Liputan6.com, Jakarta - The Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, is currently involved in legal battle against two activists for allegedly defaming him. The activists said Luhut had mining interests in Papua and used military power for his purpose in that resource-rich island.
The two activists are Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti.
Haris Azhar is a well-known human rights activist in Indonesia. He is the founder of Lokataru, an organization that seeks to protect civil liberties.
Fatia Maulidiyanti is the Coordinator at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KONTRAS).
During a trial in an East Jakarta court, Minister Luhut insisted that he does not have any mining companies.
"I do not have it. It has nothing to do with my position as Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs. Never. And it is impossible that I move military because I am not in the position to use it," said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan on Thursday (8/6/2023).
Haris and Fatia are charged with the IT laws. Luhut said he already gave a chance to Haris to apologize, as two of them have known each other for a long time, but Luhut did not receive the apology.
Furthermore, Luhut is offended by the title "Lord" that social media users often use to call him.
The social media users often call Luhut with the "Lord" title to describe his vast power in the country, although not all of them use it as an insult.
"In this context, I feel it's negative, like deriding me. I am not young anymore, and I have done a lot in my job," said Luhut.
The viral epithet is possibly influenced by the name "Lord Tywin" from Game of Thrones series. Lord Tywin Lannister was the Hand of the King in Westeros, wielding a vast influence in the kingdom.
A retired general, Luhut joined President Joko Widodo's cabinet in 2015 as the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security. In 2016, he became the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, replacing the economist Rizal Ramli.
Since joining the cabinet, Luhut has received multiple posts from the government, among them related to COVID-19 policy, palm oil, promotion of local products, national lakes, high-speed train Jakarta-Bandung, and development of the new capital city in Kalimantan.
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No Absolute Freedom
During the trial on Thursday, a judge asked Haris whether he wanted to use this opportunity to apologize. Haris Azhar finally offered his apology to Luhut.
"Fellow witness Mr. Luhut, I do not have intention to attack your personality, that you feel attacked personally, I apologize for that," said Haris.
Luhut replied that Haris was accusing him without basis.
"He said 'I am wrong', but I convey that you are out of line. You speak with no data, accuse, and slander," responded Luhut.
The minister is ready to make peace with Haris, but he lets the judge decide the outcome of his case. Luhut also said this case is a lesson for everybody.
"Lesson for all that there is no absolute freedom. Anyone must be responsible. So do not mix criticism with slander or accusation," said Luhut.
Ady Anugrahadi and Nanda Perdana Putra contributed to this report.
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