Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says that the discourse on active TNI (Indonesian military) officers holding position in government ministries and institutions shows that the state is ignoring New Order (Orba) thinking.
The discourse on the placement of active TNI officers follows a proposal by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to revise Law Number 34/2004 on the TNI so that officers can hold posts in ministries and institutions.
"The proposal by LBP (Luhut) shows that in fact the state is allowing New Order-ish thinking among the ranks of its officials", Kontras Deputy Coordinator Rivanlee Anandar told Kompas.com on Monday August 8, referring to the New Order regime of former president Suharto.Anandar asserted that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo needs to reprimand and "cleanse" government officials of this Orba-ist thinking.
In addition to this, Anandar said that the discourse also shows the failure to identify problem within the TNI internally such as the many senior officers with no postings.
Conversely, what is being done by the government is not in fact a thorough evaluations but instead reopening the tap for the return of the duel socio-political function of the TNI (dwi-fungsi).
According to Anandar, if this discourse is actually realised, it will have consequences such as the determination of positions in certain civilian posts no longer being based on a person's merit, but instead based only on power.
"In this case a TNI network of public officials which has the clear potential of giving rise to conflicts of interest", he asserted.
Earlier, Panjaitan proposed revision to the TNI law so active TNI officers could hold positions in government ministries and institutions.
"[Revising] the TNI Law is actually one of the things that has been needed since I was the Menko Polhukam [coordinating minister for security], that TNI [officers] be assigned to [government] ministries and institutions at the request of the institution and the president's agreement", said Panjaitan during Retired Army Generals Association (PPAD) national meeting on Friday August 5.
According to Panjaitan, if this is realised, there will no longer be any senior Army officers filling unnecessary posts so the Army's performance will be more efficient.
These senior Army officers, said the retired general, will also no longer need to compete over posts because they can follow a carrier outside of military institutions.
"Actually the TNI can could later play a simpler role, and not all TNI officers will have to become KSADs [Army chiefs of staff], they may well not be KSAD but be in a ministry", said Panjaitan.
Panjaitan added that the stipulations which he is proposing are already valid for active Indonesian police officers who can be assigned to government ministries and institutions.
"So I hope that the TNI in this can along with the Kemhan [Defense Ministry] be able to insert an article such as this into revisions to the TNI Law", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Usulan Luhut TNI Aktif Bisa Jabat di Kementerian Dinilai seperti Pemikiran Orba".]