Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
– Oprah Winfrey
I doubt that many, if any, of Prabowo’s campaign coalition will be riding with him when, hopefully, his campaign ‘limo’ breaks down and he has no further use for his campaign bus.
It’s said that ‘power corrupts’, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
However, if he does win, heaven help Indonesia because, like pigs at the trough, the corrupt political oligarchs will continue rule the rakyat through condescension and sleight of hand, the one not holding a fat brown envelope.
No longer friends
In 2004, Prabowo was elected President of the Indonesian Farmers’ Association (HKTI), although some say that he ‘bought’ the position. HKTI which was established in 1973 to advocate for the farmers’ rights, and he has been consistent in placing farmers and fishermen in the public eye as his core constituency when expressing his nationalism. Yet, the executive committee of HKTI has given their backing to Jokowi .
HKTI secretary general Benny Pasaribu said, “We will say this to Prabowo Subianto: claiming to be the chairman of HKTI is unethical and wrong, as it can create a restive environment and uneasy atmosphere among HKTI committee and members.”
Assuming that Prabowo loses the election, I suspect that many of his coalition partners will abandon him because they would be unwilling to establish a legitimate opposition in the DPR, the House of Representatives. An opposition is necessary in a democracy because it serves to monitor government policies which they deem to be against the interests of the electorate.
Four political parties, Golkar, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and United Development Party (PPP), and the National Mandate Party (PAN) were part of SBY’s not very successful coalition.
Golkar, which was established as Suharto’s ‘Functional Group’, has never served in opposition. That the current chairman, Aburizal Bakrie has horse traded his party’s support in return, reputedly, for the position of Chief Minister in a Prabowo administration, has not gone down well with many in the party, The the youth wing in particular and many others have expressed their support for Jusuf Kalla, Bakrie’s predecessor as chairman and now Jokowi’s running mate.
Three of the Bakrie Brothers companies, coal miner PT Bumi Resources (BUMI), PT Bakrie Telecom and PT Bakrieland Development (ELTY), are currently defaulting on loans totalling c.$1 billion dollars and would be facing bankruptcy if the sums weren’t so huge.
Did Prabowo recognise a kindred spirit when offering this man a senior position in his administration?
The three other parties have versions of Islam running through their political aspirations. Only PPP has served in opposition, but purely notionally having been an amalgam of Islamic parties concocted by Suharto as a sop to democracy. Besides, any decision made by parliament had to be ‘consensual’, meaning that what Suharto decided was agreed with. Since reformasi, there has only been one true opposition party: Megawati’s PDI-P which nominated Jokowi for the presidency.
The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) did well in the last presidential election because it had a strong anti-corruption stance. This image was totally wrecked when the former chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq was sentenced to 16 years in prison for graft and money laundering.
For many outside the PKS ranks, the face of the party has been Ir. H. Tifatul Sembiring (the Twittering Simplefool in Jakartass parlance) due to his role as Minister of Communication and Information. Many of his decisions, such as his blocking of various sites such as Vimeo because they may have images of bare breasts, have caused raised eyebrows, lots of ‘what-the-fuckery’ comments, and general mockery. .
The current chair of the United Development Party is Suryadharma Ali, who upset many in the party by unilaterally declaring the party’s support for Prabowo. For a while, this split the party, and the decision was rescinded, only to be ratified later by a delegates conference.
Until recently Suryadharma Ali was the Minister of Religious Affairs, although I cannot find reference to any assistance given to non-Muslim groups. Following his naming as a suspect in a hajj fund graft case and the discovery of suspicious transactions in his bank accounts, many in the party have called for him to step down. A dishonourable man, he hasn’t
Given Prabowo’s admitted role in the kidnapping and still unresolved disappearance of students and activists in May ’98, many were surprised when the National Mandate Party (PAN) agreed to join his campaign coalition. PAN’s founder, Amien Rais, was a co-founder of the Peoples Mandate Council which was instrumental in the abdication of Suharto.
PAN is an Islamic party, but is open to all elements of society, regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. In the event of a Jokowi win, I suspect that PAN would be willing, if not eager, to join his coalition.
There are any number of politicians who have been named as suspects by the Corruption Eradication Commission. If I were to list them all here, it would be obvious that few publicly support Jokowi.
One of Jokowi’s key supporters is Teten Masduki who was the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (the ‘Asian Nobel Prize’) in 2005 for his public service in fighting corruption.
And in today’s newspapers, it is reported that the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has answered public criticism of its failure to take a stand on the human rights record of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto by officially endorsing Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
This will probably be my last post about the election because as from Sunday, there will be a ‘cooling off period’ of three days with no campaigning allowed.
I do not have the vote, but as a long standing resident here supporting my Indonesian family, I do have a stake in the country’s well being. and, thereby, the future of my adopted tribe.
I also choose my friends with care, and so should the electorate.