responded well and tended to be rejected. We had to take pictures of the data using cellular phones. While in Blitar Municipality, without having to show research letter from the National and Political Unity Agency (Bakesbang), the bureaucrats responded well. During interview, the process went casually and pleasantly. Prior requesting data, we are royally given both the soft files and the hard copies.

Generally, throughout this writing, we argued that the practices of clientelism are clearly identified in Blitar Municipality and Malang Regency. The examples are obvious, corresponding to what we have discovered when examining clientelism, according to the experts. However, what separated and also became an interesting point on facts that occurred in each region, is that the intended clientelism is not only limited to providing benefits to just the clients, but also to the public. The reason for this differences indeed vary, one of which is the personal character of the leader.

Benefits received by clients

            Practices of clientelism in Blitar Municipality, according to various primary sources from both inside and outside the bureaucratic area, mentioned that these practices are indicated by the granting of certain positions in exchange for their supports. The positions mentioned can vary in terms of their location and strategic aspects. For instance, a position as the Head of Regional Company, management in the national sports committee, even at the legislative institutions. Also, there is the Educator Profession Allowances (TPP) to personnel which, prior to this, do not exist. These allowances are given equally to all employees each month. This is contrasting with the previous condition where the honors accumulated on the officials, and the staffs didn’t receive any. In the beginning of the TPP, the officials used to complain about the situation because it negatively impacted their incomes.

One example in the granting of public positions, is the position for the head of the National Sports Committee of Indonesia (KONI), which was given to a close friend of the mayor of Blitar Municipality. Prior to serving as the mayor, they both are colleagues at PDIP. Even further, ‘the client’ explained how both of them strive for the victory on the election for the Mayor of Blitar where the currently elected mayor, along with ‘the client’ conducted mass mobilization—including door-to-door campaign. When the Mayor was elected, it was natural for him to give ‘the clients’ something in return for their hard work throughout the campaign to victory.

            In regards to the kind of receivers, the rewards given also varied. One of which is the kind of benefit given to business people. A concrete form of this kind of benefit is the sense of security in building businesses and investing in Blitar Municipality areas. This was expressed by a colleague from the political party of the elected mayor. According to a received information, campaign team conducted a survey, including a discussion with all segments of the society, such as business people, religious leader representatives, youth movement representatives, and general public. Based on the attempts to extract this information, the impressions obtained is that in Blitar, business people feel unsafe in the building of their enterprises due to the growing number of thugs (preman) which, often times, these thugs demand informal fees. The current candidate for mayor at that time, finally agreed to give the feeling of safety—a promise made during his campaign—for the business people in exchange for their supports to the candidates.

Not only that, numerous programs/development projects with large values had been prioritized to certain enterprises (such as the Embun Group). The form of work involved is the operation of physical projects and goods procurements. Embun Group did several protocol road sections in Blitar Municipality. But overall, the beneficiaries of political supports are from the general public.

However, the supports from the general public to the mayor didn’t go without critiques based on evaluative assumptions and thoughts. For example, program of providing school uniforms. This program was assessed well per se, but was poorly implemented. The fabrics handed out and the bags distributed are found to be of low quality and are easily damaged. So did the development projects that have been, or currently, carried out. All of them lead to the direct decision by the Mayor regarding the winner of the tender

History of patron-client relationship

Most of the times, clients are close colleagues of the patrons (in this case, the Mayor) who have known each other for some time. This also correlates with the backgrounds and the decisions the Mayor throughout his life and before becoming regional leader. As expressed by the Mayor himself, his past as a thug made him know a lot of people and the whole picture of the Blitar citizens intimately, and vice versa, where the citizens knew him long before becoming a regional leader.

Related to this patron-client relationship, it is ought to know that the Mayor had a close relationship with party colleagues. This is corresponding to the statement belonged to one of his close colleague who, currently, happens to be given the responsibility to lead a Regional Company. The colleague narrated that the Mayor, along with other party cadres, competed for its triumph to gain votes during the general election. Even though the efforts done throughout this time is conducted by any means necessary.

Non-political reasons in choosing clients

In this component, the information obtained less remembered clients close to the Mayor, and almost all had the same political power potential. What distinguished enough was the clients who were ‘unselected’, yet showed high loyalty, like the Chinese-ethnic business people. According to the information gotten from two interviewees, the efforts to gather the Chinese ethnics in Blitar Municipality is to conduct development projects. As exaggerating as it may seem, one interviewee mentioned that Blitar Municipality had been ‘pawned’ to the Chinese ethnics. Politically, there were not many Chinese ethnics who preferred to affiliate themselves with the pro-Mayor political party, but their role were certainly crucial related to the economic supports to the Mayor.

