Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has painted a grim future of disintegrated, weak and broke Indonesia without him at the helm as he delivered his first national address to lay out his vision and mission last night. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)

Prabowo Paints Grim Picture of Indonesia Without Him at the Helm


JANUARY 15, 2019

Jakarta. Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto painted a grim future of a disintegrated, weak and bankrupt Indonesia without him at the helm in the first national address of his election campaign on Monday night.

Stating his vision of a "Victorious Indonesia," Prabowo acknowledged very few of the country's recent successes.

Instead, the candidate – who less than a year ago predicted Indonesia's demise by 2030, just like the plot of a fictional novel – doubled down on his fearmongering by making references to rare cases of suicide by impoverished farmers, debt-ridden state-run enterprises and social insurance funds, debilitated armed forces, a de-industrialized economy and a prevalence of stunting in children.

"This is what I call the Indonesian paradox. Despite being a rich country, many people are still poor," Prabowo said, disregarding the fact that the country had managed to lower its poverty level to less than 10 percent from 25 percent over the past two decades.

Prabowo created an image of an Indonesia surviving in a precarious world, with foreign enemies lurking everywhere, ready to divide and conquer it. Thus, he made a point of emphasizing the previous and current presidents' failures in ensuring national food and energy self-sufficiency.

"Indonesia must win. We shall not lose. We will not be beggars. And we will not be a nation trapped in debt. Not a nation that does not defend its own people. To realize a victorious Indonesia, we must carry out a 'big push strategy,'" he said.

"It is a strategy that can help realize food self-sufficiency; energy self-sufficiency, mainly fuel; self-sufficient in clean water; and strong government institutions," he added.

Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto, left, and his running mate Sandiaga Uno acknowledge applause by their supporters after speaking at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta on Monday. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)


Prabowo also promised protection for minorities, saying that all people should be free to express their religious beliefs. However, his reference to "hallelujah" in his speech was met with far less enthusiasm from the audience than his cries of "Allahu akbar." He also neglected to mention how he would end the shuttering of unlicensed churches throughout Indonesia.

The former Army general took time to scratch the backs of his Islamist supporters, guaranteeing formal protection for ulemas to "be free from criminal threats." He also made an indirect reference to Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), the local chapter of a global pan-Islamist political organization that was banned by the administration of the incumbent, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, in 2017.

"We will also guarantee that all organizations upholding Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia shall not be stigmatized and judged without proper trial," Prabowo said.

Five Focus Points

During his speech, Prabowo laid out the five focus points under his national work program.

The program covers the economy, quality of life and social welfare, justice and quality democracy, national security and upholding the Indonesia's national characteristics and values.

He emphasized the increased industrialization of the Indonesian economy and said he would also work to increase wages of various occupations, including police officers, teachers and health workers.

According to the candidate, Indonesia would benefit from character-building by instilling "noble values and philosophies" rooted in the country's history, such as the character of a warrior who does not surrender and the belief that death is preferable to life under colonialism.

"We are racing against time. If we don't execute meaningful programs, if we don't carry out substantial transformation, we may find ourselves stuck in a concerning future, Prabowo said."

"Other nations have even showed strategic analyses that conclude the possibility of Indonesia's disintegration as a unitary republic," he added.

Prabowo said he and his running mate Sandiaga Uno are both ready to have dialogue with those who remain unconvinced of his vision and mission.

Shout-Out to the Military

The presidential hopeful closed his speech with a shout-out to the Indonesian Military (TNI), National Police and the country's intelligence services, reminding them of their vows to serve the nation.

"Thus, be loyal to the nation and the country. Not loyalty to specific regimes or specific individuals, and least of all to specific political parties," Prabowo said.