Rabu 03 Jan 2024 16:58 WIB

Arya Wedakarna Controversies

Arya Wedarkarna once dealt with the police.

Rep: Umar Mukhtar/ Red: Erdy Nasrul
Arya Wedakarna
Foto: Republika/Mutia Ramadhani
Arya Wedakarna

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Bali Senator Arya Wedakarna is in the spotlight after a viral video clip of herself alluding to the hijab worn by Muslim women went viral. The video became controversial and drew condemnation from citizens.

In the video, Arya says she doesn't want any women in the frontline section wearing head coverings. He wanted the women on the front lines to have their hair exposed, because Bali is not the Middle East.

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“I don't want the front line, the front line, I want the Balinese girl on your kayak, her hair looks open. Don't love the cover, the cover is not clear, this is not the Middle East. It's delicious Balinese, use a flower cake, cook what a cake,” Arya said as quoted by Republika.co.id in Jakarta, Monday (1/1/2024).

In Republika's record, it was not this time only that Arya Wedakarna issued statements with an Islamophobic tone. Such an attitude has been demonstrated for a long time since 2014.

1. Rejecting Sharia Bank in Bali

Last August 2014, Bali Regional Representative Council (DPD) Member Arya Wedakarna revealed her rejection of Islamic banks in Bali. The president of the Bali Young Hindu Alliance International claimed to be suspicious of the influx of sharia banking in Bali.

“I suspect these people have the same views as the terrorists who bombed Bali. They think that Bali is a pagan country,” Wedakarna said at the time.

Wedakarna therefore rejected the opening of a sharia bank and he also requested that the area in Bali not follow Denpasar and Badung which had placed sharia banks. According to him, Bali is better suited to use LPD, cooperatives, and BPR than the sharia economic system.

Although the opening of a branch office of a sharia bank is regulated by the Sharia Banking Act, Wedakarna requested that the government exclude Bali. In fact, the rules are wrong. “The law is wrong. The law is made for the benefit of the people, so it must be heard what the people want. The Antipornography Act alone has its exceptions,” he said at the time.

Arya also accused that sharia banking was used as propaganda of a certain religion. He pointed out that there are Hindu employees who should not install Hindu means of offering, namely Padmasana, in sharia banks.

2. Provocateur Ormas Rejects UAS Arrival in Bali

In December 2017, Arya Wedakarna allegedly became a provocateur of denial and persecution through social media against Ustadz Abdul Somad (UAS) while on a dakwah safari in Bali.

At that time, UAS received intimidation through rejection and a demo in Bali conducted by an ormas that named itself as Komponen Rakyat Bali (KRB), on December 8, 2017. KRB stipulates that Ustad Abdul Somad can be admitted to Bali after pledging at Rumah Kebangsaan. Then the condition was rejected by the UAS.

Following the incident, Member of the House of Representatives (DPR) from Riau Province, Lukman Edy reported Arya Wedakarna as a member of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) RI. Lukman Edy considers Arya Wedakarna to be the mastermind of the denial and demo action against UAS.

Arya Wedakarna also confirmed that it was not related to Ustaz Abdul Somad's (UAS) denial in Bali. The Balinese senator addressed the irresponsible reporting of parties trying to censure religious and community leaders about it.

After a few months, the rejection case of Ustaz Abdul Somad (UAS) in Bali in December 2017 showed developments at the level of the Bali Regional Police (Polda). Bali police have upgraded the case of Ustaz Somad's denial from the investigation stage to the investigation.

This was revealed by the issuance of the Notice of Development of Investigation Results (SP2HP) of the Bali Police dated May 21, 2018 signed by the Director of Special Criminal Reserse of the Bali Police at the time, AKBP Agung Kanigoro Nusantoro.

Letter numbered B/128/V/2018/ This Bali Police transcript says that, after conducting an investigation into the report of Ustaz Abdul Somad's refusal, it is alleged that a criminal offense has occurred.

The parties who object or as reported are deemed to knowingly and without the right to disseminate information intended to cause hatred or hostility of certain individuals and/or groups of society under SARA.

The lawyer of the complainant at the time, who was part of the Advocacy Team of the Ustaz Abdul Somad Peduli Forum (FPUAS), Zulfikar Ramly, revealed that with the release of this SP2HP letter and the extension of the case of UAS refusal from investigation to investigation, the report could be raised to the status of a suspect.

“The Bali police have filed a case for this case and the case has gone up to the investigators. They have sent SPDP (Notice of Commencement of Investigation) to Kajati Bali,” Zulfikar said in May 2018.

Zulfikar said that in the SP2HP of the Bali Police it was mentioned that the case by investigators had been carried out on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. “With the development of this investigation case, reporting on behalf of Arya Wedakarna (AWK) could be upgraded to suspect status,” he said.

In SP2HP, the report is considered to have violated Article 28 paragraph (2) and Article 45A paragraph (2) of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia number 19 of 2016 on amendments to the Law of the Republic of Indonesia number 11 of 2008, on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) and/or Article 16 of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia number 40 of 2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and/or Article 160 of the Criminal Code and/or Article 156 and Article 156a of the Criminal Code.

3. A Fung's Meatballs in Bali

In mid-July 2023, celebrity Jovi Adighuna sparked a stir while dining at Baso A Fung Bali at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport. At the kosher-certified outlet, Jovi eats pork crackers he bought at the airport, by mixing them in a bowl of meatballs.

Jovi's actions exposed the cutlery in the A Fung outlet to nonkosher food. Jovi has already apologized for the beating, as he initially did not realize the impact of it. Meanwhile, Baso A Fung Bali outlet chose to destroy all cutlery and replace them with new ones.

Afterwards, on July 30, 2023, Arya came under the spotlight for co-responding to manager Baso A Fung's move at the Airport, which damaged bowls and plates. The move by the tavern manager who feared bowls and plates were contaminated with illicit substances angered Arya. Then Arya sent a letter to the Badung Licensing Office to issue a reprimand, both to the manager of Baso A Fung and Ngurah Rai Airport.

4. Refusing headscarves for employees

Last but not least, Bali Senator Arya Wedakarna suddenly went viral on the X timeline, after the X @unmagnetism account uploaded a video clip of Arya scolding the head of Bali Nusa Tenggara Customs Kanwil and the head of I Airport Customs Gusti Ngurah Rai, as well as the airport manager.

Aryan remarks are considered racist because they allude to the hijab or hijab worn by Muslims. Arya's remarks that she wanted Balinese employees to be placed at the front desk serving tourists rather than employees wearing hijabs caused controversy.

“I don't want the front line, the front line, I want the Balinese girl on your kayak, her hair looks open. Don't love the cover, the cover is not clear, this is not the Middle East. It's delicious Balinese, use a flower cake, cook what a cake,” Arya said as quoted by Republika.co.id in Jakarta, Monday ( 1/1/2024).

Afterwards, Arya Wedakarna gave clarification over the allegedly racist viral video to women using head coverings. In his clarification, Arya admitted that the video had been cut by an irresponsible party.

“In connection with the viral videos circulating in the community, that the video that is circulating is a video that has been cut by a number of media outlets as well as by irresponsible people,” Arya said in a video posted on her personal social media.

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