The founder and CEO of online marketplace behemoth Bukalapak, Achmad Zaky, apologized to supporters of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday for his tweet implying it would be best if a new president was elected in April.
Achmad stirred up a hornets’ nest through his Twitter handle @achmadzaky by criticizing low government research and development spending and stating that a new president might improve it.
In the same tweet, which has since been deleted, he also called the government’s Industry 4.0 aspiration “nonsense” as Indonesia was behind other countries in terms of funding.
With people being well aware of Jokowi’s support and pride in the company, one of the country’s four unicorns valued at more than US$1 billion, his statement quickly became controversial and was criticized on Twitter. There was also a call for people to leave the marketplace under #UninstallBukalapak, which quickly became a trending topic.
He was also accused of supporting Jokowi’s challenger, Prabowo Subianto.
Kurang apa pak @jokowi dimatamu @achmadzaky ? Apa anda lupa cara berterima kasih atau setidaknya anda ingat cara menghargai orang yg dgn ikhlas turut memajukan @bukalapak ? Skr waktunya #Tutuplapak #uninstallbukalapak bye !!
— Andy Lesmana (@Andylesmana07) February 14, 2019
“Hasn’t Jokowi done enough for you? Have you forgotten how to be grateful? It’s time for #Tutuplapak #uninstallbukalapak bye!!,” said @Andylesmana07.
“It’s not about choice. It’s about attitude. Bukalapak’s success is because of government intervention and Jokowi himself endorsed the company. What the CEO did was cruel,” said @DimasAdamG.
Achmad apologized on Thursday night, saying he had only pointed out the fact that the country needed to invest more on research and development as well as on human resources development.
He also said that Jokowi was like a father to him because both they were both from Surakarta, Central Java.
“For Jokowi Supporters, I apologize if my words were inappropriate. I know PakJokowi well. He also came to [Bukalapak’s] anniversary celebration recently. There was no malicious intention in the tweet,” he said.
Streams of support also flew in for Achmad.
“Do you really want to quit Bukalapak just because its boss does not thank your presidential candidate?” asked @yunartowijaya.
Masa loe mau pake Bukalapak cuma kalo bosnya ngikutin cara loe berterima kasih ke kandidat presiden loe… Hadeuhhh…. Selevel Bumi Datar…
— Yunarto Wijaya (@yunartowijaya) February 14, 2019
“The Bukalapak CEO is also a citizen. Whether he wants to choose a [candidate] or not, it’s his right. Whether he wants to criticize Jokowi or not, it’s also his right, since he’s a part of [Indonesia’s] democracy,” said user @JohnRianmf78.
According to R&D magazine, Indonesia ranks 37 out of 40 countries with the largest R&D expenditure as its R&D spending was estimated at only 0.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. The United States topped the chart with an estimated 2.77 percent of its GDP.
The UNESCO Institute of Statistics recorded that Indonesia was also among the weakest nations in R&D development, with only 89 researchers per million inhabitants.