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Jakarta Post

Jokowi inaugurates new antiterror agency chief despite criticism

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 6, 2020   /   04:10 pm
Jokowi inaugurates new antiterror agency chief despite criticism Police Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar wears a mask during his inauguration as the head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) on Wednesday. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday inaugurated police Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar as the new head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) despite criticism from police watchdogs over the manner of the appointment.

Boy – a veteran police officer who has held various high positions in his 32-year career, including Papua Police chief – was chosen to replace fellow police officer Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius, who had helmed the BNPT since 2016. Prior to the promotion, Boy served as the deputy chief of the police’s education and training institute (Lemdiklat).

Around 20 people, including some high-ranking officials, attended the inauguration ceremony, maintaining a distance between one another in the line the health protocol amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to convey my gratitude to Pak Jokowi for giving me this opportunity. In facing the challenges ahead, the BNPT should be an institution that can incorporate strengths from all elements in the government and society in the fight against terrorism,” Boy said after the ceremony.

He added that the focus of the BNPT would be to intensify cooperation with stakeholders from home and abroad. “We know that terrorism is a transnational organized crime. We have to work together; we have to collaborate and incorporate resources from the government and from the people.”

The mechanism of Boy’s appointment has been under scrutiny, with Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) chairman Neta S. Pane criticizing the fact that Boy was appointed through a National Police chief telegram.

Neta argued it was the President’s prerogative to appoint and inaugurate the BNPT chairman, not the National Police chief’s, as stipulated in a 2010 presidential regulation on the BNPT.

While the antiterror agency had previously been led by police generals, Neta said the police chief only had the authority to recommend a name to the President to fill the position.

Boy defended his appointment, saying that some people might have misunderstood the process. He said the National Police chief’s telegram had merely appointed him as a senior officer to the National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad, who would then be assigned to the BNPT.

“So, in the telegram, I was not [directly] named as the head [of the BNPT],” Boy said, adding that the appointment and inauguration of the BNPT head was the President’s domain.

Boy, who graduated from the National Police Academy in Semarang, Central Java, in 1988, served as the Papua Police chief from April 2017 to August 2018, when he was assigned to the Lemdiklat. Prior to his assignment in Papua, he had served both as a National Police and Jakarta Police spokesperson as well as the Banten Police chief. (asp)