Today once again Indonesia’s students prove they are the most important pillar of the nation – not the president, not the House of Representatives and not even the media.
And surely not a minister like Luhut Panjaitan, regardless of how powerful he is.
By taking to the streets with demands that include rejection of election delay and plan of having President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo run for another term as well as a push for commodity prices to go down, especially the prices of cooking oil, the students show their deep awareness and empathy towards people’s suffering, something Jokowi and most of political elites don’t have.
Convinced by power-greedy advisors, ministers and politicians surrounding him, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been playing a dangerous game of seemingly supporting the proposal of delaying the election to buy him time to change the Constitution so that he can stay in power for another term.
For months, Jokowi seemed to allow a number of his ministers and supporters, initiated and led by none other than Luhut “Lord” Pandjaitan, his most powerful minister and closest ally, to steer the public into believing that not only the president is worth a third term, it is a must for the nation sake.
Despite massive protests with series of surveys showing that majority of people have rejected the plan, these president’s supporters acted like such a proposal is not only normal but it’s done deal.
Jokowi seemed to deliberately avoid to kill the idea, starting from stating that such an idea was a slap on his face to saying that he would follow the constitution to underlining that Indonesia is a democracy, and thus anybody could express their opinion freely, including amending the constitution.
Luhut even made up a claim that his big data showed 110 million Indonesians wanted the election to be delayed, despite series of surveys say otherwise.
Such desperate acts are possibly taken because this regime feels they have several unfinished businesses. One of them is the giant plan to move the nation’s capital from Jakarta to Panajam Paser in East Kalimantan. Project like this will cement Jokowi’s legacy in the country’s history as the nation’s new father of development, comparable to Soeharto.
Jokowi and his supporters would like Indonesian and international public to believe that the move of the nation’s capital which will cost Rp 550 trilliun (US$40 billion) is a done deal with a controversial law being hastily created specifically for this purpose. So, they would like us to believe that it’s just a matter of building the capital and then moving people there.
To make their intention more convincing, a special show was created. First, the center of the city or zero kilometer or zero point was determined, and then Jokowi and a number of officials came and camped there. He then ordered every governor from across Indonesia to accompany him there, and told them to bring some water and land from their respective province to be used in a super natural ritual to officiate the start of the capital development.
However, when so many groups and people from various walks of life legally challenge the law with the Constitutional Court and at the same time Jokowi and his officials are still scrambling to get the money to start building this planned capital, even going so far by asking average people to donate their money for its construction, then something must have been terribly wrong.
The students’ direct demands to have the law on the new capital reviewed and its planned development halted have highlighted how wrong such a policy is.
Just as Jokowi’s supporters push their plan to keep him in power, the incapability of his government is blatantly unveiled.
This government has been unable to make cooking oil available to people despite the fact that the country is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil until the day the students come out to protest against its incapability and mismanagement of state affairs.
The minister charged to handle this matter then publicly admitted that he was defeated by the mafia controlling the circulation of the products.
This cooking oil saga is just one small example of how the current regime can’t solve even the tiny issue important to millions of people. What about the fact that we continue to import rice and many other basic commodities that the people need despite the fact that we have been blessed with such fertile and spacious lands? We should have been able to plant and produce these commodities ourselves in the first place.
With all of these facts, we have not even discussed about our foreign debts which have been more than double since Jokowi took office in 2014, or about the fact that around 30 million people still live in poverty as of today, and the fact that the World bank degraded Indonesia from upper-middle income status to lower-middle income status under Jokowi’s watch.
Such student’s massive protests against Jokowi have occurred several times in the last two years of his government. When he turned a deaf ear to people’s demand against him passing a law aiming at weakening the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the students came out and stage a massive protest against such a move which will hand corruptors a victory.
The students also united in protesting against him when he championed the passage of Omnibus Bill, or named by the government as Job Creation Bill, into a law. The law which weakens workers and provides blank check to those with money to destroy the country’s forests and environment again show how blind and detached the regime has been.
Just like many others previous demands, the students’ decision to come out and stage protests is a strong confirmation that the regime has been worsening and a clear warning for Jokowi that his two terms are already more than enough. Extending it, he will face the wrath of people.