TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Cabinet secretary Dipo Alam defended President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who is set to receive an award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF) that has sparked strong criticism.
"We didn’t ask for it," said Dipo at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Tuesday, May 21.
Instead, Dipo "counter-attacked" Franz Magnis Suseno’s protest against SBY’s future award. He criticized Franz Magnis’ statement that said SBY never voiced a single word to defend minorities.
"It (the statement) is not true. I have proof in cabinet meetings and cabinet results, the speech is there," he exclaimed. "So you cannot possibly say that the president never gave special attention to minorities."
Dipo also responded to the protests saying that SBY neglected religious issues relating to the Ahmadiyah, Shia, and churches in Indonesia.
Dipo explained that Indonesia is an archipelago with a population of approximately 250 million. "Don’t just watch what you see on television, such as arson. That’s just the way it is," he said.
"I’m sorry to say that Mr. Magniz’s remarks are shallow. He only perceives conditions in Indonesia based on what he sees on television, with such conflicts," Dipo added. He stated that Ahmadiyah issues have been occurring for a long time.
"It (Ahmadiyah conflict) has been around since Bung Karno’s reign, even since Japan still conquered the nation," said Dipo. He added that the government has already issued a joint agreement to handle the Ahmadiyah issue.
Previously, philosophy professor Franz Magnis Suseno strongly protested against the World Statesman Award that will be given to President SBY. Franz Magnis sent a letter about his objection to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the institution responsible for handing out the award.
Franz stated his two objections. "First, during his eight and a half years as president, SBY never made any declaration to the public to respect minorities," Franz told Tempo on Thursday, May 16.
Second, he added that SBY never protected groups that were victims of violence such as the Ahmadiyah and Shia cases. "President SBY never did or said anything to protect them," asserted Franz. PRIHANDOKO