24 November 2010

Aburizal Bakrie: Defamed?

Has Singapore come to Indonesia? The way of the Singaporean political elite is to sue their political opposition into oblivion by abusing defamation laws. Perhaps, Aburizal Bakrie has realised that Indonesia defamation laws, both criminal and civil, allow for Indonesian politicians to do the same.

The recent reporting of an alleged meeting between Gayus Tambunan and Aburizal Bakrie in Bali during a recent tennis tournament has struck a chord with the man behind the Sidoarjo mud extrusion. Gayus was the point man on a tax avoidance racket that included a number of Bakrie companies. The racket saw tax obligations lowered and mechanisms put in place to ensure that the government lost any challenges that it made against the assessments.

The racket worked well for a while, but it has seemingly begun to come unstuck. Needless to say there are a few nervous people floating around the circles of the political elite as they wonder just how much Gayus knows and just how big the bucket of crap is that he has to spill. This is particularly so if the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) gets involved. So, it is within this framework that a meeting between Gayus and Aburizal Bakrie appears believable.

And, truth be told there would be plenty of people from all walks of life who would like to see Bakrie come unstuck and get shafted in the most figurative of senses, then again there are probably a few who wouldn't mind seeing that happen in a literal sense either!

But I digress. Aburizal Bakrie has decided that the news organisations that reported this alleged meeting have defamed him. So, he went to the press council to lodge a formal complaint. It is expected that an official complaint to police will be lodged in the near future.

The five media organisations include Kompas, SCTV, Metro TV, Detik.com, and Media Indonesia. Metro TV and Media Indonesia are an interesting choice as as they are the media vehicles of Surya Paloh. Paloh happens to have been a past challenger to Bakrie's dominance in Golkar.

It seems that Bakrie is a little upset that his denials of a meeting ever taking place were not accepted as given. Therefore, Bakrie is of the belief that because his denials were not accepted as the ultimate truth that he has been defamed because the media is guilty of character assassination. The man is on a mission to clean up the media which he believes has degenerated into outlets purveying lies and spin-doctoring the truth to turn the public against him.

It will be interesting to see where this latest crack at criminal and civil defamation laws goes.

(Photo courtesy of Antara)

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