Home Interview Muhammad Jufri: Bawaslu of Jakarta Is Ready to Handle Campaign Violation Regarding SARA

Muhammad Jufri: Bawaslu of Jakarta Is Ready to Handle Campaign Violation Regarding SARA

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The 2017 Concurrent Local Elections in 101 electoral areas requires legal certainty. In Jakarta Local Election of 2012, Rhoma Irama (a dangdut musician turned islamic cleric) was campaigning against electoral candidate based on racist and religious consideration (SARA). Rhoma’s statements was reported and investigated, but he was exonerated in the end.

Muhammad Jufri, a member of the Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) of Jakarta at the time, argues that Rhoma Irama was in fact violating the election regulation on electoral campaign. Rumah Pemilu decided to interview Mr. Jufri to ask his opinion about SARA issue in the upcoming 2017 Local Elections of Jakarta.

What is Bawaslu official stance on the 4th of November Demonstration?

We have been told that the upcoming mass demonstration on November 4th is not to be considered as a political campaign, so it doesn’t really have anything to do with our job as election monitoring body. We will only monitor if the demonstration is used as a platform to conduct electoral campaign by some people, because in the official permit, the demonstration is pure political aspiration, not an electoral campaign.
You want to remind us that electoral campaign should be regulated by official permit…

Clearly. We are ready to handle campaign violation regarding SARA. We have prepared measures to anticipate the demonstration on November 4th. It is not impossible that the demonstration might be used by some people to advance their political motives.

Law enforcement regarding campaign violation was often fail because electoral campaign used to be defined as a cumulative conduct. What about now?

No. Bawaslu will consider a violation as punishable even if only one element of campaign is being violated. Both voters and candidates are allowed to report any allegation regarding campaign violation.

If someone campaigning against a candidate based on race and religion (SARA), is this considered as campaign violation?

We need to clarify the SARA aspect of the allegation, because anybody is allowed to campaigning against or for a candidate based on religious teaching or regional nativity, for example.

What if the perpetrator clearly stated “Don’t vote infidel candidate”. Is this a violation?

We need to see who said that. We will consider it as violation if the reciter is a rival candidate or his/her campaign team.

Do you consider “vote for candidate of our faith” and “don’t vote infidel candidate” as two different SARA statement?

Of course. We will only consider an utterance as a violation if it contains affront, slander, and/or provocation. We will also need to see who say the utterance.

What if the SARA statement is uttered at worship place like mosque during a Friday sermon?

It is clearly a violation. It is prohibited by regulation to conduct electoral campaign in public places such as worship place and school.

Bawaslu and Election Commission (KPU) add the word ‘or’ (‘/’) in their new regulation regarding campaign violation so that the violation does not have to be committed cumulatively in order to be adjudicated. Can you explain this?

We consider every activity intended to engage or convince voters to vote for a certain candidate as electoral campaign. Elements of campaign such as candidate’s political vision, missions, and programs do not have to be cumulatively considered. It only takes one element to be considered as electoral campaign. []

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