Conspiracy theory: Boxes of e-KTP Identity cards spilled out on the street an indication of foul play nearing Regional Head and Presidential elections???

(illustration: IO/Rudraksha)

IO, Jakarta – The years 2018 and 2019 are called “political years”. The political year starts with the holding of simultaneous Regional Head Elections (Pemilihan Kepala Daerah – “Pilkada”) on 27 June 2018. 171 regions will be holding elections, i.e. 17 provinces, 39 municipalities, and 115 regencies. After that, Legislative Elections (Pemilihan Legislatif – “Pileg”) and Presidential Elections (Pemilihan Presiden – “Pilpres”) will be held simultaneously on 17 April 2019.

An important part of the above 3 major events are the List of Confirmed Voters (Data Pemilih Tetap – “DPT”) and the e-ID cards of these voters. At the end of May, the public was surprised with the fact that thousands of e-ID were misplaced during transportation from temporary storage in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, to the Ministry of Home Affairs (Kementerian Dalam Negeri – “Kemendagri”) Storehouse in Semplak, Bogor, West Java. These ID cards fell out at Salabenda Crossroads, Parakansalak Village, District of Kemang, Regency of Bogor, witnessed by the local residents.

The Minister of Home Affairs (Menteri Dalam Negeri – “Mendagri”), Tjahjo Kumolo, said that these e-ID cards were damaged cards originating from various regions, and that they have been stored in the Kemendagri Asset Storage for the past 8 years. He confirms that the misplaced e-ID cards were damaged and can no longer be used. He further stated that the damaged e- ID cards is not just physical damage, but also data damage.

Other than the e-ID card issue, DPT issues are also discovered in Central Java. To be specific, Gerindra Party of Central Java suspects the list of the millions of registered voters during the 2018 Central Java Gubernatorial Elections. Suspicious DPTs were only found in 11 of 35 regencies and municipalities in Central Java.

The Chairman of the Regional Management Council of Gerindra Party in Central Java, Abdul Wachid, states that the suspect DPTs were discovered after his party dispatched a team to personally check the DPTs approved by the Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”) of Central Java, released on 28 April. Wachid stated that 105 double voter entries were found in the DPT of the Municipality of Magelang out of 89,294 total voters, as well as 6,206 potentially invalid entries. On average, there is 5,894 potentially double entries and 100,227 potentially invalid entries in all regencies and municipalities. In total, there is a potential of 206,281 double entries and 3,507,928 invalid entries in Central Java, making a grand total of 3,714,209 useless entries.

He became suspicious of the existence of double-record voters when he noticed that some voters have the exact same name, birth date, address, family card (Kartu Keluarga – “KK”) numbers, and Citizenship Registration Numbers (Nomor Induk Kependudukan – “NIK”). There were also some entries wherein the KK or NIK numbers do not match the administrative area codes found in the municipalities of Magelang, Banjarnegara, Kebumen, and Cilacap. These mismatches include deceased people registered as active voters, mostly found in Magelang. The total number is 124,901 data entry mismatches for the area.

These incidents are not limited to Central Java. The Elections Monitoring Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilu – “Bawaslu”) of Riau discovered double entries of voters in the DPT for the 2018 Gubernatorial Elections (pemilihan umum gubernur – “Pilgub”) of Riau. 58,922 double entries were discovered in the DPT. The Coordinator of the Organization and HR Division of the Bawaslu of Riau, Gema Wahyu Adinata, stated that he found the most number of suspicious entries in the DPTs for the Regency of Indragiri Hilir (Inhil) (22,715 entries), Regency of Rokan Hilir (Rohil) (11,849 entries), and Regency of Rokan Hulu (Rohul) (9,089 entries).

Gema stated that his division immediately wrote to the Chairman of KPU Riau, Nurhamin, to inform him that double entries have been discovered, and to ask the Chairman to verify and identify these DPT double entries. Furthermore, Gema has also asked KPU Riau to filter and mark the C-6 Forms (the election announcement letter sent to registered voters) before KPU Riau distributes them to the voters. There are 3,622,488 DPT entries in Riau for 12,048 Voting Points (Tempat Pemungutan Suara – “TPS”) in 12 regencies and municipalities.

Other than the KPUs of Central Java and Riau, the KPU of East Java continuously filters out double entries during the 2018 Pilgub of East Java. Khoirul Anam, the Commissioner of KPU of East Java, stated that at the Office of KPU of East Java at Jalan Tenggilis, Surabaya, that the search generated a temporary result of 50,000 corrected double entries.

