Desca Lidya N, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed government officials to correct the decline in the national democracy index and public satisfaction with law enforcement.
"I remind you to be careful, as the public satisfaction score has declined this year after we recorded an increase in the score in 2019 and 2020," the president told regional police heads during an event in Badung, Bali on Friday.
The head of state urged police officers to not discriminate while performing their law enforcement duties, as their actions would be strictly watched by the public and impact public satisfaction in the national law enforcement system.
Jokowi also highlighted the recent decline in Indonesia's democracy index after the country was classified as a "flawed democracy" in the 2020 Democracy Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit that gave a rating of 6.3 points to the country's democracy, a slight decline, from 6.48 points recorded in the previous index.
"The decline is caused by the negative public perception that accuses the police of arbitrary arrests. Hence, we must prioritise persuasion and dialogue while performing our duty," the president stated.
Jokowi pointed out the recent police actions against murals criticising him.
"I have no idea who is the first one instructing to remove the mural, but perhaps the decision was made by local police forces, with no prior instruction from their superiors. Hence, I instruct regional police heads to remind local police forces to not preoccupy themselves with minor nuisances," the president stated.
Jokowi spoke of being accustomed to public criticism while serving the country as the leader, and murals criticising him would not preoccupy him.
He urged police officers to distinguish constructive criticism that must be tolerated from destructive actions threatening public order that necessitate police interventions.
"Freedom of speech must be respected, but if residents have filed their complaint against obstructive behaviour, then the police must take action. I also laud the police chief's recent decision to organise a mural competition that has received a positive public response," Jokowi stated.
Apart from respecting freedom of speech in Indonesia's democratic nature, he also urged police officers to distance themselves from parties that are accused of disrupting public order.
"It is odd when a new regional police chief pays a visit to leaders of organisations often accused of disturbing public order and justify their actions by saying that it is important for maintaining order in their region. We should not sacrifice our dignity by visiting lawbreakers," the president cautioned.