Tifatul Sembiring

Last updated
Tifatul Sembiring
Member of People's Representative Council
Assumed office
1 October 2014
In office
1 October 2009 22 October 2009
ConstituencyNorth Sumatra I
Minister of Communication and Information of Indonesia
In office
22 October 2009 27 October 2014
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Preceded by Muhammad Nuh
Succeeded by Rudiantara
President of Prosperous Justice Party
In office
11 October 2004 22 October 2009
Preceded by Hidayat Nur Wahid
Succeeded by Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq
Personal details
Born (1961-09-28) September 28, 1961 (age 59)
Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia
Political party Prosperous Justice Party

Tifatul Sembiring (born 28 September 1961 in Bukitinggi, West Sumatra) is an Indonesian politician. He was chairman of the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party and Minister of Communication and Information in the Second United Indonesia Cabinet.



Life and Family

His father is Karo and moved to Bukittinggi where he married a Minangkabau woman. [1] Tifatul is the head of the big family in Guguak Tabek Sarojo, Agam, West Sumatra by the title Datuk Tumangguang. [2] He is married to Sri Rahayu and has seven children: Sabriana, Fathan, Ibrahim, Yusuf, Fatimah, Muhammad and Abdurrahman Sembiring.


Tifatul has a degree in computer engineering from the Information and Computing Management School (Indonesian : Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Manajemen Informatika dan Komputer), Jakarta, and was active in a number of Indonesian Islamic organisations from his student days, such as PII, the Indonesian Student's Association [3] [4]


In 2009, he blamed immorality for a Sumatra earthquake and other natural disasters. As he addressed a Friday prayer meeting in Padang, Sumatra, the minister said "there were many television programmes that destroyed morals. Therefore, natural disasters would continue to occur." [5]

His ambition to filter the internet for 'negative' content, shelved in early 2010 in the face of broad opposition, may be revived after a celebrity sex scandal centred on Ariel (Nazril Irham), which Sembiring controversially linked to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. [6] The move apparently has the backing of then-president Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and would involve a blacklist of offensive material monitored by a special task force, [7] which gave birth to the controversial 'Internet Positif.'

He has also linked pornography to HIV/Aids and said that funding to fight the disease was a waste of money, [6] also stating that the widespread availability of Indonesian pornography, mostly featuring students, caused natural disasters. [8] He was much criticized for quoting Adolf Hitler on his Twitter page, posting "the union between two children, when both of them complete each other, this is magic - Adolf Hitler". [9] He was questioned by Indonesian Twitter users for shaking the hand of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama during her husband's November 2010 trip to Indonesia. [10] His hesitation in condemning the kidnapping of 276 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria drew criticism and raises question at his suitability to serve in the government. [11] [12]

In May 2014, the Communication Minister tweeted from his personal account that video sharing site Vimeo would be banned. Citing Indonesia’s controversial anti-pornography law, passed in 2008, the minister said the site included displays of “nudity or nudity-like features”. [13] The ban came at a moment when films made in Indonesia had begun to attract attention on the world stage, with Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” joining the ranks of the most acclaimed documentaries of all time. [14]

On 26 February 2016, he tweeted from his personal account quoting Islamic hadith that promotes killing people who practice homosexuality. [15] This sparked criticism from general public, Muslim scholars and human rights advocates due to growing intolerance towards LGBT community in Indonesia. He responded to the critics by calling them anti prophet Mohammed and anti Quran, but eventually deleted the post yet remained unapologetic.


Sembiring had been elected three times into the People's Representative Council, firstly in the 2009 election where he represented North Sumatra's first electoral district. He was reelected there in 2014, and again in 2019. [16] In the 2019 legislature, Sembiring was the chair of the Prosperous Justice Party's faction. [17]

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  1. "Cabinet 2009: Communications and IT, Tifatul Sembiring". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  2. Tifatul Sembiring Kini Bergelar Datuk, Vivanews.com
  3. "United Indonesia Cabinet 2009-2014". The Jakarta Post . 2009-10-22. p. 3.
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8384827.stm
  5. 1 2 Agence France-Presse (23 Jun 2010). "Pop star detained in Indonesia's first celebrity sex video scandal". SCMP . Retrieved 25 Jun 2010.
  6. Agence France-Presse (19 Jun 2010). "Indonesian leader backs Web filter on porn". SCMP . Retrieved 25 Jun 2010.
  7. "Immorality has caused disasters : Minister". Antara News. 2009-11-27. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  8. "Tifatul quotes Adolf Hitler on Twitter". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  9. "Minister Admits Reluctant Michelle Obama Handshake". NPR. Associated Press. November 9, 2010.
  10. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/communications-minister-fire-response-boko-haram-query/
  11. http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2014/05/11/078576928/Soal-Boko-Haram-Tweeps-Serang-Menteri-Tifatul
  12. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesian-minister-tifatul-faces-twitter-ire-vimeo-ban/
  13. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesia-reels-surprise-vimeo-ban/
  14. http://www.bbc.com/indonesia/majalah/2016/02/160226_trensosial_twitter_tifatul
  15. "Tifatul Sembiring, Mantan Menteri yang Kembali Menjadi Caleg di Pemilihan Umum 2019". Kumparan (in Indonesian). 5 December 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  16. "Sudah Dilobi Golkar dan Gerindra, PKS Belum Tentukan Dukungan Calon Ketua MPR". KOMPAS.com (in Indonesian). 3 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.

Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Nuh
Minister of Communication and Information
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Hidayat Nur Wahid
Chairman of Prosperous Justice Party
Succeeded by
Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq