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Prabowo joins SBY to commemorate Aceh tsunami tragedy

Jakarta Post - December 27, 2023

Jakarta – Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto attended on Tuesday an event to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Aceh tsunami disaster with former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in Banda Aceh, Aceh.The 2004 tsunami, which happened only a few months after SBY's inauguration, was one of the country's worst natural disasters, claiming more than 220,000 lives and destroying a major part of the province.

Previously expressing his reluctance to join Prabowo's presidential campaign, SBY, whose first years in office were occupied with handling the Aceh reconstruction program, invited Prabowo to the event that he organized along with his son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono.

Prabowo was welcomed by Yudhoyono and Agus, the Democratic Party chairman, to the event at Hotel Hermes, which was attended by 250 people. Prabowo was invited as the country's defense minister.

"Today, we commemorate together with all elements of society, including religious leaders. We invited the ulama to commemorate the tsunami and peace, and we specially invited Prabowo Subianto as the defense minister," Agus said, as quoted by Kompas.com.

During his speech, Prabowo said Aceh had always been special for him because his father renowned economist and politician Sumitro Djojohadikusumo had always been fond of the province and told his children about it. Prabowo, who is making his third consecutive run for presidency, apologized for not visiting Aceh since losing the 2019 presidential election.

"Aceh is one of the places where I have received great support, and I must apologize; after losing, I have not been to Aceh," Prabowo said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Prabowo recalled that he received one of the highest shares of the vote of all provinces in Aceh, with 2.4 million votes compared with 400,000 for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"If you have lost, you have lost everything, or in the language of the Jakarta people, bokek [broke]. Who wants to support the losing party and so on?" he said. Nevertheless, Prabowo said that he continued to think of ways to repay the kindness of the people of Aceh, including building a polytechnic in the region.

"Actually, I have prepared a budget; I plan to build the finest polytechnic in Aceh. I had been planning the groundbreaking work now and then, but this program still needs time," Prabowo said.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/indonesia/2023/12/27/prabowo-joins-sby-to-commemorate-aceh-tsunami-tragedy.htm