Since I first asked that question four and a half years ago, the post has been viewed several times a week.
There are remarkable parallels so I haven’t had to make many alterations to it: new links are this colour, and old ones are this.
In the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, “so it goes…”
The police guard the KPK against the police.
My definition of ‘stupidity’ is a conscious act with unfortunate, even disastrous, results due to a lack of forethought about possible consequences.
In the spotlight today are the police who, in spite of their ‘intelligence’ successes in capturing loads of motor cycle thieves, seem to have little regard for the public perception of their daily behaviour.
Firstly, they do not demonstrate that they have embraced reformasi, the drive for transparency and accountability which are evidence of a democratic nation.
The law on mass organisations has an article which states that the government may freeze a mass organization’s administration if it is found to have disrupted safety and/or public order. Yet the police stand by whilst the thugs of Front Pembela Islam (FPI) attack bars and churches, disrupt licensed meetings of gays and transexuals, and, just last week, parliamentarians and constituents discussing free health care for pensioners.
The list goes on
Murhali Barda, head of the Bekasi chapter of FPI, claimed that a certain Christian foundation had been relentlessly baptizing groups of people in the city.
“A number of buses were seen dropping off people, some wearing jilbabs, at a house in Kemang Pratama district in Bekasi. When our people interrogated the security guard, he said they were there to be baptised.”
However, Bekasi Police Chief Sr. Comr Imam Sugianto denied there had been a mass baptism: “All of them were students and they all went there for a swim.”
If true, then I’m justified in saying that the FPI thugs are stupid.
And the police?
There can be few citizens or residents who have not given the police ‘cigarette money’ at some time to avoid further unpleasantness, which may include torture. This was alleged by the cleaners imprisoned for sexually assaulting a kindergarten pupil at the Jakarta International School (JIS) . The public has not been fooled by this gross miscarriage of justice.
Victims usually do not know where to report abuses and are vulnerable to further abuse if they make a complaint directly to the police.
But it’s not so much the lower echelons who are in the news now as the police generals. Questions are being aired as to how six top officers – Inspector General Mathius Salempang, Inspector General Sylvanus Yulian Wenas, Inspector General Budi Gunawan, Inspector General Badrodin Haiti, Inspector General Bambang Suparno, and whistleblower of the tax scam Commissioner General Susno Duadji – can amass from Rp.22 billion to as much as Rp.95 billion) on a salary of Rp.15 million a month (c.$1,600).
This is the lead story in this week’s Tempo magazine. Strangely, all of the 30,000 print run was bought up in the early hours by “a group of mystery men” before it could be distributed. Tempo reprinted the issue, and are presumably happy with their increased circulation.
What is even stranger is not that the police are upset with the story, but the cover.
Whoops, wrong one!
The problem with the cover is that it shows a police general with three piggy banks on leashes which is an allusion to the business interests who buy favours. Mind you, having piggy banks with the police on a leash would seem more apt.
However, it’s the pigs which have – erm – unleashed the police anger, so much so that they are talking up a possible lawsuit against Tempo.*
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang claimed he had received many complaints about the magazine’s cover.
He said, “Imagine, we have 406,000 officers nationwide, and they and probably their relatives, too, are offended because it compares the police to the animal.”
To disrespect police in the UK who are apparently disrespecting citizens is to call them ‘pigs’, but here the word has deeper, Islamic, connotations. However, apart from the fact that the cartoon doesn’t compare the police to pigs, Gen, Antonanng doesn’t seem to be that well-educated.
As Tempo magazine chief editor Wahyu Muryadi said, “The piggy banks represent bank accounts, the edition’s theme. Why pig? In Indonesian, a pot for saving money is traditionally called celengan, which means piggy bank. It derives from the word celeng, which means pig.”
I wonder what Gen. Antonand made of the reprint of the magazine which sported this cover.
Police in a poke?
Pig in a poke is an English idiom which refers to a confidence trick originating in the 15th/16th centuries, when meat was scarce but cats were not and were put inside the ‘poke’.
Note: ‘Poke’, originally meant bag or sack. ‘Pocket’ is the current form of the word.
The Indonesian equivalent expression is kucing dalam karung (cat in a sack).
Make of this farce what you will, but my answer to my title is once again a resounding ‘yes’.
The police are once again trying to clamp down on press freedom by accusing Tempo of defamation in disclosing ‘secret banking information’ relating to the wealth of the then Inspector General but now Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan. He is now waging war against the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) who named him a suspect shortly after Jokowi named him as the sole nominee for police chief,
He has since been dropped, yet has still been able to pack the police higher echelons with his nominees.
* Update 12th March fr. the Jakarta Post
The NGO behind the filing of a police report against Tempo weekly for its coverage of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan’s bank accounts has been exposed as a pay-for-hire band of bullies, and many suspect the group is likely being used by others to intimidate and exert pressure on the magazine.