The Jakarta Post
Following President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's recent decision to nominate two unconventional candidates for two of the nation's strategic posts, the House of Representatives has opened up the possibility of conducting background checks with the help of members of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Members of House Commission I overseeing defense have revealed plans to conduct fit and proper tests on the president's nominees, with the option of consulting with members of Komnas HAM and the KPK to carry out thorough background checks.
'We will form a 'clarification team' comprising members of Komnas HAM and the KPK [to verify whether any of them] have committed any human rights abuses [in the past],' said Commission member I Syaifullah Tamliha in Jakarta on Thursday, as quoted by Kompas.com.
Syaifullah, a United Development Party (PPP) politician, also urged the two candidates, Army chief of staff Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) chairman Sutiyoso, to promptly submit their official wealth reports (LHKPN) before the House conducted their fit and proper tests.
'We want this to be processed before [...] the next recess, so that we can have a new military commander and BIN director,' he said.
Jokowi has proposed Army chief of staff Gatot to succeed Gen. Moeldoko as the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander, breaking with the tradition of allowing the Army, Navy and Air Force to take turns in assuming the strategic position.
Jokowi has also named Sutiyoso to replace outgoing National Intelligence Agency (BIN) director Marciano Norman, which is widely seen as a favor to Sutiyoso, a political ally, for helping Jokowi to come into power.
Commission I chairman Mahfudz Siddiq insisted that consulting with Komnas HAM and the KPK would remain one of many options, pending a definitive decision that would be made during an internal commission meeting.
The commission has yet to determine a confirmation mechanism for the two candidates.
'If Commission I sees a necessity to include the advice of these various parties, we will introduce it in the mechanism. But if we have derived enough information [from them], we'll go ahead with the fit and proper test,' Mahfudz told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Komnas HAM chief Nur Kholis welcomed the House's plan to scrutinize the past records of Gatot and Sutiyoso.
'We suggest that input [on the two candidates] is given by many parties. The House can filter recommendations from the public pertaining to the track records of the candidates,' Nur Kholis told the Post on Thursday.
He said Komnas HAM emphasized that candidates should show a commitment to upholding human rights.
Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) executive director Poengky Indarti urged the House to be critical in its deliberations on the naming of Sutiyoso, arguing that the nominee played a large role in a spat with the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) that resulted in a fatal attack on the party's headquarters in 1996.
Serving as a military commander in Jakarta at the time, Sutiyoso was among those deemed responsible for the incident.
The attack, also known as the Kudatuli Incident, resulted in five deaths, and left hundreds injured and dozens missing. Most of the victims were loyalists of PDI-P chief Megawati Soekarnoputri.