Jokowi threatens to “clobber” his opponents who want to oust him

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told chief editors in the State Palace on Wednesday that he would take firm action against any group that sought to replace Pancasila and the Constitution, according to The Jakarta Post Online on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jokowi brought the word “gebuk” which means clobber back into the country’s political discourse at his meeting with the media. The word was first used in September 1989 by then president Soeharto during his meeting with top editors when he said he would clobber his opponents who wanted to replace him through unconstitutional means.

Two years into his presidency, Jokowi found himself struggling to launch his reform agenda with rising sectarianism allegedly being used by his political opponents to undermine him.

The issue of sectarianism emerged after Jokowi’s ally, nonactive Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama decided to seek re-election in Jakarta governor’s election. His candidacy, his allegedly blasphemous speech and his conviction divided the nation and triggered major rallies by his detractors and supporters.

In his strongest statement on the current political situation, the president said: “We do not prohibit people from demonstrating to express their opinions or to assemble. All must be done within the legal corridor. If it is outside the lebgal corridor, then we should clobber (the perpetrators).”

He said that, as president, he would do anything to defend the country’s Constitution, adding there was one organization in particular promoting an ideology that contravenes Pancasila and the Constitution and threatened the unity of the country.