By Sianny Rooney, Founder & Editor Indonesia Merdeka
There is nothing more ridiculous than giving someone else in this case government total power of your basic personal human right, such as belief or religion. Belief or religion is something very personal, it is your personal relationship with God, and nobody should govern that. It is your privacy and personal freedom. Same in the case if you don’t believe God exists, it is also your right.
“Absolute Power Corrupts”
Indonesia starts treading treacherous water here with the launch of “Smart Pakem” app. The app, which was added to the Google Play Store last week and free to download, lets users report religious beliefs that they deem misguided, heretical or harmful. Smart Pakem was developed by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office.
The app streamlines what had been a cumbersome reporting process, requiring submitting a written accusation and waiting for the authorities to investigate.
“The objective…is to provide easier access to information about the spread of beliefs in Indonesia, to educate the public and to prevent them from following doctrines from an individual or a group that are not in line with the regulations,” Nirwan Nawawi, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told AFP in a statement.
This app sparked some reactions from intellectuals and prominent figures:
1) Bonar Tigor Naiposos of human rights group Setara Institute is concerned the app gives users the power to further harm the already marginalized. “This is dangerous because if mainstream society doesn’t like [a group] they’ll report them through the application – this will create problems,” he said.
2) Amiruddin Al-Rahab of the National Commission on Human Rights expressed concern that the app could “have a dangerous consequence by causing social disintegration. When neighbors are reporting each other, that would be problematic.”
3) National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Choirul Anam said the app could potentially lead to the violation of religious freedom. “[The app] can result in persecution, violence and criminalization,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. “It is contradictory to the government’s desire to create a culture of mutual respect and tolerance, which is why I have asked the government and the attorney general to take it down.”
4) Setara Institute researcher Halili Hasan said the app further marginalized followers of minority religious beliefs, especially those who adhered to new or indigenous faiths. “It is not up to the public to decide whether a belief is misguided or not. The app just serves to widen divisions in communities and legitimizes people who believe it’s okay to persecute groups that are outside of the mainstream.” He also added that judging a religious belief or sect was outside the government’s domain.
Religion intolerance has increased recently in Indonesia and this app will fuel more of intolerance, violence and discrimination toward minorities in Indonesia. This app can be used to “eradicate” all the minorities and leads to “one religion and one way of thinking” that is forced by Indonesian Government.
If this kind of app is allowed in Indonesia, what will be next? Will they start policing your thoughts and your moral values? They will decide what you can think and can not think, what is morally right or wrong, etc. One by one, Indonesians are being stripped of their civil rights and liberties, and very few seem to notice. Where is the outrage, where is the protest? Wake up people!
Soon there will be no freedom, no freedom of thoughts, no independent critical thinking to challenge the corrupt power. Tyranny and fascism seems to be the future of Indonesia.
A few months ago, the Tax Office implemented a system to spy on citizens through social media, now there is an an app for heresy “Smart Pakem” where others can judge and prosecute you for your belief, and then the plan to implement Shariah Law, when Indonesia is not an Islamic country, it is a secular country which legally recognises other religions than just Islam. As if things are not already bad in Indonesia. Meiliana, a Buddhist ethnic Chinese woman, got 18 months prison sentence for saying that the daily prayer in her neighbourhood’s mosque is loud. Former Governor of Jakarta Ahok went to prison for blasphemy, a pretext that is used by his political opponents to eliminate him from the competition.
It seems one by one, step by step, the ruling elites are changing Indonesia, the secular country into an Islamic country like Saudi Arabia, changing Indonesia into a fascist dictatorship state. Will the Indonesians educate themselves and revolt to their ruling elites’ tyranny?
Thought Police and Mind Control, George Orwell’s 1984. Is the future of Indonesia partly prophesied as in this movie?