IO – While we’re still in the spirit of the month of Ramadhan, we need to ask this question to the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security, General (ret.) Wiranto.
In Islam, one’s whole life, his deeds, is measured by the way it ended. It can end well (Husnul Khotimah), or ended badly (Su’ul Khotimah). Which one will Wiranto choose? Considering his long illustrious military career and his service in the government? Wiranto just celebrated his 72nd birthday (born 4th April 1947). By human’s standard, his age is advancing to old age. His political career has also entered its final stage.
How does he want to be remembered by Indonesian people? Will he be remembered as a good man? A high-ranking military officer who participates in protecting democracy and upholding freedom and human rights?
Or it’s the reverse, he will be recorded with bad ink in our nation’s history. It is up to Mr. Wiranto himself.
His statement, in which he threatens to shut down mass media, and forming teams to monitor and observe figures who scorn the president, indicates great sign that Wiranto had chosen the second option. The option to end his political career badly.
The freedom and independence of mass media, the freedom of expression to express thoughts both verbally and in writing, including condemning the ruling President, are two important features in a democratic country. Long before, the founding fathers had also guarantee the rights in the formulation of 1945 Constitution. Only in totalitarian country – fascist and communists – were the two freedoms are prohibited. They control the media tightly, and made them a tool for propaganda. If needed, they could also thrown into exile and forced labor.
The government which fully controls its people is dramatically described by George Orwell in his best selling novel “1984”. A regime so brutal, it controls the minds of its people. This is the times which many called as the Orwellian order, inspired by Soviet’s Communist regime and the war in Great Britain.
In the US, not long after Donald Trump elected as the president (2016), in various cities, there’s simultaneous demonstrations took place. They brought a poster with the picture of Trump and “Not My President” slogan! In a number of plazas and open spaces, Trump large size dolls are displayed and was being used as citizen’s tools to vent their anger.
Some beat the dolls to a pulp in a boxing style. Some beat the dolls in Kung-Fu style, even performing somersault kicks on the dolls. The “trump doll” was truly a tool for citizens to humiliate the elected president.
Was Trump angry? Yes. Trump was angry. He also accused the mass media of provoking the public. But that’s it. He did not proceed with the threat of suppressing the media, let alone arresting his critics.
That’s democracy. People have the freedom of expression, as long as it’s under the law. The President is not a holy man who can’t be touched by the law. He still, in essence, a public servant. He becomes the ruler because it’s the people’s mandate.
Looking at his life’s journey, the choice of Wiranto’s political attitude is truly astonishing. How could it be that in less than three years he become Jokowi’s servant, he transforms into a true believer. A man with irrational action, who defends Jokowi, whether he’s right or wrong. Why he’s seemingly closed his eyes and his ears and his deepest conscience for the truth? Didn’t he see with clear eyes that there’s only small portions of the media were still critical of the regime? Most of the media have been successfully co-opted, subdued, some even become a blind supporter of the government. Can’t he act with more wisdom, those figures spoke only the truth and tried to remind Jokowi’s regime which continue to deviate from the principle of democracy.
The media suppression and the silencing of opposition figures were the style of New Order government. Wiranto had performed long service. Not less than 30 years.
Wiranto was once an adjutant, and until the peak of his career became the Minister of Defense / Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces. A very powerful figure under President Soeharto.
But at the end of his authority, Mr. Harto on May 20, 1998 called and gave Wiranto an extraordinary mandate. Soeharto, on May 21, 1998, will resign and Wiranto will be appointed as the Commander of Precautions and Safety.
Through Presidential Instruction Number 16 of 1998 Wiranto was actually given mandate to become the next ruler. That Inpres was same as the Order of Eleven March (Supersemar) from President Soekarno to the Army Commander Lieutenant General TNI Soeharto.
Armed with an order to restore security after the G30S / PKI rebellion, Lieutenant General of TNI Soeharto moved quickly. History finally recorded that he became the ruler of the New Order for 32 years
Wiranto took a different historical path from his mentor Soeharto. He chose the second option offered by Soeharto: It may be used, or not.
He chooses along the current of change along with the people and follows the constitutional path. Supporting the Vice President BJ Habibie replaced Soeharto as a president.
Wiranto’s choice was indeed right. Through the government of Habibie, the democratic era rolled on. Media also gain their freedom of an era.
Through the Minister of Information Lt. Gen. TNI (ret.) Yunus Yosfiah the press freedom faucet was opened wide. The Press Issuance Business License Institution (SIUPP) was abolished. There are no more banning institutions.
It becomes a big question mark if now Wiranto is taking a different attitude. He served decades and was very indebted to Soeharto. He was also offered to be the next ruler by Soeharto.
With his position as Minister of Defense / Commander Wiranto had great power within his hands. Like the word just by snapping his fingers, he will become the ruler of Indonesia. Jokowi at that time was somewhere obscure.
Currently his position is “only” as a Coordinating Minister for Political and Security. He entered through the reshuffle cabinet’s process. His influence in government is also very small. Far from being compared to his junior, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan. Mathematically and by the size of a normal human age, his political career is at the end of its journey.
Why did Wiranto have to put up his body and choose to deal with a large current of change in the middle of people?
Is it true that Wiranto was hit by “Jokowi effect”? An effect of figures and clever scholars who lost their common sense when they were close together and became Jokowi’s servants?
Once again, it will be returned to you, Mr. Wiranto. Do you want to end your political career and be remembered by the Indonesian nation, and grandchildren in the manner of good or bad?
The Indonesian people will be the witnesses.