The Jakarta Post
The acting regent of Labuhan Batu in North Sumatra has come under fire after his son allegedly joined the Independence Day flag-hoisting team without going through the prerequisite selection process.
North Sumatra Ombudsman head Abyadi Siregar said the controversy surrounding the role of the acting regent’s son, Doni Ramadhan, had to be immediately addressed in the interest of the public.
He decried Doni’s purported backdoor entrance to the flag-hoisting team as discriminating against other students who had undergone the strict selection process.
“This [issue] has to be cleared up. Just because he’s the acting regent’s son doesn’t mean he should be granted a free pass to join the flag-hoisting team without undergoing the selection process. This sets a bad precedent,” Abyadi told The Jakarta Post on Sunday evening.
He went on to say than Doni had never been listed among candidates competing for a part in the flag-hoisting team in Jakarta. The Jakarta Youth and Sports Agency had added Doni to the team in the last minute, purportedly upon the acting regent’s request, he said.
Abyadi said public scrutiny of Doni’s last-minute addition to the flag-hoisting team had intensified, especially following the agency’s controversial decision to drop local high school student Koko Ardiansyah as a qualified candidate. Public support has poured in for Koko, who is an orphaned teenager, as he was said to have lost his slot on the team to Doni, he added.
“This is the problem: Many people think Doni coasted on his parent’s clout to enter the team, whereas Koko was powerless because he is an orphan,” Abyadi said.
He added that Doni – a twelfth-grader – should not have been allowed to join the flag-hoisting team, since only students of grades 10 or 11 were eligible, according to the rules.
Acting Labuhan Batu regent Andi Suhaimi responded to the controversy, saying there was nothing out of the ordinary regarding his son’s participation in the Independence Day flag-hoisting team.
“My son is clearly qualified [for the flag-hoisting team]. Who says children of administration officials aren’t allowed [to join the team]?” Andi said. (rfa)