The Jakarta Post
A heated exchange between Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Arteria Dahlan and economist Emil Salim on TV has circulated like wildfire on social media, with netizens criticizing the former for being disrespectful to the latter, who is decades his senior.
House of Representatives members and experts, including Arteria and Emil, had been invited to the program Mata Najwa on the topic of a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to revise the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law.
Arteria, 44, is a member of House Commission III, which oversees law and security, from East Java VI electoral district that covers Tulungagung regency, Kediri city, Kediri regency, Blitar regency and Blitar city.
Emil Salim, 89, is an economist with the University of Indonesia (UI), who holds an undergraduate degree from UI as well as a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of California in the Unites States.
Emil held various government positions starting in 1966 as a member of then-president Soeharto’s economic advisor team. Emil has served as minister as well, namely as state apparatus improvement and clean-up minister from 1971 to 1973, transportation minister from 1973 to 1978, population and environment minister from 1978 to 1983 and development supervision and environment minister from 1983 to 1993.
The heated exchange began with Emil Salim highlighting what he called a credibility gap between the sitting House members and their campaigns leading up to their election. He referred to a book by Edward Aspinall: Democracy for Sale.
“You said that you were elected, but the problem is, is that process free from corrupt practices?” Emil said in the program aired Wednesday evening.
Seemingly offended by the questions, Artedria said, “of course,” while continuing to interrupt Emil.
“The professor asked if my election was free from corruption or not; of course it was,” he said in a high-pitch tone.
“You can be a minister because of political processes at the House as well,” Arteria went on.
Emil wanted to continue, but Arteria kept cutting him off in the middle of his sentence.
“What becomes a problem in our democracy, there is a report ... listen first!” Emil said, looking obviously annoyed by Arteria’s interruptions.
“Democracy for Sale and arrests of the elected politicians by the KPK. So the problem is, are our elections truly credible? If you are proud of being elected, then is it true [that it is free from corrupt practices], how much did it cost you and where did [the campaign funds] come from,” Emil said.
A snippet of the program highlighting the heated exchange circulated online, and social media users strongly criticized Arteria’s behavior, calling it disrespectful.
Twitter user @BadutGotham posted a 1:21-minute clip of the program and tweeted “House members should give an example to the people by listening! He needs to be schooled professor. In the end Professor Emil reprimanded him. Remember, your mouth is your tiger.”
Commenting on the heated exchange, Rizki Oceana tweeted under his Twitter handle @roceano “Your attitude defines your altitude. This time, Arteria Dahlan is going low, far from anyone on the table.”
your attitude define your altitude— Rizki Oceano (@roceano) October 9, 2019
This time, Arteria Dahlan is going low, far from anyone on the table https://t.co/26bM8TC2uo
The clip had been watched more than 1.1 million times and the tweet retweeted 1,200 times by Thursday afternoon.
Agus Mulyadi posted another 2:20-minute clip of the same program, highlighting Arteria’s behavior and tweeted: “House members like Arteria Dahlan are proof that the House has not only an attendance crisis, but also a moral and manner crisis.” The tweet was retweeted over 6,800 times and liked 7,800 times.
Anggota DPR seperti Arteria Dahlan ini menjadi bukti bahwa DPR bukan hanya krisis daftar hadir saat sidang, tapi juga krisis moral dan krisis adab. pic.twitter.com/m5x6eayl8i— Agus Mulyadi (@AgusMagelangan) October 10, 2019
Arteria Dahlan is also trending on Twitter with more than 65,700 tweets, mainly criticizing him.
Arteria’s Wikipedia page was also briefly vandalized, with netizens writing that he was a loudmouth and they feel sorry for his family. Wikipedia has since locked the page to prevent further vandalism.
Arteria’s career as a lawmaker started in March 2015, when he replaced Djarot Syaiful Hidayat, who had been picked as Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s deputy governor in Jakarta. Arteria was reelected in the 2019 general election, gaining 108,259 in the electoral district East Java VI.
When asked about his behavior on the program, Arteris said he had just been telling the truth and that Emil Salim’s criticism of the KPK Law revision process was outside of his expertise as an economist.
“It’s okay. I volunteer to tell the truth, even if it is not popular,” Arteria said on Thursday, kompas.com reported.