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Jakarta Post

'Is it because I'm a woman?': Gerindra lawmaker fumes over prayer reading snub

  • Dyaning Pangestika
    Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 27, 2019   /   09:36 pm
'Is it because I'm a woman?': Gerindra lawmaker fumes over prayer reading snub Gerindra Party lawmaker Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo. (

Lawmaker Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo has expressed her disappointment in People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan, who she says blocked her from performing the role of prayer reader during a plenary session on Friday.

The Gerindra Party member was originally told she would be tasked with reading the closing prayer during Friday’s plenary session. However, when Rahayu arrived at the meeting room in the morning, party faction leaders told her that Zulkifli disapproved of the decision to appoint her as prayer reader.

“I felt very disappointed because I was going to be the first woman, as well as the first non-Muslim, to read the prayer during the plenary session,” Rahayu said in a written statement received by The Jakarta Post on Friday.

After receiving the news, Rahayu proposed giving the role to a Christian member in the assembly. However, the prayer session had been erased from the event rundown altogether. 

“I just want to ask the honorable Pak Zulkifli Hasan, is it [his objection] because I am a woman, or because I am not a Muslim?” Rahayu said.

Zulkifli, who is also the chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), supported Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto, who is Rahayu’s uncle, during April’s presidential election.

Since it was announced that Prabowo had lost to incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, PAN has begun to shift its support to the president-elect.

Gerindra lawmaker Fadli Zon lamented the incident, saying the rejection was “unnecessary” if the prayer was indeed scheduled.

“We will check. If [the event] had been scheduled, this should not have happened,” he said.

Rahayu is known to be among the staunch advocates of the deliberation of the sexual violence bill (RUU PKS) in the House. However, she failed to secure reelection for the next term, which is set to begin on Oct. 1. (ggq)