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Reactivation of New Order era civilian militia betrayal of reformasi: Kontras

Kompas.com - January 22, 2021

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says that the planned reactivation of the Swakarsa Civilian Security Force (Pam Swakarsa), which was proposed by candidate national police chief Commissioner General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, is a betrayal of the values of reformasi.

"The reactivation [of Pam Swakarsa] betrays the values of reformasi", Kontras Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti told Kompas.com on Friday January 22, referring to the political reform process that began in 1998.

In concert with this, the planned reactivation of Pam Swakarsa will also not change the state's efforts to revive the spirit of authoritarianism, as the Pam Swakarsa was initially formed during the era of former president Suharto's New Order regime.

Maulidiyanti is concerned that if the plan to reactivate Pam Swakarsa is realised it will further perpetuate the climate of violence. Moreover the plan shows that the state has no interest in advancing society through democratic values.

"Society is always approached through a spirit of punishment, but there is no spirit to cultivate advances in the values of democracy and human rights which were mandated by reformasi", he asserted.

Similarly, there is also concern that the reactivation of the Pam Swakarsa will create fear and horizontal conflicts in society, because it is quite possible that groups which are mandated to act as Pam Swakarsa will commit violence in the name of maintaining public order.

"In the end there will be elements of society or certain groups which will have more authority to take actions in the name of maintaining [public] order", he asserted.

As has been reported, national police chief elect Listyo Sigit Prabowo said he will revive Pam Swakarsa for the maintenance of public security and order (harkamtibmas).

This was conveyed when he was taking part in a fit and proper test at the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III on Wednesday January 20. "In the future, Pam Swakarsa must of course be more active in creating harkamtibmas, so we will revive it", said Prabowo.

Prabowo said that Pam Swakarsa will be integrated with existing information technology development and facilities at the national police. Thus, its collaboration and synergy with the police will be improved.


Pam Swakarsa along with Islamic vigilante groups like the now outlawed Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) were setup in 1998 by the police and military to counter student demonstrations ahead of the 1998 Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), which was to hear the accountability speech of former President Suharto's hand-picked successor President B.J. Habibie.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kontras: Rencana Pengaktifan Pam Swakarsa Bentuk Pengkhianatan Reformasi".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/01/22/12103611/kontras-rencana-pengaktifan-pam-swakarsa-bentuk-pengkhianatan-reformas