‘King of Dangdut’ Rhoma Irama Launches New Political Party

Rhoma_Idaman
Leo Jegho
JAKARTA

 

RHOMA Irama, the ‘King of Dangdut’, on Saturday (11/7) declared the establishment of a new political party, Partai Idaman, with Idaman being the abbreviation of Islam Damai Aman (Peaceful and Safe Islam). The party aims to wipe out the widespread negative stigmas about Islam and islamophobia.

“Partai Idaman aims to present the face of Islam in an open way. We want to make such an appearance because we will wipe out islamphobia which has been prevalent in Indonesia. (We want to end) the negative, terrorism side and so on,” Rhoma said in his official statements to mark the formation of the new party, beritasatu.com reported. The event took place at Raden Bahari Restaurant in South Jakarta.

Rhoma lashed out at politicians who tend to hide their identity as Muslims. “Show to the international world that Islam is not terrorist, radical, and racist. Islam is a tolerant religion,” the former executive of United Development Party (PPP) said in his statements.

Ironically, in 2012, Rhoma was reported to provoke people not to vote for then Joko Widodo and his running mate Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama in that year’s gubernatorial election. Speaking to an audience in West Jakarta, he said Jokowi had Christian parents while Ahok was Chinese and Christian.

In 2013, Rhoma Irama was among several figures proposed as presidential candidates from the National Awakening Party (PKB), for the 2014 election. Other candidates included Jusuf Kalla and Mahfud MD.

If Partai Idaman wishes to take part in the 2019 legislative election, it is obliged to fulfill a number of requirements stipulated by existing laws:

  • It has to be formed by at least 30 Indonesian citizens who are at least 21 years old or who are already married
  • At least 50 Indonesian citizens jointly register the political party with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights
  • It has chapters and management boards in all provinces, and at least in 75 percent of all the regencies/cities in each province. Also the party’s chapters are formed in at least 50 percent of all the sub-districts in each of the regencies/cities.

10 political parties participated in the 2014 legislative election. They were among the 34 parties which had fulfilled all the lawful requirements set by the General Election Commission (KPU).

Earlier this year, two new political parties were declared publicly by their founders. They are Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (Indonesian Solidarity Party) and Partai Persatuan Indonesia (Partai Parindo). Both parties are in the process of obtaining official recognition from the government.

Partai Solidaritas Indonesia is currently led by 32-year old Grace Natalie, who is a Chinese Christian and former journalist and  television presenter. Meanwhile, Partai Perindo was declared by businessman-turned politician Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is also a Christian Chinese. He is a former top executive of Partai Nasdem (Democratic National Party).

The Jakarta Globe
Mon, 13 July 2015

 

http://www.globalindonesianvoices.com/21581/king-of-dangdut-rhoma-irama-launches-new-political-party/

 

See also: http://www.pressreader.com/indonesia/the-jakarta-post/20150713/281616714044432/TextView

MILF forms political party for 2016

Mohagher Iqbal

Mohagher Iqbal


Germelina Lacorte
COTABATO CITY, MINDANAO

THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is now starting a political party that will bring the group waging over four decades of war in Mindanao to participate in the 2016 elections.

Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the MILF peace panel, told reporters in a side interview during the launch of the European Union’s Journalism Awards here on Friday that the MILF’s involvement in the political exercise would finally shift the group’s paradigm away from bullets and toward ballots by participating in the elections.

“We have already started to organize the MILF political party because as a group coming from a conflict situation to a peace settlement situation, we have to engage in a regular political exercise—meaning not through bullets anymore but through the ballot,” said Iqbal, who heads the MILF panel in the talks with the government that ended with the signing of the peace agreement early this year.

He didn’t know yet who would run and for what positions, Iqbal said. It was premature to divulge the details, he added.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission would help prepare the MILF leadership for the prospect, he said. “In the interim, there will still be the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, but after that, it’s free for all,” Iqbal said.

“Whoever wins will run the Bangsamoro government,” he added.

The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), or the law that will provide how the Bangsamoro shall be governed, has to be passed and ratified by Congress before it is submitted to the people in a plebiscite.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles earlier said in an interview in Davao City that both panels hoped to complete the decommissioning of MILF forces before the 2016 elections to allow the group to participate in the elections.

“I hope the decommissioning will be completed before 2016 because it would be unthinkable for an Army to participate in the elections,” Deles said.

Although the symbolic decommissioning of MILF forces already started as soon as the draft BBL reached Congress last month, the MILF can only effect the decommissioning of 30 percent of its forces once Congress ratifies the law.

