Amnesty International Indonesia on Thursday (22/02) pointed out that the government’s approach to tackle hate speech in the country has blindsided minority groups. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Rise of 'New Wave Communism' a Red Herring: Ministers

BY : CARLOS KY PAATH/CARLOS ROY FAJARTA

SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

Jakarta. "As long as poverty exists, Marxism will attract people. A challenge for this country is to make everyone prosperous so there's no need for communism," Ilham Aidit, son of the late Indonesian Communist Party leader Dipa Nusantara Aidit, said in Jakarta on Wednesday (20/09).

Ilham said communism as an ideology does not have much sway anymore in the world.

"Communism no longer commands the world stage, but as long as poverty exists, people will look to Marxism for a way out," Ilham said.

Ilham dismissed accusations that "new wave communism" (Komunisme Gaya Baru, often abbreviated as KGB) is sweeping the country, or that the still-banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) has re-established itself and even opened party offices in a few cities.

"Do they think it's cheap to establish a party? Nonsense. Legally it's impossible. And then you've got to pay rent for the offices. Impossible," Ilham said.

Instead, Ilham suggested some politicians might be benefiting from the brouhaha over the supposed rise of "new wave communism" and may use it to their advantage in the presidential election next year.

"This issue can be used to attack anyone who is pro-communist, anti-Islam or a liberal. This is just a start before the 2019 presidential election," Ilham said.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan on Tuesday said the public should not exaggerate the so-called communist threat, including rumors that the PKI is silently making a comeback.

"It’s okay to watch out for any attempt to re-establish communism or the PKI, but there's no need to act as if we're facing a world war," Luhut said in Jakarta.

The minister urges Indonesians to put their mind to developing new technology rather than arguing about communism.

"Developing technology will take time, we should not waste it on arguing about communism," Luhut said.

Meanwhile, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said communism and PKI are two issues that reappear almost every year and always used as "political tools."

Yasonna urges the public not to react to anti-communist provocations.

"The PKI issue is a red herring. What chance have you got at resurrecting a ghost? The PKI is no more," the minister said.

Yasonna said the government still has regulations in place to prohibit communism in the country, so people should not be afraid of a communist or PKI revival.

"Don't make it into a political game. People are tired of this. Let's just concentrate on the positives," he said.

Yasonna said the recent uproar over a communist comeback was provoked by groups that are running out of issues to exploit for their political gain.

"They're running out of sensitive issues [to exploit], that's why they're doing the PKI [issue again]," Yasonna said.

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