INDONESIA — The shift in support towards Prabowo Subianto is not only coming from outside the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan).
It also exists within the party itself, as evidenced by Effendi Simbolon, a politician from PDI Perjuangan.
During the national working meeting of the Punguan Simbolon dohot Boruna Indonesia (PSBI), an association of descendants of Simbolon from all over Indonesia, last Friday (7 Jul), Effendi declared that Prabowo is a suitable figure to steer Indonesia.
He emphasized that his assessment of Prabowo was objective and represented his personal opinion. However, he stated that politically, he would abide by the party’s decision to endorse Ganjar Pranowo for the 2024 presidential election.
Effendi’s statement prompted the Central Executive Board (DPP) of PDI Perjuangan to summon him for clarification before the Council of Ethics. Komarudin Watubun, the Chairman of the Ethics Affairs Division of the DPP PDIP, explained that Effendi cannot express personal support for a presidential candidate. As a party cadre, he is expected to comply with the party’s decisions.
“Pak Effendi cannot make personal statements in the context of a presidential candidate, right? How do we differentiate personal statements in that context,” said Komarudin in Jakarta on Monday (10 Jul).
The Secretary-General of PDIP, Hasto Kristiyanto, also stressed that all party cadres must support Ganjar Pranowo in 2024. If any cadre suggests otherwise, the Ethics Council of the DPP PDIP will summon them.
“That is why Mr. Komarudin Watubun, as the Chairman of the Ethics Affairs Division, will also provide clarification because we are the Indonesian Democratic Party, and everything will be clarified by the party to enforce party discipline,” said Hasto at the Ganjar Volunteer Aspiration House in Central Jakarta last Saturday (8 Jul).
The closed clarification meeting took place on Monday at the PDIP Central Executive Board Office on Diponegoro Street, Menteng, Central Jakarta, and lasted for one hour and 20 minutes. E
ffendi met with the Secretary-General of PDI-P, Hasto Kristiyanto, and the Chairman of the Ethics Affairs Division of the DPP PDIP, Komarudin Watubun.
After the meeting, the three of them provided a press statement. According to Hasto, based on Effendi’s testimony, Prabowo was invited to the PSBI National Working Meeting at the Aryaduta Hotel in Menteng, Central Jakarta, last Friday as the Minister of Defense. Therefore, it was reasonable for Effendi to express praise for Prabowo as a guest.
During the clarification, Effendi explained that he also criticized Prabowo’s policies, such as the purchase of used aircraft and the procurement of primary defence system equipment (alutsista) that was deemed poorly prepared.
“So, Mr Effendi conveyed objective matters, and he did it responsibly as someone who has been involved in Commission I,” he said.
Hasto also emphasized that the party has not imposed any sanctions on Effendi. The decision on whether to sanction Effendi will be made in the next meeting.
Meanwhile, Komarudin Watubun stated that they reminded Effendi that, fundamentally, PDIP cadres are not allowed to speak freely. Every PDIP cadre is always bound by the party’s rules.
“That’s what I warned during the clarification. When you become a party member, all your freedoms are regulated by the party. You can no longer be completely free. If you want to be free, don’t join the party,” Komarudin emphasized. He also added that Effendi did not show any signs of anger during the reminder.
On this occasion, Hasto dismissed rumours that Effendi Simbolon would switch parties to support another presidential candidate, namely Prabowo Subianto. He stated that Effendi does not support Prabowo and remains a PDIP cadre.
“Regarding the rumours that Mr. Effendi is going to join another party, it is entirely untrue. Once red, always red,” said Hasto.
The results of the clarification were reported to PDIP Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri. “Yes, we have reported the progress to the Chairwoman,” Hasto told reporters at the PDIP Central Executive Board in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.
Regarding Effendi’s registration as a PDIP legislative candidate in 2024, Hasto stated that the decision would be made in October.
“The final registration for legislative candidates will be in October. For now, the completeness of administrative data is still being updated, and there may be some changes and adjustments to the composition based on the political dynamics. According to the Election Commission’s regulations, changes can still be made,” he explained.
Contrary to what Effendi mentioned, Prabowo did not pay much attention to and did not interfere in the matter of Effendi Simbolon’s summoning by the DPP PDIP.
“That’s their matter, not mine,” Prabowo said at Ahmad Yani Field, Tangerang, after consolidating Gerindra’s cadres last Sunday.
Prabowo’s statement is in line with the statement made by the Secretary-General of the Gerindra Party, Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, who mentioned that each political party has its own internal mechanisms.
“Every political party has its own mechanisms, and we won’t comment further on that,” Dasco said.