Three Serious Problems in the Letter of the President of Indonesia Regarding the Change of the Commander of the Indonesian National Soldier

Live Press

Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform

The Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform considers that Indonesian President Joko Widodo's move to propose General Andika Perkasa as a candidate for Military Commander contains three serious problems. First, the President of the Republic of Indonesia has set aside the pattern of dimension rotation that prevailed in the Reformation era in the regeneration of the Commander as the norm that applies in Article 13 paragraph (4) of Law on the Indonesian National Armed Forces No. 34 of 2004. Second, the President of the Republic of Indonesia has proposed a name whose track record still needs to be tested by an independent state institution in the fields of law, human rights, and corruption eradication. In this case, Komnas HAM (The National Human Rights Commission) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Third, the development of maritime-centric regional security threats today requires greater attention in the maritime sector.

On Wednesday (11/3/2021) the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, sent a letter from the President of the Republic of Indonesia (Surpres) containing the name of the candidate for the Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces to the leadership of the Indonesian House of Representatives. Based on the Surpres, there is one single candidate, namely The Staff Chief of the Ground (KSAD) Army Andika Perkasa as a replacement for the Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who will soon retire. Based on Article 13 paragraph (5) of Law no. 34 of 2004 concerning the military, The President of the Republic of Indonesia proposes the name of the candidate for the Commander of the Military for approval by the board of citizen representative (DPR).

Furthermore, the Coalition needs to clarify the following important notes:

First, the proposed name Andika Perkasa as the new Commander is a wrong choice because it ignores the policy pattern based on a rotational approach. If referring to Article 13 paragraph (4) of the Military decree, the position of the Commander is held alternately by active high-ranking officers from each force who are currently or have served as Staff Chief of the Force.

The application of the rotation pattern will foster a sense of equality between dimensions, balance the orientation of the military's posture development, as well as equal opportunities for high-ranking officers, regardless of the dimension of origin. This can also have a positive impact in the form of strengthening the internal solidity of the military. In addition, the rotation pattern is important in order to reduce the jealousy that is very likely to occur among soldiers due to the impression that the President of the Republic of Indonesia has given gold to one dimension within the military, just like the New Order era.

The pattern of rotation of the position of the Commander, which has been started since the beginning of the Reformation, certainly needs to be maintained, moreover it has also been mandated in the Military Decree.

In short, we view that the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, should not ignore the pattern of changing the Commander-in-Chief based on the dimension rotation. Ignoring this approach can raise a big question mark whether the President of the Republic of Indonesia prioritizes the subjective political factor of close relations rather than using a professional and substantive approach.

Second, the President of the Republic of Indonesia must really ensure that the candidate for the Commander of the military that he proposes does not have a bad record, especially regarding human rights violations. There are reports linking the name Andika Perkasa in the case of the murder of Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eluay which must be taken seriously (Tempo October 23rd, 2003). The President of the Republic of Indonesia should conduct comprehensive information gathering on all candidates by involving credible institutions in order to strengthen the considerations of the President of the Republic of Indonesia in making the right decisions. With the submission of General Andika Perkasa as the sole candidate for Commander, it shows that the President of the Republic of Indonesia does not have a serious commitment to upholding human rights as his political commitment.

Furthermore, there are reports that mention the alleged assets of Staff Chief Andika Perkasa with fantastic values which must be immediately clarified and explained to the public. As a soldier who submits to the Sapta Marga who upholds the value of honesty, the existence of reports of wealth ownership of up to Rp. 179.9 billion must be explained in a transparent and accountable manner so that it is clear. Therefore, we consider it important to conduct an audit of Andika Perkasa's assets by the KPK. During his career in the military, General Andika only reported the State Administrator Wealth Report in June 2021. This means that during the 3 years he was the Staff Chief, he had never reported. This violates Article 4 paragraph (3) of KPK Regulation No. 4 of 2020, which requires General Andika to report. The coalition suspects that there is bad faith related to the non-reporting of General Andika's State Administration Wealth, a strong suspicion that there is a problem with the source of wealth and a very fantastic amount.

Third, observing the development of future regional security challenges that are increasingly maritime-centric. Starting from the South China Sea conflict which has no sign of a resolution in the near future, acts of piracy in the Malacca Strait that are still ongoing, fishing theft by foreign fishing boats, weapons smuggling for criminal groups via sea, and so on. Some of the challenges above are just a few of the many other threats that still need to be addressed in the maritime sector. This again should be in line with the vision of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, who wants to make Indonesia the World Maritime Axis. The President of the Republic of Indonesia must continue to be reminded of his own vision and commitment when campaigning as a candidate for President of the Republic of Indonesia.

Fourth, the fit and proper test stage for the candidate for the Commander in Chief which will soon be held in the DPR must be carried out in an open, accountable manner, involving the participation of the public and independent state institutions. Although the name of the candidate listed in the Surpres is only one candidate, it is the duty of the DPR to examine the candidate carefully. Don't get the impression that the Indonesian Board of Citizen Representatives is just a “stamp” for the President of the Republic of Indonesia. In addition, if the result is that the DPR does not approve of the candidate, then referring to Article 13 paragraph (8) of the Military Decree, they have the right to refuse by providing written reasons explaining its disapproval to the President of the Republic of Indonesia.

Fifth, we consider that the President of the Republic of Indonesia has still proposed Staff Chief General Andika Perkasa as a candidate for Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces by ignoring the rotation pattern as mandated by the Military Law as well as the alleged connection with Andika Perkasa in the Theys Hiyo Eluay case and the alleged ownership of a number of fantastic assets, indicating a decline in business. reform and transformation within the military.

Based on the coalition record above we urge:

  1. The Indonesian Board of Citizen Representatives to do a serious examine to the commitments of the candidate for commander in chief to democracy, human rights, eradicating corruption and others, in particular the alleged connection of the Staff Chief General Andika Perkasa in the assassination of Theys Hiyo Eluay and the possession of such a fantastic amount of wealth and should therefore be rejected;
  2. The board in terms of examining and assessing the candidate for commander in chief is obliged to involve and ask for public opinion, independent State Institutions and/or credible experts in testing the future commander in chief, for example by involving Komnas HAM and the KPK as well as other civil society institutions;
  3. The President of the Republic of Indonesia to immediately revoke the Presidential Letter appointing General Andika as the sole candidate for the Commander, then continued and formed an Acceleration Team that was directly responsible to the President of the Republic of Indonesia to carry out reform and transformation of the Military.
  4. Komnas HAM to conduct an immediate examination of Andika Perkasa's alleged role in the Theys Eluay murder case in November 2001.

Jakarta, November 3rd, 2021

Civil Society Coalition for Security Sector Reform

KontraS, Imparsial, LBH Jakarta, HRWG, Setara Institute, Public Virtue Research Institute, Amnesty International Indonesia, Initiative for Democracy and Security (IDeKa), Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), ELSAM, PBHI Nasional, LBHM, LBH Pers, ICJR.

  1. Imparsial: Hussein Ahmad
  2. LBH Jakarta: Teo Reffelsen
  3. KontraS: Andi M. Rezaldy
  4. HRWG: Jesse A. Halim
  5. PVRI: Raafi N Ardikoesoema
  6. PBHI: Totok Yuliyanto
en_GBEnglish