Saturday, December 9, 2023 | 09:43 WIB

Personal attack or misuse of information?

Tarli Nugroho
Senior Researcher; Rector Assistant;

IO – I am not one of those people who considers Jokowi’s statement about Prabowo’s “property” in Aceh and Kalimantan as a form of “personal attack”. However, Jokowi’s statement remains an issue for me – for another reason entirely unconnected with any “personal attack”.

We now must respect the principle of the transparency of public information. As candidates for public office, both Jokowi and Prabowo have demands that they must fulfil. As far as I can follow, Prabowo is a very open person. The Great Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Raya – “Gerindra”) Party that he leads has earned an award from the Central Information Committee (Komite Informasi Pusat – “KIP”) as being the most transparent and informative party for three subsequent years.

This issue is, “Was Jokowi’s statement about the land that he called “Prabowo’s property” part of “public information”?”

As Prabowo later clarified, the lands that Jokowi mentioned are not his personal or private land, but the Right to Exploit (Hak Guna Usaha – “HGU”) land managed by his companies. As they are not his personal assets, these lands are naturally not included in his State Administrator Asset Report (Laporan Harta Kekayaan Penyelenggara Negara – “LHKPN”).

As a presidential candidate, Prabowo is obliged to report all of the assets that he owns, and he has discharged of this obligation. As clarified by Prabowo, he has obtained the HGU legally and he did not break any law. This was even confirmed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Once again, because it is not part of his personal assets, Prabowo did not include the lands that Jokowi mentioned in the LHKPN. So the question is: “How did Jokowi know about the existence of these lands?”

I think that this is an extremely serious issue. This is much worse than a mere accusation of “personal attack”. Can the President, with his powers, check the personal data of his citizens that the law protects – and turn it into a commodity in public space for his personal interest, or at least for interests that are not related to law and State administration?

Can this be considered as a form of power abuse? The way he made the statement seemed to be calculated to generate a stigma against a citizen, while the citizen did not break any law or regulation. This is a bad precedent. The Government seems to be free to do anything, even inappropriate things, to take down anything they don’t like.

This is why Prabowo’s campaign team has the right to express their objection and protest. On what authority can Jokowi access the personal data of a citizen whose rights are protected by law, while the data he accessed was not a personal asset that needs to be accounted for before the public? Unless Prabowo’s companies violate the law over the State’s lands that they control, for example, or if they were being the object of other legal investigation, perhaps something relating to taxes or some such, we should consider such actions to be political commodification of personal data!

However, Prabowo’s companies have not violated any law or regulation. Besides, if we refer to the Judgment of the Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung – “MA”) dated 6 March 2017, which confirmed the Judgment of KIP dated 22 July 2016, in which HGU Documents are information available to the public only if they are related to palm coconut HGUs.

Another question is: “Why did Jokowi’s Government disobey the MA Judgment that obliges the Government to uncover palm coconut plantation HGUs, while the Judgment was already enacted from two years ago?” Why did it cover up information that has been decided by law to be open, while simultaneously exposing a citizen’s personal data, which is obviously protected by law, to the public? It is very dangerous if a public official misuse the information he has because of his position for his personal interest. This insinuating statement is not only unethical socially, but also unethical in terms of the actions and behavior of public officials.


Terrorism in Palestine

Quo Vadis, Indonesia? Part I: Museums

The Museum on Fire…

The Coral Triangle Centre