Jakarta – Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung said that he "missed" the pointed criticism from outspoken opposition figures following President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's successful consolidation of power in the past few months.
"I personally find myself longing for people like [former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician] Fahri Hamzah and [Gerindra Party executive] Fadli Zon, who used to criticize the government; they acted as vitamins," Pramono said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
"Sometimes when they're not in the news, I seek out Pak Fahri, Pak Fadli, and [government critic] Rocky Gerung on Twitter, wondering why they have yet to voice their usually reinvigorating thoughts."
He said the country's political scene had lost it's "dynamism" after the Jokowi administration won the support of around 74 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives.
Pramono went on to call on the public to feel free to criticize the government in order to live up to the country's democratic ideals.
Shortly after his inauguration in October, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced his Cabinet, which included Gerindra Party chairman and losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto as defense minister, effectively reducing the potential opposition in the House by over a third.
Only three parties in the House are outside the government coalition and only one of those three – the PKS – has definitively said it would act as opposition to the Jokowi administration. The National Awakening Party (PAN) has remained ambivalent, while Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that his party would "support the government" though it would also criticize policies it deemed to be misguided.(rfa)