Harken, dear readers, to the tale of Setya Novanto: Indonesia’s speaker of the house, avoider of corruption charges, and now, alleged car crash victim in what has to be the most sinetron (Indonesian soap opera)-esque political drama ever.
In case you missed last night’s incredible twist in the tale, Novanto, after disappearing the previous day just before the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was about to arrest him at his house, resurfaced after he was allegedly involved in a car crash with an electric pole in South Jakarta.
According to reports, at around 6:30 pm, Novanto was being driven by Metro TV journalist Hilman Mattauch in a Toyota Fortuner (not long after the latter scored an exclusive phone interview with the former at his unspecified hiding place) when the car somehow went off the road and crashed into an electric pole. Hilman and Novanto’s aide, who was sitting in the front seat, were relatively unhurt, but Novanto, who was in the back seat, supposedly sustained head injuries and fell unconscious. He was soon taken to nearby Medika Permata Hijau Hospital
Novanto’s lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, said that his client had totally decided to go to the KPK to answer the commission’s summons for questioning before the accident occurred (amazing coincidence, that).
Yunadi says Novanto will have to be treated in the hospital for the unforeseeable future because of his “severe” injuries, including a bump on his head as big as a bakpao (Chinese steamed bun), which could mean “game over” for the speaker.
(This is, of course, not the first time Novanto ended up in hospital, coincidentally preventing him from being questioned by the KPK.)
Netizens, responding to what is widely perceived to be yet another attempt by Novanto to dodge corruption charges at all costs, unleashed yet another satirical hashtag that rocketed to the top of Indonesian Twitter today: #SaveTiangListrik (save the electric pole).
— Gaplek (@puntayoga) November 16, 2017
— Melanieputria (@Melanie_putria) November 17, 2017
Of course, some couldn’t resist meme-ifying the hashtag as well:
— Romen (@donromen) November 16, 2017
In another amusing move, anti-corruption NGO Indonesian People Against Corruption (MAKI), who had previously issued a IDR10 million reward for whoever could find Novanto, said they would give the money to the electrical pole.
MAKI: Tiang Listrik Pemenang Sayembara Setnov Rp10 Juta https://t.co/wpNI3vZtr8
— CNN Indonesia (@CNNIndonesia) November 16, 2017
All silliness aside, it’s unclear what will happen to the e-KTP (electronic ID card) corruption investigation in which Novanto has been named a suspect (twice) following his accident. It’s entirely possible that Novanto could avoid questioning by the KPK while in the hospital, all the way up until his pretrial motion goes before a judge on November 30, after which his suspect status could be negated yet again.
As for the seemingly convenient accident, the police have confiscated the Toyota Fortuner to investigate whether or not the crash was deliberate. Metro TV is also carrying out an internal investigation to figure out why their journalist was driving Novanto, and whether or not he was involved in Novanto’s disappearance the previous day.