Indonesian President Jokowi denies Prabowo used violence during Cabinet meeting

JAKARTA – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has denied allegations widely discussed on social media that a minister resorted to violence during a political conflict during a Cabinet meeting.

Rumors were circulating on social media in recent days that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto resorted to strangling and slapping Deputy Agriculture Minister Harvick Hasnul Qolbi before the start of the limited Cabinet meeting at the presidential palace.

Responding to reporters’ questions on Tuesday during a visit to a traditional market in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, Jokowi said with a chuckle: “As far as I know, there have been no incidents of that type. How come there was strangulation? »

The president added that the public should always verify information on social media before drawing their own conclusions, especially in the run-up to the 2024 general elections.

“Over the years of politics, there is indeed a lot of this kind of misinformation,” he said. “So please verify (the information). Don’t take all news at face value.

Rumors began circulating on social media after a video titled “Did a presidential candidate slap a deputy minister in the meeting room?” was published in early September by the opinion blog Seword on its YouTube channel and went viral.

In the nearly 12-minute video, Seword director Alifurrahman Asyari claimed, without naming names, that he had heard of a minister choking and slapping a deputy minister before a Cabinet meeting.

Mr Alifurrahman said he received the information 10 days ago from a source who attended the meeting and witnessed the alleged incident.

Mr. Alifurrahman called the minister a presumptive candidate in the upcoming presidential race.

The minister was reportedly furious with a colleague who heads another ministry because the latter did not show up for the Cabinet meeting and “failed to contribute to an inter-ministerial project mandated by the president”, Mr. Alifurrahman in the press release. video.

The minister would have expressed his anger against the deputy minister who came on behalf of his boss.

Another rumor then began to circulate that the minister in question was Mr. Prabowo, who announced his third candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, and the deputy minister was Mr. Harvick.

When asked by reporters about the allegations, Mr. Prabowo refuted the allegations, saying he had never met Mr. Harvick in person.

“I haven’t even met the deputy minister. I have never met him, it has always been the minister I meet,” Mr Prabowo said on the sidelines of a visit to state-owned arms manufacturer PT Pindad in Bandung, West Java, with Mr Jokowi on Tuesday.

Gerindra Party Central Board Director Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said this was not the first time its chairman Mr Prabowo had been hit by unfounded rumours.

He called on the public as well as party members to “not be provoked” by misleading information.

The Ministry of Agriculture said in a press release that the rumors were “false.”

He pointed out that Mr. Harvick had not been registered in the official ministry schedule to attend a limited Cabinet meeting at the palace on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture in the past 10 days. THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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