Iqbal said that the decommissioning of another 35 percent will take effect once the Bangsamoro police is established; and another 35 percent, after all the signed agreements and documents are fully implemented.

“Decommissioning does not mean you have to surrender or destroy your firearms,” Iqbal said.

“There are conditionalities attached to each of its phases,” he said.

“[In] the first phase, which includes the symbolic decommissioning once the draft of the proposed law is submitted to Congress, [it is] only when Congress passes and ratifies the BBL that the MILF will undertake

30 percent of its arms,” he added.

He said that another 35 percent will take effect once the Bangsamoro police is established.

“Full decommissioning, which takes place after the MILF undertakes another 35 percent of its forces, can only begin once all the agreements and documents [they have signed] are implemented in the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Iqbal also expressed confidence that Congress will pass the BBL before

June 2015.

“I think the BBL will pass through Congress,” Iqbal said.

“We have been very consistent in saying that we trust the collective wisdom of the members of Congress,” he added.

He also described the reception of the peace agreement among Christian communities as generally “warm,” noting the enthusiasm and the warm reception expressed by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo and Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr. in Cotabato City, although fears are being expressed in Basilan province and Zamboanga City, which Iqbal said were unfounded.

About critics and spoilers, he said: “That’s a reality for all peace settlements, but what’s important is, at the end of the day, we’ll be able to handle all those issues and move forward until we finally settle them.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/644357/milf-forms-political-party-for-2016#ixzz3G5yoFcHE
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Is political Islam rising in Indonesia?

Parpol Islam 2014Nithin Coca
JAKARTA

FOR newcomers, the relative obscurity of mosques and minarets amid the shopping malls in the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim country is surprising.

There are, however many religious buildings in this bustling city, tucked behind parking lots or alongside traffic-choked highways. Generally these occupy a small physical space relative to other symbols of modernity.

It has been the same for most of Indonesia’s political history. Shunned by Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, and suppressed by Soearto, a dictator who ruled until 1998, Islam’s pre-eminent role in the country’s social and cultural sphere often hasn’t translated into political power.

“Most Indonesian Muslims are probably conservative in their beliefs and practises, but don’t think they need to vote for a Muslim party or politician to live in the society they prefer,” said R William Liddle, a political science professor at Ohio State University, who studies Indonesia.

That might be changing. In last month’s parliamentary election, the top parties were Indonesia’s secular and nationalist forces: The PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) finished on top; Golkar, the former party of Suharto, placed second; and Gerinda third.

But not far behind them were Indonesia’s four major Islamic parties: the explicitly Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the traditionalist National Awakening Party (PKB), the modernist National Mandate Party (PAN) and the oldest Islamic party, the United Development Party (PPP). According to early counts, the parties received an estimated 32 percent of the vote combined. This is an increase of more than three percent from 2009, defeating predictions that the parties’ vote share would decline.

“I cast my vote for Islamic-based parties because I didn’t want to see that this would be the end of the parties,” said Budi, a 40-year-old Jakartan who said he voted based on pre-election fears that Islamic parties would perform badly.

Others were concerned about corruption in mainstream nationalist parties, or economic issues. “Most Muslims are looking for better economic policies and a cleaner government,” said Abdullah, a first-time voter who wasn’t surprised by the strong showing by the Islamic parties.

None of the four parties is calling for Indonesia to become an Islamic state, nor for the implementation of sharia law. They use mainstream messaging, focusing on core issues such as education, community and the cost of living.

“None of the four Islamic parties that passed the 3.5 percent parliamentary threshold campaigned using Islamic concepts or doctrines,” said Greg Fealy, a senior fellow of Indonesian politics at Australian National University. “When these parties were making their pitches to national audiences, their messages were invariably inclusive and universalistic, conveyed with the intention of having the broadest possible appeal in the electorate.”

Historical hardships and lack of unity

About 88 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, according to the national census, but the country has 10,000 islands and 400 languages, and an astounding array of Islamic practises and traditions.

All the way back to the 1950s, Islamic parties have never had any unity. They have their own agendas, ideological and patronage.

– R William Liddle, political scientist

“To be Muslim is a unifying category in some contexts, for government and diplomatic purposes, but it is also a disintegrating or dividing category,” said Muhamad Ali, an Indonesian professor of religion at the University of California. “Broadly, there are practising Muslims and non-practicing, or syncretic Muslims. Moreover, there is no unifying Muslim leadership in Indonesia.”

