February 9, 2024
JAKARTA – The campaign teams of the three 2024 presidential candidates have claimed that there is foul play regarding the election in several regions and abroad, as concerns over the poll’s integrity continue to mount amid reports of state worker partisanship a week ahead of the Feb. 14 voting day.
Over the past week, campaigners for the Anies Baswedan–Muhaimin Iskandar presidential pair met with regional representatives of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) to report potential electoral violations.
As reported by local media, a representative of the Anies-Muhaimin campaign team filed a report with the Central Java Bawaslu office on Tuesday about 502,000 allegedly fictitious voters on the provincial voter list.
The camp also filed a report to the election supervisor in East Java on Monday pertaining to an open rally permit that was revoked in Pasuruan regency.
The rally was initially planned to be held in an open field in Martopuro village on Feb. 9. The campaign team had obtained a permit from the village administration on Jan 29. But the village head revoked the permit a day later, as reported by tribunnews.com, citing his concern that the event would damage the recently renovated field.
The team eventually moved the rally to Untung Suropati Stadium in Pasuruan.
Reports from abroad
The campaign team for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka claimed of receiving “reliable information” that included photos and videos of people tampering with thousands of ballot papers in Malaysia.
“We strongly suspect that this [illegal] activity involved the Overseas Election Committee [PPLN] and officials at the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia. We have asked Bawaslu to take legal action,” Prabowo-Gibran campaigner Habiburokhman of the Gerindra Party said in a statement on Tuesday.
He went on to urge all candidates to uphold an “honest and ethical” election by refraining from justifying all means to achieve victory. The politician called all voters at home and abroad to remain vigilant and document any potential electoral violations.
Responding to the allegation, the General Elections Commission (KPU) said it would send a team to investigate the alleged ballot tampering. The Kuala Lumpur PPLN had also coordinated with the Overseas Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu LN) in the Malaysian capital regarding the matter.
“We’re still waiting for an official report from PPLN Kuala Lumpur regarding the investigation of the ballots,” KPU commissioner Idham Holik said on Thursday.
Malaysia is home to the country’s largest number of diaspora voters, accounting for some 832,000 of a total 1.7 million voters abroad. PPLN Kuala Lumpur serves the highest number of voters in Malaysia, with 447,000 voters.
The KPU has been under fire recently over its handling of diaspora voters as reports of problems continue to appear, including alleged duplicate names on the voter roll in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and New York, the United States, as well as premature ballot paper distribution in Taiwan.
Partial state workers
The Ganjar-Mahfud campaign team also met with Bawaslu on Tuesday to file hundreds of reports the team received from its volunteers across the country.
The team received a total of 400 reports through their election hotline and another 40,000 suspicions of electoral violations through an unnamed whistleblowing application, said campaign team representative Todung Mulya Lubis in a statement.
During the meeting, Bawaslu chair Rahmat Bagja reiterated the agency’s commitment to acting on all reports of election violations, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.
The mounting allegations of foul play coincided with at least 400 reports received by the Civil Service Commission (KASN) about civil servants’ preferences toward certain candidates.
Of these reports, 183 state workers had been found guilty of several violations, including mobilizing people to campaign for a candidate, engineering regulations to give certain candidates advantages and using state facilities to show support for a candidate pair, said KASN deputy chief Tasdik Kinanto on Monday.
At least 97 of these state workers had been given administrative sanctions.
“These cases show that [cases of state partisanship] are becoming more reckless and are done systematically on a massive [scale],” Tasdik said, adding that the reports might just be the tip of the iceberg.
With recent concerns of state meddling, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has, once again, called for state workers and law enforcers to remain neutral ahead of and during the election.
“I want to reiterate that state workers and military and police [personnel], including the State Intelligence Agency [BIN] must be neutral and protect the people’s sovereignty,” he said on the sidelines of a work visit to North Sumatra on Wednesday.
Observers, however, pointed out that the President himself suggested late last month that he was entitled by law to take sides in the presidential race and campaign for his preferred candidate in his free time.
His claim of campaign rights spawned a wave of criticism, including from academics who called for a fair and honest election. Jokowi is accused of marshaling support for Prabowo, who is running alongside the President’s eldest son.
Apriadi Gunawan contributed reporting from Batubara, North Sumatra