Introductory Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Limited Cabinet Meeting on Preparation of Simultaneous Regional Elections (Through Video Conference) Tuesday, 8 September 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Date 8 September 2020
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Distinguished Vice President,
Ladies and gentlemen.
In preparation for the simultaneous regional elections, today I would like to point out a few things that I need to emphasize. First, the public health and safety are of paramount importance. Therefore, the health protocol is non-negotiable. Second, we are considered successful in mitigating risks due to the pandemic if we are successful in handling health and pandemic problems. Once again, discipline must be exercised in implementing health protocols during the regional elections. They must be enforced, and there can be no compromise.
Since I follow the situation on the ground, the (health) protocol violations still being committed by prospective candidate pairs. For example, on the declarations of prospective election candidates they still hold concerts attended by thousands of people and create a crowd. I think things like these should concern us. Such action cannot be tolerated. The regional elections must continue and cannot wait until the pandemic ends because we do not know, no country can predict when this COVID-19 pandemic will end. Therefore, the regional elections must be carried out in a new way, with a “new normal”.
On this occasion, I ask all stakeholders, election organizers: the General Election Commission (KPU), the Elections Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), government officials, security forces and law enforcers, the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) personnel, community leaders, important figures in organizations to actively encourage the public to be discipline in implementing health protocols.
Apart from being strict in implementing health protocols, I also urge (all stakeholders) to maintain and improve the quality of our democracy. In these challenging times, I would like to see our democracy more mature. Therefore, first, I order all bureaucrats, the personnel of TNI and Polri, to remain neutral and not to show support to certain candidate pairs.
Second, I do not allow the use of language, narratives, or symbols that can endanger the unity and integrity of the society. Be firm, do not use identity politics as well as race and religion politics because it will endanger our unity and integrity. We must prevent this. Rather, we must encourage candidates to compete in programs and ideas to become regional leaders. We also have to encourage the public to find out the candidates’ track record so that the regions get good, the best leaders.
Third, I also order the election organizers to work hard to produce a high quality election process. Neutrality, professionalism and transparency of the election organizers play a major role in maintaining the quality of our democracy, in maintaining political stability in the regions as well as in improving public acceptance of the results of the elections.
Last, I expect the support of religious leaders, traditional leaders, community leaders, as well as activists and academics in the regions to support the efforts that I mentioned earlier.
That is all my introductory remarks.
Translated by Galuh Wicaksono
Reviewed by Mia Medyana B