Deputy Speaker Fadli Zon attacks fishing ministry’s accomplishments, Minister Susi Pudjiastuti claps back

The deputy house speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR), Fadli Zon, has been an adamant critic of President Joko Widodo’s administration, especially recently while stumping for his boss, Gerindra chief Prabowo Subianto, who is widely expected to challenge Jokowi once again in the 2019 elections. But he might have made a big mistake going after the president’s  highly popular minister of fisheries and maritime affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti.

Yesterday, Fadli let loose with a Twitter thread expounding on Gerindra’s history and virtues on the occasion of the party’s 10th anniversary, starting with a tweet featuring a photo of himself alongside a photo of Prabowo saying they were ready to win the 2019 election.

But later in the thread his attention turned away from Gerindra’s greatness to throwing shade on the accomplishments of Jokowi’s administration, specifically the the fisheries ministry,


Elsewhere, we are proud of the the number of foreign fishing boats that the government has successfully sunk, as well as claims of fish populations increasing, as if that is a measure of the success of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs.

Whereas, at the same time, our fishermen are still among the poorest groups, they’ve even become a vulnerable group affected by criminalization because of their choice of fishing tools.

To put these tweets in context, Fadli is referring to Susi’s popular policy of sinking foreign fishing boats caught poaching in Indonesian waters and the data showing that Indonesia’s fish stocks have increased significantly as a result of the government’s hardline approach.

The second tweet refers to protests by fishermen who had protested the ministry’s banning of seine net fishing (due to its negative environmental impact). In fact, Susi met with protesting fishermen personally last month and promised to mostly overturn the ban (with some stipulations), an announcement that was met by protesters’ cheers.

At any rate, Susi was not going to let that attack on the accomplishments of her ministry stand, so she clapped back at the deputy house speaker with this tweet:


And what is the size of your accomplishments, Pak Fadli??? Please enlighten us.

Eventually Fadli answered with this limp reply.


I reveal it inside three books, “Siding With the People” that shows what I have done (not claimed to have accomplished) from 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 in the DPR.

The war of words between two of the country’s senior government leaders quickly went viral and was picked up by the Indonesian media. When asked in person, Fadli walked back his tweets back a bit, saying that he did appreciate Susi safeguarding Indonesia’s waters but saying that it was not enough if it did not improve the livelihoods of Indonesia’s poor fishermenHe also invited Susi to the launch of his book today and said she was free to criticize him there.

While we haven’t seen a copy of Fadli’s books we can tell you about a few of his accomplishments we’ve written about. He was able to get into a scandal after appearing at a press conference for then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump, who he later congratulated on the win and tried to emulate (before finally denouncing him after Trump named Jerusalem the capital of Israel). He has written a lot of cringey poetry (including one particularly odious one aimed at Ahok) Most recently, he spoke out against a new revision of the criminal code, not because of its potential criminalization of adultery and homosexulity but because of a paragraph that would make insulting the president a criminal offense, which he said was undemocratic (this was, of course, after he supported his former boss Seya Novanto’s attempts to jail people who shared mean memes about him). 

As for Susi Pudjiastuti, in addition to being one of the most popular politicians in the country, she has also received high praise from environmental groups across the globe, was personally thanked by Leonardo DiCaprio for her work on sustainability and helped smash fishing slavery rings operating out of remote parts of Indonesia. She’s also undoubtedly the coolest minister in all of ASEAN.

Yeah, looks like Fadli might have been bitten off more than he could chew by challenging Ibu Susi to a throwdown.


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