Jokowi aide blasts Prabowo's 'lies' on corruption

Coordinating maritime affairs minister Luhut Pandjaitan on Monday (April 8) emphasised that the government had complied with all laws including investment laws.
Coordinating maritime affairs minister Luhut Pandjaitan on Monday (April 8) emphasised that the government had complied with all laws including investment laws.PHOTO: B.B. HALIM

JAKARTA - A senior minister and close aide to President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election, has blasted former army general Prabowo Subianto for lying about corruption in a campaign rally on Sunday.

Mr Prabowo, who is Mr Jokowi's sole rival in the presidential election on April 17, charged that the people were being "robbed" because of corruption.

"Corruption has stolen our economic resources that would have otherwise benefited the people," he was quoted as saying at a big rally in Jakarta.

Mr Prabowo also criticised what he described as the Jokowi administration's too liberal stance towards foreign investors.

But Coordinating maritime affairs minister Luhut Pandjaitan on Monday (April 8) emphasised that the government had complied with all laws including investment laws.

"We work together with investors from China, Japan, US. If anyone says foreigners are the sole beneficiaries of our resources, that is not true. They have been paying taxes, trillions of rupiah," Mr Luhut told a media briefing.

He reiterated the government's four main conditions on foreign investors. These were the use of environmentally friendly technology; adding value instead of just tapping raw material; creating jobs for Indonesians; and the transfer of technology. If local expertise was found to be lacking, foreign investors were duty bound to provide the training necessary to build up the required skills.

 
 
 
 

"Why do we live with lies? From one lie to another. Political elites should not do that. Everything the current government is doing has been based on laws. The laws that were created before the current government was installed," Mr Luhut said.

Mr Luhut also took issue with Mr Prabowo's assertion that data from Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had uncovered huge losses in the state budget.

"Prabowo said the state budget had a 2,000 trillion rupiah (S$190 billion) leak, which doesn't make sense, because the size of our state budget is 2,400 trillion rupiah. Such a leak would have bankrupted us," Mr Luhut said.

A senior aide to Mr Luhut said that Mr Prabowo had misunderstood a KPK report when he cited the figure, saying that the agency was merely referring to the opportunity cost to the government in taxes.

A top KPK official, deputy for prevention Mr Pahala Nainggolan, separately told online economic news portal Kontan, a unit of Indonesia's largest newspaper Kompas, that the figure represented a full compliance scenario in which 2,000 trillion rupiah would be the amount in additional revenue available to the state budget if every citizen in the country paid their taxes.

The election in less than ten days is a rerun of the previous poll in 2014 when Mr Joko won the nation's top office after securing 53 per cent of the vote to Mr Prabowo's 47 per cent.

Most opinion polls show Mr Jokowi winning re-election although Mr Prabowo has narrowed the gap with the incumbent.