A screenshot of a newspaper article with the headline, “Joko: ‘I don’t read what I sign’ has become viral recently and is drawing Indonesian citizens to criticize President Joko Widodo for what many see as an elementary error.
Just to give a little context: President Jokowi denied he knew anything about a controversial spending program that entitles legislators and government officials to Rp 211 million each as a down payment for a car. But he should’ve known about it – after all, he approved the program with his signature.
Jokowi defended himself by saying that he couldn’t possibly read every single page of the documents he has to sign day in, day out.
We’ve never been president, but we’re pretty sure anything a president signs has a huge impact on a lot of people, thus warranting careful attention.
And today, this screenshot went viral:
Indonesian netizens admitted to being “embarrassed” by President Jokowi:
Netizens were specifically embarrassed that President Jokowi’s gaffe caught the attention of the international media, in this case the USA’s Wall Street Journal.
But, for the record, we don’t believe this was a clip from the Wall Street Journal newspaper in the USA. For one thing, the Wall Street Journal would write “Indonesian President Joko Widodo” instead of just “Joko” in the headline. In fact, we know that the author, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, writes for local English language newspaper the Jakarta Globe.
Not taking anything away from the Jakarta Globe, but they don’t quite have the same global reach as the Wall Street Journal, so we guess the article isn’t having the international impact netizens are fearing. But it’s still pretty embarrassing for our president to admit that he doesn’t read everything he signs.
All of the netizens’ criticism towards Jokowi highlights the growing discontent the public is currently having with the president. Quite ominously for Jokowi supporters, this cartoon has also gone viral, suggesting that there may be an anti-Jokowi rally on May 20, 2015 demanding that Jokowi steps down as president (#TurunkanJokowi).