The debate over the first phase of the Presidential Candidate Candidate for Vice President. After the first phase of the debate was over, the General Election Commission (KPU)  conducted an evaluation. Especially regarding the mechanism for conducting the debate. At the same time, a number of parties provided input and criticism on the debate on the theme of law, eradicating corruption, human rights, and terrorism.

KPU received and heard input from various parties regarding the course of the first stage of the debate, last Thursday (17/1). One of the things that are being questioned is the provision of debate grids to candidate pairs. The KPU ensured that in the second stage of the debate, there would be no more grids. “What is certain is that we will not inform the pairs of Presidential and Candidate candidates. Vice President, “KPU Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan told reporters shortly after becoming a speaker in a discussion regarding the evaluation and projection of the candidate pair debate, Sunday (20/1), in Jakarta.


According to Wahyu, evaluation of the course of the debate is a fixed procedure that is always carried out by the KPU after the implementation of the event takes place. Through this evaluation, the KPU decided to change the format and mechanism of the candidate pair debate for the second phase.


Apart from the issue of the debate grid, the KPU captured the public’s dissatisfaction with the course of the debate which did not show an exchange of ideas and ideas between the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. For this reason, the KPU plans to arrange the format and mechanism for the second stage of the debate which will allow the pair of candidates to further explore their vision and mission, and program. “In order to make it possible for the President and Vice President Candidates to show their performance, show their capacity related to the delivery of big ideas listed in the program’s vision and mission to lead Indonesia for five years,” said Wahyu.


The KPU also plans to review the duration of each segment given to President and Vice President Candidates. The duration of three minutes given for the delivery of the vision-mission and candidate program is considered very insufficient. For that, according to Wahyu, it is possible for the KPU to increase the duration of each segment. Likewise, the stage layout will be updated to maintain the conduciveness of the debate.

Regarding conductivity, the KPU acknowledged that the voice of supporters of candidate pairs that was often heard when the two pairs of candidates were delivering the program’s vision and mission and also when the question and answer took place greatly disturbed the voters who watched the debate on television stations. The KPU as the organizer and moderator who directed the course of the debate process had several times reminded supporters of candidate pairs not to speak out throughout the debate. “We will also update the stage technique because the people feel uncomfortable with the commotion on the broadcast,” he explained.

The KPU believes that the debate process will greatly impact the decisions of voters who have not made their choice so far as well as those who are still hesitant to make their choice. This means that the interests of the people as voters are very much considered throughout the debate. The presence of supporters of candidate pairs should not interfere with the interests of voters to watch the debate take place.

Meanwhile, for the panelists, the KPU is thinking about providing an opportunity for the panelists to convey spontaneous questions to the candidate pairs in an effort to deepen the answers to the questions raised by the moderator. This is also a form of KPU’s commitment to present debates that are more substantial, educative, and interesting to watch.

All evaluation results will be coordinated by the KPU with the pairs of candidates on Monday (21/1) at 16.00 WIB at the KPU office in a coordination meeting. It is planned that the latest models and formats that have been prepared by the KPU will be delivered at that time. “After the coordination meeting with the parties, we convey our decision regarding the format and mechanism of the debate”.

Wahyu also informed that until now the KPU has pocketed dozens of names of prospective panelists who will be tasked with compiling a list of questions to be submitted. Until now, there is no certainty about the number of people who will be the panelists. If there were six people in the previous debate, it is possible that in the second stage of the debate, it will increase in line with the format and mechanism determined. “So the amount can depend on the theme,” concluded Wahyu.

Researcher for the General Election for Democracy (Perludem), Fadli Ramdanil, at the same place, delivered a number of recommendations related to the debate panelists. According to Fadli, Perludem recommended that at the next stage of the debate, the panelists must be neutral and impartial, which means they are not partisan and have no partisan traces to election participants / political parties.

Perludem also encourages the presence of panelists who have academic backgrounds or elements of civil society organizations, as well as master the field/theme of debate. The KPU should optimize its independence in determining panelists. The KPU does not need to ask or accept name proposals from candidate pairs. “This is important to maintain the credibility and neutrality of the panelists,” said Fadli.

In line with the KPU’s plan, Fadli hopes that the KPU can optimize the role of the panelists through the debate segment by allowing the panelists to ask directly each candidate/candidate pair so that they can freely discuss concrete cases, especially the debate theme as the debate format in the implementation of the past Pilkada.

From the technical aspect of the implementation, Perludem encourages the KPU to explain the form of holding a debate in accordance with statutory regulations. Article 277 of Law no. 7 of 2017 concerning the General Election explains the debate of Candidate Pairs through a number of verses. Paragraph (1), the debate is held 5 times, which is explained in the explanation of the law in detail, 3 debates for the presidential candidates (capres), and 2 debates for the vice-presidential candidates (cawapres).

“However, the KPU in its official publication mentions five debates including two Paslon debates, two presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate. This scheme contradicts Law no. 7 of 2017,” added Fadli.


Agrarian Reform

The KPU has scheduled the second phase of debate for candidate pairs to be held on February 17. This debate will raise topics on energy and food, natural resources, the environment, and infrastructure. Looking at this topic, the predictable direction of the debate is the presentation of the vision and mission, and programs in the economic field. The Head of the Agrarian Reform Consrsioum Campaign Department (KPA), Benny Wijaya, assessed that there were things left behind from the first debate and perhaps less attention from the second debate, namely related to the agrarian reform agenda.

