When it comes to politics, time for Indonesians to be more objective 

Indonesians have to be objective and think critically about politics and not be too caught up with being emotional, said Rocky Gerung, political observer, at a book launch of the biography of Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs of Indonesia, October 8.

Minister Luhut signs book. Photo credit: Angiola Harry

Rocky, a critic of the politics of President Joko Widodo’s administration, said getting emotional was an obstacle to one’s thinking.  When evaluating the effectiveness of the politician’s policies, it is important not to mix it up with whether one likes the politician or not but to focus only on the policy itself.

“My criticism of Jokowi, Luhut and others are based on facts and arguments, not on sentimentality. If people are consumed by their emotions, they will think whatever the politician did is right and they lose their objectivity. It is like praying to God, you think whatever your request to God is always right,” said Rocky to Maritime Fairtrade, after the book launch.

When the host Deddy Corbuzier, a popular Indonesian artist, asked Rocky to describe Luhut in one word, he said “rose”. According to Rocky, a rose is a fragrant flower but is protected by thorns, and from the outside, Luhut looks friendly and pleasant but he is sharp. Rocky also took the chance to criticize Jokowi for wanting to extend the term of the president, which is limited by the Constitution to two terms, to three terms. Jokowi is now at the tail-end of his second and final term.

Book signing ceremony. Photo credit: Angiola Harry

Luhut agreed on the need to be objective and in a democracy, he said it is important for the people not be sway by emotion and sentiment. Luhut defended Jokowi, saying the president’s supporters wanted him to continue and it was within their democratic right. He also defended the often-cited argument that 110 million Indonesians supported the postponement of the presidential election so that Jokowi could continue on. However, many Indonesians questioned this figure.

Luhut’s younger sister, Nurmala Kartini Pandjaitan-Sjahrir, is the biography author who also came up with the idea two years ago because she wanted to share Luhut’s impact on women’s empowerment policies, contribution to education and to the younger generation. Nurmala also wanted this biography as a present for Luhut’s 75th birthday on September 28. She presented Luhut as a human being who has strengths and weaknesses.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan is an Indonesian politician, businessman and retired four-star Army general, serving as Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment since October 2019. He was also Ambassador to Singapore from 1999 to 2000. His business interests included natural resources (oil, gas and mining), electricity generation (coal, gas and geothermal) and agriculture (palm oil).

Photo credit: iStock/ Iqbal Nuril Anwar

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