Presidential Spokesperson Claims Jokowi Is Not Anti-Critic

Spokesman for the President of the Republic of Indonesia Fadjroel Rachman said that President Joko Widodo has always been open to criticisms leveled at his government for the past two years. According to him, various criticisms and demonstrations from the public to the government indicate that democracy in the country is running quite well.

uru Spoke President Fadjroel Rachman.  (Photo: Courtesy)

uru Spoke President Fadjroel Rachman. (Photo: Courtesy)

“So we want to say that there are demonstrations from all parties in society, there are criticisms, we want to say that democracy in Indonesia is still running and is going well, because if there is no criticism, it means democracy does not work in this republic,” he said. Fadjroel told reporters at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Friday (22/10).​

The creation of a democratic space that is claimed to be going well, said Fadjroel, is evidenced by Jokowi’s never getting angry at the harsh criticisms made by the public. He gave an example, when the University of Indonesia (UI) BEM called Jokowi “The King of Lip Service” on social media, which made the UI Rectorate immediately summon representatives of the UI BEM to ask for accountability. Jokowi immediately reminded not to take excessive action.

A mural depicting Indonesian President Joko Widodo with a network error message "404: not found" covered his eyes, in Tangerang, Banten, before it was removed and the police conducted an investigation into it.  (Photo: AFP/Fajrin Rahardj

A mural depicting Indonesian President Joko Widodo with the network error message “404: not found” covers his eyes, in Tangerang, Banten, before it was removed and the police launched an investigation into the matter. (Photo: AFP/Fajrin Rahardj

Then, there is also the case of a farmer from Blitar named Suroto who carried a poster that read “Pak Jokowi Help Farmers Buy Corn at a Reasonable Price” when Jokowi made a working visit. In response to this, the President even summoned the breeder to the Palace to express his gratitude directly because with the poster Jokowi could find out the problems in the field.

Fadjoroel added that when someone channeled criticism through a mural, one of which depicted Jokowi’s face accompanied by writing 404: Not Found that covered the President’s eyes, Jokowi instead asked the National Police Chief not to react to the muralist.

The President, said Fadjroel, always evaluates and monitoring in carrying out their constitutional duties. Because in the constitution, the President’s job is to always protect or promote human rights, including the constitutional rights of every Indonesian citizen (WNI).

A man sits near banners of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his deputy Ma'ruf Amin in Jakarta, Sunday, October 20, 2019. (Photo: AP)

A man sits near a banner of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his deputy Ma’ruf Amin in Jakarta, Sunday, October 20, 2019. (Photo: AP)

“So if there is public criticism from students, from the media, or anywhere else, President Jokowi, and we always say thank you and then rejoice, it means that criticism is still there and democracy but lives in this republic. because no there is criticism, later we will not know where there is a mistake, “he explained.

Authoritarian State

Political observer Ujang Komarudin sees that since the 1998 reform, the democratic transition that has taken place in the country has not gone smoothly. Based on the results of publications from world scientists released by various international institutions, he said, it shows that democracy in Indonesia has experienced a decline in the last 14 years.

“In theory, we are currently undergoing a period of democratic transition, from the 1998 reforms to a real democracy, which is good. In that transition, we must consolidate democracy,” he said FLY.

The consolidation of Indonesia’s democracy after the reform, he said, did not go well. Even considered tend to lose its substance.

“I am worried that if the consolidation of democracy in the transition period does not work, we will return to an authoritarian state. That is what happened in Latin America,” said Ujang.

Indications of the authoritarian state, he said, can be seen from the repressive actions of law enforcement officers to the people, then the fear of the people who criticize the government. In fact, these criticisms should be used as evaluation material for the government to make various policy improvements for the welfare of the people.

President Jokowi and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin talk with Minister of Agrarian Affairs Sofyan Djalil and Minister of Tourism Wisnhutama on the sidelines of the

President Jokowi and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin talk with Minister of Agrarian Affairs Sofyan Djalil and Minister of Tourism Wisnhutama on the sidelines of the “Preparation for Moving the New National Capital” at the President’s office, Jakarta, Monday (16/12) (Photo: Setpres Bureau)

“Surely, evaluations from the people must be heard, this can the state does not belong to the elite, not the oligarchy, it belongs to the people, belongs to all of us. So they exist because there are people,” he said.

Furthermore, Ujang sees the policies made by Jokowi-Ma’ruf for the past two years also tend to be at odds with the people. He gave an example of the revision of the KPK Law (UU), and the Omnibus Law on Job Creation, which the people did not want. This, he said, was exacerbated by a fat government coalition, which resulted in the parliament not functioning as a representative of the people to the fullest. In this way the meaning of democracy disappears.

“So, it doesn’t exist check and balances, dangerous, so there is no opposition, meaning the opposition is minimalistic. I often say we need a strong government, but at the same time we also need a strong and tough opposition,” he said. [gi/ah]

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