Un-exemplary leaders

Kompas.com – November 8, 2023

From an oped piece in Kompas.com by Sandro Gatra titled The loss of exemplary national leaders..

These days, the Indonesian nation, based on the state ideology of Pancasila, has truly lost any exemplary examples from its leaders. The mental revolution that was touted earlier has become limited to rhetoric.

How could it be that Anwar Usman, chief justice of the Constitutional Court, the last bastion of the constitutional state, was in fact involved in a conflict of interests by ruling on the minimum age limit for presidential and vice presidential candidates, which ultimately benefited his family.

He justified his position, instead of resigning, even though the public pressure was so strong.

Later, the Constitutional Court Honorary Council, on Tuesday November 7, found Usman guilty of committing a serious ethics violation and he was dishonorably dismissed as the Constitutional Court chief justice.

Likewise with Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Chairperson Firli Bahuri, who repeatedly acted in a way that the public considered unethical and violated ethics.

Even in relation to the investigation into alleged extortion in the handling a corruption case, Bahuri repeatedly failed to appear for questioning by both the police as well as the KPK Supervisory Board (Dewas).

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has also acted similarly by demonstrating the inconsistent political behaviour of esuk eele sore tempe (morning soybean, evening tempe) or saying one thing today and something different tomorrow, not one word has matched his deeds. This was shown by Widodo in a number of statements in the mass media.

For example, in relation to the discourse on Gibran Rakabuming Raka taking part in the 2024 presidential election, Widodo said his son was not old enough and asked that Rakabuming Raka not be encouraged to become a vice presidential candidate.

"Don't push him, it's not logical", said Widodo (Detik.com, May 29, 2023).

But not long after, on October 22, Widodo then did an about face and blessed his son's participation in the 2024 presidential election.

Widodo's inconsistency has not just been seen toward the end of his term in office and approaching the elections. The long list of his inconsistencies, if you want to go through them one by one, began with his pledge to form a slender cabinet and that there would be no dual positions for ministers. But what was served up was, in fact, the opposite.

The absense of an exemplary example was also shown by Rakabuming Raka as a representative of youth leadership. Rakabuming Raka, who had only been the mayor of the Central Java city of Solo for three years, previously claimed he would remain in Solo and preferred to "take care" of the city, and that he also had many shortcomings so he wasn't yet worthy of becoming a vice presidential candidate.

"My knowledge isn't enough, my experience isn't enough", said Widodo's eldest son (Kompas.com, May 26, 2023).

But what happened next was Rakabuming was willing to or accepted the proposal to become Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's vice presidential running mate.

A political position that was not just an inelegant example to emulate, but also contributed to efforts to revive the culture of the political dynasties that had previously been rooted in a number of regions.

It also added to the long list of poor examples set by the nation's leaders in this era. Conversely, what was shown was moral and ethical violations, all of which were far removed from the traits of a shining knight, the nation's esteemed soul, an archipelago people.

As is the case with corruptors who returned to politics and are even made senior political party officials, some of which then take part again in elections, or reformasi (the political reform process that began in 1998) activists who before fought against corruption, collusion and nepotism, who are now standing among the ranks of those deeply entrenched with nuances of collusion and nepotism.

This increasingly confirms and is a concrete example of how exemplary behaviour in this nation has become something rare, little more than lip service or pleasantries and empty talk, instead of becoming a collective tendency of the nation's leaders.

What has been presented so far, the absence of exemplary examples by those who are given the power and mandate of the people through democratic and political institutions, does of course make those with a healthy reasoning or sound mind hold back their feelings and feel downhearted.

The elite in this nation should be able to learn from the nation's founding fathers, who demonstrated the importance of an exemplary example...

[Translated by James Balowski. The full article can be read at https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/11/08/07323521/hilangnya-keteladanan-pemimpin-bangsa.]