Jokowi furious over TNI, police WhatsApp chat opposing capital city move

Source – March 2, 2022
President Widodo attends TNI's 74th anniversary event in East Jakarta – October 5, 2019 (Kompas)

Dian Erika N, Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is furious with TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police) personnel who have been discussing their dislike of the government's policy of moving the national capital (IKN) to East Kalimantan on a WhatsApp group (WAG).

He has also asked that the TNI and Polri personnel who debated the capital city move to be disciplined.

Widodo started by giving the example of a policy which has become the subject of a polemic in society saying it should not be debated on a WhatsApp group. He then touched in the government's policy on moving the capital city to East Kalimantan.

"I saw it on a WA group, if its within your own group it's permitted, but be careful. If it's permitted and if it's continued, be careful. [Be careful] for example in talking about the IKN, not agreeing with the IKN and so on", said Widodo in giving greeting s to the 2022 TNI-Polri leadership meeting which was held at the TNI's headquarters in Jakarta on Tuesday March 1..

The president insisted that the policy on moving the capital city has only just been decided on. Because of this, said Widodo, TNI and Polri personnel are being asked not to be careless about discussing the issue.

"It has already been decided on by the government and agreed to by the DPR [House of Representatives]. Under TNI-Polri discipline it cannot be debated. Let alone on a WA group which is easy to read. Be careful", he asserted.

Widodo also emphasised the issue of soldiers loyalty to the state. According to Widodo, discipline for the military and the police is different from civilians.

"I need to remind you of this, all over the world the military has its own regulations. A code of military discipline, which in its essence, if we look at it, in its essence is firmly upholding loyalty. I read this as, what is its essence? Firmly upholding loyalty", said Widodo.

During the TNI-Polri leadership meeting Widodo also took the opportunity to speak about soldiers not being involved in democratic matters because of their different status from civilians.

"That's the way it is with military discipline, that's the way it is with discipline in the police, its different from civil society, totally different. That's the way it is with the military, that's the way it is with the police, they can't take part in democratic affairs", he asserted.

Widodo reminded TNI and Polri personnel to obey orders by the state.

"In talking about the issue of democracy, there's no such thing in the military or police, it doesn't exist. Issues like this must start to again be tightened up, so that the public sees it and we can also take in the direction of national discipline", said Widodo.

The head of state underlined the issue of national discipline which at the moment, he said, is still poor. Because of this, according to Widodo, it requires an example being set by the TNI and Polri.

"This at the moment is where we're weak. Because of this I'm asking the ranks of the TNI and Polri to be able to provide an example to society, this issue, national discipline, but also within the TNI itself it also has to start to be fixed", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Geram Ada Personel TNI-Polri yang Bicara Tak Setuju IKN di WAG, Minta Didisiplinkan".]