Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) Deputy Chairperson Ardi Manto Adiputra is concerned that the formation of new regional military commands (Kodam) in every province, including the new autonomous regions (DOB) in Papua, will be prone to politicisation.
Moreover, according to Adiputra, the proposal is very dangerous because it repositions the TNI (Indonesian military) as it was during Suharto's New Order regime when it was involved in all matters of civil administration in the regions.
"Learning from past experience, the military posts in the regions actually became a tool that was used in the interest of practical politics, particularly when organising elections", said Adiputra in a press release received by Kompas.com on Thursday April 6.
Adiputra said that there were a number of incidents involving the misuse and deployment of TNI regional commands in past elections and this should be used as lesson that the institution is very prone to being politicised.
According to Adiputra, the discourse on the formation of new military commands also represents a discourse on a retreat for democracy and reform in the security sector in Indonesia.
"This discourse will make the process of reforming the security sector, in particular the TNI, not just marking time (stagnate), but go back to the era of the New Order regime", he said.
"The restructuring of the territorial commands as mandated in the TNI Law is not just being ignored, but also betrayed by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and TNI Commander Admiral Yudo Margono", continued Adiputra.
As has been reported, Prabowo has stated that adding new regional military commands is linked to Indonesia's system of defense that is based upon the concept of a joint and total people's defense.
Thus the defense system must have cooperation with the local government and civilians.
"So we always need to be together with regional governments, always with the civilian government. Always side by side. Like the police which are already in that position, in every province there are regional police", said Prabowo.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Wacana Penambahan Kodam Baru Dikhawatirkan Picu Politisasi TNI".]