Indonesia’s Marine and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti – one of the country’s best performing and most popular ministers – was surprisingly the subject of a social media movement to have her removed from her office earlier this week, coinciding with a demonstration by fishermen in the capital who protested against her ministry’s sustainable fishing regulations.
But many suspected that the calls for her removal on social media were generated by paid-for bots, and this was implied to be the case by the country’s National Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chief Budi Gunawan, who yesterday spoke of a grand scheme to have Susi removed from her office.
According to Budi, there are huge foreign food and energy cartels in Indonesia whose wallets have gotten a lighter because of Susi’s stricter fishing regulations.
“Bu Susi is currently experiencing a strong fight back (from the cartels), in the form of fishermen protests and so on,” Budi said, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.
Budi added that the cartels’ main aim is to ensure that Indonesia continues to depend on foreign food imports instead of becoming self-dependent, so it comes as no surprise that Susi would be a target considering her policies have greatly benefited Indonesia’s economy.
“What we are seeing is we are flooded with bootleg low quality goods, mainly from China, that are cheap and which have weakened our local products and weakened our economic self-dependency,” Budi said.
Susi’s strict regulations as minister have paid dividends in Indonesia. Her famous policy of blowing up illegal foreign fishing vessels has proven to be an effective deterrent against those who want to fish illegally in Indonesian waters, as a new report shows that Indonesia now has 12.5 million tons of fish in stock, an increase from an average of 6.5 million tons over the past two decades.
Susi’s achievements have also earned her praise worldwide, most recently from the man who might arguably be considered the most famous environmental activist in the world at the moment – Leonardo DiCaprio. She was also recently recognized with an award for her fight against unsustainable fishing practices and slave labor.