Law expert and former justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra in this file photo. (Antara Photo/Agung Rajasa)

Foreign Ministry Tells Diplomats to Focus on Job After Ambassador's Racist Tweet

MARCH 31, 2016

Jakarta. The Foreign Affairs Ministry called all Indonesian diplomats to focus on their jobs, after Indonesia's Ambassador to Japan, Yusron Ihza Mahendra courted controversy for a tweet criticizing incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

“We expect all envoys to do their jobs overseas and focus on performing their diplomatic duties entrusted to them by the Indonesian government,” ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said on Thursday (31/03).

“They should only focus on the tasks given by the government.”

Arrmanatha refused to say whether the ambassador has been reprimanded for his tweets saying that the ministry “regularly communicates with their envoys,” suggesting the issue has been brought up by minister Retno Marsudi.

Yusron sent a tweet on Monday urging the governor to drop his no-nonsense, outspoken leadership style, suggesting that his attitude could prompt a repeat of the sectarian riots targeting ethnic Chinese in the capital in 1998.

“Ahok must not be so arrogant as a leader. Have pity on other Chinese who are poor, kind and innocent if they fall victim,” he tweeted, referring to the governor by his popular nickname.

Yusron is the brother of law professor Yusril Ihza Mahendra, who has announced his ambition to become Basuki's rival in next year's gubernatorial election.

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