Campaign promises

Based on the gathered information, the campaign promises of the Blitar Mayor was mainly fulfilled. These promises, among others, are free educations and health cares. For the free educations, the municipal government program was not to demand any form of fees and in addition to it, students living in Blitar Municipality were given school supplies. Also, in 2017, a budget was made to provide bicycles to students in junior high schools.

The consequences of these campaign promises was explained in the APBD where the budget for education composed 42% of the total APBD. As for the free health care program, health care service was given for free with ‘claim’ system, this means the patients was initially administered in the health institution by stating that the patients are a member of society insured by the Regional Government Budget. Then, within 2×24 hours, patients’ family must handle the administration procedures, one of which is to manage the Statement Letter of the Poor (SPM)

What must be emphasized here is that the free health care services were only for those who are willing to be treated at Class-3 with its service specifications, this includes that the medications were from the Social Insurance Administrator (BPJS). This health care program from the Regional Government guarantees all medicines (not only the generic ones) and specific treatments such as hemodialysis and surgical operations which, without a doubt, requires doctor’s recommendation. These facts are the examples of the positive sides of clientelism.

Clientelism has always been linked to domination, unequal exchange between patrons and clients, and all sort of negative things. In the context of this study, it proved that in the two regions, both Malang Regency and Blitar Municipality, clientelism activities were able to be identified. Clientelism in Malang Regency was shown during the general elections for the regional leaders, where in Blitar city, clientelism was observed through the giving of positions to the close people of the Mayor. However apparent it may be, the practices of clientelism in Blitar Municipality showed a positive outcome in the form of public services’ improvement during his the Mayor’s governance. APBD for education reaches 46%, the highest in Indonesia. Blitar citizens also showed signs of satisfactions with the services provided by the municipal government. Therefore, this study proves that not all activities related to clientelism impacts negatively.


[1]Keefer, 2002

[2]Robinson dan Verdier (2002)



[5]Allen, 2012


[7]Brinkerhoff dan Glodsmith, 2004

[8] Fukuoka 2013

[9](Aspinall and Sukmajati 2016)

[10](Allen 2015)

[11](Berenschot 2015)

[12]Brinkerhoff dan Glodsmith, 2004

[13] Hasurl Hanif, Op.Cit,,hlm 330

[14] Sumarto, Perlindungan sosial dan klientelisme makna politik bantuan tunaidalam pemilihan umum, Gadjah Mada University Press, Yogyakarta.2014,hlm 27

[15]Jonathan Hopkin, “Klientelisme dan Partai Politik”, dalam Richard S. Katz dan William Crotty (ed.) (Ahmad Asnawi pent.), Handbook Partai Politik (Handbook of Party Politics), Bandung: Nusa Media, 2014, hlm 670

[16]Mukhtar Sarman, Banalitas Kontestasi Politik; Refleksi Pemilu Legislatif 2014 di Kalimantan Selatan, Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2014, hlm 81-82

[17]Hasrul Hanif, Op.Cit, hlm 5

[18]Hasrul Hanif, Op.Cit, hlm 5

[19]Mukhtar Sarman, Op.Cit, hlm 82

[20]Jonathan Hopkin, Op.Cit, hlm 672


[22]Hasrul Hanif, Op.Cit, hlm 6

[23]Jonathan Hopkin, Op.Cit, hlm 676

[24]Jonathan Hopkin, Op.Cit, hlm 676

[25]Edward Aspinall, Mada Sukmajati, “Patronase dan Klientelisme dalam Politik Elektoral di Indonesia”, Politik Uang Di Indonesia, Yogyakarta: PolGov, 2014, hlm 4

[26] Hasrul Hanif, Maret 2009, “Politik Klientelisme Baru dan Dilema Demokratisasi di Indonesia”. Jurnal Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Vol. 12, No.3, hlm 330

[27] Jonathan Hopkin, 2006b, “Conceptualingzing Political Clientelism: Political Exchange and Democratic Theory”, Paper presented for APSA annual meeting, Philadelphia, 31 August – 3 Sepetember 2006

[28] Ibid

[29] James Scott, 1972, “Patron-Client Politics and Political Change in Southeast Asia”, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 66, No. 1, hlm 93

[30] I Ketut Putra Erawan, 2008, “Clientelism, Political Survive, and Democratization”, Makalah disampaikan dalam Intensive Short Course for Trainers on Human Rights and Democracy, PSSAT UGM-DEMOS-UiO, 2 – 8 Desember 2008

[31] Allen Hicken, 2011, “Clientelism”, Annual Review of Political Science, hlm 289-310dalam Edward Aspinall dan Mada Sukmajati (ed.), POLITIK UANG DI INDONESIA; Yogyakarta: PolGov, 2015, hlm 4-5

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