President Joko Widodo and his challenger Prabowo Subianto shook hands during the second live election debate at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Sunday. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Jokowi's Quizzing of Prabowo's Landholdings Leads to Melee in Debate Venue


FEBRUARY 19, 2019

Jakarta. The chairman of the Democratic Party Jansean Sitindaon has revealed that a quarrel had occured between the Jokowi and Prabowo camps inside the venue for the second presidential election debate—the Golden Ballroom of the Sultan Hotel in Central Jakarta on Sunday (17/02).

The brouhaha was recorded in a video that has gone viral on social media.

According to Jensean, Prabowo's campaign team (known by its acronym, the BPN) had complained to the General Election Commission (KPU) that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's quizzing of his challenger Prabowo's landholdings consituted a personal attack—forbidden by election rules. 

Jokowi had pointed out that Prabowo owned 220,000 hectares of land in East Kalimantan and 120,000 hectares in Central Aceh.

In response, Prabowo had said that "rather than giving the land away to foreign hands, it's better that I manage it, since I'm a nationalist, a patriot."

The shouting match—and as the video shows, there was also some pushing—had happened during a commercial break.

"We were protesting to the KPU and the Bawaslu (the Election Supervisory Agency), because Jokowi was launching a personal attack on Prabowo. That's not allowed according to the rules," Jensean said on Monday.

Ferdinand Hutahaean (BeritaSatu Photo)
Ferdinand Hutahaean from the Prabowo camp. (BeritaSatu Photo)

A video of the brief skirmish was uploaded by the Democratic Party Deputy Secretary General Andi Arief on his personal Twitter account at 4.20 p.m. on Monday.

"The Democratic Party on Monday night lodged a complaint to the KPU for allowing a personal attack that was against the rules," Andi tweeted. 

The video shows BPN members Priyo Budi Santoso, Maher Algadri, Putra Jaya Husin, Ferdinand Hutahean and Jansean Sitindaon carrying on with their protest to KPU chairman Arief Budiman and some KPU commissioners.

High-level officials from Jokowi's campaign team (called TKN), including Aria Bima and Bahlil Lahadalia, were also seen jostling with the crowd in the video. 

Things appeared to heat up when Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan was seen leaving his seat and walking over to the melee. 

The video did not catch what Luhut was saying, but it appeared some people, including Rizal Mallarangeng and Ferdinand, were trying to calm down the firebrand retired general.

Ferdinand even appeared to kiss Luhut's hand as he tried to cajole him back to his seat. 

Jansean declined to reveal what Luhut had said and claimed he had no idea why Luhut had jumped out of his seat to address the quarrelling groups. 

"We walked over to the KPU desk, and some of the TKN people were already there, Aria Bima, Rizal Malarangeng, Bahlil and others," he said.

According to Jansean, the KPU has registered their protest and the Prabowo camp is now waiting for a follow-up from the commission.