IO, Jakarta – Elections should be a joyous events, celebrations of citizen empowerment held once every 5 years. They must be a forum for the people to choose their leader according to the dictates of their conscience.
Unfortunately, this election is stained with structured, systematic, and massive electoral fraud. Furthermore, there are 600 dead officials, starting from members of Voting Organizer Group (Kelompok Penyelenggara Pemungutan Suara – “KPPS”), Monitoring Committee (Panitia Pengawas – “Panwas”), and police officers. The deaths of these heroes of democracy is bad for Indonesia’s own state of democracy, especially since their deaths are officially considered to be something natural (the cause of death was never investigated). That is just too sad.
These occurrences generate antipathy among the people. They question the Government’s motives; they organize and demand a response from the Government. Unfortunately, instead of being providing solutions, the protesters are arrested and prosecuted. For example, the police have arrested Eggi Sudjana for conspiracy. He was arrested on Tuesday (14/05/2019) morning and he is being held in custody for 20 days since the arrest. He was reported by Jokowi’s volunteer, Supriyanto, and the Democratic Party of Indonesia’s Struggle (Partai Democracy Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP) politician Dewi Tanjung. They have reported Eggi for conspiracy after a video of his speech, in which he calls for people power, went viral on social media. Eggi made his speech in front of Prabowo Subianto’s home at Jalan Kertanegara, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Tuesday, 17 April 2019.
Apart from Eggi, the latest one to be arrested is Lieus Sungkharisma. Lieus was also arrested for suspicion of conspiracy at his home in Jalan Keadilan, West Jakarta. The report of conspiracy was registered with number LP/B/0442/V/2019/Bareskrim dated 7 May 2019. He was reported for both violation of hoax laws according to Law Number 1 of 1946, and for violating State security/conspiracy according to Article 14 and/or Article 15 of Law Number 1 of 1946, as well as according to the Criminal Code Article 107 in conjunction with Article 87, and/or Article 163 in conjunction with Article 107.
Other the above two arrests, several opposition figures have been targeted by the Government. For example, Permadi. He did not deny having called for a revolution, which then caused him to be reported to the police. Permadi stated that he talked about revolution in a closed forum at the People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) by invitation from the Vice Chairman of the DPR Fadli Zon. “You see, I spoke at DPR as a member of the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”)’s Review Council. As a member of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party’s Guidance Council, I was invited by Fadli Zon to accompany him to speak before a forum of rectors. It was a limited and closed meeting,” Permadi stated to journalists at the Mapolda Metro Jaya Headquarters in Jakarta on Monday (20/5/2019).
However, the discussion was recorded on video and distributed through social media. Permadi is amazed how it leaked out to the public even though it was a private discussion with DPR leaders on 8 May 2019. In any case, he has agreed to come at the police’s request for interrogation in relation to a conspiracy case. Permadi stated that he was summoned repeatedly: “I was summoned three times: first as a witness in Kivlan Zen’s conspiracy case, second ditto for Eggi Sudjana’s conspiracy case, and third for my own speech at the DPR,” he said.
Other than Permadi, Armed Forces Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kivlan Zein was also interrogated as a witness in the suspicion of conspiracy case involving suspect Eggi Sudjana at Polda Metro Jaya, West Jakarta (16/5/2019). In the hearing, Kivlan was asked about the term “people power” recently stated by Eggi. However, Kivlan stated that he was not on location when Eggi made the statement. “Eggi Sudjana is said to have called out for people power on 17 April. I said that I was not present at the time, therefore I cannot make any statement,” he said.
Other than Permadi and Kivlan Zein, Amin Rais was also summoned by the police. He was summoned as witness for a suspicion of conspiracy case involving Eggi Sudjana. He was summoned twice. For the first summons, Amin failed to appear, due to lack of time. However, he promised to be present on 24 May. “The second summons was made,” Amien said when he accompanied Prabowo Subianto to Polda Metro on Monday (20/05/2019) night.
Vice-Presidential Candidate 02 Sandiaga Uno regretted the arrest and conviction of his supporters. He believes that the police again criminalized the opposition. “That’s it, yet another Prabowo-Sandi supporter is criminalized, pitted against the law,” Sandiaga said after he inspected the OK OCE Melawai entrepreneurship training and product exhibition at DKI Jakarta’s Public Service Mall on Monday (20/5/2019).
Sandiaga questioned the fact that the police would accuse people of conspiracy so easily. “If we categorize everything as “conspiracy” so easily, it would limit our freedom of democracy. Our freedom to express our opinion is protected by law,” he said. Sandiaga also questioned that the police after the 2019 Presidential Elections only instituted legal prosecution against Prabowo-Sandiaga’s supporters, while a number of Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s supporters who have committed legal violations are never prosecuted. “The Law should be straight and not discriminate. It should not be partisan towards the Government, the authorities, yet be sharp against the opposition,” Sandiaga declared.
