Jokowi Chooses Andika Perkasa as Candidate for The Indonesian Military Commander, Coalition: A Step Back

Reporter: Budiarti Utami Putri

Editor: Syailendra Persada

Friday, November 5th, 2021 06:38 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform rejected President Joko Widodo's decision to propose General Andika Perkasa as a candidate for the Indonesian military commander. The coalition considers Andika's nomination a step backwards taken by Jokowi.

"The civil society coalition rejects the President's proposal to the Board of Citizen Representatives (DPR) which proposes Andika Perkasa's name as the new Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander," said Coalition representative Usman Hamid at a press conference, Thursday, November 4th, 2021.

Usman suspects that Jokowi's decision to appoint Andika was due to political factors. He suspected that this could not be separated from the closeness of Andika's father-in-law, Abdullah Mahmud Hendropriyono, with the PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Hendropriyono was the Head of the State Intelligence Agency when Megawati was President of the Republic of Indonesia.

"In many ways the President can be considered as not having the autonomy to make his own decisions and is very dependent on the political interests around him," said Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director.

The coalition stated that there were three serious problems with Andika's candidacy. First, President Jokowi is considered to have ruled out the pattern of dimension rotation in the replacement of the Military Commander in force during the Reformation era.

Imparsial researcher Hussein Ahmad said this rotation was important so that no one dimension seemed privileged. He reminded that the army had become a golden child by always leading the armed forces during the New Order era.

"This rotation is important in order to avoid jealousy within our armed forces," Hussein said at the same conference.

Andika's appointment is also considered to violate the philosophical principles of national defense. According to Usman Hamid, Law Number 3 of 2002 stipulates that national defense is prepared by taking into account the geographical conditions of Indonesia, which is an archipelagic country.

Usman said this geographical condition should be a consideration for the President to rotate the position of The Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander. He considered that filling the post of commander-in-chief, which was dominated by the army, could actually hinder the TNI's reform towards a defense paradigm based on an archipelagic state.

Usman also touched on the escalation of conflict in the South China Sea. In view of this, he said, Indonesia needs a Military Commander who has a strategic perspective in the maritime sector and archipelagic state.

"In this case, the President should have appointed the Chief of Naval Staff as the new Military Commander," said Usman.

Second, the Coalition highlights Andika's track record in the field of human rights. The name Andika Perkasa is suspected of being involved in the murder of a West Papuan leader, Theys Eluay.

Coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Fatia Maulidiyanti said President Jokowi should have dismantled the case thoroughly. Fatia asked Jokowi not to extend the chain of impunity rooted in TNI institutions.

"If Andika is appointed without any consideration regarding his involvement in the case, then Jokowi is actually lying and making false promises to the families of the victims and victims of past human rights violations," said Fatia.

Quoted from Majalah Tempo November 23rd, 2018 edition, Andika invites those who accuse her of being involved in the murder of Theys Eluay to investigate the case themselves. 

Third, the Coalition highlighted the value of Andika Perkasa's State Administration Wealth Report (LHKPN) which reached Rp 179.9 billion. Andika is recorded to have land assets abroad, namely three in the United States and one in Australia.

The Coalition's representative from the Public Virtue Research Institute, Raafi Ardikoesoema, calculated that Andika's estimated income from his salary as an Army Chief of Staff was around IDR 37 million and that of a commissioner of PT Pindad at IDR 100 million.

If you calculate roughly by hitting Andika's average monthly income of IDR 140 million, multiplied by the length of service as a member of the military, Raafi said, the figure is still far from IDR 179 billion.

If you calculate roughly by hitting Andika's average monthly income of IDR 140 million, multiplied by the length of service as a member of the military, Raafi said, the figure is still far from IDR 179 billion.

Andika also reported the LHKPN for the first time in June 2021. According to Raafi, this is contrary to KPK Regulation Number 4 of 2020 which requires Andika to report to LHKPN. "His commitment to transparency is questionable," Raafi said.

The coalition also urges the House of Representatives to be serious and independent in conducting a fit and proper test of Andika Perkasa. The coalition urges the DPR to conduct a fit and proper test openly, not in a closed forum.

The council was also urged to involve credible institutions in examining Andika's track record, such as the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), and civil society groups. Hussein Ahmad said that the DPR has the authority to disapprove of the candidate for the military Commander proposed by the President.

“The DPR has the authority to disapprove of the President's proposal from the Military Commander. He can refuse and be returned to the President," he said of Andika Perkasa as a candidate for Military Commander.

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