Though Islamic groups played a strong role in the fight for the country’s independence, they quickly ran into challenges and fragmentation in the fragile, early years of democracy.

With the violent repression of the Communist party in 1967-68 and the seizing of power by General Suharto, supporters of political Islam found themselves marginalised. Suharto kept religion away from the affairs of the state and exerted state control over Islam. Preachers had to be licensed and during the 1970s more than 90 percent of Islamic institutions were government-run. The Council of Islamic Ulama frequently made decisions that seemed to reflect the regime’s wishes, rather than the teachings of the Quran.

The situation began to open up in the 1980s, accelerating after Suharto’s fall in 1998, when several Islamic parties were founded to contest the 1999 elections. But they were not unified.

“All the way back to the 1950s, Islamic parties have never had any unity,” said Liddle. “They have their own agendas, ideological and patronage.”

Though these parties joined outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s governing coalition with his Democratic Party, analysts said this was mainly done to obtain cabinet positions, not because they had a strong shared agenda.

‘Healthy sign for democracy’

But despite the parties’ relatively strong showing, there is little chance there will be an Islamic presidential candidate. Instead, the four parties will likely support nationalist candidates Aburizal Bakrie (Golkar), Prabowo Subianto (Gerindra) or frontrunner Joko Widodo (PDI-P) in July’s presidential elections.

Even as Indonesia’s Islamic parties contend for a stronger role in government, Jakarta will be pointing towards another milestone. If, as polls currently predict, current Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is elected as Indonesia’s next president, his position will be taken over by his former running mate, popular vice governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Basuki is Christian – the largest minority religion in Indonesia.

“It’s a healthy sign for Indonesian democracy,” said Tamir Sukkary, an Islamic politics expert at Sacramento City College. He named other examples of Christian leaders being elected in Muslim-majority regions, such as Mansha’at Basyoun in Gharbia Governate, Egypt.

“What’s interesting and unique about [Basuki] is the sheer population size of the city compared to the others,” he added. “I hope that this example will lead the way towards greater acceptance and opportunities for religious minorities in the Muslim world – it will take time, but I’m optimistic and Indonesia is well positioned to lead the way.”
Source:
Al Jazeera
Jakarta, Indonesia – For newcomers, the relative obscurity of mosques and minarets amid the shopping malls in the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim country is surprising.

There are, however many religious buildings in this bustling city, tucked behind parking lots or alongside traffic-choked highways. Generally these occupy a small physical space relative to other symbols of modernity.

It has been the same for most of Indonesia’s political history. Shunned by Sukarto, Indonesia’s first president, and suppressed by Sukarno, a dictator who ruled until 1998, Islam’s pre-eminent role in the country’s social and cultural sphere often hasn’t translated into political power.

“Most Indonesian Muslims are probably conservative in their beliefs and practises, but don’t think they need to vote for a Muslim party or politician to live in the society they prefer,” said R William Liddle, a political science professor at Ohio State University, who studies Indonesia.

That might be changing. In last month’s parliamentary election, the top parties were Indonesia’s secular and nationalist forces: The PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) finished on top; Golkar, the former party of Suharto, placed second; and Gerinda third.

But not far behind them were Indonesia’s four major Islamic parties: the explicitly Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the traditionalist National Awakening Party (PKB), the modernist National Mandate Party (PAN) and the oldest Islamic party, the United Development Party (PPP). According to early counts, the parties received an estimated 32 percent of the vote combined. This is an increase of more than three percent from 2009, defeating predictions that the parties’ vote share would decline.

“I cast my vote for Islamic-based parties because I didn’t want to see that this would be the end of the parties,” said Budi, a 40-year-old Jakartan who said he voted based on pre-election fears that Islamic parties would perform badly.

Others were concerned about corruption in mainstream nationalist parties, or economic issues. “Most Muslims are looking for better economic policies and a cleaner government,” said Abdullah, a first-time voter who wasn’t surprised by the strong showing by the Islamic parties.

None of the four parties is calling for Indonesia to become an Islamic state, nor for the implementation of sharia law. They use mainstream messaging, focusing on core issues such as education, community and the cost of living.

“None of the four Islamic parties that passed the 3.5 percent parliamentary threshold campaigned using Islamic concepts or doctrines,” said Greg Fealy, a senior fellow of Indonesian politics at Australian National University. “When these parties were making their pitches to national audiences, their messages were invariably inclusive and universalistic, conveyed with the intention of having the broadest possible appeal in the electorate.”

