Tantowi Yahya

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Tantowi Yahya (born October 29, 1960 in Palembang) is an Indonesian presenter,[1] country singer and entrepreneur. He is most famous for hosting the Indonesian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Since 2009, Tantowi is also member of Indonesian parliament in People's Representative Council from Golkar Party, representing South Sumatra. Official Website http://www.tantowiyahya.com

Personal life[edit]

Tantowi was born in Palembang, South Sumatra in October 29, 1960 and native to the city. His father sold scrap plastic for living. At the age of 14, his father sent Tantowi to an English course, believing that it is necessary for his son's success.[2]

Tantowi married his wife, Dewi Andayani in 1990. Their child, Muhammad Adjani Prasanna Yahya was born in 2001.[2] Tantowi is the older brother of television host Helmi Yahya.


Tantowi early success is as host of TV show "Gita Remaja " in 1989 at TVRI.[2] His best known career is however came in 2001, from that year to 2006, Tantowi hosted the Indonesian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on RCTI.[2][3] The next year he hosted the Deal or No Deal Indonesia also on RCTI. In 2009 he hosted the local adaptation of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? this time on Global TV, but this is cut short by his election into Indonesian House of Representative following his electoral victory in Indonesian legislative election, 2009.

Country music[edit]

Tantowi released his first country single Gone, Gone, Gone by Rinto Harahap in 2000.[4] This is followed by his first album Country Breeze, which sold for 300,000 copies.[4] His music success lead him to become host of "Country Road Special" music show in TVRI.[2] He was dubbed as "the most popular country singer in Indonesia".[5] As a testament to his popularity Indonesian billionaire Peter F. Gontha asked Tantowi to sing at his daughter's wedding alongside Celine Dion.[2] He stated that country music is his "second religion".[6] Tantowi Yahya is also founder of Country Music Club of Indonesia.[7] Tantowi also owned cassette distribution and event organizer Ceepee Productions which organized the Indonesian Music Awards and the Panasonic Awards.[8] In 2005, Tantowi visited the United States under a Multi-Nation Program by Eisenhower Fellowship. While there he visited Nashville, center of country music industry.[9]


In 2009 election, Tantowi run for a seat of People's Representative Council as delegates from Golkar Party. He won the election and will represent his native South Sumatra for the period of 2009-2014. As parliamentarian, Tantowi is placed on Commission I for Security and Foreign Affairs.[7]

In June 2013 Tantowi caused controversy when he visited Israel, as Indonesia does not formally recognized the state and does not have diplomatic relationship. The criticism come primarily from conservative Muslims, primarily the controversial Islamic Defender Front (Front Pembela Islam/FPI). FPI's spokesman Munarman stated that Tantowi "ignored suffering of Palestinians" and stated that Tantowi should have visited Gaza instead.[10]

In September 2013, in an interview by ABC, he publicly declared Indonesian's opposition to Australia's government policy on asylum seekers, which involved towing back asylum boats in international water back to Indonesian territory and paying Indonesian villager for information about people smuggling, calling it 'illegal, offensive and an affront to democracy'.[11] This statement is in line with statement of Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.[12]


  1. ^ "PDI-P remains indecisive on Rano Karno's candidacy despite surveys". The Jakarta Post. 10 May 2011. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Tantowi, a man of a million talents, The Jakarta Post, August 6, 2002 
  3. ^ Tantowi Yahya: The Voice of Indonesian Country Music, Great American Country, 2005 
  4. ^ a b Tantowi Yahya, Merdeka 
  5. ^ Tantowi Yahya: The Voice of Indonesian Country Music, AngryCountry.com, July 11, 2005 
  6. ^ Tantowi Yahya: 'Music is my second religion', The Jakarta Post, June 28, 2008 
  7. ^ a b Tantowi says sayonara to showbiz, The Jakarta Post, August 12, 2009 
  8. ^ Guess What? Tantowi Yahya, The Jakarta Post, February 20, 2000 
  9. ^ Tantowi Yahya warms to United States, The Jakarta Post, May 13, 2005 
  10. ^ Rabble-rouser gripes at peace mission, The Jakarta Post, June 13, 2013 
  11. ^ Davidson, Helen (September 18, 2013), Indonesian MP says country will 'fully reject' Coalition's asylum boat policy, The Guardian 
  12. ^ Indonesia to reject Abbott’s boat people plan, The Jakarta Post, September 12, 2013