2019 Presidential Elections
According to Chudry Sitompul, legal observer from the University of Indonesia, problems relating to the 2019 Elections arose from distrust. Presidential Candidate Pair 02 claims that they have proof of fraud, but their reports were never followed up on. On the contrary, reports from Presidential Candidate Pair 01 would be followed up quickly. This creates distrust. The issue is how to resolve the distrust. The people’s movement arose because a large number of the people feel the distrust, and this must be resolved properly. “We are heading to proper democracy, and we are now in the process of democracy consolidation. This issue must be resolved, but not through any legal path because the law institutions are always controlled by the Government in power,” he said.
On the other hand, political observer Arbi Sanit sees that the 2019 Elections are heating up. First, it is because the presidential candidates are the same as in the 2014 Elections, so that each candidate is aware of their opponent’s weaknesses and knows how to exploit them. Second, the elections have a long duration, allowing the enmity between the two sides to be extended and getting more detailed. Third, this is a duel between two figures with similar capabilities.
Mudzakir, criminal law expert from the Islamic University of Indonesia (Universitas Islam Indonesia – “UII”) Yogyakarta said that massive fraud has occurred during the 2019 Elections – all the way from District level to the count at KPU. During the counts, a bot was found at KPU for the purpose of generating fraud. KPU did not pursue reports of fraud, and the Elections Monitoring Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilihan Umum – “Bawaslu”) also did not use its authority to monitor and process law enforcement of the fraud. “Let me cite an example: there are reports of fraud, but nobody was summoned, investigated, or tried. Everything was reported, but there was no legal action despite the high numbers. Bawaslu only issued a “moral warning”, while fraud is in fact a crime. Everything should be upheld according to applicable laws, the electoral laws,” he said.
The People’s Movement
According to Chudry, the number of people protesting electoral fraud would be close to the numbers participating in the 212 Action. The people’s contribution and participation must be accommodated. However, it is true that some third party may take advantage of the people’s movement to incite chaos. Protests are allowed, but it really would cause problems in large number, and there is no guarantee that it would be as peaceful as the 212 movement. Due to its massiveness, the people’s movement would be difficult to control. The source of the problem is how to get the opposition to trust the system, as a people’s movement results from distrust. The mechanism of complaint should have gone through the DPR, but that does not work. We need to resolve the issue of trust first.
The Government shows concern of third-party intrusion during the people’s movement. Naturally, the Government must also maintain security and order. Therefore, and the Government seeks to prevent riots by assigning the Police to investigate all people seeking to go to Jakarta and participate in the protest. However, other than taking this precautionary action, the Government should also perform persuasive approach to ensure that it remains neutral.
“It must be admitted that the primary trouble was inspired by the incumbent participated again as contestant; in such a case this will occur. The Police, which are the president’s subordinate apparatus, should also remain neutral. The people’s movement in elections should not have to exist, but it has spontaneously appeared due to distrust of the KPU. The Constitutional Court should also be transparent in executing judgments,” Chudry said.
Meanwhile, Mudzakir sees that the people’s movement is a natural and constitutional phenomenon, as according to the Law, UU sovereignty is in the hands of the people. “However, the people feel that even though they have chosen, their votes were stolen by KPU. Our people feel cheated. When the fraud is reported to the authority in charge, i.e. Bawaslu, there is no response. The people finally demand what is due to them: they went en masse to KPU and Bawaslu to express their concern. This movement is constitutional, as it is the people’s demand to restore their stolen sovereignty. The Government must respect this. Therefore, there must not be no repression, as this violates the constitutional rights of our citizens,” he said. “The people should not be stopped when they express their aspirations. They took to the streets to demand justice, so that fraudulent elections are exposed and revised. It is those who defrauded the people of their sovereignty who conspire against the people,” Mudzakir said.
Arbi Sanit believes that the people’s movement has arisen because of dissatisfaction, disappointment, and a sense of threat to their livelihood in the next five years. If the people trust Jokowi, they would be happy that he won, but in fact many people still pin their hopes on Prabowo. The people’s movement is a direct consequence of dissatisfaction and distrust. Ruling a country requires trust, not just a purportedly large number of votes.
The common people moved earlier because the middle-to-upper classes are hesitant. The middle classes did not ask the common people to show a clear attitude towards the people in charge, while the common people look up to the middle and upper classes. Nowadays, nobody approaches the middle classes properly. Jokowi does not dare to approach intellectuals other than university rectors. Furthermore, in his five years of rule, Jokowi did not show any meaningful economic development, because there is no trust from investors. Trust is important as investors are concerned with the factor of risk when they invest, but there is no trust in the current leadership.
