In regards of the Bali Nine controversies: An Indonesian Perspective

Back in 2005, a group of nine Australians was arrested by the Indonesian police force for their attempt to smuggle 8.3 kilos of Heroin from Indonesia to Australia. Most of their members faced 20 years through to lifetime of imprisonment while two of them, which names areAndrew Chan and Myuran Sukuraman, was later sentenced to death by firing squad.

Controversies, would then arises and blown by the Australian media on how the Indonesian government are making no attempt on reducing the death penalty of the drugs smugglers. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, together with a lot of Australian writers and media has since resist the conviction, appealing on their previous aid on natural disasters and the fact that the drug was intended to be smuggled to Australia instead of Indonesia.

While one can see some of the tiny points the Australians are making, it is hard to see their appeal from an Indonesian Perspective.


As a country that has been dealing with drugs problems since the beginning of the 90s or even earlier and has currently more than 4.5 millions drug addicts, a strict law on drugs is necessary.

Many travellers who enter Indonesia, and are not deaf, would always hear and read on their way to the airport or docks that the possession of ANY drugs would results on criminal punishment with death as its heaviest consequence.

The point i am making is, that capital punishment did not come from nowhere, warnings was all over the place.

It is quite saddening that a high profiled country like Australia has to desperately beg for mercy and blame the Indonesian Authorities (and society) for the death conviction of their two criminals. Saying that the drug was supposed to be smuggled to Australia not Indonesia anyway, and hence it is not an offence to Indonesia. It is like saying that one is not guilty for shooting person A because one’s intention was to shoot at person B at the first place. In fact, I think the shooter should be guilty for two reason, shooting person A and an attempt for murder of person B.

Second, comparing the pardon of a criminal who violates a country’s most serious crime to the help aid for a natural disaster is actually quite insulting for me as Indonesian. First, we do not want any of the natural disaster to happen, ever. Second, We did struggle and asked for help, but we did not commit any crime to get the help. It is simply human nature to help those who struggle because of an accident. One would help somebody who fall, but it is more unlikely that somebody would give a guy who just sold a cigarette to a kid for a lift home.

Comparing that natural disaster with what Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukuraman has done is an insult because they voluntarily violate our law. Their doings, together with other drug dealers, could potentially kill or deprived at least 4.5 million Indonesian from their future.

Lastly, some have bring into attention the attitude change that Andrew Chan and MyuranSukuraman has gone through in the prison during their 10 years stay. Hence, some media are appealing for those attitude changes and begging for forgiveness.

Thing is, when Amrosi and Imam Samudra did the Bali bombing, there is no chance that the Australian would allow a pardon for their death sentence. Australia would not care for the fact that he is Indonesian and that it is our country’s concern to at least not kill our fellow citizen. We shot them anyway. Granted that they did a horrible bombing and killed bunch of innocent people, but intoxicating millions of people, including kids, to a life threatening and future depriving drug is no less serious.

Going back to drugs, our law take drugs problem as seriously as any terrorist attack and murders because it harms our national security and social wellbeing. Now if we give Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukuraman a pardon, that will yield more damage in Indonesia’s fight with drug problems and even more Indonesians would struggle.

Personally, I am not a fan of capital punishment and I think there are better ways to treat drug problems or in fact any other offences. But this law is deemed appropriate by the Indonesian government and seen as effective, it is already laid down and the last thing to do is to implement it. To not implement it may result on the disparagement of the law. so I need to respect this and hope that the law really does take effect to the society. While Australia, I think, should be glad that they have fewer drugs to deal with and should not intervene with our law enforcement process.

“A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole.” – Frank Zappa

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