Editorial: Mafia Nation

Editorial Omong-Omong

2 min read

When a minister of a nation is giving up and admitted to have been defeated by criminal organizations he called a mafia, it shows how weak this nation is. It means the whole nation has been surrendered to gangsters. It also means that the state with all its apparatus has bowed down to criminals, and ceased its most important duty that become the primary reason for its existence: to protect its people from any harms.

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Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi has bluntly admitted to the public just recently that he could not do anything to stop this cooking oil mafia from wreaking havoc the life of almost 300 million people of Indonesia because of the limited legal power he possesses as only a minister for trade, stating further that he could only control supply of the cooking oil and that other matters rest with other state offices.

In a situation that is beyond ironic, for almost a year now, Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, has not been able to provide its people with enough and affordable cooking oil, a staple ingredient in most Indonesia’s meals.

First, its prices spike beyond the reach of most of Indonesians. And when the government set the maximum prices, it disappeared from the markets, with a number of palm oil producers were found to have hoarded millions of cooking oil in their hidden storehouse.

Then, with the blessing from Pesident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo the trade minister canceled the maximum prices and allowed the prices of cooking oil to fluctuate. But the prices now reach Rp 30,000 (US$2.1) per liter. It was just Rp 10,000 previously.

Instead of taking steps to quickly end the problem, the government had been busy shifting blames to cover its own incapability of providing people with affordable cooking oil, from pointing to certain people who have hoarded the commodity, distribution problems to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

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People are desperately screaming louder now as they have been complaining for months without any real action from the government to find solution to their problem.

Now, they find out that the minister with all his authorities and staff and employees of nearly 20,000 people gave up just like that. People are just frustrated and can’t understand why Indonesia can have this kind of problem that they have never experienced before. Cooking oil was used to be just so easy to find and the price have never gone up this high.

If a minister reaches a point where he tells the publics he is supposed to serve that he surrendered to few criminal groups then either this failed government is full of incapable and corrupt people, or these organized crimes are so strong and have penetrated and bribed most state officials from personnel in trade ministry and other related ministries, to law enforcement officials, such as police officers and prosecutors.

And this is not the only mafia we have dealt with and failed to get rid of. Indonesia has been ruled for so long by land mafias, rice mafias, law and court mafias, drugs mafias, infrastructure project mafias, ID mafias, mafias in getting state official job and arranging state official positions, hajj mafias and many other mafias in many other sectors.

With the state failing to even do its most basic duty of protecting people from crimes, what is the use of having this kind of government? What is the use of having ministers and officials paid by the people, and what is the use of having a president who is busily camping in the middle of nowhere just to realize its ambition to build a giant new capital to stamp his name in history, and by doing so possibly feeding the mafias in the project worth more than Rp 500 trillion, most of it taken from the state budget?

And despite all of these failure and incapability, the president’s supporters are all talking about changing the constitution and delay the election to allow him extend his term.

Where is the sense in this?

Editorial Omong-Omong

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