Arbi Sanit stated that the common people might move independently because they lack direction. The people they generally look up to – the middle and upper classes – cannot provide direction because their own position is also unclear. The danger is that there would possibly be some unruly action. The people’s movement is allowed by law, but if it should be freed from the limits of the elites and the middle-upper classes, there would be a great potential for chaos. If the armed forces are forced to face them, a revolution might be sparked.
In the 2019 Elections, the “right” to choose has transformed into the “obligation” to choose, which is the same condition that we had in the New Order era. Nowadays, it is a taboo to be abstain. Whether religious figures, the armed forces, or the police, everyone is forced to vote.
The people have lost hope and direction. Elections are held to determine leaders that would bring us to a better life, but ours have failed to give us meaningful hope. For example, who uses long toll highways? The prices of basic necessities have risen, especially in the fasting month. Feeling the pressure and the lack of direction, the people decided to make their own move. The Government may aspire to raise the people’s welfare, but it lacks the ability to do so.
“Before Jokowi was elected, I said that Jokowi would be elected but incapable, and that is what happened. The people have lost their trust and some of them are on the move as proof. The police started sweeping; Jakarta is shut down. What will our democratic country be like, when the people are not even allowed to enter the capital? The Government equates the people’s movement with conspiracy, because they think that the people’s movement is performed by those who refuse to accept their victory. The Government is simply looking for an excuse – “conspiracy” is a force relating to military and weaponry. Without weapons, how can one make a conspiracy? Jokowi must rethink what he must do in order to keep his power. Just building bridges, toll roads, ports, etc. is not enough, especially since the things being built do not improve people’s lives,” Arbi Sanit suggested.
Syahrul Hidayat, political observer from the University of Indonesia, states that the people’s movement is allowable, but there must be rules. Taking to the streets is necessary when all political and legal processes are compromised and do not run properly. However, political processes run properly nowadays – our elections are held properly. Democracy did not run properly in the New Order era, so that the people took to the streets. There is a proper legal process – Bawaslu is present to receive complaints, and there is also the Constitutional Court if the issue remains unresolved. What matters is, does the people’s movement resolve issues while political processes operate? Political changes can still occur, through these legitimate political processes. The fact that the Police also rebuff the people who want to go to Jakarta shows that the Government is afraid, because security officials do not want something to happen in Jakarta that would cause negative political or security impact. Furthermore, chaos may occur when there are infiltrators who bring in bombs and weapons to use anarchic means to provoke. The Government does have such security concerns; therefore, people from the region who want to go to Jakarta are forced to cancel their plans.
The Government equates the people’s movement with conspiracy. Politically, people’s movement is really not a conspiracy. “There are many definitions for ‘conspiracy’, and legally there are regulations concerning conspiracy. However, it is implied that the people who protested and refused to accept the results of the elections are conspiring. I think that is insufficient to be called a ‘conspiracy’. A simple refusal is not a problem, and it does not automatically mean a conspiracy. A refusal to accept elections results, and consequently refusing to acknowledge the Government, refusing to follow regulations and pay taxes, I think is still insufficient to be called a ‘conspiracy’ because it is still passive. However, actively making efforts to replace the ruling Government and constitution can be called a ‘conspiracy’,” he said.
Chudry pointed out that our democracy has been implemented for two decades. We must never allow democracy and freedom to destroy our unity and integrity. The purpose of the State is to upgrade welfare, prosperity, and justice. “The President and the people’s representatives are merely tools to achieve this purpose. It’s all no use if the country becomes divided. Let us not generate anarchy,” he said.
In the current difficult and critical situation, both parties must express goodwill to prevent riots. This unrest has resulted in a sharp polarization of the people into nearly equal parts. We need to take note of this, and we should not trigger any security and legal approaches because these are under the control of the incumbent ruler. The arrest of several figures such as Eggi Sudjana and Lieus Sungkharisma merely added fuel to the fire. The root of the problem is distrust. Government officials should also not show any specific partisanship to either Presidential Candidate Pair, but they should support all Indonesian people. Government law enforcement should protect all citizens, not just the incumbent’s group. These arrested figures are actually the people’s spokesmen.
Mudzakir disagrees with the accusation of conspiracy. In case of conspiracy, conspiring against whom? Conspiracy only applies to the President, but now Jokowi is only a presidential candidate. So far, Mudzakir notes that figures only claimed there is fraud in the Presidential Elections. “Ignoring the voices of the people is ignoring the people’s sovereignty,” he said.
So far, the people simply demand that KPU carries out a recount. “Let us start recounting from the province, and see what is the gap. The count should be performed between KPU and the two Presidential Candidate Pairs,” Mudzakir said. “The people only want one simple thing: the return of their sovereignty in their hands. Just restore their votes. Declaring Presidential Candidate Pair 01’s victory aroused legitimacy issues, as the people would never acknowledge it,” he said.
