House of Representatives member Effendi Simbolon, second right, waves at journalists after a press conference at the legislature building in Jakarta on Sept. 14, 2022. (Beritasatu Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Lawmaker Apologizes for Calling TNI “Just another Gang”

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022

Jakarta. House of Representatives member Effendi Simbolon has apologized to the Indonesian Military (TNI) for comparing soldiers with gang members during a recent hearing with Armed Forces Commander General Andika Perkasa.

During the heated hearing with the military top brass on Sept. 5, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician accused TNI of “disharmony” and a lack of discipline among soldiers.

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He went on to criticize Andika for allegedly being in a feud with Army Chief of Staff General Dudung Abdurachman.

“There are many findings about disharmony and disobedience that make the TNI look like just another gang or mass organization,” he said at that time.

“We want to be firm that the ultimate power is shared between the president and the House of Representatives. Without House approvals, the president cannot assign the military. The TNI is just an instrument and you generals are in command only temporarily,” he said.

It remains unclear what has triggered his harsh remarks but the hearing ten days ago began with criticisms from members of the House’s Defense Commission because the Army chief of staff and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto failed to show up.

Effendi’s remarks angered soldiers who went to social media to denounce him.

“I demand that you publicly apologize to the TNI,” a Tweeter user who identified himself as Lance Corporal Arif said in a video post after calling Effendi by name.

A group of activists also reported Effendi to the House Ethics Council for his remarks on the TNI.

“I apologize for my words that may have offended and caused discomfort to any soldier or other people because of misperception,” Effendi said in a news conference on Wednesday.

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