Indonesia: PAN Minister’s peddling free cooking oil for votes slammed

  • Critics have called for an investigation into alleged campaign violation after Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan and National Mandate Party (PAN) distributed free cooking oil in Lampung while promoting his daughter — who is running for the 2024 local legislative election.
  • In a video clip circulating on social media, Zulkifli is seen asking recipients of the 2-liter packages of Minyakita to vote for his daughter.
  • The minister also hints that he would continue to hold similar charity programs to woo voter support for his daughter.
  • The minister distributed free cooking oil during a PAN’s community-assistance program in the province’s capital of Bandarlampung.
  • Zulkifli’s eldest daughter, Futri Zulya Savitri, is a political debutante who is representing PAN’s Lampung electoral district.
  • A political analyst from the Indonesian Civilized Circle (Lima), Ray Rangkuti, is calling the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) to investigate the incident.
  • “Since this involves an invitation [to vote for a certain candidate] related to an election, Bawaslu needs to scrutinize whether there is any violation [in the incident],” Ray said.
  • The analyst said that the Bawaslu should investigate whether there was a veiled campaigning or campaigning-outside-designated-period violation.
  • “Secondly, whether there was vote-buying,” he said. On his part, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reprimanded Zulkifli by telling him to focus on his priority task of bringing the market price of cooking oil down to the government’s target of IDR14,000 per liter or lower.
  • Separately, Paramadina University political-analyst Khoirul Umam said the minister was being unethical and insensitive as a public-position holder.
  • “The minister should be focusing on eradicating the cooking-oil mafia that has meddled with the prices and stocks, instead of being busy with his children’s political interest,” Umam said.
  • Zulkifli, he said, has failed to separate between private interest and public powers, as well as failing to recognize the people’s suffering due to inflation and rocketing commodity prices.

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