Jakarta. Lawmaker Charles Honoris has fired back at recent statements from former President Susilo Bambang Yudohoyono over the ongoing blasphemy scandal involving Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, calling the comments an "intervention" in next year's gubernatorial election.
Police are currently investigating reports of Ahok having violating blasphemy laws following a speech in which he made references to the Quran.
"Ahok has been questioned by the criminal investigation unit. So Yudhoyono's claim that Ahok is untouchable is baseless and it may be seen as an effort to intervene by agitating in the public space," the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician said in Jakarta on Wednesday (02/11).
"Yudhoyono's statement related to Friday's planned protest shows that he is making an effort to use it to further his interests in the Jakarta gubernatorial election, as his oldest son is also running," he added.
Charles pointed to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairman Prabowo Subianto as examples of how statesmen should behave.
Charles said he is skeptical of Yudhoyono's political roadshows, because the plans were announced only after a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Chief Security Minister Wiranto and are designed to rebrand the former president.
"His BLT [direct cash aid] program is the one that degrades the mentality of Indonesian people to become pragmatic and transactional, as they have forgotten the roots of our nation's culture that relies on cooperation," Charles said.
He added that Indonesia is not just Jakarta and national figures should not upend national unity for the city's gubernatorial election.