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Jakarta Post

Government is representation of God on earth: State Palace official

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 24, 2018   /   06:09 pm
Government is representation of God on earth: State Palace official Ali Mochtar Ngabalin (kompas.com/Kristian Erdianto)

A former critic of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who now works at the State Palace claims that Muslims must not insult the government as it is “a representation of God on earth.”

Ali Mochtar Ngabalin, who joined the Golkar Party after failing to clinch the leadership of the Islamist Crescent Star Party (PBB) in 2010, said the government needed strong support, particularly from the Muslim community as the largest religious group.

He said: “The government, from a religious perspective, should not be slandered [or] insulted. According to the Quran, the Gospel, the Torah and the Psalms, the government is a representation of God on earth.”

Ali, who is also known as a Muslim preacher, was a member of Prabowo Subianto’s campaign team during the 2014 presidential election, during which he urged God to side with Prabowo and give him victory.

He was recently appointed as an expert staffer for political communication and information dissemination at the office of Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko. According to media reports, Ali claimed to have been tasked with serving as a "government mouthpiece" and combating fake news about the government.

His appointment to the Presidential Office is widely seen as an attempt by Jokowi to mend relations between the President and Muslim constituents in urban areas, many of whom are believed to be susceptible to a barrage of fake news about Jokowi and his administration.

Jokowi is seeking re-election in the 2019 election and is likely to face Prabowo for a second time.

Ali seemed to confirm this, saying his background as chairman of the Coordinating Body of Indonesian Muslim Preachers (Bakomubin) and former chairman of the Coordinating Body of Mosque Youth would help him in his new position at the State Palace.

“I have the obligation to tell [the Muslim community] that this government is good, and this government has a noble mission, as a representation of God on earth.” (ahw)