The Holy Trininty of PKS: Corruption, Sex, Politics

By N Mark Castro

Let’s start with the most controversial of them all:

Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) member and Minister of Information and Communications Titaful Sembiring has a knack into getting himself in awkward positions ever since he discovered Tweeter. Sometimes you wonder whether or not he knows that his position represents and reflects President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono … or that his sense of entitlement makes him think that it’s his own title.

Consider his brilliant moves:

In 2010, amidst the almost simultaneous destructive disasters that struck the country (Tsunami in Mentawai and a volcanic eruption in Central Java), the Minister of Information and Communications comes out to say:

Adulterous nations unfaithful to God will receive “Godly condemnation”.

Veteran journalist/writer Julia Suryakusuma wrote:

Titaful also targeted gays with a series of homophobic tweets blaming “perverted sex acts” for the spread of HIV/AIDS, quoted a passage from the Koran about God “smiting with rocks from a burning land”, and broke down the acronym AIDS as “Akibat Itunya Dipakai Sembarangan” (what you get for sticking your penis into just about everything).

Titaful’s tweets would be insulting, offensive and deeply inappropriate coming from anyone, but being a Cabinet minister only makes this embarrassingly flagrant display of bigotry and ignorance worse.

And during the historic visit of President Barrack Obama then, Titaful vocally stated for everyone to hear that he would refuse to shake hands with First Lady Michelle Obama due to his deep commitment to his religious beliefs … yet when he managed to get in line to meet and greet the US President and his First Lady, what he showcased instead was Politics:


And to add serious insult to this hypocritical party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) legislator Arifinto, a staunch anti-pornography advocate, was caught red-handed watching video porn on his tablet by journalists covering the Congress beat while in session.

Initially reluctant to admit his favorite pastime, he concocted a story that his political enemies were conspiring against him and that he just received an email link which turned out to be porn.

The dutiful journalist showed a video of the good and highly spiritual congressman researching for the video porn and, contrary to his claim, did not receive an email link.


Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishak, center, addresses the press after being questioned by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators on Thursday. Luthfi was charged with accepting Rp 1 billion ($103,125) in bribes from a Jakarta-based meat importer. (SP Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)And nothing takes the cake away from PKS Chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq who recently resigned from the Islamist party amid graft accusations while scandalous details of a staffer’s alleged post-bribery escapades hit Indonesian media.

Luthfi resigned from the conservative Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators allegedly caught the lawmaker’s personal staffer accepting a black suitcase stuffed with Rp 1 billion ($103,125) in bribes from meat importer Indoguna Utama executives.

What’s interesting to note is that as PKS has geared itself to be a mass-based Islamic Party, they did manage to get the juiciest posts in the government as part of their coalition benefits for joining the president’s camp.

Of course, no issue should go unresolved without the involvement and media-insertion of the Minister of Information and Communications Titaful Sembiring, who found such an ingenious way to take away the media attention from his embattled colleagues by posting in his highly controversial Twitter account:

The official Communication and Information Ministry’s Twitter account @kemkominfo this morning retweeted a post by the Prosperous Justice Party, known as PKS, @PKSejahtera which said: “East Java PKS believe in the integrity of LHI [Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq]. Hit by the storm, it is still solid. #LovePKS #PKSSolid.”

And then goes on to disclaim it by saying that the person concerned has been ousted and the tweet has been deleted.

As they say in politics, power corrupts … absolute power, corrupts absolutely.

But what is power for if you cannot use it to your advantage — political or personal?


Such is the exultant case of the newly-appointed Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman and former House of Representatives deputy chairman Anis Matta.

It’s quite ironic that as the party’s former secretary general, he made no meaningful achievements and continues to be implicated in a corruption case.

Yet despite being seen by political analysts and even co-PKS members as the worst choice amidst the available options, Anis Matta revels on his new position and flaunts his personal sexual views.

Indonesia, despite being a majority Moslem country, frowns upon the practice of polygamy and prevents government servants from engaging so. And yet, Anis Matta has the gall to encourage his fellow House leaders to engage in polygamous marriage.

So this is the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) …

They really are Prosperous and seem to be having a great Party … as for Justice … well, if they can’t spell it, they don’t need it.


About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the Southeast Asia Director of JUMP DIGITAL Asia, which is an internationally-awarded and fully integrated digital marketing agency with 5 out of 10 offices in the ASEAN region. He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, managing and assisting the traffic of investments between the Philippines and Indonesia. He shuttles between Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, and Australia. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on February 7, 2013, in General, Politics, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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Anthropologist & Contemporary Historian of Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia


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