As political year starts, jaded electoral candidate fires salvo at Prabowo

Detik News – January 12, 2018
La Nyalla speaking at press conference in Jakarta - January 11, 2018 (Detik)
La Nyalla speaking at press conference in Jakarta - January 11, 2018 (Detik)

Jakarta – His failure to be endorsed as a candidate in the 2018 East Timor gubernatorial election has not left La Nyalla Mattalitti powerless.

Mattalitti, who had earlier struggled to obtain endorsement from the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and support from the National Mandate Party (PAN), has come out firing live rounds at Gerindra chairperson Prabowo Subianto at the start of the political year.

During a press conference at the Mbok Berek Restaurant on Jl. Prof Dr Soepomo in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Tuesday January 11, Mattalitti revealed that Prabowo had asked him for money.

Mattalitti fired off an extremely serious accusation claiming that Gerindra, and Prabowo himself, asked him for billions of rupiah in exchange for endorsing him as an East Java gubernatorial candidate.

The former Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chairperson said that he felt disappointed with Prabowo’s attitude because he claimed that his service to the party with the head of a Garuda bird as its symbol not been inconsiderable.

“What I regret is that I have been a Gerindra cadre since 2009 who fought for 08 (Prabowo – Ed) until 2018, I was arrogant as it turns out. Ultah Bu Rachma (Gerindra Deputy Chairperson Rachmawati Sukarnoputri) summoned me to Hambalang [Prabowo’s private residence] to meet with 08, I conveyed my wish to be put forward [as a candidate] and I then asked for permission. I’d already met with [PAN patron] Amien Rais, then last of all with 08, it was all okay”, he said.

“Prabowo was able to speak [to me], ‘Are you willing to put up 200 billion [rupiah]?’ I have 500 available, I said, because I have a lot of support from Muslim businesspeople behind me”, said Mattalitti.

Mattalitti claimed that Prabowo then snapped at him when he tried to discuss the issue of money and he didn’t accept the treatment he received from Prabowo.

“To the point that Pak Prabowo became angry at me, abused me. In my heart I said, who is this person, what’s ailing him? Why talk about money for the 2014 presidential election, certainly I was involved with money in the 2014 presidential election”, said Mattalitti.

Mattalitti then dragged the Presidium Alumni 212 into the issue by urging the ulama [Islamic scholars] and the greater 212 community not to be easily “used” by political parties.

“Let those who blocked [me] be held responsible. I’m warning the ulama and 212 community not to again be used by parties [whose interests] are unclear”, asserted Mattalitti.

Appearing very disappointed, Mattalitti even said that he would leave Gerindra and not support Prabowo in the 2019 presidential election.

“The question is, will I support Prabowo in 2019? I’m sorry, I would have be stupid if I still supported Prabowo Subianto. And I am sure that all of my supporters in East Java won’t want to support Prabowo Subianto either. That’s the end of it. So, if I’m asked do I still want to be with Gerindra, (the answer is) no”, he exclaimed.

Mattalitti’s accusations have sparked a response from the Gerindra elite. Gerindra central leadership board chairperson Ahmad Riza Patria said accusations that Prabowo set billions of rupiah in money as a pre-condition [for Mattalitti’s candidacy] is absolutely untrue.

Patria explained that Gerindra is not a party which is interested in getting money from candidates who they back in regional elections. He even said that Gerindra is often the main source of funds for candidates.

“The Gerindra Party back then, [Prabowo’s brother] Pak Hasjim [Djojohadikusumo] spent as much as 62.5 billion rupiah to support Jokowi-Ahok [Joko Widodo and Basuki Tjahaja Purnama] in the [2012] Jakarta gubernatorial election”, said Patria.

Gerindra Deputy Chairperson Fadli Zon meanwhile also spoke out about Mattalitti’s accusations saying that there is no evidence to support his statement. “[No such request] was made by Pak Prabowo, I’ve never heard such a thing and have never seen any evidence of such a thing”, said Zon.


The Presidium 212 were the organisers of the so-call Defend Islam actions which succeeded in mobilising massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in November and December last year which eventually led to him being jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges and loosing the election to the Prabowo Subianto backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Peluru-peluru Tajam La Nyalla untuk Prabowo di Tahun Politik.]