Cabinet Secretary Pramono Speaks on 'Defend the Nation' Controversy

Students attend the Bela Negara, or Defend the Nation, program in Tasikmalaya, West Java, on Monday (09/01). (Antara Photo/Adeng Bustomi)

By : Carlos KY Paath & Eko Prasetyo | on 10:09 AM January 10, 2017
Category : News, Human Rights, Security

Jakarta. Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung has said the military-run Bela Negara, or Defend the Nation, program will be monitored closely after an official was disciplined for hosting members of the hardline Islamic Defender's Front, or FPI, at an event last week.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) dropped Lt. Col. Ubaidillah from his position as District Military Commander in Lebak, Banten, following the exercise.

“It is a valuable experience for anyone  who wishes to create such an event,” Pramono said at the Presidential Palace Complex in Jakarta on Monday (09/01).

Pramono said he had spoken to Siliwangi Regional Military Commander Maj. Gen. Muhammad Herindra about the discharge. The commander said the exercise had not been run according to procedure.

Initial investigations found Ubaidillah had railed to report the Bela Negara event to his superiors: Banten Military Commander Col. Wirana Prasetya Budi and Siliwangi Regional Military Commander Maj. Gen. Muhammad Herindra.

“The exercise was done on the sub-district level. The sub-district commander reported to the district military commander. The commander has now been discharged [for failing to report],” Pramono said.

The Bela Negara program will now be run by the National Resilience Board, in line with a decision made by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

“We only have to wait for the presidential regulation,” Pramono said.

Meanwhile, human rights groups have warned against events which involve intolerant groups, calling on Jokowi to reevaluate the Bela Negara program which has been the source of controversy since it was introduced by the Defense Ministry in 2015.

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