Lawmaker Calls Ambassador's Anti-Ahok Tweet Unethical


MARCH 31, 2016

Jakarta. Supiadin A.S., a lawmaker for the National Democratic Party (NasDem), says a controversial tweet sent by Indonesia's ambassador to Japan, Yusron Ihza Mahendra, was unethical.

Yusron on Monday (28/03) criticized Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s leadership in a tweet widely considered racist.

‎"Mr Yusron’s action was not based on good ethics. He should not have interfered with issues beyond an ambassador’s duties,” Supiadin, a member of House of Representatives’ Commission I, said on Thursday.

The NasDem politician then implied that Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi should fire Yusron, who is the brother of gubernatorial hopeful Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a noted lawyer and former minister.

"It is fully the authority of the foreign minister," he said. "She knows the process and procedure to dismiss an ambassador."

NasDem is backing Ahok's re-election bid.

In a tweet on Monday, Yusron urged the governor to drop his no-nonsense, outspoken leadership style, suggesting that his attitude could prompt a repeat of the bloody sectarian riots targeting ethnic Chinese in the capital in 1998, during which many were raped and killed.

“Ahok must not be so arrogant as a leader. Have pity on other Chinese who are poor, kind and innocent if they fall victim,” the tweet reads in English.

Basuki, who is of Chinese ancestry, on Wednesday lodged a formal complaint against the ambassador with minister Retno, saying that Yusron's tweet was “out of line and racist.”

He said he believes Yusron's tweet should be seen in the light of his brother's stated intention to run for governor as well.

"Using religion is an act of cowardice and actually insulting God," said Ahok. "God is not a racist. You’re a Muslim, I’m a Christian, but we breathe the same air given by God."