The Morning After: Beginning of a New Indonesia

Perspektif Online
04 March 2010


Wimar Witoelar

It was the worst blow to Indonesia's fledgling democracy since the ouster of President Abdurrahman Wahid. Doubts we had on the quality of our democracy were  resoundingly confirmed on a night when cynical opportunism destroyed rationality in a 212-325 drubbing at the Indonesian Parliament. As Sara Webb of Reuters Indonesia aptly summarized a few days ago, the Century case is not about a serious investigation into wrongdoing, but a challenge to reform by business elites which have kept Indonesia captive in a web of collusion and abuse of power.

Three significant steps were taken for reform by President Yudhoyono in his first term: Strengthening the KPK and the anti-corruption drive, dismissal of Aburizal Bakrie and Jusuf Kalla with their infamous record of collusion, and the appointment and support of Boediono and Sri Mulyani who are the champions of reform.

Those were good steps but they are not enough. The satisfaction the nation has enjoyed at seeing SBY defeat his two rival presidential candidates, two pairs of politicians with bad track records, turned out to be short-lived. Despite the repetitive chants of commitment to democracy, the defeated parties in the 2009 are not only losers but sore losers. The margin favoring SBY by 61% to 39% in the popular vote concealed the fact that voters were not as alert in the legislative elections, when many candidates coasted into their parliamentary seats under a cloak of anonymity and escorted by well-funded political machines.

The euphoria for democracy and free media showed its power as a double-edged sword when they merged into an irresistible parliamentary force.  The good news is that the defeat brought into sharp focus the dangerous elements in our nation. Abuse of democracy, Power of illegal money, media dictated by money. We can fix these problems, and when it is done we will have a new Indonesia, better tha n we have ever had.

This is not the time to discuss strategy, but it is a good opportunity to realize how good people are alive and strong, not in the parliament but in our daily lives and in open social networks. Wisdom is more plentiful in twitter than in the endless chanting of ignorant litany of Golkar-PDIP-PKS foot soldiers. We quote a few for this morning after the reality check, in the original text:

-          skarang nunggu misbahkun ditahan polisi,akbar faisal ditahan KPK, skandal BLBI dibuka lagi. hari ini tertawa menang,besok pagi MENANGis

-          Kita kalah politically, tapi menang dalam menuju kebenaran. Ini akan dibuktikan jika hukum kemudian dijalankan terhadap yang bersalah, dan mereka akan bebas dari tuntutan.

-          Pemerintah akan lebih bebas bergerak, tanpa terlalu mempedulikan.. emh.. "koalisi"

-          bagus Gerindra tidak jadi ke kita. Penuntutan Muhdi (pembunuh Munir)dll bisa diteruskan

-          Selamat buat pengemplang pajak! Selamat buat business politician! Selamat buat makelar politik!  Anda berhasil hari ini.

-          The bad guys may think they are on the winning side today, but we know SMI-Boed are on the right side of history. #SMI

-          Kalah away game, harus menang home game.

-          Malah bagus mungkin kasus Century lepas dari tangan Pansus lalu diurus oleh penegak hukum. Lalu SMI & Boediono terbukti tak bersalah.

-          Kita dengarkan pidato Presiden besok. Hasil voting ini tak akan berpengaruh besar bagi SBY-Boediono. Pemerintahan akan lebih presidensiil.

-          Nggak apa-nggak apa. Will take a rest and remain optimistic :)

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  1. From Felix on 04 March 2010 10:27:23 WIB
    Pak WW,

