Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – YouTube personality Deddy Corbuzier must be stripped of his civilian privileges now that he has been recruited by the Army as an honorary service member, a senior lawmaker warned on Tuesday.
The television presenter and former mentalist who is currently running an influential podcast on YouTube has been awarded the rank of lieutenant colonel based on Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's recommendation.
The hiring method other than organic selection is called Tituler, which allows the Indonesian Military (TNI) to recruit civilians according to their expertise for "the urgent needs of the military", Tubagus Hasanuddin of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle told BTV's Fristian Griec.
"For example, the Air Force is running out of pilots and it asks the Transportation Ministry to temporarily assign [state-owned airline] Garuda's pilots to fly Air Force planes. To those pilots, the Air Force will offer the Tituler ranks for a certain period," Tubagus said.
The lawmaker, himself a retired Army general, said he cannot see the urgency in hiring Deddy, even if the defense minister has argued that the television star would function as an ambassador for the military reserve force.
"A TNI soldier isn't allowed to get involved in politics and to do business. The TNI doesn't recognize the so-called ambassador because the function is held by information officers," Tubagus said.
As an active military officer, Deddy is stripped of the right to vote and to get elected in any civilian post.
Deddy, 45, formally received his assignment document from Prabowo on Saturday and posted photos of him and the minister on his Instagram account.
"Thank you to the TNI and the Defense Ministry for the highest honor and trust for me. It marks a new journey for me to carry out my duty and mandate to the Unitary Republic of Indonesia honestly and without taking anyone's side but Pancasila," Deddy wrote by mentioning the country's national ideology.
Tubagus, a member of the House of Representatives Defense Commission, said Deddy has officially become a service member with superiors to report to and the obligation to join the morning parade.
"The military law applies to him, meaning that he must let go of his civilian privileges as long as he is a Tituler lieutenant colonel," Tubagus said.
TNI spokesman Rear Admiral Kisdiyanto has confirmed that Deddy's appointment has been signed by TNI Commander General Andika Perkasa and Army Chief of Staff General Dudung Abdurachman.
Deddy, whose birth name is Deodatus Andreas Deddi Cahyadi Sunjoyo, is entitled to salary, benefits, and other facilities as a high-ranking military officer, which triggers debate on social media.
"Dearest Deddy, you do not need those financial benefits," former Maritime Affairs Minister Susi Pudjiastuti tweeted. She also suggested that Deddy returns his salary to the TNI to be channeled to those who need it.