Anam further said that KPU has two categories for double entries, i.e. K1 and K2. “K1” means that the NIK, name, and birth dates and places of the double entries are authentic. “K2” means that only the NIK is the same. Anam stated that temporary findings show that voter double entries exist at both district and sub-district levels. He predicted that the 50,000 double entries, even after cleaning, might go back up, because demography is a set of dynamic data. Therefore, the cleaning of double entries will continue for 3 months, i.e. until 27 June. Otherwise, the division will also perform fact checks to ensure data validity.

If we assume that these doubled and invalid entries are true, then 3 million out of the confirmed 27 million DPT entries are invalided, even though it serves as reference for Pilpres and Pileg next year. The three regions above are but a small part of DPT mess in various region. With so many problems, many find themselves think, “Can Pilkada, Pileg, and Pilpres be run honestly and fairly?”

Prolongation of Power?
The Director General of Demographics and Civil Registry (Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil – “Dukcapil”) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Zudan Arief Fakrulloh, stated that the ID cards fell out due to pure neglect, no deliberation involved. Furthermore, the misplaced IDs are damaged cards. Damage  e-ID cards are divided into 2 categories, i.e. physical damage (e.g. peeling, bent, badly printed photo) and data damage (e.g. data is wrongly inputted, chip is unreadable).

Kemendagri said that the misplaced e-ID cards are damaged. Mardani feels that true assessments cannot be made by the involved parties. Therefore, an order to cut or burn down the cards may be construed as an attempt to eliminate evidence. An independent Task Force or assessor would be best to determine whether the cards are damaged or otherwise invalided using proper methods.

Mass printing of e-ID card has been going on since 2011. Kemendagri currently holds 805,311 damaged ID cards from all over Indonesia. Zudan, however, categorically denied the rumor that many cardboard boxes containing damaged ID cards are being hidden in a storage house in Bogor. “I tell you that these ID cards are not being hidden – they are being stored in the Kemendagri storage house. The cardboard boxes also contain books, papers, documents, archives – not all of them contain e-ID cards,” he said.

Zudan also denied that e-IDs are also made for foreign citizens. “That’s absolutely impossible. In order to obtain e-ID cards, citizens must first be registered and issued with Citizenship Registration Numbers or NIKs. Foreign citizens, naturally, do not have Indonesian NIK. However, they may obtain e-ID cards if they already have permanent residence cards and permission from the Immigration Office. Then and only then can we make them Foreign Citizen e-ID cards. This, however, does not turn them into Indonesian citizens,” he said.

The Vice Chairman of Committee II of DPR, Mardani Ali Sera, criticizes the fact that e-ID cards can become misplaced in Bogor, West Java. According to the PKS politician, this is a proof of Governments neglect. “This is proof that the Kemendagri is incapable of managing the issue. Over 840,000 e-ID cards that are declared invalid are left alone since 2010, with no clear SOP of what to do about them.” He added that the main issue is not that the e-ID cards were misplaced, but that they exist to be stored in the storehouse in the first place. “We need to audit their existence – where they are from, and what actions have been taken about them,” he said.

Achmad Baidowi, Member of Committee II of the House from the Development Unity Party Faction states that the e-ID cards are misplaced due to gross negligence, especially since the cards fell out because they are placed on an open-backed truck and not secured properly. He further said that some of these e-ID cards are invalid cards sent back from all over Indonesia. The total is only 805,000 cards, and not the entire storage house is filled with them.

The cards can be Invalided due to mistaken entry of name or the name is mistyped, same names printed out twice, or the NIK is doubly entered with different names, but the card proper is not damaged. The physical form of the cards may be good, but the data in these invalided cards cannot be used. “We have confirmed the issue with the Kemendagri, and we are holding a meeting with them in relation with this issue. We need the e-ID card issue to be resolved as quickly as possible, because it is sensitive,” Achmad said.

Economist Rizal Ramli (RR) stated that the misplaced e-ID card issue must be clarified, because it is very important. There are reports that the citizenship database has been leaked, even across the borders. The chips’ whereabouts are also unclear. This is an extremely high risk. RR believes that the Government owes us an explanation. We must make sure that the ID data is not misused for either business or political purposes. “We don’t want our beloved country to be held hostage by this case,” he said. “We ask that the Government explain to us properly, how this kind of thing can happen. Is our bureaucracy so careless? Or is this deliberate? Honestly, we have not gotten a clarification that satisfies us,” he said.

