Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) demonstrate in front of the National Police headquarters in Jakarta in January. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Third Party Cannot Force Public Institutions to Sack Their Officials: Home Minister


JANUARY 17, 2017

Jakarta. Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said on Monday (16/01) that no one has the right to compel a public institution to dismiss its officials, referring to the demands of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, to sack two police chiefs.

"A third party has no right to request the dismissal [of public officials]," said Tjahjo, who also serves as a deputy chairman of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), adding that each governmental institution has its own mechanisms to assess the performance of its officials.

In a meeting with the National Police representatives, FPI demanded the dismissal of Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan and West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan, whom they accused of "antagonizing Muslims."

The Jakarta Police chief reacted to the FPI's demands with a short comment: "Who wants to discharge me? Who is he [Rizieq] to sack me? He can't," Iriawan said.

The organization's calls against the West Java Police chief came after a violent scuffle that broke out between FPI members and the so-called Indonesian Grassroots Movement (GMBI) in Bandung last week, when Rizieq was interrogated for allegedly insulting the official state ideology Pancasila.

FPI accused the West Java Police of backing the GMBI.

FPI leader Rizieq Shihab is facing a string of police reports, ranging from blasphemy and hate speech to defamation. Several West Java organizations reported him for mocking Sundanese culture by making a pun on "sampurasun," the Sundanese word for "hello," and "campur racun" ("mixed with poison").

He was recently reported to the Jakarta Police for a speech that went viral on social media, in which he allegedly said the new rupiah banknotes featured the hammer-and-sickle symbol that resembles the logo of the long-disbanded and prohibited Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

Several watchdog organizations and experts have called on the National Police to fast-track the investigations against him.