Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri has taken a jab at the country's millennials, questioning their contribution to the nation in a fiery speech on Wednesday in response to the recent nationwide rallies against the controversial Job Creation Law.
The country's fifth president said she regretted the protests, which descended into riots in some parts of the capital city on Oct. 8, as a number of facilities were set ablaze by unidentified mobs and clashes between the police and protesters occurred.
She also called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo – who seems to have embraced the nation's younger generations in his administration, having appointed some youngsters as his advisors – not to spoil the millennials.
"I said to the President, don't spoil them [...] I want to ask a question: What's the contribution of the millennial generation?" Megawati said in her speech broadcasted on the PDI-P's YouTube channel. "What is your contribution to this nation and country?"
"I don't care if I get bullied. Are protesting and destructing the only things you [millennials] can do?" she continued.
Megawati, a notable figure during the 1998 Reform Era, acknowledged that street protests had been allowed since the pro-democracy reform, but she said that they should not result in destruction of public facilities.
"For those who take to the streets, what are you doing? If you are against a rule, go to the House of Representatives. There is a thing called a public hearing for you to get your voices heard," she said.
University students and laborers have taken part in a series of protests in cities across the country for weeks since the passage of the omnibus bill on job creation into law on Oct. 5.
Following protests on Oct. 8, at least three Transjakarta bus shelters – at the Bundaran HI, Sarinah and Tosari stops – were damaged and burned. The building of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry on Jl. MH Thamrin was also damaged by stone-throwers.
However, an investigation by Narasi TV news channel revealed on Wednesday that based on a number of videos they collected from open sources, the arsonists at the Sarinah Transjakarta bus shelter were neither students nor worker protesters.
According to Narasi TV's analysis, the arsonists were seen coming from Jl. Sunda when clashes occurred at the Sarinah intersection. They were also seen taking pictures and making observations before deliberately setting fire to the bus shelter.