Jakarta – Non-government organisations (NGOs) which are part of the Civil Society Coalition have criticised President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to propose Army Chief of Staff General Andika Perkasa as the sole candidate for next TNI (Indonesian military) commander in chief. The Coalition believes that this is problematic because Perkasa has a dark record of human rights violations.
Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial), which is part of the Coalition, said that Perkasa's name has been linked to the 2001 assassination of Papuan figure Theys Hiyo Eluay.
"Reports linking the name Andika Perkasa with the assassination of Papua figure Theys Hiyo Eluay must be taken seriously", said Imparsial researcher Hussein Ahmad in a press release on Wednesday November 3.
According to Ahmad, Widodo must comprehensively dig into information about all candidates by involving credible institutions in order confirm the president's considerations and make the correct choice.
He believes that in proposing Perkasa as the sole candidate for TNI commander it shows that the president does not have a serious commitment to upholding human rights as he has pledged to in the past.
Ahmad took the opportunity to call on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to immediately conduct a study into the allegations of Perkasa's role in the assassination of Theys Eluay in November 2001.
Not only that, the Coalition also highlighted reports on Perkasa's wealth which stands at some 179.9 billion rupiah. According to the Coalition, this must be clearly explained and that it is important that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) conduct an audit into Perkasa's wealth.
"Especially since General Andika Perkasa is said to have never submitted a LHKPN [state official wealth report] despite the fact that the person concerned is a senior government official", he said.
Because of this, the Coalition is urging the House of Representatives (DPR) to seriously examine Perkasa's commitment to democracy, human rights and corruption eradication, and specifically his alleged links to Theys Eluay's assassination and the fantastic amount of wealth he owns.
The Coalition is also asking the DPR to examine and asses the candidate TNI chief by involving and asking for views from the public, independent state institutions and credible experts by involving Komnas HAM, the KPK and other civil society institutions.
Earlier, Widodo proposed Perkasa as the sole candidate to replace current TNI commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who following his retirement in late November will occupy the position of Presidential Chief of Staff (KSP).
Widodo has written to the DPR asking that they agree to Perkasa's nomination.
CNN Indonesia has contacted Perkasa and TNI information centre director Major General Prantara for clarification on the Coalition's statement but has yet to receive a response from either. (dmi/wis)
Perkasa is also the son-in-law of former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono who has reportedly been promoting Perkasa as the next TNI commander. Hendropriyono – a close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – was cited in US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 as being involved in the planning of the 2004 assassination of renowned human rights defender Munir Said Thalib.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Sipil Soroti Jejak HAM dan Harta Rp179 Miliar Andika Perkasa".]