S'pore PR hopes to run in next Indonesian election

HE MAY be only 26, but Singapore permanent resident Yoga Dirga Cahya hopes to run in the next Indonesian election to become the first Member of Parliament representing 4.5 million Indonesians living overseas.

The Indonesian citizen's candidacy was confirmed by the National Mandate Party, a party under the ruling Democratic Party coalition, last month.

He told The Straits Times that his nine years spent living here have influenced his decision to run for the election.

"It was in Singapore that I first volunteered with the Indonesian diaspora and knew their issues," said Mr Yoga, who is awaiting confirmation by the Indonesian Elections Commission in August.

The election is scheduled to take place on April 9 next year. Hailing from Jakarta, Mr Yoga came to Singapore at the age of 18 to study at Nanyang Technological University's School of Biological Sciences, with the aid of a Ministry of Education tuition grant.

He served out his three-year bond at the National Environment Agency (NEA) while volunteering with the Indonesian community here.

Eventually he became chairman of the Indonesian Associations' Forum. His decision to join politics was spurred on by his experience in teaching Indonesian domestic helpers at the Sekolah Indonesia Singapura (Singapore Indonesian School). That was when he first learnt of their plight.

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