Jokowi’s fate in 2019

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DR. Fuad Bawazier, MA
Economist and Former Finance Minister in Cabinet Development VII

IO – Since Jokowi came into power in 2014, some of the Muslims in Indonesia have felt political, legal, business, and even security threats. It all started with the alleged blasphemy spouted by Ahok, DKI’s Governor at the time. Initially, Indonesian Muslims thought that the peak of the threats and pressures would be the DKI Gubernatorial Elections, but it continues up to now. Slowly but surely, the pressures, threats, and injustices that they suffer actually unite Muslims and forged their Peaceful Protests on 411 and 212 of 2016.

The persistence of these Muslims attracted the attention and sympathy of many, allowing a decided victory for them in the DKI Gubernatorial Elections despite the former image that Ahok is unbeatable, supported by power, huge funds, media, survey agencies, consultants, and all sorts of networks. The tests after tests, the injustice after injustice received by true Muslims and the non-Muslims sympathizing with them serve as filters for differentiating the true activists and hypocritical, opportunistic figures who work for money and power only. The latter ones fell down, even though they may be called “ulemas” or other respectful titled such as Kiai Haji, Buya, Tuan Guru, Guru Besar, etc.

The tests, temptations, pressures, and threats faced by these Muslims and non-Muslim sympathizers of their struggle is heavy and scary. They are frequently labeled anti-NKRI, anti-Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, anti-Pancasila, religiously and racially discriminative, radical, and intolerant. Such reports and accusations are generally random, meant solely to scare and shut any movement of the people who do not support Jokowi or Ahok.

Earlier, in order to halt the struggle, the authorities attempted to use the “nuclear bomb” attempt of conspiracy charges. These accusations failed. On the other hand, the intellectual actors of the 411 Great Peaceful Protest in 2016 such as Habib Riziek Shihab (HRS) are trapped by making them suspects in cases such as pornographic chatting, so that they are forced to leave the country and stay in Mecca until now. HRS, who was very much cornered and in a terrifying situation, is now safe and even managed to organize the 212 Great Reunion.

Until now, we continue to receive reports from ustadz (teachers of religion) who support 212, and by extension, support Prabowo-Sandi, that they are prevented from earning their livelihoods. The mosques in places such as ministries, ministry and non-ministry government agencies, and State-owned Enterprises and Region-owned enterprises suddenly stop hiring them for sermons, suddenly reject them, as if being commanded. There was even the sad case of an ustadz who flew all the way outside of Java due to an invitation to provide a sermon for the celebration of Maulid Nabi (the Prophet’s birth). When he arrived at the venue, even though the banner containing his name and the event is still in place, but the venue was locked down and none of the organizers came to greet him. The ustadz immediately became aware that only those in power are capable of this.

Such abuse of power by the authorities has gone through all the lower ranks of power such as Neighborhood Associations and Community Association Heads. Many people have commented on this situation, such as through the routine writings of senior journalists Hersubeno Arief, as well as Selamat Ginting’s article in Republika on 12 December 2018. Dr. Thomas Power of the Australian National University also discussed this issue in the 11 December 2018 article titled “Jokowi’s Authoritarian Turn and Indonesia’s Democratic Decline”. The article exposed the abuse of legal and intelligence power to repress the opposition to get Jokowi to win the next Presidential Elections. This is what ruins the quality of our democracy.

Dr. Power believes that President Jokowi has already become, or is on the way of becoming, an authoritarian authority. Many retired soldiers and police officers that support Prabowo are worried about the misuse of the army and the police to repress them and get Jokowi-MA to win. However, these retirees believe that more police officers and soldiers remain loyal to the principles of the sapta marga (the sevenfold path, i.e. the army and police appointment oath) in that they defend the State, and are not servants of the authorities. It is professional to record and take data for the deviations that occur and who do it. Other than these army and police senior retirees, the active army and police officers who support Prabowo are getting disappointed and anxious of the fact that decisions regarding their promotion are stained with politics and nepotism.