If the people’s movement is ignored, people would not trust the law anymore and will start to violate it. “Indonesia’s claim as a law-based country would no longer be trusted,” Mudzakir said.
Arbi Sanit notes that the arrest of figures such as Eggi Sudjana and Lieus Sungkharisma shows that middle- to upper-class people who express their political opinions and exercise their political rights are being punished. This shows that despite improvement in our democracy, we are regressing towards New Order thinking. The people around Jokowi who seek to remain in power are pushing towards the condition. “Just look at the fact that Wiranto is a New Order man. Why does Jokowi use New Order people to arrest people like Eggi Sudjana?” he asked.
He noted that the people’s movement might cause chaos if we cannot control it. On the other hand, too much control might turn the Government into a dictatorial one. Jokowi might be simply pushed around by the military, the police, and the people around him to use violence to uphold the law. This would push him even further from democracy, which would further increase the people’s dissatisfaction.
Several people have been arrested because of a difference of opinion in relation to the people’s movement. According to Syahrul Hidayat, the Government is trying to reduce tension until the results of the Presidential Elections are announced by securing the hardliners using the “Conspiracy” law, whether the arrest can be entered for pre-hearing for legal prosecution or not. It’s also possible to call it out as politically unfair. We need to do more than conduct protests, but we must also ensure the implementation of legal procedures.
In relation to fraud as well as the people’s movement, KPU announced the summary results of the national vote count for Presidential Elections, showing that Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin had won the Presidency, defeating Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno. The announcement was made early on Tuesday (21/05/2019) morning, at 01.46 a.m. WIB, immediately after KPU completed the vote count for 34 provinces of Indonesia and 130 voting points abroad. However, Presidential Candidate Pair 02 stated that it will submit the dispute to the Constitution Court.
Mudzakir opines that announcing the winner of the Presidential Election at such an early hour is a big question mark. “Why did they announce it so early in the morning? If they want to make the announcement immediately after the count is completed, that is out of the ordinary. They should have made the announcement during work hours. What is going on? Initially they said that the announcement would be made on 22 May, so why was it sped up? Because of this early morning announcement, suspicions grow,” he said. Because of this odd situation, there were rumors that KPU is being pressured by those in power. “And that is quite possible. Why make such an early announcement? This proves that KPU is not in a normal condition and is acting questionably,” Mudzakir said.
Meanwhile, Chudry also stated that the early vote count announcement is suspicious, but why? Because the original schedule was on 22 May 2019. “But I also cannot say that there is pressure from the people in power, because there must be grounds to make such a statement,” he said.
Arbi Sanit insists that KPU’s early morning announcement of 2019 Elections voting counts indicates the political interest of the people in power. The military has always stated that the best defense is a good offense, and that is what is used to face the mass actions that reject the elections. Many towns and cities have already planned protests on 22 May 2019, but KPU made a preemptive attack by making the announcement on 21 May 2019. This is war strategy adapted to politics, specifically to elections.
This generates the interpretation that the Government, specifically the KPU is afraid of attacks by mass people power, and this is the strategy used by KPU to avoid it. “In other words, law enforcement succeeded in maintaining security, even though they have defrauded the people’s movement by making the 2019 Elections vote count precisely one day prior to the stipulated schedule,” he said.
Syahrul Hidayat opines differently. According to him, there will always be losers in democracy, especially when one uses majority voting. The voting count may be made no matter what time of day, whether early morning or late afternoon, as long as there are witnesses. The process was held openly, witnessed by representatives from the Bawaslu, the press, observers, monitors, NGOs, etc. Preparation, inspection, and processing of documents was performed until early morning, and the witnesses noted and observed everything under the supervision of the monitor. It is a natural process.
So far, Syahrul sees no pressure against KPU’s processing, and the only Government representative was from the Department of Home Affairs. The only influence by the Government is the provision of voter data, which must be admitted is a mess. If this procedure is repeated 5 years from now, things will not go smoothly. Demographic data affects the content of the Final Voters’ list (Daftar Pemilih Tetap – “DPT”). This data would definitely not be accurate, because it was only updated a year before elections are held. This is a big mistake. The correct process is to update the data every year in order to ensure currency of data.
Many representatives of the Indonesian Embassy and General Consulate have trouble to find voter data, because there are no funds nor resources. There are no special policies, which means that only existing data is used as is. The Government really did not perform the entire process optimally. In terms of the importance of funds, we note that the transfer of funds from the center to the regions takes a long time, causing various troubles. Furthermore, there is still the issue of insufficient recruitment process that generates inferior officials. But we really must admit that it is difficult to find a truly neutral person – no matter what, everyone is influenced by something. What we need to ascertain is whether they can control their biases or not, and whether or not the process is adhered to properly. (Dessy Aipipidely, Ekawati)