Benny encouraged, discussion of agrarian reform should be the basis for thinking of candidate pairs in presenting their vision and mission and programs in the second phase of the debate. If this is not carried out, it is difficult in the future to expect much so that the government will pay more attention to agrarian reform. Why agrarian reform?

Topics concerning energy and food, then natural resources, environment, and infrastructure are a number of topics which, if drawn further, have a direct impact on land issues. While the main topic of the second stage of debate is not talking about land. There is a concern that if the topic of this debate is too thick, then the basic issues related to land will only become subordinate to the topics of discussion in the second debate. “It should be fair first then prosperous, not prosperous then fair,” said Benny.

He conveyed this as a reflection of the pattern of handling agrarian-related problems that has been used by the government so far. KPA noted that to date, based on the argument of economic development, more than 940 farmers have been criminalized for defending their rights to land which the government has included in the development area.

Not only that, according to KPA records, Benny said that during the last ten years, there were around three thousand eruptions of agrarian conflicts throughout Indonesia. This is due to the real root problems that the government has not resolved. The certificate sharing program carried out by President Joko Widodo by Benny is seen as not a solution to the problem of injustice in the agrarian sector currently being felt by the community. “Agrarian reform cannot be completed with land certification measures,” said Benny.

Even the agrarian reform task force that has been formed by the Government is still prioritizing sectoral egos so that practically agrarian-related problems become the government’s homework from year to year. Regarding the regulations, KPA noted about 630 regulations governing agrarian affairs and overlapping here and there.

In particular, the Secretary-General of the National Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN), Rika Sombolinggi cited the development process that clears land that does not pay attention to the rights of indigenous peoples. According to Rika, up to now, the indigenous people as the legal owners of the land themselves have been completely ignored. For this reason, Rika encourages the next stage of the debate to also discuss the rights of indigenous peoples.

“We want respect and recognition and protection of indigenous peoples to be the responsibility of the elected president after this. “There are 9.6 million hectares of customary territory that should not be certified for land but must be acknowledged because the certificate is dangerous for the sustainability of the customary territory,” said Rika.


Natural resources

Coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia, Maryati Abdullah reminded, me that the topics that will be discussed in the second stage of the debate will be related to many stakeholders. He encouraged the KPU to listen to and involve stakeholder representatives. If you want to answer problems related to the topics discussed, the KPU should not only pay attention to the wishes of the candidates but also involve stakeholders.

PWYP encourages the pair of candidates to further discuss a number of issues, among others, related to corporate snares for corporate criminal acts (corruption, tax evaders, forest, and environmental destroyers and money launderers); criminalization of human rights activists, environmental activists, and anti-corruption activists; strengthen the Corruption Eradication Commission; eradicating the oil and gas and mining mafia, forest, and environmental mafia; development of a corruption prevention system that is integral and with integrity; prevent conflicts of interest and state capture; cover tax leaks and non-tax revenues from the Natural Resources sector; enforce the SDA sector law through a multi doors approach.

According to Maryati, a number of these issues should be relevant and very important to be resolved by the two candidates, especially the natural resources sector (SDA) which is one of the strategic sectors that must be free from corruption and human rights violations. The two candidates did not mention issues related to the criminalization of human rights defenders, environmental activists, or anti-corruption activists and academics.

The fate of activists like Salim Kancil and Indra Pelani, for example, who was found dead. Budi Pego in Banyuwangi and a number of Kendeng residents who reject mining activities have led to criminalization. Or, the 723 cases of criminalization of environmental fighters in the past five years recorded by Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia have escaped the attention of candidate pairs.

Another problem that is very basic and becomes the enemy of this nation, namely state capture corruption, including the issue of natural resources, is not in the spotlight. The fact that corruption in the SDA sector involves many officials at various levels, from the Minister, parliament members, Head of SKK Migas, Governors, Regents to other ASNs along the extractive industry process chain, making the future of the SDA sector very opaque.

Moreover, the typology of SDA crimes in Indonesia involving the mining mafia, oil and gas mafia, forest mafia, and environmental mafia which are intertwined with the bureaucratic mafia and political oligarchy cannot be resolved with jargons. There must be concrete steps. Perfect, structural, and systematic political corruption is very difficult for law enforcement to touch. Both pairs of candidates must deal with it.

Contemporary law enforcement issues such as corporate crime, money laundering, tax crimes, strengthening the Corruption Eradication Commission, conflicts of interest in the natural resources sector, are still (not) the focus of the two candidates, both in the prime candidate debate, including the candidate’s vision and mission documents submitted to the KPU. 

PWYP Indonesia proposes a number of issues that the two pairs of candidates should be able to elaborate on in the second debate, namely energy security which includes access, equity, prices, and infrastructure; SDA governance includes permits, land and forest governance, community rights and downstream issues; business rent and corruption; climate change adaptation and mitigation; as well as economic diversification and accelerating the energy transition to renewable energy. “So I think that’s my input,” Maryati concluded.


Source: Online Law