Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned his successor, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, not to overreact to libel or defamation against him as President.
He said there had been a component of subjectivity in the articles about libel against the President and Vice President that the government had included in the draft Criminal Code bill (RUU KUHP) proposed to the House of Representatives.
"Anyone, including the President, has a right to file a lawsuit against someone who commits libel or defamation against him; but please don't be too exaggerated. Articles on libel, defamation or something else similar will be still 'elastic' in nature [or can be interpreted loosely to suit the interests of ruling authorities]. It means such an article will still have a component of subjectivity," Yudhoyono said as quoted by kompas.com on his Twitter account in Jakarta on Sunday.
Yudhoyono later shared his experience facing humiliation during his 10 years of presidency.
When serving as a President, Yudhoyono said, he received hundreds of statements and acts he deemed humiliating, which tainted his good name. One of incidents he deemed humiliating was when a group of protesters trampled on and burned his official pictures as the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
Yudhoyono said he also felt humiliated when a group of protesters paraded a buffalo with his initials, "SBY", written on the animal's stomach.
Nevertheless, Yudhoyono said, he had never used his right to file a report against the perpetrators with the police. "If I used my right to report them to the police, they [the police] might have interrogated hundreds of people and even named them as suspects," he said.
Yudhoyono said filing reports with the police would only disrupt the concentration that he needed to work as a President. "If I filed such police reports, people would not dare speak up to criticise my government because they would be too afraid of being criminalized or named suspects. I would never know what they were thinking about my government," said Yudhoyono.
Yudhoyono said the humiliation he had often received during his presidency did not occur during President Jokowi's administration.
"I've observed that such humiliation, either in the form of directly humiliating acts and statements against the President or harsh news reports through media outlets, has never happened. It's a good sign," said Yudhoyono.