Juni 17, 2024

2019 Indonesian Election: Important Experience for Southeast Asian Regional Studies

Institute of South East Asia Studies (ISEAS) – Yusof Ishak Institute held a symposium on 2019 Indonesian elections in Singapore (11-12 / 7). Titled “Analyzing the Outcomes and Implications of the 2019 Elections”, the symposium was attended by a number of speakers who discussed issues that also became global trends such as identity politics, social media hoax, economic / class politics, and gender. There are positive achievements, but there are many conditions that have not been good which can be lessons learned from other Southeast Asian countries.

“Indonesia with its diversity has a diversity of perspectives to study,” said ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Indonesian Study Program Coordinator, Hui Yew-Foong.

The feast of Indonesian democracy in 2019 indeed illustrates the global trend of democracy. Among them are mass polarization between groups acting in the name of inclusive groups and exclusive groups of identity politics.

Is it more inclusive?

The executive director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia, Philips J Vermonte reminded, based on the election results, the group was inclusive of the figure of Joko Widodo-Makruf Amin, who won the election. This is a differentiator from other countries because on the contrary, exclusive groups win elections. Just name the United States with Donald Trump, India with the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi, the Philippines with Rodrigo Duterte, and Turkey with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One of the speakers, Leo Suryadinata with the paper “Ethnic Chinese Political Participation in Indonesia since the Fall of Soharto” explained, the 2019 Legislative Election was enough to provide space for ethnic Chinese (Chinese) politicians. There are two ethnic Chinese politicians who lead the new political party, first is Grace Natalia (Chair of the Indonesian Solidarity Party / PSI), second is Hary Tanoe Soedibyo (Chair of the Indonesian Unity Party / Perindo). Grace received a vote above the average number of candidates for other DPR legislators, but because the PSI vote was only around 2%, so it did not exceed the parliamentary threshold of 4%, Grace did not become a member of the DPR.

The positive situation of the legislative elections did not occur in the 2019 Presidential Election campaign. Instead, anti-Chinese sentiments were in the campaign. Visiting fellow ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institution, Quinton Temby described, anti-Chinese sentiment was part of the way Islamic groups mobilized the masses to support Prabowo against Jokowi.

Researcher from ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Dyah Ayu Kartika, has the dynamics of women’s involvement in the 2019 Election. Presentation “The Power of Emak-Emak: Women and Conservative Political Agenda in Indonesia’s 2019 Election explains, women as” mother-mother ” who supported Prabowo-Sandi, it was difficult to call political mobilization. Mother and Daughter who feel economic problems in the domestic sphere have public aspirations to evaluate Jokowi’s Indonesian leadership.

“In addition to nominating and electing women in legislative elections that are increasing, the presence of Emak-Emak is a form of 2019 Election room openness for women even though Emak-Emak is part of the exclusive Prabowo-Sandi group,” said Dyah.

The executive director of The Asia Foundation Indonesia, Sandra Hamid, argues that the offer of inclusion in Indonesia has a fundamental problem. Open claims to diversity have been narrated so far through the jargon of “Pancasila” and “Islam Nusantara”. According to him, these two narratives are Jarshentris which are also forms of exclusivism. This Javanese exclusivism was ethnically a part of Jokowi’s victory against Prabowo.

“For most Javanese, Pancasila doesn’t matter. But for Minang, Sundanese and others, Pancasila feels Javanese. Even so, with the Nusantara Islam, many of them were conveyed by Nahdatul Ulama who were also Jatisentris, “said Sandra.

Thai academics, Punchada Sirivunnabood, questioned Indonesia’s political dynamics by directly electing executive leaders. “Why does the opposition function not work well?” In fact, opposition is very important as part of the check and ballance mechanism of the Indonesian presidential system.

For Punchada, what is even more confusing is the composition of the coalition and opposition in a number of regions. In the central government, the elite and the masses of the PDIP and PKS clashed but in the provincial and regency / city elections, the two parties with contrasting ideologies could even form coalitions.


To overcome the issue of exclusivism and mass polarization in Indonesian democracy, Sandra Hamid argues, good inclusive political education is strengthened in civil society. Large budget funding for diversity insights, should not be spent in the form of institutional procurement and normative Pancasila education, but rather given to a variety of youth initiatives that were cut off from the politicization of the Pancasila and Jawasentris Nusantara Islam.

Guest researcher at the ISEAS-Yusof Institute, Firman Noor suggested that in the electoral system, the requirement for presidential nomination of 20% of seats or 25% of the votes from the DPR election results must be eliminated. This is what makes the masses in the midst of declining economic welfare, easily mobilized. The rest, more detailed law enforcement must be made to overcome Indonesia’s expensive elections accompanied by money politics to lower economic class voters.

The author of economic politics with a class perspective, Max Lane argues, in the midst of the polarization between nationalist exclusivism and religion, the ideology of the class (Left) is important to strengthen. At the very least, if there is an additional alternative ideology, the potential for violent clashes of nationalist and religious polarization can be reduced.

“Unfortunately, the left group has not worked hard in democratic institutions. Ideology is meaningful if it is channeled and fought through political parties and elections. “Improving party institutions is very difficult to produce inclusive democracy if the formation and participation of political parties in elections still have very heavy requirements,” Max Lane said.

ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute through this symposium also presents Candidates for Vice President 02 2019 Elections, Sandiaga Uno. With a presentation titled “Beyond 2019” Sandi conveyed, Indonesia’s future is determined by milenials and women. In the 2019 Election both votes determine electability. After the 2019 Election, important young people and women are involved in building a better Indonesia. []