Minister who peddled free cooking oil for votes slammed

Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan visiting a market in East Jakarta last month to check the prices of basic commodities, especially cooking oil. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

LAMPUNG (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Critics have called for an investigation into alleged campaign violation after Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan and the 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 two-litre packages of Minyakita to vote for his daughter.

The minister also hints that he will continue to hold similar charity programmes to woo voter support for his daughter.

He distributed free cooking oil during a PAN community assistance programme in the province’s capital of Bandarlampung on Saturday.

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 scrutinise whether there was any violation (in the incident),” Ray said.

The analyst said 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 14,000 rupiah (RM4) per litre or lower.

Zulkifli launched a market intervention on July 6 that set a nationwide-retail price of 14,000 rupiah per litre for Minyakita cooking oil, which is sold at traditional markets as well as on e-commerce platforms.

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 on Wednesday.

Zulkifli, he added, had failed to separate between private interest and public powers, as well as failing to recognise the people’s suffering due to inflation and rocketing commodity prices.

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Indonesia , Politics


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