Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – A friendly and refined Javanese local culture is inherent in the figure of Joko Widodo, at least for nine years as the mayor of Solo and the Governor of Jakarta, in the period 2005-2014.

Although it seemed firmly running his administration, for an example by firing corrupt and lazy employees, Widodo actually had a subtle temperament of leaders, as he managed to persuade his citizens to relocate the settlement or dialogue with street vendors to operate his populist projects.

However, with the high confidence of the Indonesian people who drove him to the 2014 presidential throne, Widodo, who now won his re-election, slowly showed firmness by bullying his critics through repressive acts under the pretext of the constitution.

A researcher at the International Study School in Singapore Alexander R. Arifianto in his review in The Strategist column affirmed this fact while suggesting that “wong cilik” use other approaches to embrace Islamic critics, such as providing education and economic opportunities for low-income Moslem communities (especially millennial youth).

Arifianto viewed that if Widodo succeeded in promoting the opportunity for a societal economy among low-income Muslims, he would also be able to overcome many complaints from his Islamic critics.

If it had been done before, Widodo was not difficult enough to win Indonesia’ five-year democratic contestation as President, because he offered an economic strategy right at the heart of the complaints of his critics.

Moreover, if we look at the movement of votes in the 2014 presidential election and the recent elections, there is almost no significant surge in incumbents, even though he has offered an infrastructure approach to hoist votes, the same approach was carried out for the second period while adding human resource development.

In the 2014 presidential election, Widodo – Jusuf Kalla won with 70,997,850 votes (53.15 percent), or a difference of 8,421,389 votes from the Prabowo Subianto – Hatta Rajasa of 62,576,444 votes (46.85 percent).

However, in the 2019 presidential election, Widodo – Ma’ruf Amin’ vote only slightly increased by 85,607,362 votes (55.50 percent), or a difference of 16,957,123 votes from Subianto-Uno at 68,650,239 votes (44.50 percent).

In addition, Widodo’ vote actually declined in 18 provinces in the presidential election, which was considered the most divisive election in the history of Indonesia.

Feeling lost many times in the presidential election, Subianto and his legal team have filed a lawsuit against the results at the Constitutional Court, although most observers estimate that the court will reject it.

Subianto’ refusal has been ridden by the threat of a group of conservative Islamists, who not only held people power actions or later called the National Sovereignty Movement on May 21 – 22 at the Election Watchdog Office, but also plans to assassinate a group of officials and leaders survey institution that won the Widodo – Amin.

Along with the peaceful demonstration by Subianto sympathizers in the center of the capital city of Jakarta, riots took place around the Jakarta area which claimed the lives of up to 8 people dead and hundreds injured. The police have succeeded in arresting the perpetrators and identifying that there are groups of intruders who want to ravage the capital.

From the results of the police investigation, it was stated that the group was a terrorist network called the Islamic Reform Movement (GARIS) affiliated with ISIS in Syria. In addition, several others claimed to be paid rioters with a total of up to Rp20 million (US$1,388.89).

Indeed, Widodo had previously fought against conservative Islamic activists, since the ‘Islamic defense action’ demonstration at the National Monument in 2017, succeed to overthrow the non-active Governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

The movement’s alumni later named themselves as the Association of Alumni 212, which later became the ranks of extremist groups who supported Subianto – Uno in the 2019 presidential election, simultaneously campaigning for their competitors Widodo as communist, Chinese and Christian stooges to prevent pious Muslims from choosing him.

Without hesitation, Widodo with a set of powers in his hands mobilized the apparatus and guardians of the law against Islamic activists under the pretext of the Law on Blasphemy of Religion, Law on Information and Electronic Transactions, and emergency decrees concerning civil society organizations.

Some of the Islamist activists who were arrested included Eggi Sudjana, Bachtiar Nashir, Lieus Sungkarisma, Kivlan Zen, Ahmad Dhani, Rocky Gerung and Rizieq Shihab, who later hid in Saudi Arabia after being pressured by Widodo’ apparatus.

With an approach that was entirely shown before, observers considered Widodo to have revived authoritarian breathing, a bitter memory of the community when he experienced it under the Suharto regime for 32 years, especially when trying to hush radicalism and opposing group provocations.

Inevitably, the 212 Alumni and National Sovereignty Movement will tear apart the Widodo – Amin government in the next five years, both through social media and through formal public spaces.

Therefore, now is the time, after passing tiring elections, Widodo had to embrace and run the wheels of government no longer using legal pretexts, some of which were opposed by his current attorney Yusril Ihza Mahendra, to hit critics, but could consider alternative steps, such as providing education and economic opportunities.

Perhaps with his elderly partner Amin, who is an Islamic scholar and economist, the second period will be more focused on the empowerment of the economic economy, presumably, it was quite late in reducing his opposition critics, considering that this would be the last period, but things were not too late.

In his work and campaign, Amin consistently promotes entrepreneurship by using sharia economic principles, ranging from Sharia banking to cooperatives and halal tourism, as another way to reduce poverty simultaneously empowering the people’s economy.

With that, Widodo’ choice to Amin as a vice-presidential candidate on August 2018 was not only to shape his Islamic image and to hoist the voice of Moslem voters, but to become a force in managing new economic approaches after Jusuf Kalla was abandoned in October.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com

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