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Candidates’ Performance Put to The Test

March 5, 2019

Please note that these translations from the original Indonesian were made by Southeast Asia Center staff for the educational benefit of our readers but without official approval from the news outlets.  The original articles, with attribution, are also included on this page.  While the translations were made by bilingual staff, thus minimizing the chance for errors, we acknowledge that translations are often subjective and therefore may not always reflect the intent of the author.  

Source: Kompas R&D
Click here for the original article
By: Topan Yuniarto/Arita Nugraheni/Sugihandari
Published: January 18, 2019

The first debate became a venue for the 2019 presidential and vice-presidential candidates to showcase their performance. The debate on topics like law, human rights, corruption, and terrorism became a public parameter of their performance.

The results of a content analysis conducted by the Kompas R&D team during the first debate that took place on January 17, 2019 noted that a number of legal issues became prominent narratives during the debate. The issues of legal reform and a fair legal system have become the main issues raised by candidate pair Joko Widodo – Ma’ruf Amin. On the other hand, the candidate pair Prabowo Subianto – Sandiaga S Uno made the issues of strong legal certainty and legal institutions the most emphasized issue throughout the debate.

Joko Widodo – Ma’ruf Amin, the first pair of candidates, presented as many as 10 issues concerning legal matters. Jokowi stressed the importance of a fair legal system and good rule of law to an “advanced Indonesia.” This can be achieved, he stated, through institutional reform and synergy between public prosecutors, the police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The content analysis noted that the second pair of candidates, Prabowo Subianto – Sandiaga S Uno, emphasized four legal issues: stability of the legal system, adequate law enforcement salaries to prevent bribery, resolving legal cases from their root-causes, and building legal institutions with integrity.

Human rights

During the discussion on human rights, the second candidate pair stated that law enforcement officials should not engage in discriminatory activities. The first candidate emphasized that legal action should be taken if there are violations to human rights.

Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin conveyed two issues related to human rights, namely the treatment of persons with disabilities and enforcement of human rights through legal channels. Meanwhile, Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga S Uno mentioned three issues related to human rights. Both candidate pairs agreed to emphasize the issue of equal rights for persons with disabilities.


Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin viewed the problem of terrorism as both a criminal act triggered by misunderstanding (ie. religious) and as a violation of the law. Joko Widodo committed to making efforts to prevent acts of terrorism, including stopping the spread of radical teachings. Terrorism must be eradicated at its roots, he said. Preventing terrorism was a priority of candidate pair number one during the debate.

Prabowo Subianto saw terrorism as a “deception” with Indonesia as a victim, including terrorism originating from both outside and within the country, which he attributed to infiltration. Terrorism develops because of a sense of injustice; a sense of hopelessness in the country that makes it easily infiltrated by radicalism, he said.


Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga S Uno highlighted the corruption cases that occurred during Joko Widodo’s administration. The sharp criticism from the second candidate pair regarding corruption issues were a flash point during the fourth and fifth debate sessions. Jokowi responded to the criticism by citing instances of legislative candidates formerly convicted in corruption cases who are currently running in political parties that are supporting Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga S Uno.

Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin questioned the opposing candidate’s commitment to eradicating corruption. Jokowi also emphasized continuing efforts to strengthen state officials and the KPK apparatus.

In general, the performance and perspective of both pairs of candidates shows progress in their articulation and a sharper understanding of the data than seen during the presidential debate in the 2014 election. Each candidate is competing to build a narrative that will convince voters of their respective views on the various problems facing the nation. (LITBANG KOMPAS)

Content Analysis



  • Institutional reform
  • Harmonizing regulations
  • Laws without discrimination
  • Modern democracy
  • Forming a central body of national legislation
  • Transparency of legal action


  • Strengthening the synergy between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and public prosecutors
  • Strengthening KPK
  • Competence-based and transparent recruitment of bureaucrats
  • Internal and external supervision of bureaucrats
  • Simplification of the party system so that officials are not burdened with election costs
  • Cut down money politics and bribery


  • Eradicating terrorism through legal approaches and religious coaching
  • Fatwa (a general decree in Islam by religious authority) that terrorists are not jihad
  • Prevention (suppressing terrorism views and deradicalization) and repression
  • Humanistic approach without violating human rights
  • Involving mass organizations, especially religious organizations
  • Debriefing human rights knowledge for the authorities
  • Human rights-based SOPs

Human rights

  • Fulfillment of civil, political, economic rights (land access, capital, development), social (education, health), and culture
  • Diversity as sunatullah (the God’s way)
  • Strengthening brotherhood, unity, and harmony
  • Ukhuwah Islamiyah (brotherhood between Muslims) and Ukhuwah Wathaniyah (national brotherhood) are our two biggest assets
  • Commitment to solve human rights violations from the past despite being constrained by the complexity of the law, proof of the perpetrators, and time
  • 2016 Disability Law
  • Fulfillment of the rights of persons with disabilities (jobs, housing, and public facilities)
  • Community culture that respects persons with disabilities



  • Strengthening government institutions
  • Non-discriminatory laws
  • Establishment of a national legal development body
  • Public participation by inviting legal experts
  • Regulation alignment at the central and regional levels
  • Legal certainty for investment and business opportunities


  • Increase the salaries of judges, prosecutors, police, and civil servants (ASN)
  • Free campaigns for political parties on TVs
  • Control/dominate the nation’s economic resources
  • Self-sufficiency in food, fuel, and clean water
  • Strengthening KPK and opening KPK branches in (other) regions


  • Terrorism is a stranger
  • Terrorism is controlled by non-Muslims
  • Terrorism is caused by despair and injustice
  • Providing education and health to help the poor
  • Deradicalization

Human rights

  • Train law enforcers to be non-discriminatory
  • Dismissal of deviant officials
  • Law to protect the marginalized (rakyat kecil)
  • Fair employment