Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Criticism arises over MPR Speaker’s statement on Indonesian democracy

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A statement by Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Bambang Soesatyo which suggests that democracy in Indonesia does not require opposition has drawn criticism from experts. 

Political communication expert from Padjadjaran University, Kunto Adi Wibowo, deemed Bambang’s statement dangerous in addressing Indonesia’s democratic system.

He was commenting on Bambang’s suggestion that the country needs a cooperative democracy rather than opposition. Bambang made the statement during a gathering at the residence of Rosan P. Roeslani, Chairman of the Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s National Campaign Team (TKN), on April 11, 2024.

Kunto said that the implementation of cooperative politics or familial relationships is a political elite’s scheme to realize the concept of family democracy. This practice refers to nepotism, where power and influence within the state are controlled by specific families or individuals within those families.

“In the end, there won’t be effective criticism as demonstrated during the New Order (Orba) era and recently,” Kunto said last Friday, April 12, 2024.

He assessed that the idea of sidelining the opposition could lead to the weakening of the oversight and control functions over the ruling regime.

“It will ultimately result in no truly representative people’s representation when all political elites consolidate under the pretext of cooperation,” he said.

On the other hand, Kunto acknowledged that the oversight conducted by political parties outside the government has not been optimal. This is due to the imbalance between opposition parties and coalition parties supporting the government.

“Like what happened during Jokowi’s second administration, how nepotism practices ran solely for power. We need to learn, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes,” he said.

Political researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Wasisto Raharjo Jati, said the concept of ‘opposition’ has been a subject of debate in Indonesian politics post-Reform.

This is because the concept of ‘opposition’ only exists in a parliamentary system, while Indonesia implements a presidential system that emphasizes consensus through deliberation.

“Nevertheless, it is necessary to find the right term for ‘opposition,’ because healthy democracy requires checks and balances,” Wasisto said.

Joining forces

Bambang earlier suggested that all factions competing in the 2024 Presidential Election can join forces under the leadership of Prabowo Subianto.

He launched the idea following the recent meeting between Rodan and Chairman of the National Campaign Team (TPN) of Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md, Arsjad Rasjid, and Rosan Roeslan.

Bambang hoped that the meeting could bridge the political parties supporting Prabowo-Gibran and Ganjar-Mahfud to unite in the future government.

“In the end, two friends return together after being in two different camps for some time. I hope their meeting can bridge the two camps that competed in the 2024 Presidential Election to unite in President Prabowo’s coalition,” he said.

He also advised politicians not to easily get carried away by emotions, as politics is a game where victory and defeat are part of it.

“In the political world, the motto ‘no hard feelings’ is known. Don’t easily get upset. Because truly, ‘politics is the games.’ Victory and defeat are parts of everyone’s life. In politics, we can die many times and live many times,” he said.

On the other hand, he suggested that opposition is not needed in the new government. According to him, what is most important is cooperative democracy.

“And opposition is no longer needed. I support Mr. Prabowo to embrace all political parties to unite in building this nation’s future,” he said.

He stated that for checks and balances, it would be easier to negotiate if there are differences in attitude.

“It’s easier (to check and balance) actually. Because if the opposition speaks, it’s about pride. Sometimes it deviates from the substance, but if one coalition can speak heart to heart, it’s better for the people,” said Bambang.

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