Jakarta (ANTARA) - People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo stated that the new Army Chief of Staff (KSAD), General Maruli Simanjuntak, plays a crucial role in maintaining the Indonesian Military's (TNI's) neutrality during the 2024 General Elections.

Simanjuntak was recently inaugurated as army chief of staff in Jakarta on Wednesday (November 29).

"In addition to ensuring that the 2024 elections run safely and peacefully, the KSAD has an important role to support TNI commander in maintaining the neutrality of TNI personnel, especially in the army," Soesatyo noted in a statement here on Thursday.

He highlighted that the TNI, as an institution tasked with maintaining national defense and sovereignty, must support the interests of the nation and not the interests of political parties.

He also affirmed that the TNI's involvement is crucial as the protector of Indonesia's sovereignty in facing intolerant parties that can result in terrorism movements.

He pointed out that the presence of military and non-military threats in the modern era had given rise to dilemmas in global geopolitics and geostrategy that are difficult to predict or anticipate.

He also highlighted several steps that should be taken to address the issue of resistance from a separatist group in Papua.

The MPR speaker assessed that in addition to firm and measured steps from the TNI and National Police (Polri), efforts prioritizing cultural and welfare approaches are also necessary.

"What is also important is taking firm action against the misappropriation of special autonomy funds that is not right on target and is detrimental to the interests of Papua residents," he remarked.

Soesatyo also expressed his support for the inauguration of Simanjuntak, who he considers to have a qualified track record to lead the army after having served as commander of the Presidential Security Detail for the 2018-2020 period and commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command for the 2022-2023 period, among other posts.

The general elections are scheduled to be held on February 14, 2024. Around 204.8 million voters are expected to cast their ballot in the elections.

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Translator: Melalusa Susthira, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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