Why is SBY concerned about rumors sent over an SMS and immediately made a press conference about it?
President SBY held a press conference today clarifying the rumors sent over a series of text messages (SMS), one of them was the rumor that he had a sex scandal with one of his male presidential staff member.
His points in the press conference was more or less like this:
- He had several rumors against him for the past six years, but this time he said it’s getting out of hand and he has the right to give an explanation;
- He’s concerned (prihatin – wouldn’t be an SBY press conference without this word) if people who spread rumors don’t feel bad about what they’re doing;
- He cautioned on the use of social media that proliferates the spread of rumors, rather than educating the nation;
- He said that the Century Bank mega scandal and the Democrat’s savings of IDR 47 trillion are simply rumors; and
- He encourages Indonesians to be civilized, be aware of situations that might cause them to turn against each other and for the media to be more responsible in choosing their news sources.
Based from my observation, the rumors started from twitter. If we put it into context, twitter users in Indonesia (despite being the third largest next to Americans and Brazilians) are only a small number of the electorate. Most people are not into twitter and thus don’t have the access to these rumors or allegations (some people don’t have access to electricity, let alone the internet for God’s sake).
The fact that SBY made a press conference about it, only made other people who were clueless about it before, into eager beavers wanting to know more and discuss about it.
Allegedly, these rumors came from a Singaporean phone number and many suspect that it came from Muhammad Nazaruddin, a former Democrat Party treasurer who left for the country before he was made into a suspect for a graft case and bribery attempt.
The Democrats fired Nazaruddin from his position due to the allegations towards him on the Southeast Asia Games dormitory corruption case and the unsolicited gift to Constitutional Court Secretary General MK Janedri M amounting to IDR 840 million. Possibly disappointed that he was fired, he lashed out on his fellow Democrat members, calling that they are also involved in other corruption cases and SBY, the party’s head of Advisory Board, is also included.
Simply put, Nazaruddin is in a position where he’s taking everyone else down if he himself were to fall.
At one point, I wondered which hat did SBY wore when he gave the press conference. From what I observed, he used his podium of presidency to defend the acts of the Democrat Party.
So, what happens now?
It is up to the judiciary to shed some light upon these rumors and allegations. Courts involve the due process of law involving witnesses, evidences and the rational thinking of the judges, in which rumors such as these can be scrutinized in the name of justice. Indeed, one can argue that the Indonesian courts cannot be trusted, but it is better compared to the court of public opinion in Indonesia. As much as I question the effectiveness of the legal system in Indonesia, it is better than hearing these ongoing he said-she said debacles in the media.
The immediate step would be to bring Nazaruddin back home to Indonesia. Unfortunately Indonesia and Singapore don’t have an extradition agreement, which does strain the foreign relations between both countries. Funnily, Singapore has now become a favorite getaway for Indonesians, ranging from movie fans, medical patients and even alleged corruptors.
Bottom line, if President SBY does his job correctly, he shouldn’t care about any rumors involving him. People will judge him based on his performance; on his actions and not his political image per se. Like I said in my previous post, legally he can’t be re-elected for 2014 so he has nothing to lose to take the much needed risks in order to get things done.
Oh, FYI, he did his press conference in Bahasa Indonesia. The full text of his speech is here.