House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani has been reported to parliament's Ethics Council (MKD) over her failure to read the room.
Political activist Joko Priyoski filed his complaint against Puan with MKD yesterday, demanding that the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician apologize for her lack of sensitivity towards the people.
Last Tuesday, lawmakers interrupted a plenary session to surprise Puan with an impromptu song celebrating her birthday, while hundreds had gathered outside the building protesting how the government's fuel subsidy cuts had pushed Indonesians further towards financial desperation. Instead of declining to celebrate out of respect for the protesters, Puan looked like she appreciated the surprise as she clapped along with the other lawmakers.
"She (Puan) should have had high sensitivity towards the struggles people are experiencing today," Joko said. "We are pushing for Puan to apologize to all the people of Indonesia."
Separately, labor groups, who have been a major part of the protests, ridiculed Puan's apparent hypocrisy, calling back to her shedding tears for the people's suffering when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mulled raising fuel prices in 2008. With Puan and her party in power, laborers lamented how she's no longer sympathetic to the plight of the people despite a 30 percent increase to fuel prices.
MKD has yet to confirm whether or not Puan would be summoned for an ethics hearing.
The incident certainly has not done Puan's presidential ambitions any favors. Last month, the daughter of former President Megawati Soekarnoputri and granddaughter of the country's founding father President Soekarno expressed her hope of Indonesia getting another female president in 2024, in what was clearly a self-referential remark.
Though Puan may so far be the only woman in contention for the country's top job, recent surveys show she lags far behind male politicians like Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.