Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has called on Jakarta’s newly inaugurated Governor Anies Baswedan and Deputy Governor Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno to treat the city’s residents equally, after the governor’s widely criticized first speech.
The minister’s comment was a response to Anies’s political statement on Monday (16/10).
“Congratulations to them. Hopefully, Anies will become a great governor and his deputy Sandi too … the governor of all,” Luhut said in Jakarta on Tuesday, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
“The terms ‘pribumi‘ [indigenous people] and non-pribumi should not be used. There should be no dichotomy. He must be the governor of all parties, all groups, ethnicities, religions, because those who chose him were also from various groups,” Luhut added.
Anies sparked confusion with his inauguration speech at the City Hall on Monday.
“Previously, all of us pribumi were oppressed and defeated. Today we are independent, and it’s time to become the hosts in our own country,” he said.
Anies said members of the public should benefit from independence and the official state ideology of Pancasila.
“Pancasila should become a reality in the capital city. Each of its principles must be felt in daily life … Indonesia is not a country based on one religion, but it also is not secular,” Anies said.
The term “pribumi” in his speech has attracted criticism in Indonesia and abroad.
Tom Pepinsky, an associate professor at Cornell University, said that every Indonesian will understand that by using the word “pribumi” Anies was targeting Indonesians of Chinese origin.
“Every Indonesian who hears this speech will understand that it is targeting ethnic Chinese Indonesians,” Pepinsky said in an article published by New Mandala on Tuesday.
Prominent Indonesian human rights activist Hendardi of the Setara Institute also conveyed his disapproval on Tuesday, saying that on his first day of work Anies should focus on emotional healing after the racially and religiously charged gubernatorial campaign, but he only reinforced the division.
Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid said that even though Anies said the context of his speech referred to Indonesia’s colonial past, the use of “pribumi” was wrong.
“It will be very dangerous if the speech inspires Jakarta’s government to create discriminative policies,” Usman said in a statement.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, in 1998 witnessed mass riots targeting Chinese Indonesians. Outbreaks of religiously motivated violence have also been recorded in the recent decades.