More important matters in Jakarta election than religion: Komnas HAM

The Jakarta Post – Jakarta. National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) called for the public and the media to focus on more important matters like transparency, flood mitigation and forced evictions, rather than talking about Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s allegedly blasphemous statement.

“It should not be prolonged because the governor has apologized and showed regret before the public,” commissioner Muhammad Nurkhoiron said in a statement made available on Saturday.

“The Jakarta gubernatorial election should become a stage uniting differences in religion, race [and] ethnicity to allow for a healthy political contest,” Nurkhoiron went on.

The Jakarta election has deteriorated into an ugly debate, with violent statements uttered by Islamists against Ahok after he cited a Quranic verse and urged voters not to be deterred from choosing a non-Muslim leader.

“Komnas HAM encourages the media to focus on the best ideas from the candidates to improve Jakarta. The media should show how the candidates will propose to build good governance, participatory development and the fulfillment of basic rights like health and education,” the statement said.

“There are many more important issues than religion, like what is being debated right now,” Nurkhoiron said. “We want everyone not to exploit religious issues too much. And we call for everyone not to use the blasphemy law, which is often used to criminalize people,” Nurkhoiron said.