The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been reported to the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) for his remark during the second presidential election debate calling out his opponent Prabowo Subianto's ownership of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land.
A group called the Indonesia on the Move Advocacy Team (TAIB), which supports the Prabowo ticket, filed the report to the agency on Monday, accusing Jokowi of violating the 2017 Election Law for insulting and launching a personal attack against his rival.
During Sunday’s debate, the two candidates traded barbs over agrarian reforms, including over the incumbent’s land distribution policy and issuance of land certificates across the country.
Prabowo criticized Jokowi’s policy, saying that the distribution could leave future generations with nothing, however the incumbent replied to the critique by saying that his administration did not distribute land to big companies.
The incumbent went on to say that Prabowo owned “extensive landholdings” in East Kalimantan of 220,000 ha and 120,000 ha in Central Aceh regency.
“[Jokowi’s] statement was a personal attack and it is not allowed because the points that should’ve been conveyed [in the debate] were about programs and visions for agrarian reform,” said TAIB member Djamaludin Koedoeboen.
Later in the debate, Prabowo admitted that he had cultivation rights over the land, however, Djamaludin said that Jokowi had made a false statement.
Djamaludin argued that the incumbent violated Article 280 point c of the 2017 law, which prohibits candidates from insulting others on the basis of religion or race.
Bawaslu commissioner Fritz Edward Siregar said that the agency would first look into the report as he could not make a preliminary conclusion.
Jokowi's campaign team has denied the statement was meant as a personal attack, saying that it was a form of criticism.
Abdul Kadir Karding, the deputy chairman of Jokowi’s campaign team, said the public should not be distracted by the “insubstantial” issue and should instead scrutinize how the former general obtained the land and what he uses it for.
“We have to call for the public to be critical because we are electing a leader,” Karding said. (afr)