Megawati Sukarnoputri, chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, will campaign for incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat for Jakarta's Gubernatorial Election next month, a party official said in Jakarta on Wednesday (18/01).(Antara Photo/M. Adimaja)

First 100 Days as Much a Referendum on Jokowi as on Megawati

JANUARY 28, 2015

Analysts say the time is right for Joko to part ways with his Megawati Soekarnoputri and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) she chairs, citing strong disapproval of his first 100 days in office. (Antara Photo/M. Adimaja)

Jakarta. Analysts and politicians have called for President Joko Widodo to break away from his political patron, Megawati Soekarnoputri, after a politician in the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle that she chairs called for Joko’s impeachment.

“This is the right time to impeach Jokowi,” PDI-P legislator Effendi Simbolon said on Monday, referring to the president by his nickname.

Effendi criticized a range of Joko’s policies, including his decision to eliminate the fuel subsidy scheme and vow to tightly monitor public officials’ performance.

“I think [Joko] won’t last two years; at the earliest, in a matter of months, he will resign,” Effendi told a press conference.

Effendi added that many in the PDI-P are unhappy with Joko, who believe the president has strayed far from their vision.

The party’s biggest disappointment, Effendi said, stems form Joko’s decision to delay the inauguration of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, the president’s sole nominee for the job of National Police chief, days after Budi was named a graft suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Effendi said PDI-P supports Budi for the job, in large part due to the three-star graft suspect’s prior work as a top security advisor in Megawati’s presidency.

Effendi also said Jokowi has put too much trust on Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto, whom he called a traitor.

“Andi is a traitor,” he said. “A new kid who is trying to run this country.”

A source inside the PDI-P who requested anonymity for this story confirmed that Andi has been shielding Joko from senior PDI-P members’ lobbying efforts on behalf of Budi.

National Police Cmr. Gen. Budi Gunawan sits during the fit-and-proper test at the House of Representatives at the legislative compound in Jakarta on Jan. 14, 2015. (Antara Photo/M .Agung Rajasa)

Counter attacks

Several PDI-P politicians have retaliated against the KPK for its pursuit of charges against Budi.

The KPK has arrested dozens of PDI-P politicians in recent years for their alleged involvement in range of graft cases.

PDI-P deputy secretary general Hasto Kristianto has accused KPK chairman Abraham Samad of pursuing a vendetta against Budi, whom he says sabotaged Abraham’s ambition to become Joko’s running mate.

Abraham has denied seeking — or even entertaining overtures — to become Joko’s running mate in the presidential election.

Hasto also called on the KPK to form an ethics tribunal to dismiss Abraham.

Fellow PDI-P politician Sugianto Sabran has similarly filed a police complaint against KPK deputy Bambang Widjojanto for allegedly suborning perjury from a client he represented as an attorney in an election case that the Constitutional Court tried five years ago.

Bambang was subsequently charged by the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division, a unit led by Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso, whose son is reportedly engaged to Budi Gunawan’s daughter.

The investigation against Bambang is led by Brig. Gen. Herry Prastowo, the head of the police’s general crimes directorate, who has been summoned to testify against Budi Gunawan by the KPK.

Herry reportedly transferred up to Rp 300 million ($23,950) into Budi’s bank account between January and May 2006 — a fraction of the Rp 54 billion that the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, or PPATK, the government’s anti-money-laundering watchdog, traced through Budi’s accounts from 2005 to 2006.

Senior PDI-P politician T.B. Hasanuddin called on colleagues in the party not exacerbate their conflict with the KPK.

“With all do respect, I urge them to restrain themselves from making comments that are inappropriate,” he said.

Hasanuddin also lamented Effendi’s impeachment call, saying that during a party meeting this month, chairwoman Megawati “firmly stated that the PDI-P must fully support the president the PDI-P backs, which is President Jokowi.”

“So there is no other option. Whatever President Joko decides must be fully supported by PDI-P members.”

Agus Sudibyo, executive director of think tank Matriks Indonesia said the president must demonstrate that he is able to step out of the PDI-P’s shadow.

“Jokowi must prove his quality as a leader and act wisely and independently despite huge pressure [from the PDI-P],” he said. “This is the time for Jokowi to slowly let himself step out of the PDI-P’s influence, Megawati’s and others.’ ”

Andar Nubowo of think tank IndoStrategi echoed the sentiment, saying that the president must put the people ahead of political elites’ demands.

“If he chooses the people, then 240 million Indonesians will be on his side,” Andar said. He added that Joko needs to take firmer action by recalling Budi Gunawan’s nomination and replacing “cabinet members who contribute to diminishing public support for the government by showing no support toward the fight against corruption in Indonesia.”

Andar was referring to Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edhy Purdijanto, who last week called demonstrators rallying in support of the KPK “unimportant people.”

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Tuesday both he and the president warned Tedjo against using such controversial term.

“I have presented my views to Tedjo to use more appropriate terms,” Kalla said.

Waning popularity

The president’s popularity plunged sharply on the eve of his 100th day in office, which was Tuesday.

Pollster Puspol Indonesia said in a press conference last week that 74.6 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with Joko’s job performance in the first three months of his term in office.

“Only 25.4 percent indicated that they were satisfied,” Puspol Indonesia executive director Ubedilah Badrun said.

A total of 756 respondents from Jakarta, West Java and Banten were surveyed from Jan. 6-16. The polling period ended three days after the KPK revealed the president’s sole pick for top cop was a graft suspect, suggesting broader dissatisfaction with the president’s leadership than the instant scandal.

