Don’t Be Hasty, Mr Setya Novanto

The night is growing older. Eight people are paying a visit to a grandiose house located on one of South Jakarta’s elite residential area on Jl. Wijaya, Kebayoran Baru. They entered the house, looking for the main man behind their mission: Setya Novanto, the Chief of People’s Representative Council (DPR) and the Chief of Golkar Party. They aim to capture the highly influential and the “escape artist” to bring an end to the cat-and-mouse drama.

In the end, Setya Novanto was found on a car accident and was hospitalized. Later on, he was transferred to the state hospital, Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo (RSCM). Finally, he was captured and handled by people from the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

With many Indonesians made an outcry for the government to oust Setya Novanto, the President made a calming remark, “Setya Novanto must abide by the law”. Finally, a meeting within the DPR and Partai Golkar was held to determine the future of both organizations.

To oust someone from a person who we evaluate as ineligible to continue their rule in order to contain justice in a country is a good act.

Moreover, plans to oust a person who is alleged to be involved in corruption is needed to save the image of a government. He has become a potential menace who may inflict deep scar to the weakening reputation of his office – People’s Representative Council (DPR), his party (Partai Golkar), and the Indonesian government altogether.

Becoming the representative of the archipelago gives the leader HUGE responsibility in doing the job while abiding the law. Since its assembly, the reputation of the Council is diminishing because of their own acts, such as their request for renovations, purchase of (luxurious) new cars, and the list goes on. Looking at it, many citizens think that they do not represent the people anymore. Corruption cannot be separated with the Council.

With the ongoing corruption allegation against its Chief, Setya Novanto, the whole Council is falling down. It is the pinnacle of their downfall, and similar like a plane spiraling into the ground. Many people argued if Setya Novanto cling unto his position in the Council, the reputation of the whole council and its personnel will be hurt badly.

On Tuesday, 21 November 2017, as written in, the House’s ethics council (Mahkamah Kehormatan Dewan), a meeting was held to determine the fate of Setya. Ida Fauziah, House of Representatives member explained the urgency for a wind of change in the Council because the arrest of Setya will hurt the reputation of the Council, big time.

After hitting the Council, the next target would be his ruling party, Partai Golkar. His party is a party with history; the late second president of Indonesia, Soeharto, was affiliated to the Party. This party had experienced a dwindling reputation post-Soeharto era. However, it has regained its grip by holding onto its loyal supporters, approaching new young voters, and the inclusion into the Koalisi Indonesia Hebat.

No matter how big their numbers are in the coalition, citizens are getting impatient and beginning to distrust the Party. As mentioned by the Director of Saiful Mujani Research, Sirojuddin Abbas on, that Setya’s case are like a punch on the stomach for Golkar: “….credibility deficit becomes a contagious problem and affects not only to the figures of the party, but to everyone and the party itself”. This poses a serious threat for the future of the party. As a result, Golkar held talks and agreed to appoint Idrus Marham, the secretary general of the party as the acting official. This proves to be a swift act of saving the ship from sinking, because image/reputation is contagious, whether good or bad (note this one). A second you slip, a lifetime you weep.

Finally, the wrongdoings by Setya Novanto would impact the government’s reputation, resulting in strong critics and demonstrations against the President. People would see the president as a person who could not make swift decisions. Many theories will be developed among the citizens and results in a social unrest, or even dwindling support for President Jokowi, putting him in a dangerous position in the pursuit for continuing his term of presidency.

Putting Setya Novanto into jail means defending justice and ensuring that swift decisions are made to prevent the reputation of the Council, the Party, and the government from sinking even further. Even though justice must be defended to protect the citizens from unlawful acts, it is necessary if we recognize the potential threat lurking and waiting for the right moment to jump in. To oust a very important figure from its position would lead to vacuum of power – a dangerous moment where people would try to take each other down to reap the prize: leading reputable national organizations and getting benefits from it.

As far as I am concerned, power vacuum is never good. I want to give you an example. Even though it is on a different scale, but look back at the essence of power vacuum itself.

It was October 2011. Gunshots were fired. Shots were exchanged. All continued until a VVIP called as “the asset” was transported. It went on until the asset was declared dead. It was the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who ruled Libya for over 40 years. Everyone was happy, especially the Western countries. They thought they had finished the job. Actually, things had not been finished.

The country went into turmoil. The Libyan National Transitional Council had to settle rivalries between tribes fighting for resources (and power!). Former US president Barack Obama explained to The Atlantic that his mistake was not preparing Libya post-Gaddafi era. Resources a.k.a. oil are gold. It is what makes Libya into a small, yet oil-rich country. The warring tribes could not be contained, unlike in the Gaddafi era, where he achieved unity (even though still met challenges) among the tribes. Some said he was like the war chief, the chiefs among chiefs in Libya. Democracy has failed because of instability in the parliament. Today, there is still a civil war happening in Libya, and the future still seems bleak for the nation.

Thus, looking at how post-power may be hazardous for the nation such as the Libyan crisis, I think everyone ought to rethink their desire to oust Setya Novanto from his positions. Even though the scale may be different, it would be wise if he is still allowed to hold onto his position, while everyone (DPR and Partai Golkar) deliberate to find a better solution. After all, being the chief of the population’s representative and the party means the person could stabilize those who are aiming for those positions. The ability to gain enough support which unites all and put an end to the differences must not be overlooked. The government and the citizens should be more patient and understand that Setya’s office positions are too valuable to be put up into “auction”. It would create further turmoil and may put the President’s position into the danger zone. Remember, everyone is competing for the hot seat, even though the majority of the masses don’t know it, yet.

Bibliography (I will edit it later :D)


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