TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Vice President candidate Ma'ruf Amin, complimented the works of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's government in the divestment of 51 percent of PT Freeport Indonesia shares from the previous 9 percent. Ma'ruf said that President Jokowi managed to complete the divestment swiftly and smoothly. Ma'ruf added that everything that has something to do with Freeport often resulted in problems.
"Very smooth how [Jokowi] can acquire the 51 percent of shares. It is certainly done with diplomacy and [good] approach so it didn't cause unrest," Ma'ruf said in a written statement received by Tempo on Saturday, December 22, 2018.
Ma'ruf asserted that Jokowi's success in taking over 51 percent of Freeport's shares without causing much unrest is an extraordinary skill. Ma'ruf even mentioned that previous presidents were unable to achieve such result.
Ma'ruf added that the divestment is not something easy because for over 50 years, Indonesia's ownership over mines in Papua was only 9 percent.
"Acquiring 51 percent shares is something extraordinary. Some presidents we incapable of doing so. Pak Jokowi is special he can acquire 51 percent," Ma'ruf said.
The former Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Central Executive Board also urged Jokowi's political opponent not to smear the achievement by stating that the shares were bought using debts.
Ma'ruf even said that using debts in doing business is normal practice. Moreover, Ma'ruf explained that in certain occasions, businesses require debt as part of assets. Debts can be used for something that can be developed productively, for example, Freeport mines.
"In a business, you take a debt, you run a business, paid the debt, and get another debt to develop your business. It is normal. It should not be a problem as long as it can be held accountable, and can be paid back through production," Ma'ruf said.
Previously, Great Indonesia Movement party politician Ahmad Riza Patria highlighted the divestment of PT Freeport Indonesia conducted by PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum). Riza argued that Freeport remains under foreign control because the divestment was conducted through funds gathered by the issuance of global bonds.
"That means [the funds] originated from foreign debts, it is the same as owned by foreigners, paid using dollars," Riza said on Saturday, December 22, 2018.