Jakarta: Chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and presidential hopeful Lt. Gen. (ret) Prabowo Subianto has offered his new vision for the country, saying that his version of a "better-guided" democracy would help solve the problems currently plaguing the country.
Prabowo said that if he was elected president, he would work with the country's best and brightest minds to realize a better version of democracy for the country.
Speaking at a public lecture organized by the Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate (SSS) on Tuesday, Prabowo highlighted the fact that the current form of democracy in Indonesia suffered a lack of firm leadership.
"[We have] no compass ... Indonesia is at a crossroads where a group of Kurawa [evil kingdom] aims at hijacking our idea of democracy. What is at stake now ... is a struggle for power between the Kurawa and the Pandawa [good kingdom]," Prabowo said, alluding to the popular Mahabarata epic.
Prabowo advocates that this is the time to start a groundswell for a movement.
"The current situation will continue if the good guys remain silent. We do have good guys, they are everywhere not only in Gerindra," he said to roaring applause from the audience.
Prabowo, who is also a former commander of the Army's elite Special Forces Command (Kopassus), said that Indonesia was not experiencing the ideal form of democracy as the country's political scene was dominated by money politics.
"When I speak to them about my mission and vision for the country, they [uneducated voters] do not care about it. They just ask how much money I will give them," Prabowo said.
"You will not understand politics in Indonesia until you learn about serangan fajar [dawn attack]," Prabowo said, referring to the practice of vote-buying just hours before balloting take place.
Prabowo then related a story about having to pay witnesses deployed at polling stations in the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election only to find out that some of them left their posts because they had received more money from rival political parties.
"We lost around 6,000 witnesses at 3,000 polling stations because a certain political party had paid Rp 600,000 [US$62.20] to each of them, whereas we only gave them Rp 200,000 each. We were fortunate that it was in Jakarta where we could easily find other individuals to secure the empty polling stations. This is the reality here. This is the world of supply and demand," he said.
In his presentation, Prabowo also underlined several problems that the country would have to deal with in the near future, such as a population explosion, uncontrollable regional expansion and an energy crisis.
Prabowo wrapped up his speech by calling on fellow countrymen to cast political candidates in a positive light.
"I know that people will immediately picture me as a former member of the Indonesian Military, who once headed the Kopassus, who once tried to stage a coup against a president and was involved in the 1998 [anti-Chinese riots], and it is always in that order. I am a retired lieutenant general who once attempted to overthrow a president. But I failed to do it, and I regret that I failed," Prabowo said with a chuckle, prompting laughter from the audience.
University of Indonesia political communication analyst Effendi Ghazali said that Prabowo could win over Indonesian voters, who long for a strong and decisive leader.
"A firm leader will strengthen a good system, which will eventually lead to a kind of standard of democracy that Indonesia aims to achieve," he said.--Courtesy of The Jakarta Post