A contentious proposal for the imminent Indonesian presidential debate to be conducted partially in English has sparked robust discussions within political circles. The idea, originally put forth by Andre Rosiade, the Regional Campaign Team Leader for Prabowo-Gibran in West Sumatra, has been met with a degree of skepticism and resistance.
Resistance to an English-Language Debate
Daniel Johan, the Chairman of the DPP PKB (National Awakening Party), was among the first to respond to Rosiade's proposal. Johan emphasized the need for adherence to pre-existing rules and expressed concern that such a linguistic shift might sow confusion among the electorate. He underlined that the primary focus of the debates should be to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the candidates' visions and missions.
Reaffirming the National Language
The proposal's resistance extends beyond Johan's response, aligning with the stance of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). A senior member of the PDI-P rejected the English-language debate proposal, reinforcing the importance of honoring the country's national language pledge made in 1928.
This strong commitment to preserving the national language and culture further illustrates the significance of Bahasa Indonesia in these crucial political engagements. It underscores the intentional use of the national language in the debates as a medium to connect better with the electorate.
KPU's Stance on the Language Debate
The General Elections Commission (KPU RI) conducted a meeting with the campaign teams of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. KPU Chairman Hasyim Asy'ari confirmed that no proposal for an English debate was put forward during the meeting. However, he also indicated that candidates are permitted to respond in English if they wish.
Despite this allowance, Asy'ari echoed the sentiment of language preservation, emphasizing the primacy of Bahasa Indonesia as the language of the Indonesian people. The KPU's stance suggests a balanced approach, highlighting the essence of the debates and the importance of effectively conveying the visions and missions to the public.