Rhoma cleared of campaign violations
Paper Edition | Page: 1
Rhoma Irama (JP)
The Jakarta Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) cleared the “King of Dangdut”, Rhoma Irama, of alleged campaign regulation violations on Sunday.
Panwaslu chairman Ramdansyah said that the controversial comments Rhoma delivered in a sermon last month did not constitute an election campaign violation.
“We, therefore, have stopped our investigation into the case and will not report the case to the police,” Ramdansyah told reporters at his office in Central Jakarta on Sunday evening.
According to Ramdansyah, the investigation found that Rhoma was not a member of incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo’s campaign team.
“There was no financial connection between Rhoma and Fauzi’s team. Rhoma also did not say anything about Fauzi’s vision, mission or programs,” said Ramdansyah.
Last month, in a sermon at a mosque in West Jakarta, Rhoma warned Muslims in Jakarta about the dangers of electing Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose mother he labelled a Christian, and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese-Indonesian and a Christian, in the Sept. 20 Jakarta gubernatorial run off.
Rhoma then pointed out that Fauzi was a Muslim and of heritage Betawi — Jakarta’s native ethnic group. The singer went on to point out that Fauzi’s running mate, Nachrowi Ramli, shared a similar profile.
Though Fauzi attended the sermon, he repeatedly denied any links to Rhoma.
The King of Dangdut’s remarks aroused the ire of many residents, who accused Rhoma of deliberately raising the issues to discredit Jokowi, who finished first in the first round of the election.
Others said Rhoma’s comments would only help to create another “Inul”, referring to the 2006 controversy in which the King of Dangdut berated the morality of little-known dangdut singer Inul Daratista for her sensual, gyrating “drill” dance in a hearing at the House of Representatives. Inul’s career skyrocketed as the public rallied around the singer. Fauzi’s supporters feel Rhoma may have repeated the same mistake and inadvertently boosted the Jokowi camp’s popularity.
Ahok has been targeted by a number of negative campaigns ahead of the runoff election on Sept. 20.
“I have forgiven Bang Rhoma,” said Ahok about the remarks.
Ferry Frans Simanjuntak, a representative of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), said he appreciated Panwaslu Jakarta’s efforts and called on campaign teams to avoid racial and ethnic slurs.