The first Indonesian Presidential Debate of 2019: a review

The first Presidential Debate was concluded on 17 January 2019. In the debate, centering on issues of human rights, corruption, law enforcement, and terrorism, both parties did not perform satisfyingly, but Joko Widodo could be said to have won by a slight margin.

In this post, I’ll do a thematic blow-by-blow of the debate with added commentary.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #14: Assessing counter-radicalization? Some notes

This post is a note on how we could formulate a proper assessment on counter-radicalization efforts.

How can we measure the effectiveness and success of counter-radicalization efforts?

I had the opportunity to chat with Mr Suaib Tahir, an expert staff from the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT). We talked about his work at the BNPT, which involved counter-radicalization. Here are some interesting points of our swift and informal discussion.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #13: What to expect for the 2019 Presidential Election

On 9 June 2018, both Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo, the two presidential candidates for the 2019 Election announced their running mates. Prabowo would run alongside Sandiaga Uno, who was until recently the Vice-Governor of Jakarta; while Widodo would run with Ma’aruf Amin, the leader of the Indonesian Ulema Council.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #12: Communist-phobia still going strong in Indonesia

Time and time again, Indonesia has seen many political outbursts due to the inflated fear of the Red Spectre of Communism. The most recent outburst occurred at a Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (Legal Aid Institute) in Jakarta following a seminar discussing the 1965 Communist massacre. The office was surrounded by protestors, entrapping the participants inside the walls. Most of those participants were the elderly – survivors and witnesses to the bloody pogrom that marked an important watershed in Indonesian politics. It was not until the following day that participants were allowed to leave, but the damage had already been done.

Involved in this incident were anti-Communist groups and a number of right-wing organisations, such as Front Pembela Islam. This incident indicates the continued stigma of Communism in Indonesia, a result of decades of indoctrination during the New Order.

The LBH office suffered some physical damage; however, I believe we can agree that the damage to Indonesia’s budding democracy should take centre stage.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #11: In a trial of tolerance, Indonesia fails

The Ahok trial has come to an end. The judges ruled Ahok guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison. The sentence was higher than the prosecution’s demands — 2 years of probation and 1 year in prison if Ahok reoffended — and was considered an unfair decision by many of his supporters and the general public following the trials.

Justice has failed. If Ahok’s trial did anything positive, it showed the world that Indonesia’s blasphemy laws belong not in a democratic and plural society.  It also showed that Indonesia may as well fall into extremist clutches.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #10: Jakarta changes leadership

The quick count results of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections show that Anies-Sandi has secured the majority vote. As shown below, Anies-Sandi is in the lead with 58%, leaving Ahok-Djarot behind with 42%. As history may show, quick count results tend to not be that far off the mark. So, Jakartans will have to welcome Anies-Sandi as their new governor for the next period.

 

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As seen on Jakarta Post website

 

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #8: A rant on emerging Sinophobia

Unity in diversity. Unless you’re ethnic Chinese and non-Muslim.

A sobering quote written by a colleague of mine, Rocky, in a commentary regarding the recent rise of Sinophobia in Indonesia.

While 2016 was indeed a horrible year (which reached peak horribleness with the death of Harambe and President-elect Trump), for me, Sinophobia was a top highlight for Indonesia. Somehow, a select group of extreme Indonesians suddenly decided that Sinophobia was cool again. How did that happen and why should we care? To answer the latter part of my self-imposed question, unbridled Sinophobia will only serve to undo decades of progress.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #7: A hopeless case for curbing fake news

What moves faster than light?

A hoax on social media.

A recent piece in the Jakarta Globe titled “Online Black Campaigns — the New ‘Divide et Impera‘” highlights a greater need to curb fake news sites aimed at spreading hoaxes and lies that could potentially divide the nation. In a country where (as of 2015) around 70 million people have social media accounts and are constantly plugged into the network, the dissemination of fake news and misinformation is a phenomenon that’s already snowballed into one tremendous problem. Add in charged and polarizing political tensions, and you’ve got yourself a problematic cocktail.

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