Questioning the appointment of a ‘caretaker governor’ for the police

Bambang Rukminto
Police Observers ISeSS Institute for Security and Strategic Studies

IO – Law No. 2/2002 in Article 28 Paragraph 1 states that ‘the police of the Republic of Indonesia are to remain neutral in political life and shall not engage in practical political activities.’ Article 28 Paragraph 3 of the police Law No. 2/2002 states that ‘Members of the Indonesia State Police can occupy positions outside the police after resigning or retiring from police service ‘.UU 2/2002 is still in effect, as there has been no change.

The discourse of proposing the appointment of a ‘caretaker governor’ for West Java and North Sumatra from active high-ranking Police officers has aroused concern amongst the general public. Is this a strategic political move by President Jokowi? Pilkada is certainly an arena of political struggle in the era of democracy. Dragging police into the middle of a political battle is not really a smart move for this regime, or for the police themselves. It is as if there were no other bureaucratic group outside the police to fill the post of caretaker governor.

The Jokowi regime did not want to touch the leadership case of Kapolri Dai Bachtiar, who openly supported Megawati in the 2004 election. The main duties and functions of the police in accordance with the mandate of the Act are to maintain public order and law enforcement, not to work as a government functionary. President Jokowi should be wise in deciding on a proposal that would obviously increase the burden and create a useless dilemma.

Drawing the police into the political sphere will clearly not benefit Jokowi’s image as a representative of democratic civilian leadership. In addition, it will also be unprofitable for the development of a modern image of the police in the future. On the other hand, as the holder of the mandate of the country, according to Law 2/2002 Police will be stuck with political pragmatism that rolls along for 5 years.

As a state apparatus, a professional police force should be neutral from any political appeal of the regime. The duties of the police are not tied to any regime, but to the state. The regime may change, but the police must keep straight by maintaining the trust of the state. It is undeniable that the governorship is a political office. It cannot be denied that the appointment of a caretaker governor is seen as a political strategy. The proposal for a caretaker governor appointed from the institution of the police of the Republic of Indonesia is inevitably perceived as a politically strategic move of the regime.

On the other hand, in accordance with article 28, paragraph 3 of 2/2002, ‘Members of the police of the Republic of Indonesia may occupy positions outside the police after resigning or retiring from police service. This is the reason that should be the basis of the Chief of Police in questioning the urgency of the proposed appointment of a member as caretaker Governor. Is there no other candidate? Why must a high-ranking police officer be considered for caretaker governor? Chief of Police Tito Karnavian wishes to pass on what tradition for the future of the police? Is it just professional, modern, reliable jargon or will they really build a modern and professional police infrastructure? All depends on the policy options at this time.