Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Muhadjir Effendy, has said that regular on-site visits are part of the leadership style of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

"The President's on-site visit is not a new habit; it is one of (the features of) his leadership style," he stated while giving his testimony at the 2024 Presidential Election dispute hearing at the Constitutional Court on Friday.

He said he is accustomed to Jokowi's leadership style as he has accompanied the head of state on his visits on several occasions, including to distribute Smart Indonesia Card (KIP) assistance for Indonesian students.

On-site visits help Jokowi ensure that government policies are carried out properly, Effendy said.

He added that Jokowi had emphasized the need to spend the state budget from the start of the year. Hence, government programs, including social assistance (bansos) distribution, have been implemented massively since January 2024.

Bansos distribution was one of the main points of contention at the election dispute hearing. The plaintiffs argued that social assistance could sway voters' opinions regarding a particular presidential candidate.

"The President personally observes and monitors (policies to ensure) they have been delivered properly, as well as to receive direct feedback from social assistance recipients," the minister explained.

He emphasized that Jokowi only meets a small number of social assistance recipients.

"If there are 40 visit points and each has 20,000 benefit recipients, there will be 800,000 people. Is it possible that the 800,000 people the President met during his visits influenced the whole country?" he argued.

President Jokowi wants to ensure that strategic policies are concluded on time by the end of his leadership, Effendy said, adding that it explains his seemingly increasing visits to regions.

"If a region is frequently visited by the President, there is a huge probability that various strategic projects are being implemented in the region," he said.

Effendy added that, considering these factors, Jokowi's symbolic handover of social assistance to residents during his on-site visits could not have influenced voters' opinions in the presidential election.

"It just does not make sense," the minister said.

However, Chief Justice Suhartoyo was quick to rebuff Effendy's statement and remind him not to convey personal opinions.

"Please, you should not make any assumptions about it," Suhartoyo said.

"I believe that is all I can say," Effendy replied.

The Constitutional Court summoned four ministers of the Onward Indonesia Cabinet for the April 5 hearing, as it decided that their testimonies were required for the election dispute adjudication.

Besides Effendy, the court summoned the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini.

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Translator: Nadia Putri R, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Anton Santoso
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