JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander General Moeldoko rebuffed Singaporean media reports on his lavish watch collection and claimed that he only purchased knockoff watches to satisfy his curiosity about watch technology.
"In the market, this watch could fetch for more than 1 billion rupiah (S$108,000), but I bought it for only 5 million rupiah," General Moeldoko said after a meeting with the Philippines' armed forces chief, General Emmanuel T. Bautista, in Jakarta on Wednesday.
General Moeldoko was responding to foreign media reports about his penchant for collecting expensive watches. One of the watches was a limited edition Richard Mille he wore during an interview with a Singaporean news channel.
General Moeldoko later went on to explain the philosophical value of his passion for luxury watches.
"A country can move forward if it is innovative. Every time I look at this watch, it reminds me of innovation. So, I don't mean to show off," he said while displaying his Richard Mille watch to reporters.
The first report about General Moeldoko's luxury watch appeared on Singapore-based lifestyle website themillenary.com. In a photo that accompanies the article, the army general was seen wearing a Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph "Black Kite" during his recent interview with the Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia.
The 30-piece limited edition watch for North and South American retailers, fetches at around US$100,000 (S$125,590).
Another website, mothership.sg, has posted photographs of General Moeldoko wearing four expensive watches on separate occasions.
When asked whether his watch was an original, General Moeldoko allowed scores of journalists to take a closer look at the watch and said: "Do you think this is an original?"
One of the reporters said, "But, this looks heavy, sir". To the question, General Moeldoko responded by throwing the watch on the floor.
As his aide picked up the watch, which apparently remained intact, General Meoldoko left the building with a chuckle.
General Moeldoko, a former Army chief of staff, was sworn in as TNI chief in August last year. Prior to that promotion, General Moeldoko had total combined wealth of 32 billion rupiah and US$450,000, including ten plots of land and a cattle farm.
General Moeldoko is in the spotlight following a Channel NewsAsia report on the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who bombed the MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965.
The report states that General Moeldoko issued an apology for naming the warship, Usman-Harun, which was named after Usman bin Haji Muhammad Ali and Harun bin Said, the two Indonesian marines who were executed in 1968 for the deadly bombing, during Indonesia's confrontation with the Federation of Malaysia - of which Singapore was a part of.
General Moeldoko clarified his statement, saying that during the interview, he was expressing his regret that the name was final and would not be changed.