The Jakarta Post
Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto says foreign interference is behind the series of nationwide rallies against the Job Creation Law and called out protesters for falling for disinformation.
Responding to the massive rallies staged against the endorsement of the controversial bill by the House of Representatives, he said the protestors had acted merely upon disinformation and hoaxes without actually reading the draft.
“The hoaxes are evidence that there are parties who want to create chaos. I believe it’s a foreign force. There are countries that don’t want Indonesia to become a safe and developed country,” he said in an interview in a Gerindra Party-affiliated YouTube channel, as reported by Tempo.co on Monday.
“This is what I always say, we have been brought into conflict [by other countries] for hundreds of years,” he said.
The Gerindra Party chairman went on to defend the newly passed law, saying its provisions would simplify business permit procedures and support economic growth.
“Without economic growth, the workers will suffer more, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding that workers should not respond emotionally and engage in vandalism.
He also expressed regret over the damage of public facilities during the three-day protest last week, noting that the facilities had been built with taxpayer funds. The three-day protest followed the passing of the bill into law by the House last Monday.
The protests peaked on Thursday, when protesters turned violent and some public facilities in Jakarta, such as bus stops, were damaged and set ablaze.
“I am not certain that students or youth groups are behind the chaos. There must be a mastermind, someone who is funded by foreign [forces]. There’s no way for patriots to burn down something that belongs to the people,” the minister added.
Thousands of students and workers across the country took to the street to protest the contentious law on Oct. 8. Rallies were staged in various regions across the archipelago, such as in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Jambi, Makassar and Bandar Lampung.
The National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM-SI) and dozens of labor unions have announced that they will continue the protests this week, despite pressure from the government. (aly)