The Weaponsshipment Controversy Must be Stopped

The Weaponsshipment Controversy Must be Stopped

The arrival of 280 stand-alone grenade launchers (SAGL) and thousands of munitions at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport was supposed to be a regular shipment of weapons ordered by the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob). However, a number of leaked photos of the weapons that circulated on social media platforms have pushed the country into state of paranoia. National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said the police had imported weapons with the same specifications two times earlier in 2015 and 2016.

Previously, the Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo suggested there was an institutions outside the military and the police had sought to import 5,000 illegal weapons and that the police might have planned to purchase antitank weapons.

The weapons, which have yet to be retrieved pending approval from the military’s strategic intelligence agency (BAIS) could also be used to fire tear gas during a riot.

The TNI is believed to have resented the police as the only unit with access to civilian matters following the abolition of the dwi fungsi (dual function) of the military, a New Order policy that gave the armed forces access to political and economic resources.

The police’s plan to purchase more weapons came after Gatot complained about how his budgeting authority as the military commander had been limited. The Defense Ministry issued in 2015 a regulation that made budget decisions for the three military devisions for the authority of the defense minister, rather than the military commander himself. Even if he had greater authority, the TNI’s budget was also limited.

The budget allocation for the ministry, which oversees the TNI, for 2018 is Rp 105 trillion (US$ 7,7 billion). The budget has to be divided among the ministry, TNI headquarters, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Meanwhile, the National Police’s budget is Rp 77 trillion.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto assured that the weapons shipment controversy would not disrupt national security. “The controversy was “an internal problems”, which the government would address internally.

However, the controversy the weapons shipment must be stopped because it could be triggered frenzy political and it didn’t reflect good education for younger generation. Neither solve nor deter the problems, the public discourse about those sensitive and strategic issue could be deranged and disrupted national security and other countries have been had a complex and comprehensive informations about those problems, and they will know about the capability and the vulnerability of the TNI and the Police.

Essentially and basically, we need the TNI and the Police to guard and to cover all of Indonesian territories and we know together that the complexity and assymetric threat will be faced the Indonesia’s people in the millenials period, so debating and politizing over the weaponsshipment of the police just only waste of our time and gaining the vested interest to make its issues for their advances. So, Wiranto is right that we must stop those controversial issues and let the government to solve those problem internally, and we must trust to our government if they will be protected our national interest firmly. Hopefully.

*) Agung Wahyudin, Senior observers at LSISI, Jakarta.

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