Did Hashim get a fair shake in his “investigate and obstruct” quote?

This is controversial so let’s get Unspun’s motives and political inclinations out of the way.

Unspun is not an Indonsian voter but if he was he would have voted Jakowi for president. Not so much because Jokowi is great presidential material but because his election would put Indonesia further along the path of democracy. The election of a man with humble beginnings into the highest office would help crumble the power structures of the corrupt political elite in Indonesia.

Unspun is also wary of Prabowo because of his murky past and continuing stories that suggest someone not quite grounded in reality. That said, Hashim seems to be very reasonable and articulate and it is a constant source of wonder why he continues to back his brother, unless one subscribes to the theory tot irrevocable and inseparable blood ties.

So it was a bit of a surprise why Hashim would be so careless to say in his interview with Reuters and the Wall Street Journal in early October that the Red and White Coalition will “investigate and obstruct” Jokowi’s policies.

On October 8 Reuters published this story  in which Hashim was supposed to say: “We will use our power to investigate and to obstruct.” This quote has apparently been, claims Hashim, twised by the Indonesian media to portray him and th Red and White Coalition as destructive and spiteful entities.

Hashim on October 12 released the full voice recording of the interview on YouTube and listening to the interview is fascinating.


Just after the 28 minute mark on the video Hashim was asked by Reuters if the Coalition would “use the power of the budget, the power of the purse” to stop Jokowi. Hashim interrupts before the question finishes and talks if its instances such as the purchase of Chinese buses while Jakarta was under Jokowi’s administration.

The reporters says yes, Hashim goes on and concludes that “we will investigate that”.

Then he delivers the statement that has become the controversial quote. In the recoding Hashim says: “”Um yeah, if we see that there is various problems we would use our powers to investigate and to obstruct.”

So the interesting question here, and this is one that journalists under pressure of deadlines have to constantly struggle with, is whether “We will use our power to investigate and to obstruct” as quoted in the Reuters article is a fair portrayal of his actual statement.

What do you all think?

2 thoughts on “Did Hashim get a fair shake in his “investigate and obstruct” quote?

Add yours

  1. If I was an Indonesian voter, I’d be a candidate.

    Have you seen the lot?

    It’s as if the electorate is saying, why shoot for excellence when mediocrity is the goal? Well, I, too, can be mediocre and make tons of money.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Hashim has blamed local media yet did not say that Wall Street and Reuters misquoted him. I’ve listened to the man and he has a clear outline and strategy for the country’s economy. Despite his anti-foreign business rhetoric, this is a man who has achieved wealth by courting, partnering, and trading with foreign business interests. His monumental public gaffes, including his much misplaced and totally pointless warning against Bill Clinton’s visit, is that he thinks he has enough training to handle media. I doubt he has the capacity to listen to his adviser/advisers in crafting a message that would be palatable enough.

    A veteran politician hides behind the curtain his true intentions and does not advertise it on Reuters. After all, “It is better to sit in silence and appear ignorant, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”


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