Aryo Bhawono, Jakarta – Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) General Chairperson Prabowo Subianto claims that he feels saddened by the current state of the democratic system. This is because figures with prestige and good character are unable to become leaders if they do not have money.
If someone wishes to become a regional head such as a governor and they come to me, under the system and conditions that exist at the moment, said Prabowo, his highest priority is what funds the candidate has available.
“I feel sad, because currently if there is someone who wants to become a governor and comes to me, what’s the first question I’ll ask them. ‘Do you have the money?’ I don’t ask you where you graduated from, what you have accomplished, have you ever written a book, ever been a regent, ever been a sub-district head? (But) what I ask is, ‘How much money do you have?’”, explained Prabowo when presenting greetings to an event at the Al-Islah Islamic boarding school in Bodowoso, Central Java, on Sunday July 23, 2017.
In the 40-minute 56-second video recording uploaded to YouTube by Spardaxyz News Channel on July 24, 2017, also present on the stage with Prabowo are a number of well-known figures including, among others, National Mandate Party (PAN) honorary board chairperson Amien Rais, Prabowo’s younger brother and business tycoon Hashim Djojohadikusumo and Kiai [Islamic teacher] Maksum who hosted the event.
If you want to become a governor, said Prabowo, at 15.22 minutes into the recording, you must have at least 300 billion rupiah. “That’s a value pack, pahe”. He then cited Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno as an example of a figure who used his own money to contest the Jakarta gubernatorial election.
“But how many people are there like Sandi[aga]? For you out there it would be very hard to become governor. (Because) you don’t have 300 billion rupiah”, joked Prabowo to the laughter of those present.
Gerindra Deputy Chairperson Ferry Juliantono says that these remarks are an expression of concern and at the same time a criticism of what happens in every regional election. Prabowo was only giving an example, not describing the reality of what happens in his party. “It’s a criticism, not the custom in Gerindra”, he asserted when contacted by Detik.com on Saturday January 13.
The high cost of taking part in regional elections, he continued, resulted in Gerindra once proposing that regional heads no longer be elected directly and instead return to the situation when they were elected by regional parliaments (DPRD).
Juliantono also refuted a recent statement by former Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) chairperson La Nyalla Mattalitti who claimed that Prabowo asked him for 40 billion rupiah in exchange for being endorsed by Gerindra as a candidate for the East Java gubernatorial election. According to Juliantono, Mattalitti must be held accountable for the statement and that it should be followed up.
Former Constitutional Court chief justice Prof. Mahfud MD, who was once offered a chance to be a candidate for the East Java gubernatorial election, also testified that he had never been questioned about or asked for money.
“Before when I was offered [a chance] to be an alternative gubernatorial candidate for the East Java elections for [a coalition of] three political parties I was not asked for money, rather I was told there was no need to think about money. But I still wasn’t ready. Why? Well because I wasn’t ready, that’s all there was to it”, Mahfud said in a Twitter post on January 11. (ayo/jat)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Prabowo: Rp 300 Miliar untuk Nyagub Itu Paket Hemat.]