Jakarta. Arif Susanto, a researcher from the State Affairs and Islamic Studies Center, or PSIK, called on former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to leave politics and play the role of an elder statesman instead — as the two-time president continued to rail publicly against the alleged illegal wiretapping of an incriminating conversation between him and Indonesian Ulema Council Chairman Ma'ruf Amin.
In a discussion in Jakarta on Monday (06/02), Arief pointed out Yudhoyono — who was president from 2004 to 2014 — has been involved in five political tiffs with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the past three years.
The president and his predecessor had been at loggerheads over the Hambalang sport complex graft case, the missing investigation files on the murder of human rights activist Munir, over Yudhoyono allegedly funding an anti-government plot during the Nov. 11 and Dec. 2 protest, over Yudhoyono's protest against fake news in social media and now on the alleged wiretapping of Yudhoyono and Ma'ruf.
"These public fights are not very dignified. People are tired of seeing their former president complaining about the current one," Arif said.
He said the former president should leave politics altogether and restrict himself to giving advises to the current government, in short, play the role of an "elder statesman."
"SBY [Yudhoyono's nickname] should leave politics and offer his expertise to help the Jokowi administration," Arif said.
Tension between President Jokowi and Yudhoyono had come to a head last week after the former president, whose elder son Agus is running for governor in the Jakarta election on Feb. 15, held a press conference to declare he will "seek justice" over allegations that he had put pressure on MUI Chairman Ma'ruf to issue a fatwa against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama that he had insulted Islam.
Yudhoyono also called for a meeting with President Jokowi to straighten out recent rumors about his behind-the-scene political wheeling and dealing, including allegedly funding the Nov. 11 and Dec. 2 massive anti-Ahok protests in Jakarta.