Old clip of Indonesia politician Surya Paloh falsely shared as him 'supporting' Prabowo after 2024 poll

  • Published on March 12, 2024 at 11:38
  • 6 min read
  • By AFP Indonesia
Footage of Indonesian politicians Surya Paloh and Prabowo Subianto pledging to work together was filmed after the 2019 presidential election, contrary to social media posts that falsely claimed it showed recent footage of Surya cosying up to Prabowo, who looked set to win the 2024 presidential race. The posts emerged as speculation swirled that the Indonesian president was wooing Surya to ditch his election coalition, which supported Prabowo's rival in the presidential poll. However, Surya had not made any such announcement, as of March 12, 2024.

"Surprising!! New fact. Surya Paloh & Muhaimin officially leave the 01 & 03," reads Indonesian text superimposed on a SnackVideo clip posted on March 3, 2024.

Surya Paloh is the chairman of NasDem, one of the three political parties that endorse Anies Baswedan in the presidential race, while Muhaimin Iskandar, chairman of the National Awakening Paty, is Anies' running mate. 

"01" and "03" are the ballot numbers for Indonesian presidential candidates Anies and Ganjar Pranowo, respectively -- both are poised to fail their bid for the top job in the February 2024 election, early indications showed (archived link). 

Instead, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto looks set to helm the world's third-largest democracy and Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

The SnackVideo post purports to show Surya cosying up to Prabowo and joining the former general's camp. 

The video, which has more than 20,000 views, shows the two politicians speaking to reporters about uniting in the national interest.

Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 7, 2024

The video shows Surya saying: "Whether there was talk about ministers, the cabinet... You want to hear the honest answer, don’t you? Honestly, I say there was no such talk.

"And it is not limited to whether we would join the cabinet or not. Don't ask me and Prabowo about this issue. Prabowo and I are united."

Then, Prabowo says: "We are friends. Sometimes, we have our differences, we disagree. But we are united in our love for the motherland."

The four-minute video is also interspersed with footage of Prabowo's running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka -- the 36-year-old son of Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. 

Similar posts racked up more than 2.1 million views in total on SnackVideo and TikTok here, here and here

In the last two TikTok posts, the video shows not only the clip of Surya and Prabowo, but also a clip of Surya shaking hands with Jokowi then bowing to him.

The posts were shared following Jokowi and Surya's closed-door meeting at the State Palace on February 18, 2024, days after election day (archived link).

According to media reports, political observers and politicians have speculated the meeting was Jokowi's attempt to sway Surya to join Prabowo's camp (archived link). 

The election commission would only announce final results in late March 2024, but preliminary official results put Prabowo on course to win by a wide margin. 

Jokowi, who is seen supporting Prabowo and his son in the election, is accused of manoeuvring to build his own political dynasty. In mid-October 2023, the constitutional court, then headed by Jokowi's brother-in-law, changed election rules allowing candidates below the age of 40 -- like Gibran -- to run in the presidential race. 

Anies and Ganjar have said, without yet providing evidence, that their camps had found "systematic" fraud in the election and "the deficiencies are various".

They are pushing to launch a parliamentary inquiry into alleged election fraud and challenge the election results in court. Surya and NasDem have said they support the plans (archived links here and here). 

Old video

A keyword search on YouTube found a segment from the video was posted six months after Indonesia's April 2019 presidential race.

Local broadcaster Kompas TV published the video on October 13, 2019, headlined: "Prabowo and Surya Paloh Agree National Interest Must be Put Above Parties' Interest" (archived link).

The footage shows Surya and Prabowo, chairman of Gerindra Party, pledging to work together following Jokowi's victory in the 2019 election.

During the 2019 poll, Surya's NasDem Party backed incumbent Jokowi, who defeated his rival, Prabowo, for the second time.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the original 2019 video from Kompas TV (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the original 2019 video from Kompas TV (right)

The politicians' meeting at Surya's home was also reported by local broadcaster Metro TV on the same day (archived link).

It took place days after Jokowi said Prabowo's Gerindra Party might join his governing coalition (archived links here and here). 

Jokowi was inaugurated as president for the second term on October 20, 2019, and Prabowo joined his cabinet as defence minister three days later (archived links here and here). 

Party meeting

A reverse image search on Yandex and keyword search on YouTube found the clip of Gibran was taken from news footage from October 2023 -- months before the February 2024 election.

The video -- posted on Kompas TV's YouTube channel on October 21, 2023 -- shows Gibran attending a leadership meeting of Golkar Party, during which they officially endorsed him as Prabowo's running mate (archived link).

Below is a screenshot of the video in the false post (left) and the original 2023 video from Kompas TV (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the false post (left) and the original 2023 video from Kompas TV (right)

A similar video capturing Gibran's arrival at the Golkar meeting was published by Metro TV on the same day (archived link). 

Golkar -- which supports Prabowo's candidacy -- endorsed Gibran just days after the constitutional court's controversial ruling enabled the president's son to stand in the election (archived link).

Prabowo announced Gibran as his vice-presidential candidate on October 22, 2023 (archived links here and here).

AFP has fact-checked the video of Surya and Jokowi shaking hands: it was taken at NasDem's anniversary event in November 2019 (archived link)

As of March 12, 2024, Surya and Muhaimin had not announced any decision to join Prabowo's camp. 

AFP has debunked a wave of misinformation around Indonesia's 2024 elections.

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