    Saya setuju bahwa ini adalah the new dawn for Indonesia, jika saja Presiden SBY mau menggunakan momentum ini dgn tepat. Sekarang sudah jelas siapa kawan siapa lawan. Dan Presiden tidak boleh ragu lagi utk stand up & fight. Gauntlet has been thrown, it is up to Mr. President to take it or leave it. Saya rasa dgn dukungan majoritas rakyat Indonesia dia harusnya berani utk melawan kekuatan hitam tersebut. Saat nya utk menggerakan semua komponen pemerintahan utk membongkar busuk2 nya para politisi hitam tersebut, mulai dari Lapindo, kasus pengemplangan pajak, Munir dll. jangan ragu lagi utk mem bongkar semua ! tidak ada hutang dan beban politik harus di bayar atau di jaga oleh SBY, karena musuh telah menunjukkan muka yg sebenarnya.
  2. From dendi on 04 March 2010 11:25:00 WIB
    saya masih bingung, jadi yang benar di kasus bank century itu siapa?
  3. From Lone Wolf on 04 March 2010 15:25:08 WIB
    Bravo Wimar, sharp & objective as usual.
    Surely I share your optimism in a brighter Indonesia (hopefully in the "not so far" future).
    But there's also a thing that still worries me a lot. That the "dark side" still have an enormous hidden power, there're still so many hidden dirty cards in their long sleeve.
    I hope that it will not be like the story line of the movie titled "Gladiator" (starred by Russel Crowe). At the ending, Maximus (the good side)WON against the Rome's ruthless emperor (the dark side), but Maximus DIED. His death was meant for the glory of the Roman Empire.
    The Roman Empire vanished, eventually.
    Like I said, I hope it won't be.
    Best regards.
  4. From tugimin on 04 March 2010 15:26:37 WIB
    Inilah Proses...

    Dalam proses kita belajar...
  5. From Chandra on 04 March 2010 16:31:50 WIB
    The process in which those legislators are nominated by their party was tainted by favoritism, money and corruption. In the hand of a these legislators, Democracy is abused and moving to the wrong direction. But history will look favorably on SMI and Boediono as the persons of integrity who stand tall to what they believe and that what they did to Century was the right decision.
  6. From benhan on 04 March 2010 17:40:03 WIB
    Really inspiring article. Be optimist! Be Happy! We couldn\'t be lower than last night. March on! Let us build a better country!
  7. From Andy on 04 March 2010 20:04:32 WIB
    Knowing SBY, he will let this go; he will refrain from doing anything radically, including reshuffling the cabinet.

    He already knew from beginning that nothing can be used either to impeach Boediono or push him to replace SMI. He already has LSI checking the pulse of the rakyat and he know that those monkeys in Senayan gain no popularity at all. He will only see the brouhaha in Senayan as noise, small thing.

    I will be surprised if he says anything important tonight (other than the usual image polishing words).

    But I agree that he will have more will to pursue all corruption and tax evasion cases, now that he learns the friends from the enemies and more importantly the limit of his enemies\' power.

    All in all, now I\'m happy for SBY that things turn out this way.
  8. From uban nugroho on 04 March 2010 20:41:27 WIB
    terima kasih dengan para anggota DPR waktu sidang Paripurna saat mendengar laporan Panitia Khusus Bank Century, dan saat mengambil keputusannya. Klik ! Gamblang ! Kita jadi tahu siapa sebenarnya wakil-wakil kita di Senayan Sana.
    Namun saat krisis beda dengan saat seperti sekarang ini, ketika bisa bernyayi di ruang sidang, bisa mondar-mandir saling salaman saat sidang, bisa berceloteh disela-sela interupsi. Wah bang Wimar, kita zoom dan KLIK !!!
  9. From Arie on 04 March 2010 21:27:31 WIB
    It's good if the Century probe will be taken over by the law enforcements, they will not find anything anyway on SMI and Boediono, and it will take at least 4 to 5 years to reach the verdict which is good because in those years SMI & Boediono can remain in their position to continue the reform. The DPR in this regards should come out with stricker financial act in which the content will not confuse the government to ground their decisions from. US Sarbanes & Oxley act could be a good example which applies to all financial practices from auditing to commerce. Money will always play a key role in politic because it is all about securing the needs. I do not want to be lead by stupid government but I do not want to be represented by a goofy representatives in the house of parliament either. The counter attack is education, improve the quality and subsidize this segment, otherwise if the education cost is sky high at the end the graduates will again think only about money!
  10. From Made on 05 March 2010 09:19:38 WIB
    A sharp and meaty article.

    I might think that money can buy media as a true statement. After SBY's speech last night, I read couple of news from Kompas and Jakarta Post. What I watch on TV was not exactly what I read on those news. That's a little bit strange.

