National research agency accuses Jokowi of using espionage to maintain power

Source – September 24, 2023
National Research and Innovation Agency senior political researcher Firman Noor – Undated (Kompas)

Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) senior political researcher Firman Noor says that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's statement on having intelligence data on the internal workings and agenda of the political parties is just one of a series of efforts by Widodo to perpetuate power.

"The president's statement is like the phenomena of the tip of the iceberg from various discourses as well as efforts to preserve the current power [structure]. Whether it be three terms in office or postponing the elections", said Noor as quoted during a BRIN streaming webinar on YouTube on Sunday September 24.

According to Noor, Widodo's statement can also be taken to mean he wants to ensure that the political parties do not go against the political views of the president.

"And minimalise these parties efforts to maneuver against the wishes and interests of the president in the coming elections", said Noor.

Widodo's statement is also seen as being able to have an impact on the implementation of the 2024 elections. This impact could be the potential emergence of various means to mobilise supporters for a political victory by a certain party or candidate.

"What it actually shows is the state interfering in the electoral contestation", said Noor.

According to Noor, the government should maintain a favourable situation ahead of the 2024 elations, as well as being professional and fair.

"Not instead directing the [political] dynamics ahead of the 2024 elections through political mapping based on the intelligence information [he has] obtained", said Noor.

Noor said that efforts to intervene politically by mobilising intelligence institutions cannot be justified in the scheme of a democratic country as adopted by Indonesia.

Because said Noor, the only governments that spy on their people and political institutions are adherents of fascism and communism.

"This intervention not only violates the main tasks of the president as the head of state and government, but also violates the nature of democracy", explained Noor.

He is also asking the public to start being vigilant of all forms of intelligence intervention in politics, which is likely to widen to include other democratic institutions.

Noor is also encouraging key state institutions, including the House of Representatives (DPR), to take a role in responding to the phenomenon of abuse of power which is also of concern to civil society.

Earlier, Widodo was reported as stating that he knew the political direction and agenda of every political party in the lead up to the 2024 legislative and presidential elections.

The statement was conveyed by Widodo last week when he opened a National Secretariat (Seknas) working meeting at the Salak Hotel in Bogor, West Java, on Saturday September 16.

"I know internally what the parties are like, I know, the parties. Where they want to go, I also know this", said Widodo. Widodo did not however elaborate on what information he had about the political parties.

He only explained that the information he has obtained is from the intelligence agencies that are under his control, including the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the national police as well as the TNI's (Indonesian military) Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS).

"And information outside of that. Numbers, data, surveys, everything is there. I hold all of it and this only belongs to the president", said Widodo.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "BRIN Sebut Aksi Spionase ke Parpol Bagian Upaya Melanggengkan Kekuasaan".]