The Jakarta Post
Lawmakers and officials from both pro-government and opposition coalitions have responded variously to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s fiery speech on Saturday.
In front of thousands of his volunteers, Jokowi hit back several criticisms recently fired against him and his administration. They include #2019changepresident and the opposition leader Prabowo Subianto's claim that Indonesia could break up by 2030.
“A leader should convey optimism and encourage his or her people, even though there are many difficult challenges,” Jokowi shouted. “He [Prabowo] should not be pessimistic and talk about a potential for Indonesia to break up in 2030.”
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko denied that the speech was a sign of Jokowi’s anger.
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“He was not angry. He was just a little bit stern,” said the former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander as quoted by Kompas.com. “The President can get irritated too, especially with all the false and misleading news.”
Oesman Sapta Odang, chairman of the Jokowi-backing Hanura Party, said President Jokowi's speech was an understandable response to attacks he had faced.
“Now that he is officially running [for president in the 2019 election], it’s natural that he will counter all rumors that are detrimental to him,” he said.
House of Representatives deputy speaker and Gerindra vice chairman Fadli Zon suggested that Jokowi might have been trying to emulate the Gerindra chairman.
“Maybe he [Jokowi] was trying to imitate Prabowo.".
Fadli had previously tweeted a veiled statement on his official Twitter account @fadlizon, saying: “[He] wants to be an orator like Prabowo, but ends up being like stand up comedy.” (ebf)