Yogyakarta – The wave of criticism by the academic community against the leadership of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo continues to grow.
Most recently, a council of professors, rectors and students at the Yogyakarta Muhammadiyah University (UMY) in Bantul, Yogyakarta province, has issued a national message and moral appeal to 'Safeguard Indonesian Democracy".
In a statement read by UMY professor Akif Khilmiyah, they stated that an escalation of constitutional violations and the loss of state ethics has continued over the past year.
"Starting with the emasculation of the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission], officials who are fond of corruption, the DPR [House of Representatives] which does not function to defend the country's children and some MK [Constitutional Court] judges who do not have any ethics or self-respect", read the statement that was read out in front of the AR Fachrudin Building on Saturday February 3.
The culmination of all of this, continued Khilmiyah, was the shackling of the Constructional Court judges by the ambitions of the country's rulers and the loss of ethics in the political contestation ahead of the 2024 elections on February 14.
Instead of thinking about the ordinary people who are eliminated by the power of the oligarchy, according to Khilmiyah, the country's rulers actually appear ambitious and busy pursuing and perpetuating their power.
"The fragility of the state's foundations is almost complete because the state's administrators, the government, the DPR and the judiciary have failed to set a good example in maintaining their compliance with the principles of the constitution and the country's ethics that should be obeyed wholeheartedly", said Khilmiyah.
As a democratic country and based on the constitution, state administrators should be the best examples of upholding the principles of the constitution and setting an example in upholding the country's ethics for citizens. Without all this, he continued, the Republic of Indonesia will be on the verge of becoming a failed state.
"Without exemplary state administrators, Indonesia will be on the verge of become a failed state", he said.
Therefore, the ordinary people as the holders of real sovereignty must be active in reminding all state administrators so they comply with the constitution and care for Indonesian democracy.
"[We] urge the President of the Republic of Indonesia to carry out his constitutional obligations as a state administrator to realise the implementation of the 2024 elections that are honest and fair. The use of state facilities with all the authority they possess represents a serious constitutional violation", continued Khilmiyah reading out the demands of professors and UMY academic community.
Furthermore, they urged the political parties to stop the practice of money politics and abuse of power in the 2024 election contest, demanding that they prioritise political ideas and education to enlighten the ordinary people.
Fifth, demanding that judicial institutions, namely the Supreme Court and the courts under it authority and the Constitutional Court be independent and impartial in handling various disputes and violations during the 2024 election process.
Finally, appealing to all Indonesian people to jointly safeguard the implementation of the 2024 elections so that they are dignified, honest and fair so as to produce a leader who is visionary and has the courage to uphold the principles of the constitution.
The wave of criticism from campuses around Indonesia has continued to spread.
Earlier, several campuses issued petitions addressed to Widodo, starting with the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Central Java, which released a "Bulaksumur Petition" (literally a long road hemmed in by rice fields where a well is found) because of their disappointment with one of the graduates of the university, namely President Widodo.
Protests on campus by the academic community against the Widodo leadership then became more widespread such as the State Islamic University (UII) in Yogyakarta which called for an "Indonesian Statesmanship Emergency".
Yesterday, on Friday February 2, at least three more campuses issued statements criticising president Widodo. In a statement, the University of Indonesia (UI) claimed it had been called on to beat the drums of war to restore democracy.
Meanwhile, a number of professors and academics from the Hasanuddin University (Unhas) in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar warned President Widodo and all state officials, law enforcement officers and political actors in the cabinet to remain within the corridor of democracy, prioritising popular values and social justice and a sense of comfort in democracy.
A coalition of lectures from the Mulawarman University (Unmul) in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, also joined in calling on people to take a stand to save democracy and asked President Widodo not to take sides in the 2024 elections.
The palace itself has already responded to the wave of calls from Indonesian campuses. Presidential Special Staff Coordinator Ari Dwipayana responded by saying it is normal for a contestation of opinions to emerge ahead of elections. He also touched on partisan political strategies.
"We are paying close attention in this political year, ahead of elections a contest of opinion will definitely emerge, the herding of opinions. A contest of opinions in a political contestation is something that is also normal. Moreover it's related to partisan political strategies for electoral politics", said Dwipayana at the State Secretariat Ministry complex in Jakarta on Friday.
Nevertheless, Dwipayana emphasised that the criticism by campus academics represent a form of free speech and are a citizen's democratic right.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "UMY Kritik Pemerintahan Jokowi: RI di Ambang Pintu Jadi Negara Gagal".]