Dian Erika Nugraheny, Jakarta – Defense Minister (Menhan) Prabowo Subianto claims that on the issue of leading the nation he has to learn from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
He conveyed this when giving greetings at the Rabithah Melayu-Banjar joint prayer event in Tabalong regency, South Kalimantan, on Friday March 17.
Prabowo said that he himself has been a witness to Widodo's commitment to working for the ordinary people. Widodo, he said, always thinks about the little people.
"I have witnessed, I have seen Pak [Mr] Jokowi's extraordinary commitment to the ordinary people, he always thinks about the little people. In the end I had to admit that in leading the country I must learn from Pak Joko Widodo", said Prabowo in a quote from a recording of the greetings that was handed out by his private assistant on Friday.
The Chairperson of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) also revealed the reason why President Widodo often invites him to go into the field during working visits (kunker) and take part in other activities.
Prabowo suspects that President Widodo wants to educate him in how to manage the country.
"Before I was a soldier, a military officer. I understand battle, I understand war. But when it comes to managing a country, I'm now learning a great deal from Pak Joko Widodo", he said.
"That perhaps is why he takes me everywhere. Perhaps he wants to educate me, I don't know, but that's what I think", he continued to applause from those present at the join prayer event.
Based on Kompas.com's records, there have been several occasions of late when Widodo and Prabowo have been seen together that are not specifically related to defense themes.
On March 9, Widodo invited Prabowo to see a rice harvest, join in a blusukan (impromptu visit) to a market and officiate a shrimp farm during a working visit in Central Java.
Earlier, the two figures were also seen together at the Lanud Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on February 21 when they fare welled the departure of humanitarian aid for victims of the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.
Then, Prabowo also joined in watching a power boat race at Toba Lake in late February together with Widodo.
During Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's visit to the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on January 9, Prabowo also accompanied Widodo.
Then this Friday, Prabowo and Widodo attended the joint prayers in Tabalong. Prabowo attended at the invitation of the organising committee.
Prabowo even gave greetings to the event before Widodo. The pair also visited the Tabalong People's Market to check market prices in the lead up to the Ramadan holy fasting month.
When he spoke to the press after visiting the market, Widodo was accompanied by Prabowo and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Prabowo: Saya Akui Dalam Memimpin Negara, Harus Belajar dari Pak Jokowi".]