Amid tensions over arrests, Jokowi seeks support from TNI ‘old guard’

CNN Indonesia – May 31, 2019
Retired TNI generals at State Palace – May 31, 2019 (Suara)
Retired TNI generals at State Palace – May 31, 2019 (Suara)

Jakarta – The government hopes that retired TNI (Indonesian military) generals will not miss-perceive the recent arrest and indictment of other former military generals.

The two retired generals that have been declared suspects are former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander retired Major General Soenarko and former Army Strategic Reserves Command (green berets) Chief of Staff retired Major General Kivlan Zen.

This hope was conveyed by Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with several retired TNI generals at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday May 31.

Moeldoko said that there are indeed many retired TNI generals who have a miss-perception over the indictment of the two retired generals. Moeldoko said however that the government wanted to explain the matter to those who attended.

“We didn’t want there to be any miss-perceptions, lest there be an imprecise understanding, so it was necessary for the president to convey this to them”, said Moeldoko.

The retired TNI generals that met with Widodo included former Army Chief of Staff retired General Wismoyo Arismunandar, former Kopassus commander retired Lieutenant General Sintong Panjaitan and former Non-Block Ministerial Level Conference (KTT Non-Blok) General Secretary retired Lieutenant General Rais Abin.

Also attending was former TNI chief retired General Endriartono Sutarto, Retired Army Generals Association (PPAD) General Chairperson retired Lieutenant General Kiki Syahnakri, Retired Navy Generals Association General Chairperson (PPAL) retired Admiral Ade Supandi and Retired Air Force Generals Association (PPAU) General Chairperson retired Air Martial Djoko Suyanto.

As well as Moeldoko, also attending the meeting was Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto.

Moeldoko hopes that the retired generals who came to meet with Widodo can become a bridge to other retired officers. He said that the retired officers present represent the old guard within military circles and other retired officers.

“These retired officers are seniors who have a very strong voice within both the TNI as well as retired officer circles”, he said.

“So later, through them they can build a bridge which can act as a bridge between the government and retired officers, so later there will be more and better understanding”, said Moeldoko.

According to Moeldoko, the discussions between Widodo and the retired generals was not just limited to Soenarko and Kivlan being declared suspects. In the broader context, said Moeldoko, the meeting discussed support for Widodo from various parties.

“Providing full support so that later in continuing his leadership, the president will again produce something tremendous for the nation and the state”, he said.

Wiranto meanwhile said that Widodo received a great deal of input from the retired generals that attended the meeting. According to Wiranto, the discussions between Widodo and the ex-generals were related to the security conditions and the latest political situation.

“On political issues, security issues, issues related to how the state can continue to safeguard its stability, both in terms of politics as well as security”, said Wiranto at the Presidential Palace complex in Jakarta.

Wiranto also called the public not to speculate over the legal cases which have embroiled the two TNI retired officers, namely Soenarko and Kivlan. He asked the public to understand the legal cases and follow the process closely.

“From one only then can it be seen who is guilty, who isn’t guilty. If they are guilty there will be a legal process. From there it can be demonstrated what their crime was, what sanctions, everything is proceeding in accordance with legal channels”, he said. (fra/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Pemerintah Tak Ingin Ada Mispersepsi di Purnawirawan TNI”.]