Monday, March 29, 2021 | 14:27 WIB
The Sabu Raijua KPU’s attorney Joshua Viktor and KPU member Alpius P. Saba at a hearing for the 2020 Sabu Raijua regent election, Monday (29/3/2021) in the Courtroom of the Constitutional Court. Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.
JAKARTA, Public Relations—At the second hearing of the 2020 Sabu Raijua Regency election dispute case No. 135/PHP.BUP-XIX/2021held by the Constitutional Court (MK) on Monday morning, March 29, 2021, it was discovered that the General Elections Commission (KPU) and Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) of Sabu Raijua Regency had failed to ask Orient P.R. Kore directly to confirm his citizenship.
KPU member Alpius P. Saba answered Constitutional Justice Saldi Isra’s (panel chair) question about whether the Respondent asked Kore for confirmation directly. “We received clarification from the document. We didn’t (ask him to confirm it directly) because it wasn’t regulated in the (PKPU/KPU Regulation),” he said.
Justice Saldi then asked KPU RI Commissioner Hasyim Asy’ari, who attended the hearing virtually. Hasyim said that the KPU could ask for clarification if there was a report from the public and if there was doubt. “(Asking for) direct clarification is allowed to find assurance,” he said.
Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo also asked Bawaslu the same question. Jonixon Hege answered that they didn’t ask directly because they asked the Respondent first. “We could’ve asked for direct clarification, but we wanted to ask the KPU first,” he said.
The special panel lamented this fact because Bawaslu had ample time to exchange correspondence with the KPU and the US Embassy since September 5, 2020 to January 2021. Justice Suhartoyo stated that Bawaslu should’ve confirmed this directly with Kore.
“In the opening [of the hearing], the panel chair asked that nobody point fingers, but who worked suboptimally in this case? Please self-evaluate because every party has an authority. The door was open for the public and Bawaslu [to find this out],” Justice Suhartoyo stressed.
He reminded the two election organizers that the Law on the Home Ministry’s Population and Civil Registry (Dukcapil) allows foreign nationals to hold electronic KTP (resident ID card). “Because it is part of services. The Dukcapil Law allows e-KTP for foreign nationals. So, Bawaslu checking e-KTP is only half of the clarification process,” he stressed while reminding the election organizers that this not repeat in the future.
Jonixon also said that Bawaslu only received an email response from the Indonesian Embassy to the US regarding Kore’s status on February 1, 2021. He said that on September 4, 2020 Kore registered in the election. Bawaslu had previously received a report on his citizenship, which prompted them to send the Respondent a letter on September 5, 2020 to remind them to review Kore’s document as he had allegedly stayed abroad for a long period.
Bawaslu then corresponded with the immigration office of Kupang on September 5, 2020 to confirm Kore’s citizenship. The office confirmed that Kore is an Indonesian. However, on September 15, they recanted their previous statement, citing ongoing investigation with relevant institutions.
“In the letter, [the immigration office] suggested that Bawaslu correspond with the Law and Human Rights Office in NTT to be forwarded to the Ministry for the issue to be processed following statutory laws,” Jonixon said regarding the petition by Candidate Pair No. 3 Taken Irianto Radja Pono-Herman Hegi Rdja Haba.
Correspondence with Various Institutions
On September 10, 2020, Bawaslu had requested cooperation and help from the US Embassy in Jakarta regarding Kore’s citizenship while asking the Directorate of Immigration in Jakarta about the issue. They also asked the Respondent about the validity of the application documents sent in by Kore.
“The letter was resent on September 10 by Bawaslu because the one sent on September 5 wasn’t responded by the Respondent. The second letter was replied by the Respondent on September 21, informing [Bawaslu] of the clarification by Kupang Disdukcapil that Orient was an [Indonesian] citizen with an e-KTP from Kupang,” Jonixon explained to the special panel consisting of Constitutional Justices Saldi Isra (chair), Suhartoyo, and Enny Nurbaningsih.
Bawaslu resent a letter to the US Embassy on September 15 because they hadn’t received a reply. The next day, they sent a letter to the Law and Human Rights Ministry to ask for Kore’s citizenship information. On January 4, 2021, Bawaslu received an objection letter from the Civil Alliance for Sabu Raijua’s Democracy about Kore’s citizenship.
On February 3, 2021, Bawaslu corresponded with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Kore’s citizenship status as well as with the KPU RI to ask that the inauguration of the Sabu Raijua candidate pair-elect from the 2020 election be postponed. On February 10, the US Embassy confirmed that Kore was a US citizen. Then, on February 15, Bawaslu sent a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the discovery.
“The regent-elect didn’t meet requirements because he was a foreign national,” Jonixon said.
No Carbon Copy
Meanwhile, the Respondent’s attorney Josua Victor responded that Kore’s confirmation as regent-elect by the Sabu Raijua Regency KPU (Respondent) complied with Law No. 10 of 2016 and the PKPU. Consequently, the KPU believes that the KPU Decrees No. 152/HK/03.1/Kpt/5320/KPU-Kab/IX/2021, 153/HK/03.1/Kpt/5320/KPU-Kab/IX/2021, 342/HK/03.1/Kpt/5320/KPU-Kab/IX/2021, and 25/HK/03.1/Kpt/5320/KPU-Kab/IX/2021 were all formally valid.
On February 3, 2021 the Respondent received an objection to their confirmation of Kore. However, it didn’t receive any carbon copy of the letters Bawaslu sent to various institutions to confirm Kore’s citizenship.
“Only after [the election] is over and the Respondent’s authority expires in settling this issue did Bawaslu report it. The Respondent believes Sabu Raijua Regency Bawaslu was the neglectful party,” Josua said.
Informed before Confirmation
KPU RI Commissioner Hasyim Asy’ari affirmed that Bawaslu’s correspondence with various institutions was never communicated with the Respondent. He believed that Bawaslu chair had been informed on January 22, 2021 before the Respondent had confirmed the election winner.
“However, the Respondent only received a letter from Bawaslu on February 2, 2021. Bawaslu chair received a carbon copy of 2 emails from the US Embassy. What was actually Bawaslu’s motive in the first letter? Only after the second letter did they contact the Respondent,” Hasyim said virtually from the KPU RI office in Jakarta.
Meanwhile, the Relevant Party through attorney Yodben Silitonga said that Kore was an Indonesian citizen who never lost his citizenship. In Indonesia, citizenship is by birth, so Kore is a native to Kupang, NTT as he was born of Kupang native parents who hold Indonesian passports.
“He never applied to renounce his Indonesian citizenship and there is no official report of his dual citizenship. His acquisition of US citizenship was only an administrative requirement for work and the statement letter from the US Embassy wasn’t proof of his citizenship because it’s only based on passport ownership,” Silitonga said alongside another attorney, Rikardus Sihura.
At the preliminary hearing, the Petitioners requested that the Court annul the KPU Decree No. 25/HK.03.1-Kpt/5320/KPU-Kab/I/2020 on the Certification of the 2020 Sabu Raijua regent election vote counting recapitulation dated January 23, 2020. They believe the decree didn’t present itself because there had been process and stages beforehand. A letter by the Consulate General of the US Embassy in Indonesia dated February 1, 2021 confirmed that Orient Patriot R. Kore was a US citizen. The letter was a response to the Sabu Raijua Bawaslu letter No. 136/K.Bawaslu-SR/HK.00.021/IX/2020. Therefore, Kore’s candidacy was legally defective.
Writer: Sri Pujianti
Editor: Lulu Anjarsari P.
Translator: Yuniar Widiastuti
Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian version, the Indonesian version will prevail.