Presidential hopeful Puan Maharani confused over why so many people dislike her

Source – January 13, 2023
Puan Maharani handing out T-shirts in Bekasi, West Java – September 27, 2022 (Screenshot)

Fitria Chusna Farisa, Jakarta – Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Central Leadership Board (DPP) Chairperson Puan Maharani is well aware that many people do not like her.

Maharani however claims to often be confused about the negative comments she receives from the public because she has worked hard going down into communities and alleviating various problems.

"The feeling is (that many people don't like me). I'm confused, I don't know why. It's like I've tried to work well, gone down into [communities], then worked in the fields", said Maharani during a Rosi Kompas TV program on Friday January 13.

Certainly, said Maharani, she has not been able to settle all of the problems that she says are so many. However she claims to have tried to greet the ordinary people, listen to people's aspirations, and understand the social conditions on the ground.

Despite this hard work, Maharani feels that she is still wrong in the eyes of some people.

"It's like those who don't like me just keep not liking me. They don't see any more what is being done by Puan Maharani, but she's always seen as wrong", she said.

The speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) said that not all of the steps and policies she has taken are able to please everybody.

But although many people make negative comments, Maharani said that she will continue to work hard to advance the ordinary people's prosperity.

"We also can't make everyone happy, everyone like us, so I just keep going, continue going into [communities], greeting people, meeting with communities. That all I can do", said the youngest daughter of PDI-P Chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri.

As has been reported, Maharani's name never seems to be free from the public spotlight, particularly on social media.

In late September last year, for example, a video of Maharani handing out T-shirts to local people went viral on Twitter. In the video, Maharani appears to be throwing the shirts at people with a sullen look on her face.

The PDI-P even felt it had to speak out about the matter with senior PDI-P politician Said Abdullah saying that Maharani distributed the T-shirts when she was visiting Bekasi in West Java.

According to Abdullah, Maharani appeared sullen during the incident because of the actions of one of her personal security staff (walpri). Maharani was shocked because they also handed out T-shirts to people.

Yet handing out T-shirts is the job of the political party elite, while the walpri's job is to guard the political party elite.

"Mbak [Sister] Puan was shocked, 'How come you're holding a T-shirt?', Mbak Puan asked, but not angrily. 'Why are you holding a T-shirt? It shouldn't be you. Your job is security'", said Abdullah at the DPR building in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday September 27.

Not long after this incident, Maharani yet again became the focus of the public spotlight. This time, because of a video that went viral on social media of her planting rice in a rice paddy.

I the video, Maharani is seen in a rice field at the Sedang Traditional Village in Abiansamel, Badung regency, Bali. But unlike the usual custom for farmers planting rice, Maharani planted them walking forward, not backwards.

The other farmers in the field even followed her example. Apparently, according to Maharani, the method of planting rice at the Sedang Village is indeed different.

"I only just found out that farmers in the Sedang Village, Abiansamel sub-district, Badung regency, Bali, plant in a different way. Here the rice planting arena is in the shape of a rectangle, and you have to stand in the middle of the square. The water level is also different, and it turns out that the further forward you go the deeper it gets", wrote Maharani on her Instagram account @puanmaharaniri.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Puan Bingung, Merasa Sudah Banyak Kerja tapi Tetap Banyak Orang Tak Suka".]