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By Gita Irawan in Jakarta

Indonesia’s Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has criticised the appointment of Central Sulawesi State Intelligence Agency (BIN) regional chief (Kabinda) Brigadier-General Andi Chandra As’aduddin as the acting (Pj) regent of Seram Bagian Barat in Maluku province.

The appointment of As’aduddin was based on Home Affairs Ministry Decree Number 113.81-1164, 2022 on the Appointment of an Acting Seram Bagian Barat Regent in Maluku.

Kontras coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti said that placing TNI (Indonesian military) or Polri (Indonesian police) officers in civilian positions indicates that the state has no interest in the mandate of reformasi — the political reform process that began in 1998.

One of these was abolishing the dual socio-political function of the armed forces (then called ABRI) and upholding civilian supremacy over the military.

Yet, according to Maulidiyanti, empty regional leadership posts can be filled by state civil servants with experience in administrative management.

She also questioned why the position had to be filled by a TNI officer.

“This is a betrayal of the mandate of reformasi and democratic values,” Maulidiyanti told Tribune News.

She said that what was frightening was the potential abuse of power.

This, she said, was because TNI officers had their own powers which were then augmented by the civilian position they occupied.

“Instead of promoting democracy, it is instead a return back to the New Order [the ousted regime of former president Suharto],” said Maulidiyanti.

The next regional elections will not take place until November 27, 2024. Regional heads who end their terms in office before this will be replaced by acting regional heads appointed directly by President Widodo in the case of governors and the Home Affairs Ministry in the case of regents and mayors. In total, there will be 271 regions led by acting regional heads, including 27 governors.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was Kontras Kritik Keras Penunjukan Perwira TNI Aktif Jadi Pj Bupati Seram Barat.

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