Responding to mural polemic, Palace says Jokowi is 'our parent', must be respected

Source – August 18, 2021
Screenshot of Jokowi 404 Not Found posting on Twitter – August 14, 2021 (Kompas)

Fitria Chusna Farisa, Jakarta – Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko has asked the public not to criticise President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in a reckless manner. After all, the president is a parent to the ordinary people and must be respected.

This was conveyed by Moeldoko in response to a mural resembling Widodo which has since been removed. The painting over of the mural has created a polemic.

"Because no matter what the president is our parent, what is needed, once again what is needed, and very much needed is for us to respect him", said Moeldoko at the presidential staff office in Jakarta on Wednesday August 18.

"Don't talk recklessly, don’t recklessly state something in the form of words or in the form of pictures", he said.

Moeldoko said that right from the start the president has always said that he is very open to and never phased by criticism. But however, Widodo has also stated that criticism has to be in accordance with eastern cultural traditions.

Because of this said Moeldoko, criticism must be civilised and in accordance with the right methods and the culture practiced by the nation.

"Not just always saying he's anti-criticism, anti-criticism. Just have a look at how he is being criticised", said Moeldoko.

Moeldoko believes that the Indonesian public too easily justifies or treats criticism as being the same as slander.

"Many of our [national] figures have failed to provide education to them, and in fact have been involved in stirring up the situation. Don't be like that", he said.

Moeldoko said he no longer wants to see people acting without thinking about the consequences first and afterwards just apologising.

If supposing the police summon a perpetrator, said Moeldoko, this does not mean that the state is acting repressively, because a summons by the authorities can mean providing guidance so the perpetrator does not do bad things again.

"So don't continue justifying it as repressive and so on. Sometimes we only look skin deep, and don't understand what's underneath", he said.

As reported earlier, a mural with a picture resembling President Widodo and the message "404 Not Found" has become a lively topic of discussion on social media. The hashtag #Jokowi404NotFound even became the trending topic on Twitter on Saturday August 14.

The mural, which was found in the Batu Ceper area of Tangerang city, was painted over by police on Thursday August 12. Local police are also investigating the person or persons who drew the mural for allegedly demeaning the president who is regarded as a state symbol.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Soal Penghapusan Mural Mirip Jokowi, Istana: Presiden Orangtua Kita, Perlu Dihormati".]