Monday, April 22, 2024 | 07:43 WIB

Lies that rival any of pinocchio’s

Edy Mulyadi
Senior Journalist

IO – Joko Widodo is a “simple man”. At least, that is the perception and opinion that has been and is still being crafted. Since seeking his fortune in the DKI Gubernatorial Elections in 2012, the former furniture seller from Solo has been made over totally. The same efforts were continued when the frog-keeping man went forward during the 2014 Presidential Election.

The ironic polish of being a “simple man” is really taken seriously. In all strategic corners of the Capital, you can see banners of Widodo wearing a simple white work shirt with arms partially rolled, wearing simple black pants and shoes. The price of each of these items, which is quite affordable, was blatantly shown. Even the fact that his arm lacked a wristwatch further explained his “simplicity”. He was entirely made over carefully.

Was it a success? Yes, apparently so. The team of communications and political consultant for the man who used to answer “copras capres, ora mikir, ora mikir” (“presidential candidacy schmandidacy, who thinks about it?”) when asked about presidential candidacy seems to have reaped glorious rewards. The people have seemingly fell under the spell of the unique bureaucrat who is nothing like the profile of officials in general: simple, honest, salt of the earth, likes to make sudden inspection, et cetera, et cetera. Widodo succeeded in eliminating his rival Prabowo Subianto from the 2014 Presidential Election.

“Widodo is a good man.” At least, that is the opinion and perception stuffed into the minds of the Indonesian people. One of the characteristics of a good man honest, one who does not (have the hobby to) lie. Up this point, the public has now started to find something different. Unfortunately, the people are given facts that belie the image of “honesty”.

The memory of the Indonesian people can be called short. However, just to remember the promise made by the Incumbent Presidential Candidate for the 2019 called “Cak Jancuk” (“Brother F***er”) by his supporters in East Java, i.e. that he would not make any food imports, is certainly not difficult. During the 2014 Presidential Debate, the Jancuk boldly promised that when elected President, he would stop rice, sugar, corn, soybean, fruit, salt, meat, and other food imports. The reason? Indonesia already has them! In large quantities!

However, within the more than four years of his rule, all the promises were broken to smithereens. Amazingly, imports were actually made in the middle of great harvest time! Is it a wonder that farmers scream under the weight of their burden? “Widodo has lied!”

During the 2014 Presidential Campaign, the Jancuk also said that if he were elected President, he would stop foreign debts. Again, what happened was to the contrary. Within fewer than four years, he has amassed more than Rp 1,600 trillion in debts. That was the biggest amount of debt, generated in the shortest amount of time! “Cak Jancuk lies!”

Lies and untruths seems to be part of the beat and rhythm of this man. It is still fresh in our minds how, during the Second Presidential Candidate Debate on 17 February, the Jancuk bathed the forum with lies and untruths. His statement about going alone with only his chauffeur to a fishermen’s village at Tambak Lorok, Semarang, was clearly an untruth. How can the President leave alone with his chauffeur in the middle of the night? Where were the Presidential Bodyguard at the time? Taking a mass retirement?

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, whom Chairwoman of Indonesian Democrat of Struggle Party (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) Megawati publicly belittled as “an official of the party” further said that throughout his rule, no forest fires occurred. This is also an outrageous untruth. The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry said that in 2016 forest fires burnt 14,604.84 hectares. In the following year, 11,127.49 hectares of fires were burned. In 2018, forest fires consumed 4,666.39 hectares.

In response to the above untruths about forest fires, within a matter of minutes the social media universe was filled with various rebuttals, complete with data. As if that were not enough, WhatsApp groups were also flooded with photos of Jancuk standing amid the ashes of burnt forests.

Sprinkles of untruths also occurred when he said there were barely any agrarian conflicts during his rule, as the Government grants sufficient damages to the people for lands used in each project. In fact, in nearly all sites of the people’s lands used for development projects, there were conflicts that cause many deaths and injuries. The Agrarian Reform Consortium (Konsorsium Pembaharuan Agraria – “KPA”) recorded that in 2018, the size of lands subject to agrarian conflicts covered 807,170 hectares.

Among the list of untruths spouted by Cak Jancuk that night is data on corn imports, which are said to have decreased down to 180,000 tons. In fact, Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik – “BPS”) stated that corn imports in 2018 totaled 737,220 tons. Similarly, regarding data on palm coconut production, Widodo has lied by saying that total production in the past year was 46 million tons, while in fact we only produced 34.5 million tons.

The man who loves to take selfies in disaster areas also spread out a hoax by claiming that he has constructed 191,000 km of village roads. This claim is clearly super messed up and impossible to perform. The calculation goes like this: a total of 191,000 km of village roads, divided with 4 years, that that’s equal to 47,050 km/year constructed. That would mean 3,979 km constructed a month or 132 km a day. Divide that into 24 hours, that means that the Jancuk claimed that he has constructed 5.5 km of village roads an hour, or 91.6 m a minute, or 1.5 m a second.

Please note these numbers well. What common sense can accept such imaginary claims? Even Bandung Bondowoso of the myths, who was claimed to have built 1,000 temples in a night, is scarcely an exaggeration when compared with this feat!

Lies are clearly not a good sign. Whoever indulges in them cannot be called a good person, especially if lies are his hobby and daily routine. Naturally, such a person would not only be an untrustworthy man, but also a dangerous one.

Unfortunately, the Indonesian people cannot (yet) differentiate between private lies and public lies. If a husband lies to his wife, for example, that is a private lie. Only the wife stands to suffer any damage, or at most his children too. However, when lies are spouted by a public official, especially a President, it would be public untruths. The ones to be damaged are the people in general. When a (Candidate) President said that he would not import rice, farmers would naturally plant rice enthusiastically. Yet when great harvest arrives, major rice imports are revealed. Consequently, farmers are victimized by the failure of their harvest to sell in the domestic market. We are not talking about one or two farmers, but millions, even tens of millions of farmers suffering major losses.

The Indonesian people should learn to differentiate between private untruths and public untruths. Advanced countries apply high standards for untruths. The American people, for example, could understand when Clinton admitted his affair with White House apprentice staff Monica Lewinsky. He was spared an impeachment. On the other hand, President Nixon was swept away by the Watergate scandal because it was proven that he has lied.

One lie is a mistake. However, multiple lies are habit and character. There is a mountain of lies, a pile of untruths. In the fairy tale Pinocchio, the nose of the eponymous wooden puppet coming to life lengthens every time he lied. However, Pinocchio’s lies were private lies, even a child’s lies. Therefore, it is clear that even Pinocchio’s level of lying is still below that of our president. I really don’t dare to think what would happen if this fairy tale rule applies in our world – how many meters long would the man’s nose be then…?

Lying is deplorable. Rasulullah SAW even mentioned lies as one of the three characteristics of a hypocrite, the other two being an inability to keep promises and the tendency to break a trust. A good person is not a liar. An honest man is not a liar. Cak Jancuk has lied and spread untruths many times. At this point, he is definitely not a good man. Indonesia does need a president who understands issues and able to resolve them quickly and accurately.  But equally important, Indonesia needs an honest president, not a liar!