Religious Affairs Minister's Tweet Politically Biased: Political Observer


FEBRUARY 14, 2017

Jakarta. A tweet from Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim has been seen as carrying a biased political statement, a political observer has said.

On Sunday (12/02), on his official Twitter account @lukmansaifuddin, the minister wrote: "We are a religious nation, in which religion is a frame of reference for actions. Selecting a governor based on religion is not unconstitutional."

Indonesian Political Analysis Institute executive director Maksimus Ramses Lalongkoe said that Lukman's statement may bias voters toward a candidate with a similar religious background.

"The essence of Mr. Lukman's tweet is political, as if he was directing the voters to vote for a certain candidate. The constitution does not regulate it, but as a minister and a public figure, he should stand up to the [country's] democratic foundation that is based on diversity," Ramses said in Jakarta on Monday.

"The tweet was not proper, especially ahead of the election day. Members of the public surely understood the tweet politically," Maksimus said.

The netizens' replies to Lukman's tweet were mostly related to Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy case.

Ahok, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, was charged with blasphemy in November last year amid mounting pressure from Muslim hardliners, who staged a wave of mass demonstrations against him.

He is accused of having insulted Islam in a speech he made on Pramuka Island in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district, by reportedly saying that nobody should quote the Koran for personal political gain.