Slighted by Jokowi-Prabowo meet, hardline PA 212 to go their own way

Detik News – July 14, 2019
Prabowo speaking at PA 212 ‘reunion’ – December 2, 2018 (panjimas)
Prabowo speaking at PA 212 ‘reunion’ – December 2, 2018 (panjimas)

Jakarta – The 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) says that it no longer affiliated Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Chairperson Prabowo Subianto and will continue with its own struggle.

The PA 212 took this position after Prabowo met with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Saturday July 13 and agreed to end the use of the derogatory terms cebong (tadpole) and kampret (little bat).

“Speaking personally, the phrase ‘agree to end cebong and kampret’ is something Prabowo came up with himself, we are not party to anything that Prabowo or Jokowi said, because for us, the journey of struggle must be continued”, PA 212 spokesperson Novel Bamukmin told journalists on Saturday July 13.

“The PA 212 has returned to its original mission, meaning it’s no longer with any [political] party, not with Prabowo or the BPN [Widodo’s presidential election campaign team]”, he said.

Bamukmin said that the PA 212 will continue to fight against election fraud in the 2019 elections. He also brought up the issue of the deaths of polling station organising committee (KPPS) members who died during the April 17 presidential and legislative elections.

“[We’re] no longer with the Prabowo-Sandi [presidential election ticket], or the BPN, because we cannot tolerate [election] fraud, especially when it results in deaths, both the bloody May 21-22, 2019 tragedy [the post-election riots in Jakarta] or the 500 or more KPPS who died mysteriously”, he said.

Nevertheless, Bamukmin said that the PA 212 will continue to be aligned with Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) supreme leader Habib Rizieq Shihab. He added that they are waiting on directions from Shihab and the ulama (Islamic clerics).

Meanwhile PA 212 legal division head (kadivhum) Hari Damai Lubis admitted to feeling slighted because Prabowo did not tabayun (to consider carefully or consult) with them first. “If PS (Prabowo Subianto – Red) does something with a good intent and the outcome is also good for the nation’s Islamic religious community and the country, praise be to Allah”, said Lubis speaking separately.

Lubis admitted that he does not know if Prabowo consulted first with the ulama that supported him in the Ijtimak Ulama (a meeting or assembly of Islamic clerics). If not, then he admitted to feeling rather disappointed.

“If he is truly acting as the political opposition but then pursues a reconciliation that’s real [with Widodo], and did not or not yet tabayun with his ulama supporters (Ijtimak Ulama 1 and 2), we as the kadivhum PA 212 are rather disappointed and perhaps actually he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of sami’na waatho’na [to listen and obey] as he has proclaimed on several occasions”, explained Lubis.

The Gerindra party meanwhile says that that Prabowo’s meeting with Widodo was in the national interest.

“I don’t want to respond to each party one by one. What’s clear is that Pak [Mr] Prabowo’s was acting in the national interest, a meeting of nationalists, that’s all it was. There’re no snake in the grass here”, said Gerindra Executive Board Communication Division member Andre Rosiade when contacted on Saturday.

Rosiade emphasised that the meeting should be appreciated and was aimed at a national reconciliation following the 2019 presidential election.

“Just let it go, we should just appreciate it, it was a meeting of nationalists in the hope of national reconciliation. I as a Gerindra Party leader very much appreciate the move by Pak Prabowo. Today’s meeting shows that he is not just a politician, but also a patriot and a statesperson”, he said.

Rosiade said that the meeting had no relationship with Gerindra’s political position. Prabowo will probably announce the party’s official political position after the Gerindra national working meeting (rakernas) in August and after goodwill meetings with his supporters to ascertain their wishes.

“Perhaps when we hold the national working meeting later, Gerindra will hold a rakernas, after the rakernas. Announcing the official position is Pak Prabowo’s domain as the chairperson and chair of the advisory board. What’s clear, in August if I’m not wrong, we will hold a rakernas”, he said.

When asked if Prabowo consulted with the ulama in the Ijtimak Ulama before the meeting with Widodo, Rosiade claimed that he does not know the details. He asserted however that all of the political parties that were part of the now defunct election coalition were informed beforehand.

“I don’t know the details, but what’s clear is, from the start Pak Prabowo conveyed this during a meeting on June 28, he conveyed this during the meeting, during the meeting to disband the [electoral] coalition, he said he would meet with Pak Jokowi do discuss matters of national interest. When the coalition was disbanded it was conveyed that there would be a meeting between Pak Prabowo and Pak President Jokowi, said Rosiade. (idh/idh)


Cebong (tadpole) and kampret (little bats) were derogatory terms used by supporters of the two presidential election camps to insult each other, with the first referring to Jokowi supporters while the latter was for Prabowo supporters.

Along with the National Movement to Safeguard the Fatwa of Ulama (GNPF-U), the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) was born out of the 2016-17 demonstrations against former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. Since then it has struggled to maintain its relevance and while insisting that it is a purely religious movement to “defend Islam”, in 2018 it openly aligned itself with the political coalition supporting Prabowo Subianto’s presidential election bid. In December 2018 for example, the PA 212 held a so-called “212 reunion” which was attended by Prabowo and key leaders of his coalition parties.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Prabowo Bertemu Jokowi, PA 212 Angkat Kaki”.]