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Indonesian IT minister Tifatul claims he is often 'bullied'

Antara News - April 25, 2012

Bandung – Indonesia's controversial Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tifatul Sembiring says he has become a target of social network users who do not hold back their criticism.

"I am often bullied," Tifatul said on Wednesday. As an example, he said one commentator even implied that he did nothing to justify his wages as a minister.

The minister, speaking during an event on information technology and communication in Bandung, West Java, said even the president never scolded him that way, adding that his own curiosity caused him to join microblogging service Twitter.

Tifatul currently has 364,780 followers and his often controversial policies, including blocking porn sites, have made him the target of heated online discussions. He is also infamous for a string of embarrassing gaffes that have made headlines around the world.

The minister from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party was criticized when he shook hands with the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, despite claiming he would not do so with a non-related female. He claimed the first lady forced him to shake hands, despite television footage of the 'incident' completely contradicting his statement.

He has also blamed a string of natural disasters in Indonesia on "immorality." Tifatul said that while social networking had a positive impact, it could also be negative because the users tended to be "unethical and impolite."