KNews.id – Netizens took issue with Mr Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who seemingly made a “rude” gesture against Mr Mahfud MD. The latter is much older than Mr Gibran and also holds a top post in the current government led by Mr Joko Widodo.
The performance of Indonesian vice-presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka – who is also the son of incumbent President Joko Widodo – has come under fire for his seemingly rude antics during a live debate over the weekend.
It was a stark contrast to the buzz generated by him last month following a second debate organised by Indonesia’s General Election Commission (KPU) that saw Mr Gibran stacking up against his more experienced rivals, with some netizens now calling the antics of the president’s eldest son as cringe.
The debate on Sunday (Jan 21) was the fourth in a series of five debates where presidential candidates and their running mates try to lure voters to the polling booth by promising what they could do should they be elected as Indonesia’s next leaders in the upcoming election on Feb 14.
Sunday’s debate saw the vice-presidential candidates discuss issues such as energy, carbon tax, environment as well as agrarian matters among others.
During the debate involving the three vice-presidential candidates, Mr Gibran – who is the running mate of defence minister Prabowo Subianto – made a “ducking” gesture and pretended to search for a lost item, in response to an answer that was given by his rival, Mr Mahfud MD. Mr Mahfud is running in the election alongside former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo.
Screengrab of Indonesian vice-presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka making a “ducking” gesture during a live debate on Jan 21, 2024.
The third vice-presidential candidate is Mr Muhaimin Iskandar – a seasoned politician who has paired up with former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan.
Mr Gibran had earlier quizzed Mr Mahfud about how greenflation can be dealt with in the country. Greenflation refers to inflation caused by green initiatives. In response, however, Mr Mahfud spoke about the green economy instead of greenflation.
“I was looking for Prof Mahfud’s answer. I was looking for (the answer but) how come I couldn’t find (it)?” asked Mr Gibran while making the “ducking” gesture.
“I asked about the issue of green inflation, but you explained the green economy instead.”
Mr Mahfud then claimed that Mr Gibran was “(making) things up out of thin air”.
“If an academic asks a question like that, it’s not worth answering. There is no point in answering,” he retorted.
On social media platform X, a post featuring videos of the interaction gained over 2.5 million views in less than a day.
Mr Mahfud, 66, is currently serving as Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, whereas Mr Gibran, 36, has only been in the bureaucracy for close to three years as mayor of Surakarta City. It was a position that had previously been held by his father, Mr Widodo, from July 2005 to October 2012.
X users criticised Mr Gibran for trying too hard to be “savage” during the debate. They reportedly said that he fell short and appeared “songong”, which is an Indonesian slang for rude. Both “savage” and “songong” later popped up as trending topics on X.
Netizens also said that Mr Gibran’s gimmick was cringe, reported CNN Indonesia.
X users backing up Mr Mahfud called Mr Gibran’s questions a trap that was intended to challenge the minister’s knowledge on greenflation.
When asked about his gesture after the debate, Mr Gibran said that he would let the viewers decide whether or not his actions were offensive, adding that he only intended to discuss and exchange ideas with Mr Mahfud. (Zs/CNA)