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Jakarta Post

Jokowi rejects apology, promotes stability

  • Ina Parlina and Fedina S. Sundaryani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 2, 2015   /  06:08 pm
Jokowi rejects apology, promotes stability History revisited: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and First Lady Iriana tour the Pancasila Sakti Monument at Lubang Buaya, East Jakarta, Thursday. Jokowi led a Pancasila Sanctity Day ceremony in observance of the death of seven heroes of the revolution, killed in a botched coup allegedly attempted by activists from the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).(Antara/M. Agung Rajasa) (PKI).(Antara/M. Agung Rajasa)

History revisited: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and First Lady Iriana tour the Pancasila Sakti Monument at Lubang Buaya, East Jakarta, Thursday. Jokowi led a Pancasila Sanctity Day ceremony in observance of the death of seven heroes of the revolution, killed in a botched coup allegedly attempted by activists from the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).(Antara/M. Agung Rajasa)

In a statement during the annual ceremony commemorating Pancasila Sanctity Day on Thursday, President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo told the country to remain vigilant against the prospect of socio political unrest that could threaten the country'€™s stability, just as the botched coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965 unleashed a squall of turmoil across the archipelago.

'€œI hope the G30S/PKI [coup] will not happen again in our beloved country,'€ Jokowi said after a ceremony at the Pancasila Sakti Monument in Lubang Buaya, Cipayung district, East Jakarta, on Thursday.

Responding to questions from reporters, Jokowi maintained that he had no thoughts or plans to apologize to the victims and family members of the victims who perished in the 1965 communist purge.

'€œI have no thoughts about apologizing, up until this moment I have had no such thought,'€ Jokowi told reporters.

Jokowi made the statement to counter rumors that he was scheduled on Wednesday to meet with the victims and families of the 1965 communist purge and apologize to them at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium.

Earlier, senior government officials issued statements that the government would not resort to any judicial mechanism to resolve past human rights abuse cases, including the 1965 communist pogrom.

Retired Army general Syaiful Sulun, chairman of the Communications Forum of Ex-Indonesian Military Personnel, supported Jokowi'€™s refusal to make an apology, arguing that the President did not have to apologize to the victims.

'€œThey were screaming for the President to apologize. Who were the victims in this case, if they [the PKI] were the ones who started killing our generals? And that'€™s why the people were angry [at them] at that time,'€ he said as quoted by Antara new agency.

During Thursday'€™s ceremony, Jokowi led the procession and was joined by a number of Cabinet members and state institution heads, including People'€™s Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Zulkifli Hasan, who read out the Pancasila text, and Regional Representatives Council (DPD) speaker Irman Gusman, who read out the preamble to the 1945 State Constitution.

A total of 1,029 military and police personnel, university students, high school and elementary school students, as well as boy and girl scouts, joined in the ceremony, which boasted the theme of '€œHard Work and Gotong Royong [mutual cooperation] in Implementing Pancasila'€.

After the ceremony, Jokowi visited the memorial complex, including a section depicting the scene where the generals were allegedly tortured in the 1965 incident. Many have debunked the depiction, arguing that the Indonesian Military (TNI) generals did not suffer from any torture prior to their deaths.

Meanwhile, on the same day, National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan said that the police had identified the people who were alleged to have spread rumors throughout online media that Jokowi would apologize to former PKI members and their relatives on behalf of the state.

'€œWe have done our job and have identified several parties that we suspect may have spread the news in written form and images through online media,'€ he said. He declined, however, to disclose the identities of the alleged perpetrators.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said on Wednesday that the rumor was intended to discredit the President and that he warned against those who had spread such rumors. During the presidential campaign season last year, a smear campaign targeted Jokowi by insinuating that his parents were related to the outlawed party.

Members of the Muslim community have urged Jokowi not to make the apology.

Islam Defenders Front (FPI) patron Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, known as Habib Rizieq, said an apology for the 1965 purge could lead to the recrudescence of communist ideology and threaten Muslims.

'€œIf you [Jokowi] apologize, then the state must pay compensation of Rp 1 billion [US$68,000]. If there are 3 million families, that means Rp 3 quadrillion. The PKI could rise again,'€ exclaimed Rizieq before screening the movie Pengkhianatan G30S at Majlis Talim Revolusi Anwarul Hidayah hall in Jakarta on Wednesday.

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