President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on Indonesians to be aware of fake news in the upcoming simultaneous legislative and presidential elections, while dismissing once again rumors that he was a member of the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
During a land certificate distribution ceremony on Wednesday, Jokowi said people should maintain unity and harmony between one another amid differences that could emerge during the elections.
“Elections happen every five years. We can’t let that divide us,” he said during the ceremony in South Tangerang, Banten, as quoted by Antara.
He added that fake news would spread in order to take down rivals because the country was entering the political year.
Jokowi said the rumor that he was a PKI member started in 2014 when he was running for the presidency.
During that time, he said, social media had been awash with accusations that he was member of the party whose ideology is banned in Indonesia. However, he denied the accusation.
“The PKI was banned in 1965, I was born in 1961. Is it possible for a toddler to join the party?” he said. “I wanted to let the rumors die a natural death, but some people believed it so I had to clear myself.”
Instead of spreading rumors and fake news to take down rivals, the former Jakarta governor is asking candidates in the 2019 elections to communicate their programs, ideas and achievements.