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Criticism erupts over Gibran Rakabuming’s conduct in vice-presidential debate

Gibran Rakabuming’s conduct in the recent Indonesian vice-presidential debate sparks Twitter criticism. His response to candidate Mahfud MD draws controversy, leading to discussions on respectful discourse in politics.



vice presidential debate

INDONESIA: The fourth presidential and vice-presidential candidate debate took place on Sunday evening (21 Jan) at the Jakarta Convention Center.

This debate, which focused on the theme of sustainable development, natural resources, environment, energy, food, agrarian affairs, and indigenous communities and villages, marked the second and final debate for the vice-presidential candidates.

The participants in this fourth debate included the vice-presidents from each pair of candidates, namely Muhaimin Iskandar, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, and Mahfud MD.

During the first segment of the debate, presidential candidates elucidated their visions and missions in relation to the themes addressed that evening.

Subsequently, the second and third segments delved into an in-depth exploration of the candidates’ visions, missions, and work programs, with questions posed to further scrutinize their positions.

The fourth and fifth segments involved questions and answers between the vice-presidential candidates, and the sixth session concluded with closing statements from each vice-presidential candidate.

Throughout these segments, the candidates presented their best responses to the problems raised, focusing on the overarching theme of the debate.

However, the spotlight shifted to the attitude of one of the vice-presidential candidates, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, during the interactions.

Specifically, his response to vice-presidential candidate number three, Mahfud MD, stirred controversy on social media, particularly Twitter.

Gibran’s behavior was criticized as impolite and arrogant, particularly given Mahfud’s seniority and experience.

In a gesture perceived as mocking and impolite by netizens, Gibran remarked, “I was looking for the answer, Prof. Mahfud. I looked around for the answer; how come I didn’t find the answer? I asked about the problem of green inflation, why do you explain about the green economy?”

This response intensified the criticism against Gibran, drawing attention to the need for respectful discourse, especially in a political setting.

Twitter users criticize Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s conduct in recent debate

One notable critic of Gibran’s conduct during the debate was Alissa Wahid, the eldest daughter of Abdurrahman Wahid, the fourth President of Indonesia.

In a Twitter post, she expressed regret over Gibran’s attitude, distinguishing between being a little ignorant and dismissive of others.

Alissa emphasized that Gibran had repeatedly demonstrated disrespect towards the other two candidates.

Many Twitter users also voiced their criticism of Gibran’s conduct.

One user, acknowledging their own youth in comparison to Gibran, found his behavior at the previous night’s debate to be rude.

They added that it is possible to express criticism and concern without resorting to disrespectful behavior.


Another user commented on Gibran embarrassing himself during the debate, stating that his manner was rude.

The user highlighted specific instances, such as Gibran discussing academic titles and mentioning Thomas Lembong‘s name.


Yet another user contended that Gibran was mistaken if he believed that Indonesians did not value manners and ethics.

According to this user, people do care, and Gibran’s behavior during the debate left a negative impression.

debate comment

In defense of Gibran, one supporter of pair number 2 argued against the perception that young people who are harsh and critical are always considered rude.

They pointed out a perceived double standard, suggesting that when parents exhibit such behavior toward young people, it is often deemed normal.


This statement, however, faced criticism from netizens who refuted the idea that Gibran’s actions were merely “harsh and critical,” accusing the supporter of deliberate blindness and manipulation in the name of young people.

Gibran addresses criticism for perceived offensive attitude

Following the debate, journalists questioned whether Gibran’s perceived offensive remarks were a retaliation against pairs number one and three, who had attacked pair number two in the previous debate.

Gibran responded, asserting that the viewers could judge the nature of the exchange, emphasizing his focus on sharing ideas and conveying his vision and mission during the debate.

On the other hand, Mahfud MD took to his Twitter page, expressing fatigue after the two-and-a-half-hour argument.

Despite the challenges, he highlighted the opportunity for mutual knowledge exchange, acknowledging the need for patience due to occasional low-quality content and gimmicks.

Mahfud expressed gratitude to netizens for their enthusiastic support.

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