Presidential hopefuls must talk about real issues, not just focus on image building

Source – February 11, 2022
Indonesian Civic Network Executive Director Ray Rangkuti – Undated (RMOL)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – The Executive Director of the Indonesian Civic Network (Lima), Ray Rangkuti, is urging figures wanting to enter the contest as presidential candidates in 2024 to speak about substantive issues.

Rangkuti is of the view that electability of these figures up until now has only been propped up by image building, not because of their vision or position on issues.

"In a situation such as exists now, also needed is pushing the issue of how important it is, the public, our attention must be shifted away from matters which are symbolic in character, which are image building, to matters which are more substantive", said Rangkuti during a discussion on Friday February 11.

Rangkuti said that he is disappointed that the figures who have entered the contest as presidential candidates have been silent when there have been big issues which have grabbed the public's attentions, such as the case of police repression at Wadas Village several days ago.

And it is not just the Wadas issue, Rangkuti said. The candidates must also have the courage to talk about other social issues such as the revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law and the Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

Yet, according to Rangkuti, it is important for the public to know the position of a leader on the big issues so that people know what they will do if they are elected in the 2024 presidential elections.

"When we're hit hard by important issues affecting the nation and the country, they prefer to remain silent. And because of this, although we know who these figures are, we don't actually know what these figures will do after 2024", said

Rangkuti added that this must be done well beforehand so that the position of candidates on substantive issues not become a discourse which is discussed right before voting day.

"This is how to test those who's electability is on occasion rising, this is a way to test them, for one-and-a-half years we can see their positions and their consistency on issues that are being fought for", said Rangkuti.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kandidat Capres Diminta Tak Hanya Pencitraan, Harus Bicara Isu Substantif".]