    Somehow, I trust Twitter more than the traditional news channel.
  11. From Esther (Portland, OR) on 05 March 2010 15:43:19 WIB
    I have been following this process since the beginning. Even though I live abroad, but I am a concerned citizen. I know that this is a critical time for our country, I am glad that the President is step up and defended his best aides Boediono and Sri Mulyani.

    Media bias happens not only in Indonesia, it does happen in developed country with much more developed democracy such as the United States. It is the \"default consequence\" of free press and free speech, that \"those who control the news they rule the world\" because they sway the public opinion to their favor.

    In this case, President and his allies is lacking of an advance control of the media; they are lacking of talking points, they are lacking of actions in debunking every false accusation or false information, and at last they loose control of the media. I think they can not expect pro-bono journalists such as bloggers, facebookers, and twitters to be their best defenses; President and the administration they need their own best defense, army of journalist, communicators, and PRs.

    In the Obama\'s Whitehouse, they have not only Press Secretary, but alos Director of Communication with its deputies, C-SPAN,, Organizing for America, etc. They have more than one channel to debunk lies and false accusations come from FOX News. Bank bail bout happened in the United States too, but somehow the government is able to dampen public reaction, why? because they keep talking on TV, they keep reminding, and they keep arguing how bad it will be if they did not act swiftly.

    One thing that I learned, the freer the press the better for democracy BUT the noiser it gets. The only thing to counter-react this is not through censure but by providing more channel to provide fact check, debunk lies, and by encouraging investigative journalism.

    I hope that this crisis presented another learning opportunity for all of us.

  12. From djaka on 05 March 2010 21:24:42 WIB
    The show in the DPR last Wdnesday taught us a good lesson: a good will could not materialize into good action without good diplomation. What I saw clearly was strong weakness from the Democrats in smoothly bargaining to their colleagues in DPR. No brilliant breakthrough, just positional bargaining.

    But may be this is also better, knowing the fact who can be taken in the new political tradition and who cannot.
  13. From jaka on 05 March 2010 23:33:38 WIB
    Hanya ada 2 pilihan buat orang yg berlumuran penderitaan dan air mata rakyat Indonesia yaitu , di"LAPINDO"kan atau di" THAKSIN"kan ! titik .
  14. From dina on 06 March 2010 22:00:44 WIB
    @jaka: Apalagi kalau diumumkannya sebelum seminar 11 maret ,yg akan dihadiri 27 duta besar yg diundang oleh si bos pansus itu. Bukan begitu,kang ?
  15. From hok on 06 March 2010 22:23:53 WIB
    Ada kata-kata bijak ,
    " Orang kaya akan terjerat oleh harta kekayaannya, tetapi orang jujur akan tenteram selamanya "

    Be careful Mr B , it's happening to your life .Just listen it.
  16. From cinta on 07 March 2010 14:53:58 WIB
    tetap pasti akhirnya kebenaran akan menang.. kitaa tunggu saja.

    jangan lupa berkunjung juga ke , forum budaya dan pariwisata indonesia. terimakasih.
  17. From hariyadi on 08 March 2010 12:38:47 WIB
    Di pansus ada yang mengatakan bau busuk tidak perlu ditutup tutupi, nantinya akan kelihatan siapa yang busuk.
    SBY memang makin matang, dengan dukungan lebih dari 60% rakyat NKRI makin mudah dan leluasa bergerak.

    Nah sekarang tinggal tunggu action SBY, memang pelan tapi pasti, dari LC fiktif, kasus Lapindo, kasus Pajak, kasus Munir mestinya bisa di buka ka ka ka.

    siapa makan, siapa kenyang dan siapa malingnya akan kelihatan dan mestinya begitu.

    eh pak Wimar itu dua stasiun TV masih bergerak terus, campaign terusss....
  18. From alex on 09 March 2010 11:53:54 WIB
    Nonton TV (nasional/lokal) narasumbernya dia lagi dia lagi (yang punya orang2 jakarta juga), mendingan internet ada banyak pemikiran yang berbeda

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