The steps taken by Jokowi’s powerful team turn out to be counter-productive and reduce the electability of Jokowi-Maruf Amin. In Fisheries, the policies of Minister Susi Pudjiastuti have been grating against the fishermen’s community for a long time. The policy of importing workers from China raised the public’s ire, especially laborers. Similarly, food import policies, especially rice, have roused the farmers’ anger. In the social realm, Jokowi’s policy on the use of hijab among female civil servants and the opening of small and medium-sized business sectors for foreign businesses are viewed as not pro-people and authoritarian. The Prabowo-Sandi team automatically received higher electability from the blunders made by their opponents.

Amid their multiple failures and fear of losing, the policies made by Jokowi’s government towards its opponent become even more repressive. Pro-Prabowo fighters continue to face made-up reports of legal accusations and slander, and must deal with law enforcement. They feel that they are being treated unfairly and discriminatively in legal issues and services. They frequently feel that they are being criminalized, which the Government naturally consistently denies. On the other hand, there is no move to pursue legal processing against the Regent of Boyolali for calling the opposing figure a “dog”, or against those figures who threaten to hunt down Muslims.

Even though it is not obvious, the ummat also feels that there is a game being played by the intelligence and other branches of power. For example, there are reports of citizens whose permit applications are being obstructed, or that permits cannot be extended, or that broadcasts or publications are limited or cannot be extended. Unfortunately, these people with legitimate complaints are not willing to take up their complaints to public realm. They simply wait for improvement and justice when the regime changes.

In order to dam the struggle of the ulema (scholars), habaib (beloved religious leaders), and the da’i (religious instructors), the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a controversial requirement for certification for khotibs (sermoners during public prayers). As predicted, this program died before it bloomed. This goes double for the effort to expose mosques that are deemed to be “radical”, which the people only responded to coldly and cynically. Amazingly, despite these attacks against them, the “remnants” of the ummat and the non-Muslim figures who sympathize with them, those who pass the test, do not decrease in numbers but increase. They have become more solid, mature, and militant as shown in the Great 212 Reunion held on 12 December 2018.

What, then, caused Indonesian Muslims to have such solid and continuously expanding support, other than the feeling that Jokowi’s government is unfriendly against Islam and Islamic figures? This is because the ummat and their sympathizers are certain that they are not intolerant as accused. They are certain that they are the most tolerant of groups who are treated unjustly and repressively. The ummat is certain that in order to win the 2019 Presidential Elections, the authorities are playing rough and threaten democratic living as stated by Dr. Power. Muslims feel that Jokowi’s government is intolerant of criticism, but tolerant towards corruptors and allow them to run off scot-free. Drug dealing has worsened and there are no longer executions of such criminals, while blasphemers who are pro-Jokowi are free from legal prosecution.

As we enter the 2019 Political Year, especially with the fact that the Presidential Election only has two Candidate Pairs, the Muslims who support change to the regime are now becoming more confident of victory. Not only that the Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin continues to make blunder after blunder, but the (mostly quiet) departure of Jokowi’s cell supporters towards Prabowo-Sandi’s team means that Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin are losing support.

Jokowi and MA campaigns have mostly small crowds. Jkw-MA’s political direction to get the people to choose Presidential Candidate Pair No. 01 through their campaign team is mostly rejected by the people, whether quietly or openly. Some are even reported to the Election Monitoring Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilu – “Bawaslu”). The people have also started to debunk claims of successful development by Jokowi and his entourage, the latest being the refutation of claims relating to the Trans Papua Highway by Natalius Pigai. There is also a matter of President Suharto’s speech video going viral.

This means that Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s electability continues to decrease, while Prabowo-Sandi’s electability continues to increase. This trend is certain and unstoppable. There are whispers among foreign powers that a new president is coming for 2019. Secret but reliable predictions show that Prabowo-Sandi has a 58%-60% chance of victory.

The public begins to dismiss and ignore frantic efforts made by certain compromised and biased surveyors to generate bandwagon effects. The public has noted that these surveyors are not credible. We believe that they only do their business for pay. The public certainly recalls how these surveyors predicted Ahok’s victory, or so wrongly predicted the votes earned by then-Candidate Governor of West Java Sudrajat and then-Candidate Governor of Central Java Sudirman Said, which turned to be so far outside the margin of error. Therefore, it is only natural that the people cattily say that this sort of survey is actually just made to order. All this means is that Jokowi’s political career in the upcoming Presidential Election on 17 April 2019 will share the same fate with Ahok’s, with a decisive defeat.