UGM cancels seminar involving speakers from Prabowo-Sandiaga camp

Courtesy of Gadjah Mada University/file


The School of Husbandry at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) has prohibited a seminar involving two former ministers, who are members of presidential candidate pair Prabowo Subianto–Sandiaga Uno’s presidential candidate camp, from taking place at the faculty auditorium.

A statement jointly signed by the school’s dean Ali Agus and Student Executive Agency (BEM) chairman Angger M. Ghozwan Hanif declared that the seminar was not part of the BEM’s activities, therefore the school canceled the permit they had issued earlier.

The Seminar on Leadership in the Millennial Era was due to present former energy and mineral resources minister Sudirman Said and former agrarian and spatial planning minister Ferry Mursyidan Baldan. Both were ministers under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo but are now members of the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp.

The chairman of the seminar’s organizing committee, student Jibril Abdul Aziz, said the forum was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. on Friday at the school’s auditorium.

He said the organizing committee got the permit from the faculty on Thursday afternoon. Jibril shared a copy of a letter with The Jakarta Post, containing a request to use the auditorium. The letter heading was that of the BEM and Angger signed the request. The head of Husbandry Science and Industry Study Program, Diah Tri Widayati, also signed the request as a “notified” party.

“But this morning, at about 9 a.m., the campus told me that the permit to use the auditorium was canceled,” Jibril told the Post on Friday.

He said a school staff member told him that the cancelation was made for security reasons, over fears that the meeting might cause unrest. He said he also received threats from the staff member.

“If you insist on conducting the seminar here, you could be ousted from the school,” Jibril said, quoting the staff member as saying.

Iva Ariani, head of UGM’s communication and protocol department, denied any such threat. “There was no such thing,” she told the Post.

Avoiding possible further conflict with the campus, he said, the organizing committee finally decided to move the seminar to a restaurant on Jl. Magelang, located some 5 kilometers to the northwest of the school.

Jibril claimed the program was free of political interest.

He added that two weeks prior to the event both former ministers had been asked to leave any political attributes behind, considering their positions as members of a presidential candidate’s camp. They were also told not to insert any political messages into their speeches.

“Both had agreed to do so,” said Jibril, adding that even after being moved to the restaurant, no political messages or attributes emerged in the seminar.

The third speaker in the list was Zaki Arrobi, a writer and a former junior researcher at UGM’s Center for Security and Peace Studies.

“It was purely academic, as part of [preparations] to face the Industrial Revolution 4.0,” Jibril said.

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