Jokowi Strengthens National Unity With Rally Attendance: Pundits

BY :EKO PRASETYO, MARIA FATIMA BONA, MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO, YUSTINUS PAAT, CARLOS KY PAATH, ARI SUPRIYANTI RIKIN, HOTMAN SIREGAR & YEREMIA SUKOYO

DECEMBER 04, 2016

Jakarta. Pundits and lawmakers have praised President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo after he attended Friday's (02/12) mass rally in Central Jakarta, saying the move demonstrates a commitment to national unity and a willingness to hear out criticism.

“It surely provided some sort of intimacy. What stands out is the general public and rulers, no political elite figures. It affects the national unity. It is time to cooperate to build the nation, as this also overcomes the issues of treason,” Komarudin Hidayat, a Muslim scholar, said in Jakarta on Saturday.

Jokowi's attendance paid off a "debt" after refusing to meet with protesters during the Nov. 4 rally, which ended in rioting, Komarduin said.

“It influences the behavior and motivation of the attendees,” he said. “In the future, the rally may become a historical note that dialouge is a perfect measure."

Muhammadiyah secretary general Abdul Mu’ti also praised the event.

“The president and vice president’s attendance is a form of good political gesture, as an effort to be intimate with the people,” he said on Saturday.

Lawmakers, officials praise Jokowi’s move

House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto praised Jokowi, as well as National Police and military while addressing the rally.

"What the president did shows his will for unity, for peace," he said, adding he "also appreciated law enforcers action, as hopefully there are no incidents that will create chaos."

Setya urged the business community to stay calm with the possibility of future protests against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, as the president has demonstration national unity is still strong.

“Investors and business leaders, who were afraid and transferred their funds abroad, there is no need to do so. Hopefully everything will be well and in order,” he said.

Meanwhile, People’s Consultative Assembly speaker Zulkifli Hasan said Jokowi and Kalla’s presence was a blissful moment which added to the calmness of a peaceful rally.

“It was a joy for all of us, to make the ‘super peaceful’ rally in becoming more peaceful,” Zulkifli said.

Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto said he was grateful for a peaceful rally and the good behavior of all involved. The formal general and presidential candidate said Jokowi and Kalla's presence was "good for the nation."

“The decision was taken directly by the president. The reason was that he felt the need to attend in person to thank the attendees who have prayed for peace, for the longevity of the nation and the state,” Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said.

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