Joko has drawn public censure for his failure to support the KPK, whose four senior leaders now face criminal charges that critics say amount to a systematic scheme to “criminalize and incapacitate” the antigraft body.

A poll on the president’s first 100 days in office at the Jakarta Globe’s website as of Monday night indicated more than half of 1,181 respondents were dissatisfied with Joko’s job performance. Almost 39 percent considered the president’s leadership “very poor,” 12 percent deemed it “poor,” 19.3 percent called his performance “fair,” 11.5 percent said it has been “good,” 11.25 percent believed it was “very good,” while 7 percent called it “excellent.”

President Joko Widodo, bottom row, third from left, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, bottom row, third from right, and newly appointed cabinet ministers pose for photographers after their inauguration ceremony at the State Palace in Jakarta on Oct. 27, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

‘Not that simple’

Supporters first grew critical of the president’s decisions late last October, when Joko announced a cabinet lineup studded with political appointees.

Joko’s performance as Jakarta governor departed from that of most politicians in Indonesia, in that he attained a reputation in his short tenure here for focusing on service delivery and accountability for the city’s civil servants.

Supporters invested heavily in what they believed was Joko’s promise of a competence-based technocracy; it soon became apparent this promise was largely based in supporters’ projections.

Many had apparently expected Joko to appoint non-partisan technocrats to take key positions in his administration. These hopes were dashed by political realities when Joko instead tapped members of political parties that supported his administration’s Awesome Indonesia Coalition (KIH), as well as close associates of Megawati.

Personnel picks that raised eyebrows included that of former National Democratic Party (Nasdem) politician H.M. Prasetyo as attorney general and, more recently, nine members of the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), nearly all of who are senior politicians with Awesome Indonesia Coalition-affiliated parties.

Members of disenfranchised political parties quickly capitalized on the opportunity to leverage Joko supporters’ disappointment in the president’s failure to realize their dreams of a patronage-free

Indonesian technocracy by complaining that the administration was excluding members of the Red and White Coalition — which supported losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the election — from leadership posts that they saw themselves as nonetheless entitled to enjoying.

Lawyer Petrus Selestinus said PDI-P is trying to control all important public posts, including that of the National Police chief, and could soon move to take over the KPK.

“The PDI-P has shamelessly and repeatedly said that they have been absent from power for 10 years,” Petrus said.

The lawyer noted that Joko has yet to suspend Budi Gunawan from active duty on the police force, as had been the case with past top officials named as suspects in criminal investigations.

The PDI-P’s long absence from power, Petrus said, “has prompted attempts to seize absolute control of the government, if need be by force.”

Political observer Idil Akbar of West Java’s Padjajaran University said PDI-P politicians’ retaliation against the KPK and Joko could not have been done without the knowledge and consent of Megawati.

“Megawati is greatly feared, and no PDI-P politician is brave enough to challenge her authority,” Idil said. “Jokowi may be president, and he may be backed by the PDI-P, but disobeying Megawati is not that simple.”

Some demonstrators with masks in front of the State Palace in Jakarta on Jan. 21, 2015. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Independent team

Joko summoned several prominent political figures to the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Sunday to form an independent team tasked with reviewing the legal processes inside the nation’s two top law enforcement agencies that led each to pursue criminal charges against the others’ leadership.

After the meeting, members of the ad hoc team said they understood it as their mission to quell tensions between the KPK and the National Police.

The group “will try to support, improve and ensure that the police and KPK remain strong and committed to enforcing justice,” said Jimly Asshiddiqie, a former chief justice of the Constitutional Court.

Joko also tapped Bambang Widodo Umar, a member of the National Police’s oversight commission; Comr. Gen. (ret.) Oegroseno, a former National Police deputy chief; Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean, former KPK chief; Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas, a former KPK deputy; Muslim scholar Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif; and law professor Hikmahanto Juwana.

Hikmahanto said the team met on Tuesday to gather as many facts as they can about the investigations inside both the KPK and the National Police. “The facts that have been made public may be just part of the whole story,” he said.

On Tuesday, team invited University of Indonesia sociologist Imam Prasodjo and former intelligence and police chief Sutanto to join the panel.

“We decided [Syafii] will lead the team,” Jimly said, adding that the team’s secretary will be Hikmahanto.

Jimly said the team has just 30 days to conclude their findings. The team can extend their fact-finding mission for a further 30 days, but only once. “We hope that we will be done in the first 30 days,” he said.

Antigraft activists are split on whether the president can earn back the public’s trust by acting on the advice of such an independent team, or whether irreparable harm to the public’s trust has already been done by Joko’s failure to show early, decisive and independent leadership.

Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono formed a similar team in 2009 after police arrested and charged KPK deputies Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah with accepting bribes. That independent panel found numerous irregularities in the allegations and recommended the police put a stop to all investigations against the KPK deputies.

The charges were eventually dropped, no thanks to Yudhoyono, who did not act on the team’s suggestions.

Syarifuddin Sudding, of the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) said Joko may be using the team to give political cover for a later decision to recall Budi’s nomination.

“Joko will use the panel as an excuse to defy the demands of his party, which is so eager to appoint [Budi Gunawan],” Syarifuddin said.

Democratic Party politician Ruhut Sitompul shares Syarifuddin’s expectations for the panel, which he said is stacked with known KPK supporters.

Panelist Syafii denied partiality: “What we want is to save both the KPK and the National Police. Don’t let this country be ruined by a number of corrupt officials. We can’t allow this,” he said.

Further coverage

Editorial: Jokowi Must Act Fast in Police-KPK Conflict