The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has called for restraint until official election results are announced. (Antara Photo/Rahmad)

Business Community Can Build a Bridge Over Political Divide


APRIL 24, 2019

Jakarta. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or Kadin, has called on its members to help calm tension following closely fought presidential and legislative elections last week. 

Since then, presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has declared victory four times despite quick counts showing an easy win for his rival, incumbent president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Prabowo and his supporters have threatened to launch "people power" to overturn official election results if they do not favor him.      

Kadin chairman Rosan Perkasa Roeslani said businesses should wait for the General Elections Commission (KPU) to complete their official vote count and respect whatever the results might be. 

"The situation is still tense now, but I am sure it will improve after the KPU announces the official election results on May 22," Rosan said in an event in Jakarta on Tuesday night (23/04). 

According to Rosan, businessmen and entrepreneurs are rational figures who should realize that unity and togetherness would better serve their country, and their businesses, than chaos. 

The presidential election has divided Kadin members into two camps: those who support Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, a conservative Muslim cleric, and supporters of Prabowo and his running mate, billionaire businessman Sandiaga Uno who was a Kadin deputy chairman until he ran for the Jakarta deputy governorship in 2016. 

The Kadin event on Tuesday was also attended by Erick Thohir, a media magnate and chairman of Jokowi's campaign team, and Erwin Aksa, a member of Prabowo's campaign team.

Kadin members who attended the event included former chairman Aburizal Bakrie and James T. Riady, Kadin's deputy chairman for education, healthcare and employment affairs. 

Rosan said businesses should stay away from spreading hoaxes and fake news on social media. Instead, Kadin members should actively try to create peace.

Both Jokowi and Prabowo, according to Rosan, are supporters of democracy. He said he was more than confident that the two leaders will reconcile after the official election results are announced.

Thomas Lembong, chairman of the Indonesian Investment Board (BKPM), shared a similar sentiment when he addressed local and foreign businessmen from Asia-Pacific at an APEC Business Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday. 

"The business community can build a bridge across the political divide," Thomas said.