JAKARTA: Indonesia’s military chief came under fire after rejecting claims he had been pictured wearing a luxury Swiss watch and insisting that the timepiece was a Chinese-made fake.
However General Moeldoko’s claim was met with scepticism and anger yesterday in a country where millions live in grinding poverty and there is much sensitivity about high-ranking officials leading luxurious lifestyles.
“Your watch is so expensive general! Compared to the salary of a worker,” said Lucky Harri on Twitter.
Indonesia’s founding principles “which discourage people from living in luxury, have been forgotten by the general“, commented Pakde Djojo on the microblogging site.
One comment on the Jakarta Globe newspaper website noted: “I think a general would not wear counterfeit watc
A Singapore website reported this week Gen Moeldoko was wearing a watch from the Richard Mille brand’s Felipe Massa collection worth more than US$100,000 (RM327,148) during a recent interview with a broadcaster in the city-state.
He told reporters on Wednesday that he had a collection of counterfeit watches, including the imitation Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph Black Kite which he said he obtained for five million rupiah (RM1,430), a fraction of the over one billion rupiah (RM282,782) price of an original.
“Other people buy expensive
watches, I (get) cheap watches,” he added. “A country can move forward if it is innovative. Every time I look at this watch, it reminds me of innovation.”
Pressed further, he removed the watch from his wrist and showed it to journalists to ask if they thought it was original.
When one noted that it looked heavy, he threw the watch on the floor and it appeared to be working normally safterwards, Indonesian media reported.
Gen Moeldoko’s comments came after photos of him wearing expensive watches went viral on the Internet this week, sparking a storm of domestic criticism online. There were also comments attacking “Singapore media propaganda” for trying to undermine him at a time when he was being considered as a vice-presidential candidate.
However, the issue of Gen Moeldoko’s watches did not run in any Singapore newspapers.
The saga began when Singapore-based luxury lifestyle website The Millenary reproduced on April 16 a Straits Times photograph of Gen Moeldoko and drew attention to what appeared to be a “Black Kite” on his left wrist.
The site reported that there were originally 30 pieces of the model for American retailers, and that the military chief’s piece could also be one of 45 of a limited edition Asian variant.
Gen Moeldoko had been in the news that day for a reported apology over Indonesia’s naming of a new frigate, KRI Usman Harun, after two Indonesian marines behind a 1965 bombing in Singapore during Konfrontasi. He later clarified that there was no apology.
On Sunday, Singapore community news website Mothership.sg backed by social enterprise Project Fishermen – which many Indonesian reports inaccurately referred to as Singapore media – drew attention to the “Black Kite” in a post.
The site followed up two days later with a piece headlined “Indonesia’s General Moeldoko has got an exquisite taste for watches”, which highlighted the general’s other watches in photos culled from the Internet, including his website. It said these included what appeared to be an Audemars Piguet Millenary.
These posts were soon picked up by Indonesian news sites and appeared on social media.
Corruption Eradication Commission spokesman Johan Budi told reporters he did not know if the “luxury watches” had been reported to the agency, but the Jawa Pos newspaper reported that when Gen Moeldoko last declared his wealth last August, he had 28.7 billion rupiah (RM811,000) and US$450,000 (RM1.47mil). — AFP / Straits Times / Asia News Network