“We must investigate the misplaced e-ID card case objectively. We don’t want to make any blunders,” said the political observer of Al-Azhar Indonesia University, Ujang Komarudin. “Especially since this is a political year. It is a dangerous year for the government if they haven’t been working properly and professionally. We should not sweep this under the rug by blaming it on lower-level civil servants and transfer them to a remote area, but we must make sure that the policy is free of carelessness, neglect, and unfairness.”

“In order to prevent suspicions and prejudices from the people, especially political opponents, we need in-depth investigation that involves an independent and objective team. If we do not solve this case thoroughly to the people’s satisfaction, these kinds of suspicions will continue to arise. It will be a screwball that can be used by the opposition to attack the Government. This is very dangerous in the context of Indonesia’s democracy, as people might suspect that the Government only pays lip service to democracy and actually does something dishonest behind the people’s backs.”

“There is also the case of e-ID cards for foreign citizens. This issue should not even exist in the first place: the e-ID card is created as a single identity for our people, but the issues are never resolved. The initial purpose is that a single identity for the people would help realize fair, honest, and proper elections, so that there should be no problems for the 2019 elections. But in fact, the procurement of e-ID cards is corrupted, the cards themselves are misplaced, and some deviants manipulate everything. There are even 3 million fictitious voters just in Java Island. Therein lies the danger. We must not let it lie. The Government cannot simply say that it is a carelessness or it is a neglect, they can’t do that. They must investigate the case thoroughly – the investigation must be comprehensive, deep, and objective, and it must involve an independent team,” Ujang said.

Ujang said that it would be very dangerous if this misplacement of e-ID cards is a well-structured crime. However, he has not seen any indications in that direction. “I have not seen any objective facts that lead that way in the field, so I refrain from making random accusations. However, if this case occurs in good structure, systematic, and a massive way, it would be extremely dangerous. When power is used merely to win or maintain power in devious manner, it would be very dangerous. Thomas Hobbes has stated that the State is like a Leviathan, a giant monster that does anything it can to maintain its power,” he said. “Yet I admit that such suspicions may occur in General and Regional elections, and it is necessary for us to take a long look at the issue.”

Allegations of Dishonesty
Rizal Ramli believes that the e-ID card misplacement has a high potential of being a trick, whether in Pilkada, Pileg, or Pilpres. “Basically, it’s like this: we don’t want to see any form of fraud in the 2018 Pilkada or in the 2019 Pilpres anymore. We want our elections, both central and regional, to be completely fair and honest. Any possible loophole that can be exposed would cause big problems, including legitimation issues, whoever might win the elections. This is in the interest of everyone, in the interest of peace and unity. We ask that there be no more blunders,” he said

Mardani said that the premise that e-ID card misplacement is used as a fraudulent means to control the Pilkada needs to be proven. You cannot just make random accusations, but you can’t just simply destroy the cards either. Besides, in such cases, it is no surprise that the people become suspicious. Therefore, it is best that thorough investigations are made.

Election frauds can occur in any country, including Indonesia. Anyone involved in an election might do so, not just the Government. However, Ujang Komarudin states that since the Government has the biggest and strongest authority, there is a bigger impact and opportunity for them to cheat. It is our mutual duty to ensure that the Elections remain honest. This is the reason KPU appoints the Monitoring Committee (panitia pengawas – “Panwas”) – each element of the Election has their own monitors and witnesses in each TPS to ensure that the Elections remain honest.

Suggestions for the Government
To keep the case from becoming interminable, Ahmad asked that Kemendagri be more careful in its management of records in the future. The e-ID card issue is highly sensitive, so it must be resolved openly, with nothing hidden.

“I see that the Mendagri has opened up, and we hope that he maintains his transparency. He will need to explain to the public about the procedure and time for the destruction of the cards after Pilpres. During the official Committee II forum, we can ask about this as it is related to setting aside the budget for destruction. Damaged goods at Kemendagri cannot be destroyed individually, but must be done in batches, and this may take hundreds of millions of Rupiah to do. We are planning a meeting after the recess,” Mardani said. “There must be a strict and discipline SOP for handling e-ID cards, because they contain fundamental information and the Law protects its confidentiality. Therefore, a Special Task Force should be appointed to investigate and resolve the Misplaced e-ID Card Case.”

Let us all just wait where the case will end up in and how. Let us hope that by its resolution, we can obtain an honest leader that prioritizes the people’s interest by means of the Elections. (Dessy/Ekawati)