Minister of Defense in meeting with DPR Committee I: “Sovereignty is non-negotiable”

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Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto meeting with Committee I of the House of Representatives (DPR) held at the DPR RI Complex on Monday (20/01/2019). (Photo: Bachren/IDM)

IO, Jakarta – Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto has revealed that Indonesia’s maritime territory has not only been breached by China, but by certain other countries as well. “I would like to reiterate that border violations do not represent the crime of one single country, but several other countries also breached our borders,” he said after a work meeting with Committee I of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) held at the DPR RI Complex on Monday (20/01/2019).

Prabowo reported that he and Committee I have confirmed their agreement on the meaning of national sovereignty, and that there is to be no negotiation in terms of sovereignty. This is intended to refer to the unilateral claim of the Chinese Government over the waters of Northern Natuna, Riau Islands. However, maintaining defense of Indonesian territory will require investment. “I believe that there is a common understanding that sovereignty is non-negotiable. Sovereignty requires special efforts. We agree that sovereignty and independence must be defended, and defense requires investments. We cannot build strong national defense out of thin air, and the Government should think about this. The breaching of our territory, including that of Natuna recently, is something that everyone must be concerned about,” he said.

He further stated that even when Indonesia possesses and deploys robust physical defense capacity, we must still pay special attention, especially in regard to updated weapon systems and equipment. In a 6-hour meeting, Prabowo stated that Committee I DPR has also agreed to update our weapons systems and equipment in order to ensure Indonesia’s capacity of defending its sovereign borders from probes and incursions by other countries. “In order to improve our defense, we naturally need to modernize our weapon systems and equipment, to improve on what we already have. This will allow us to uphold our sovereignty,” he said.

Meanwhile, Committee I of DPR RI member Fadli Zon elaborated on his stance concerning the case of the Chinese coast guard ship intrusion into Natuna waters, observing that diplomacy must be pursued, along with physical military preparations. Furthermore, he believes that the Government must make its best effort to avoid confrontations with China. “I strongly say that our diplomacy must continue, but a clear military presence in the area must be sustained as well. We need to be prepared for a physical confrontation if necessary, to maintain our maritime or territorial sovereignty – let us not allow any misunderstanding about our determination. Negotiations or soft diplomacy is important, but a simultaneous hard or offensive diplomacy may also become necessary,” he warned.

Investigating Team
Apart from the Natuna issue, the work meeting also dealt with the ongoing corruption case within PT Asuransi Sosial Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (Persero) or Asabri, the social insurance arm of the Indonesian Armed Forces, a crime which has cost the State more than IDR 16.7 trillion. The Minister of Defense stated that he has formed an investigative team, and that this pursuit of Asabri misdeeds is supported by other agencies, i.e. the Police and the Audit Board of Indonesia (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan – “BPK”). “That is correct: we have formed an investigative team. Our law enforcement officers have also gone into action,” stated Prabowo. “Yes, they have started an official investigation of Asabri’s financial flows. We will uphold the law and apply it strictly in this case.”

BPK has embarked on an investigative audit of Asabri to track revenue streams. The Police have also created an investigative team. RI Chief of Police General Idham Azis announced that the team will be led directly by the Head of the Criminal Division, Police General Commissioner Listyo Sigit Prabowo. “I have ordered the Criminal Division to form a joint team with members from the Corruption Crime Division and the Special Crime Division of the Metro Regional Police to verify and investigate,” he revealed, when interviewed at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, East Jakarta, on Friday (17/01/2020).

Meanwhile, Commission VI of BPK member Harry Azhar Azis pointed out that the estimated Asabri loss of IDR 16.7 trillion was caused by bad investments in shares and mutual funds, among other factors. This suspicion was discussed internally at BPK. “We have reported in the meeting that there is a potential loss of IDR 16.7 trillion in two places, i.e. a mutual fund loss at IDR 6.7 trillion and share loss of IDR 9.7 trillion,” he said when interviewed at BPK RI Office, Jakarta, on Wednesday (15/01/2020). “True, some of Asabri’s share investment portfolio may cause a loss of trillions of Rupiah to the State. But others are still in good condition, and the Company may still realize profits.”

Coordinating Minister of Po­litical, Legal, and Security Af­fairs Mahfud M. D. stated that the value of PT Asabri (Persero)’s assets has plummeted by IDR 17 trillion within the past year. He expects that the investigation will allow law enforcers to discern the reason for the loss. “Whether suspicion or fact, the total asset depletion is about IDR 16-17 trillion. This total of IDR 17.6 trillion must be fully investigated. That’s all,” he said when interviewed at Sari Pan Pacific Hotel, Jakarta, on Saturday (18/01/2020).

Mahfud further stated that our soldiers do not need to worry about this case, as PT Asabri’s current cash reserve is sufficient to satisfy their requirements. “They have sufficient liquidity to ensure that all payments can be made on time,” he said. (Dan)