Abba Gabrillin, Jakarta – A survey by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) has found that there has been a declining trend in democratic reforms, particularly following the May 21 and 22 post-election riots in Jakarta.
Two of the indicators of this, among others, are a fear among the public of being arbitrarily arrested by law enforcement officials, and second, a fear of talking about politics.
“In general, after 20 years ordinary people have a positive assessment of the democratic conditions in Indonesia. But, there are indications that democracy is becoming weaker post the May 21 and 22 riots”, said SMRC researcher Sirajuddin Abbas during an outline of the survey’s findings at the SMRC offices in Jakarta on Sunday June 16.
In the survey, the SMRC asked respondents about the public’s fear of talking about politics post the May 21 and 22 riots in Jakarta. The result was that 8 percent of people were always afraid of talking about politics and 35 percent of respondents stated that they often felt afraid.
If added together, 43 percent of respondents were found to be afraid of talking politics post the Jakarta riots.
Based on surveys, there has been trend of growing fear among the public. Following the 2009 elections 16 percent of respondents reported being afraid. This rose to 17 percent following the 2014 elections. Following the May riots, this rose again to 43 percent.
This is also the case for the public’s fear of being arbitrarily arrested by law enforcement officials.
The SMRC asked respondents about the public’s fear of arbitrary arrest post the May riots. The result was that 7 percent stated that they are always afraid of being arrested.
Meanwhile 31 percent respondents said they often felt afraid. If added together, 38 percent of respondents are afraid of being arbitrarily arrested following the riots.
Based on surveys, following the 2009 elections 24 percent of respondents felt afraid. This figure remained at 24 percent following the 2014 elections. But following the 2019 elections and the May riots, the figure rose to 38 percent.
The SMRC survey was conducted between May 20 and June 1 and funded by the SMRC. The survey involved 1,078 randomly selected respondents aged 17 years or over or who were eligible to vote in elections.
The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews by trained interviewers with a margin of error of 3.05 percent.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tren Takut Bicara Politik dan Penangkapan Semena-mena Meningkat Pasca Kerusuhan 22 Mei”.]