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Trade union deal with Prabowo for cabinet post misplaced, vulgar

Liputan 6 - May 1, 2018

Jakarta – Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto has gained the support of the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) as a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections.

This support was forthcoming after Prabowo agreed to a political contract which included a pledge to nominate KSPI president Said Iqbal as Minister of Labour (Menaker).

Al Azhar University (UAI) political observer Ujang Komarudin says that this is far too vulgar because the "festival of democracy" – as elections are popularly known – is still some time off and the official "games" [negotiations, horse trading] will take quite some time.

"Workers are indeed a political force anywhere. Not just in Indonesia. But making a request [like this] right now is misplaced, it's vulgar. If you're just offering support, yes well, that quite legitimate", he said in Jakarta on Tuesday May 1.

Komarudin said that this can be compared with the previous elections when the National Democrat Party (Nasdem) requested certain cabinet positions but did not do so publically. "Although there were [political] interests their support was unconditional. They played it nicely", said Komarudin.

However the solidity of the labour vote itself is a problem. Will the labour vote fully support Prabowo and result in Said Iqbal becoming Minister of Labour.

"Politically [trade unions] have yet to demonstrate that they are solid and cohesive. Many labour organisations are still not of one voice. More consolidation is needed. And the most important thing is the fight for workers' welfare", explained Komarudin.

Komarudin said that ministerial posts cannot just be given out through a political agreement between the KSPI and the future president elect because such posts require that the nominees actually have the capacity to do the job.

"There are standards and measures of being able to hold a post if later they are chosen by the president. Feeling they have the right to it is dangerous, it's not yet certain that they are capable of holding that post. The measure of a labour leader and a ministerial post are different, right. Later everybody will be making claims. It's okay to want something but look at the democratic context", he concluded.

KSPI executive director Muhammad Rusdi said earlier that the KSPI's political contract with Prabowo, part of which was asking for a ministerial post, was related to labour welfare. The aim of having such a post is to articulated workers' interests.

"Yes, for us the political contract also includes ministers related to labour and welfare, particularly the Menaker. This isn't for personal gain but in the interests of Indonesian workers", he said.

Meanwhile he said, the trade union leader who is best suited to hold the post is KSPI president Said Iqbal. "Our best cadre, one of which is the president of the KSPI, namely Said Iqbal", he said.

Rusdi said that the union has not yet proposed the name of a vice presidential running mate (cawapres) for Prabowo although the KSPI has suggested that Prabowo run with a figure who is an economics specialist.

"Not yet. We haven't proposed [anyone] yet, at most we are considering a cawapres who is a senior economics expert who we hope can bring reform to the Indonesian economy", he added.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Ajukan Said Iqbal Jadi Menaker Prabowo, Langkah KSPI Dianggap Vulgar.]

Source: https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/3496337/ajukan-said-iqbal-jadi-menaker-prabowo-langkah-kspi-dianggap-vulgar.

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