Jakarta – Senior lawmaker Effendi Simbolon issued an apology on Wednesday after calling the Indonesian Military (TNI) a "mob" during a hearing earlier this month of House of Representatives Commission I, which oversees foreign affairs and security, with TNI commander Gen. Andika Perkasa.
"From the bottom of my heart, I apologize if my statement hurt the feelings of all members of the TNI from the lowest-ranking to the generals as well as all retirees, all of who have been upset by that statement," said Effendi, who is also a senior politician of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Effendi said that he bore no ill-will toward the TNI and regretted that his statement had caused uproar especially among members of the military.
During a meeting with Andika and other top brass of the TNI on Sept. 5, Effendi complained about the lack of unity within the military and said that rifts within the institution had come to a point where soldiers behaved like members of a criminal gang.
"We have found out that disharmony, insubordination within the TNI has made this institution appear like a mob. It looks like a mass organization, there's just simply no such thing as discipline," Effendi said in the hearing.
In the same hearing, Effendi also cited a possible rift between Andika and the Indonesian Army chief of staff Gen. Dudung Abdurrachman.
Responding to the statement, a number of senior military generals including some local military commanders expressed their outrage, with some soldiers making threats of physical violence against Effendi.Dudung himself was caught on camera making a statement calling on soldiers to "rage" against Effendi.