JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia started off 2021 with unexpected twists, particularly in law enforcement. Indonesian and Malaysian police apprehended the two people behind the parody of the Indonesian national anthem Indonesia Raya, which turned out to be Indonesian nationals.
The Indonesian National Police confirmed the Islamic Defenders Front or FPI’s status as an illegal organization, after the force officially outlawed the group’s symbols and attributes.
And Indonesia had to say goodbye to one of the country’s TV broadcasting pioneers, after veteran journalist Inke Maris died of a stroke at the age of 72. Read on to get the scoop on these news, as curated by our editors:
Indonesian Nationals Behind Parody of the Country’s Anthem
Indonesian and Malaysian police nabbed two Indonesian natjonals for making an offensive parody of the Indonesian national anthem “Indonesia Raya” [Greater Indonesia], days after their stunt raised tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia.
Indonesian National Police spokesman Inspector General Argo Yuwono said the suspects are Indonesian citizens.
“We arrested one of the suspects, who was identified as MDF, at his home in Cianjur, West Java province on Thursday, December 31,” Argo said on Friday, January 1 2021.
“The Royal Malaysia Police [Diraja Malaysia] arrested MDF’s accomplice NJ in Sabah, Malaysia on Monday, December 28.” He added that MDF, who as a 16-year old is still a minor, made NJ’s acquaintance online.
The Indonesian police have charged MDF for violating a 2016 Information and Transaction law, as well as a 2009 law on state symbols. NJ will face the same charges if he is extradited to Indonesia.
Both of them face four years behind bars and a Rp. 750 million [$52,775.25] fine for violating the former law, and up to five years in jail and Rp. 500 million [$35,183.50] fine if they are found guilty of the second charge.
Indonesian National Police Outlaws the FPI
The Indonesian National Police has started off 2021 by outlawing the Islamic Defenders Front [FPI], two days after the government officially disbanded the hard-line organization.
Indonesian National Police Chief General Idham Azis warned the public not to “access, download, and distribute the FPI’s content through websites or social media.”
The four-star general also cautioned the Indonesian people against “directly or indirectly supporting or facilitating the FPI’s activities, as well as using their [outlawed] symbols and attributes. We also urge people to report any FPI attributes or activities, and to comply with the law at all times.”
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD took a more lenient stance against ex FPI members who rebranded the group as the Islamic United Front. “[Former FPI members] may found a new group, as long as they do not break any laws,” he said.
“The government will not take steps against the [new] FPI or single them out, as new organizations, emerge every day.”
He estimated that there are more than 440 thousand social organizations and associations, many of whom are members of disbanded organizations like the FPI which carried on their ideas under different names.
Six ministers or officials of equal rank like Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian, Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly, and Indonesian National Police Chief General Idham Aziz signed the document.
The decree came after more than a month of tensions with the group following the return of their firebrand chief Rizieq Shihab from his exile in Saudi Arabia. The latter culminated in a standoff at a toll road outside Jakarta last December, that left six FPI members dead.
Indonesian Broadcasting Stalwart Inke Maris Passes Away
2020 ended on a sad note for Indonesian broadcasting, after veteran TV journalist Inke Maris passed away on Thursday evening, or New Year’s Eve. The former TVRI state television anchor passed away at the age of 72 in Jakarta’s Medistra Hospital, where she has been hospitalized for a stroke.
Also known as Maria Dinariati, the Leicester University alumnus first cut her teeth in Broadcasting as a radio announcer on BBC’s Indonesian Service in 1971. She stayed on the job for 12 years until she joined TVRI’s English News Service in 1983.
As a pioneer in English speaking broadcasting in Indonesia, she interviewed global personages of the day like then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Aside from broadcasting, Inke was also the founder and CEO of Inke Maris and Associates, a firm which moved in media consulting, public relations and education. She was also known for her premise that “anchors should also be good journalists,” to make them effective interviewers.
Inke’s work earned her accolades over the years, most recently the New York City-based International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation (The IWEC Foundation) in November 2020. She is survived by her husband Rizal Maris and her three children.
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