Prabowo leaving a May Day rally in Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Prabowo's May Day Speech: Media Destroys Democracy


MAY 01, 2019

Jakarta. Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto delivered a fiery speech at an International Workers' Day celebration in Jakarta on Wednesday, lambasting local media for not telling the truth about the presidential election and destroying Indonesia's democracy.

Prabowo attended the May Day celebration, organized by the All-Indonesian Workers' Union Confederation  (KSPSI), at the Indoor Tennis stadium, part of the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex, in Senayan, South Jakarta.

The former head of the Army's special forces (Kopassus), as reported by CNN Indonesia, quoted Abraham Lincoln's famous line in his speech, "You can fool all the people of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Prabowo was alluding to quick count results of the presidential election, all of which showing him trailing way behind his rival, incumbent president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The former general has independently claimed victory in the election at least four times and called on his supporters to inspect the real count by the General Elections Commission (KPU).

The KPU has already counted 58.71 percent of the total votes and currently the tally has Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin leading by 55.99 percent against Prabowo and running mate Sandiaga Uno's 44.01 percent.

"To the media people who dare coming here, I salute you, you will be recorded in history. But I am telling you, you are destroying democracy in Indonesia right now. I am telling it as it is. What is wrong is wrong, don't turn things around," he said.

Prabowo told workers in the audience that they are the backbone of Indonesia's economy. "All of you, workers, fishermen, you are the one who work hard for the people, the nation and the country. You spend all of your energy making a living for your family every day. You deserve to be called the backbone of Indonesia's economy," he said.

Indonesia, a country with a labor force of around 110 million, has enjoyed a stable macroeconomic growth in the past 15 years, having made a full recovery from the 1998 Asian economic crisis that tore down the country's economy.

However, despite the excellent macroeconomic condition, the informal sector still plays an important role in the Indonesian economy. There are no exact figures on how many people are employed in this sector, but around 55 to 65 percent of workers in Indonesia can be called informal and around 80 percent of them are in rural areas, working mostly in construction and agriculture.

Workers in the informal sector frequently suffer from job instability and get less benefit and protection at work — conditions that local labor unions have been fighting for years. One of their biggest demands is an end to outsourcing, often implemented by big corporations to reduce costs.