Jakarta. Former Constitutional Court Chairman Mahfud MD suspects a source is mass-producing and distributing hoax and fake information to discredit the 2019 General Elections (Pemilu).

‘There are movements that are intentionally meant to create disruption, such as hoax producers that always distribute false news. This is troubling and diminishes public trust toward the election,” said Mahfud MD on Tuesday, February 19, after attending a national dialogue in Tugu Station, Yogyakarta.

He argues that this massive movement is well-organized and is proven by the number of clarifications that are not able to suppress hoaxes that continue to emerge among members of the public.

“Despite being debunked, [the hoaxes] are constantly published so less-fortunate people in time will start to believe the hoax,” he said. The “Dialog Kebangsaan” at Tugu Station in Yogyakarta is the fifth chapter from a string of public dialogues led by Mahfud MD. Previous dialogues were held at Merak Station, Gambir, Cirebon, and Purwokerto.

“Someone said that this movement is a form of campaign. I can honestly say that we did indeed come to campaign, but not for certain political sides but campaigning for the nation,” said Mahfud MD (https://en.tempo.co/read/1177581/mass-produced-hoax-meant-to-discredit-elections-says-mahfud-md)

Mahfud MD, the head of Gerakan Suluh Kebangsaan or a movement to promote nationality, said that the general election has now become an event of hostility, instead of a way to find a leader. “So, we need a movement to alleviate the tense,” Mahfud MD said during Nationality Dialogue Series III event in Cirebon, Tuesday, February 19.

He also opined that the general election has led to primordial disunity and caused identity politics. “Because this election seems to create hostile between supporters of A and B, this religion and that religion, ethnicity, and races. It has started to emerge, and this needs to be suppressed before it becomes a nation’s disease,” Mahfud MD asserted.

With the current worrisome condition, according to Mahfud MD, a sense of nationality is required to be promoted. Such a nationality movement is significant to anticipate and reduce tenses among society.

Therefore, state-owned railway firm KAI in tandem with Gerakan Suluh Kebangsaan hold an event dubbed Jelajah Kebangsaan with a route from Merak to Banyuwangi. The event aims at encouraging every element of the society to build awareness of the nation and the country as to strengthen the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

On other occasion, West Papuan people will not take part in Indonesia’s 2019 presidential and legislative elections, say the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) and the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP). This is because they accuse the Indonesian government of illegal political practices in Papua, of failing to uphold the rights of the Papuan people and because both presidential candidates have a bad track record on Papua.

“Indonesia is a state which since the declaration of the Trikora operation on December 19, 1961, has conducted illegal political activities in the territory”, said FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) offices in Central Jakarta previously.

 “Because of this we are taking a position and declaring that we will not take part in the 2019 presidential or legislative elections,” he said.

Anta explained that what they mean by the territory of West Papua was an area extending from Numbai to Merauke, Raja Ampat to Baliem and Biak Island to Adi Island.

The groups also believe that the contestants in the 2019 election on April 17 are the same as those in previous elections where candidates are only interested in gathering votes from the Papuan people. However, there has been no effort by the legislative, presidential or vice-presidential candidates to uphold the rights of the West Papuan people, they say.

Speaking in the same vein, Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan) national collective secretary-general Samsi Mahmud said that the Papuan people were not interested in the 2019 elections.

Aside from Indonesia’s illegal political activities, according to Mahmud none of the political parties are articulating the wishes of the Papuan people and the elections are only aimed at maintaining the practice of colonialism. “[The elections] are a tool for the colonial government to put local power holders in place to safeguard their interests”, said Mahmud.

AMP member Erepul Sama said there was no difference between the two presidential candidates, incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, particularly in their handling of human rights violations.

“Prabowo himself has a bad track record in Papua such as the Mapenduma incident. But this doesn’t mean that Jokowi is any better”, said Sama. “Jokowi has allowed human rights violations to occur again and again, for example in the bloody Paniai case which has still not been resolved”, he added.

Aside from declaring that they will not take part in the 2019 elections, the FRP-WP and the AMP made three other demands West Papuans be given the right to self-determination, All organic and non-organic troops be withdrawn from Papua, and journalists be given free access to Papua.

Toni Ervianto

Meanwhile, strategic issues observer, Toni Ervianto said producing and spreading hoax and trying to boycote are democracy poision. “Hoax, hate-speech and boycote are common enemy for our democracy because those efforts could be endangered the safety of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” said Toni.

Further more, Toni Ervianto has elaborated that Mahfud MD’s statement is a totally right because hoax meant to bother and to damage democratic political activities in Indonesia, but statement has come from Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan), the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) and the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) are their efforts to make Papua’s issue could be had a big attention from political prominent figure.

“I think the three of their demand is not relevant to do by Indonesia’s government because their demand are not make sense such as West Papuans be given the right to self-determination and all organic and non-organic troops be withdrawn from Papua. Because it could make Papua’s disintegration will be happened,” Toni explained further and reiterated that the demand of journalists be given free access to Papua is a rational demand eventhough Jokowi’s administration has always maintain perfectly press freedom in Papua and Indonesia (Red).