Indonesian PKS Lawmaker Denies Deliberately Watching Porn

By webadmin on 11:11 pm Apr 11, 2011
Category Archive

Markus Junianto Sihaloho

A lawmaker was forced to explain on Friday a photograph that shows him allegedly watching pornography on his tablet computer during a plenary session in the House of Representatives.

Arifinto, from the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which has campaigned for a crackdown on pornography, claimed he was unaware an e-mailed link he opened on Thursday at the House was a pathway to pornographic images.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon after the newspaper Media Indonesia posted the image on its Web site, Arifinto explained that he was listening to the plenary’s closing speech when his tablet PC sounded, indicating a new e-mail had just arrived.

The lawmaker said he did not remember the subject line of the e-mail. He said he opened the e-mail, found a link and clicked it.

“I then found out they were pornographic images. I stopped watching it and then erased it from my inbox,” he said.

“Maybe, during that time when I was considering that the image was not a proper thing to be watched, the photographer took the picture.”

Arifinto said he didn’t remember the sender of the e-mail, but he assured it was not from the PKS’s internal mailing list.

House Speaker Marzuki Alie urged the Ethics Council to look into the case. “It violates our code of ethics,” he said.

The code stipulates that lawmakers should not do anything other than pay attention to the proceedings during meetings.

“It happened just near Friday prayer time,” Arifinto said. “Anyone would be fed up by that point. I didn’t intentionally click on the link. I erased the e-mail and gave my attention back to the plenary agenda.”

But Marzuki said there was no need to regulate the use of gadgets within sessions.

“Principally, lawmakers can bring such items into plenary meetings to help do their jobs. But of course, they can’t be used for watching porn movies,” he said.

The Ethics Council, for its part, said it would look into the matter as soon as a complaint was filed against Arifinto.

“Or we will proactively launch a probe into the matter if we consider it as a matter that sparks public interest, and many media organizations give it coverage,” said Nudirman Munir, deputy chairman of the council.

Arifinto said he was ready to answer any summons over the matter.

PKS president Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq tried to dismiss the matter. “I think the explanation from Arifinto is enough,” he said. “I am not needed to give more comment.”

PKS members have been embroiled in controversies recently, which officials claim are aimed at destabilizing the party.

House Deputy Speaker Anis Matta, the secretary general of the PKS, was last month implicated in a sex-video scandal that the police later cleared him of.

And then ousted party co-founder Yusuf Supendi accused three senior PKS officials of having polygamous marriages not approved by the party’s Shariah Council — chairman Luthfi, Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring and party deputy secretary general Mahfudz Siddiq.