Indonesia election 2024: Prabowo takes flak for ‘slow brains’ remark, anti-disability rhetoric in final debate
Three presidential hopefuls faced off on Sunday to discuss issues ranging from health to employment, culture, information technology, social welfare, and inclusion.
Prabowo, the current defence minister, used the opportunity to again promote his US$25.4 billion programme of free meals for schoolchildren and pregnant mothers.
“We should start checking the health of future brides and grooms,” said the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) candidate and former Central Java governor.
“We need to pay attention to their ages too,” he added, saying he agreed with Indonesia’s current minimum age of 19 for marriage “as it means that they are mentally and physically developed”.
“I didn’t say that,” Prabowo responded. “What I said was ‘which one is better, free internet or free meals, for poor people?’ I agree with free internet, but I won’t prioritise it over free meals, as poor people need to eat.”
“We must oppose dynastic politics, which is supported by those who control a third of Indonesia’s wealth, and who prioritise family interests above everything else,” Ganjar said in his closing statement on Sunday, referring to the universities’ statements.
“Five years ago, in the 2019 presidential election, I was on Jokowi’s campaign team. We were reminded not to vote for candidates who had dictatorial traits, had a track record of violence, and human rights violations. I agreed with what he said.”
Prabowo – a former special forces commander who went into self-exile following the downfall of his father-in-law, the late dictator Suharto – has been accused of masterminding the kidnapping of student activists and political dissidents in 1998 and being involved in rights abuses in Papua and East Timor
He denies the allegations,