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Jakarta Post

‘Thank You, Pak Jokowi’: Garuda Indonesia airplane sticker sparks social media controversy

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 8, 2019   /   06:32 pm
‘Thank You, Pak Jokowi’: Garuda Indonesia airplane sticker sparks social media controversy Garuda Indonesia president director Ari Askhara (second right) gives a plate of yellow rice to an official in charge of this year's first departure of haj pilgrims at Adi Soemarmo Airport in Boyolali, Central Java, on Sunday. The background shows the airplane with the controversial sticker. (Antara/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

A video on Garuda Indonesia’s Instagram page showing the airline’s haj fleet prior to the first pilgrimage flight this year has gone viral, with many netizens expressing confusion about a sticker thanking President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on one of the planes’ exterior.

The clip shows the national flag carrier’s preparation for this year’s first haj departure on Sunday evening, and it includes a quick shot of the plane’s exterior featuring a sticker that reads, “Thank You, ‘Pak’ Jokowi, pray that our haj be mabrur (performed in a manner pleasing to Allah).

In a since-deleted Instagram story, several members of the plane’s crew could be seen posing for a photo with the controversial sticker in the background.

The video, which has been viewed more than 90,000 times at the time of writing, was met with criticism from netizens, many of whom suggested the sticker reflected an official "partisan" endorsement by the airline. Some people asked whether Jokowi had paid for the aircraft or for the expenses of all the pilgrims on the plane. 

Garuda Indonesia spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told tempo.co that the sticker was meant to be there only for one day to pay tribute to President Jokowi, who was scheduled to officiate the airline’s first haj departe from Surakarta, Central Java. However, due to scheduling conflicts, Jokowi was not able to attend the departure ceremony, Ikhsan said.

He went on to say that the sticker was strictly designed for the celebratory event and would be swiftly removed. (rfa)