Historical hardships and lack of unity

About 88 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, according to the national census, but the country has 10,000 islands and 400 languages, and an astounding array of Islamic practises and traditions.

All the way back to the 1950s, Islamic parties have never had any unity. They have their own agendas, ideological and patronage.

– R William Liddle, political scientist

“To be Muslim is a unifying category in some contexts, for government and diplomatic purposes, but it is also a disintegrating or dividing category,” said Muhamad Ali, an Indonesian professor of religion at the University of California. “Broadly, there are practising Muslims and non-practicing, or syncretic Muslims. Moreover, there is no unifying Muslim leadership in Indonesia.”

Though Islamic groups played a strong role in the fight for the country’s independence, they quickly ran into challenges and fragmentation in the fragile, early years of democracy.

With the violent repression of the Communist party in 1967-68 and the seizing of power by General Suharto, supporters of political Islam found themselves marginalised. Suharto kept religion away from the affairs of the state and exerted state control over Islam. Preachers had to be licensed and during the 1970s more than 90 percent of Islamic institutions were government-run. The Council of Islamic Ulama frequently made decisions that seemed to reflect the regime’s wishes, rather than the teachings of the Quran.

The situation began to open up in the 1980s, accelerating after Suharto’s fall in 1998, when several Islamic parties were founded to contest the 1999 elections. But they were not unified.

“All the way back to the 1950s, Islamic parties have never had any unity,” said Liddle. “They have their own agendas, ideological and patronage.”

Though these parties joined outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s governing coalition with his Democratic Party, analysts said this was mainly done to obtain cabinet positions, not because they had a strong shared agenda.

‘Healthy sign for democracy’

But despite the parties’ relatively strong showing, there is little chance there will be an Islamic presidential candidate. Instead, the four parties will likely support nationalist candidates Aburizal Bakrie (Golkar), Prabowo Subianto (Gerindra) or frontrunner Joko Widodo (PDI-P) in July’s presidential elections.

Even as Indonesia’s Islamic parties contend for a stronger role in government, Jakarta will be pointing towards another milestone. If, as polls currently predict, current Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is elected as Indonesia’s next president, his position will be taken over by his former running mate, popular vice governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Basuki is Christian – the largest minority religion in Indonesia.

“It’s a healthy sign for Indonesian democracy,” said Tamir Sukkary, an Islamic politics expert at Sacramento City College. He named other examples of Christian leaders being elected in Muslim-majority regions, such as Mansha’at Basyoun in Gharbia Governate, Egypt.

“What’s interesting and unique about [Basuki] is the sheer population size of the city compared to the others,” he added. “I hope that this example will lead the way towards greater acceptance and opportunities for religious minorities in the Muslim world – it will take time, but I’m optimistic and Indonesia is well positioned to lead the way.”

Al Jazeera
Mon, 12 May 2014

pol koalisiparpol-islam

PILEG 2014

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/04/political-islam-rising-indonesia-201442913253417235.html

In a Nation of Muslims, Political Islam Is Struggling to Win Votes

pol koalisiparpol-islamJoe Cochrane
JAKARTA

LAST September, ultraconservative Islamic groups telegraphed their power, railing against an international beauty contest until the government ordered it to be staged entirely on the Hindu resort island of Bali. In 2012, radical Islamic groups known for their violent tactics and religious conservatives raised enough of a fuss that Lady Gaga canceled a concert here in the Indonesian capital. And hundreds of local governments in recent years have passed rules on morality and dress inspired by Shariah, or Islamic law, and instituted bans on alcohol.

But now, just ahead of Wednesday’s national legislative elections, polls and analysts suggest that Islamic-based parties are poised for what could be their worst showing since Indonesia’s democratic era began in 1999. At least two of the parties are polling so low that they might lose any presence in the House of Representatives.
Continue reading the main story

Paul Rowland

Paul Rowland

“You’re looking at a substantial drop for them,” said Paul Rowland, a Jakarta-based political consultant. “They are not a significant factor.”

The slide in popularity, first noticed in the 2009 elections, appears to be worsening despite studies showing that Indonesians are becoming more pious.

Why political Islam has not taken deep root on a national level in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country — where about 90 percent of people are among the faithful — is a complicated question. The reasons lie in Indonesia’s history as a secular nation and in the Islamic parties’ own recent record.

When Indonesian leaders were drafting the nation’s first constitution after declaring independence from Dutch colonial rule in August 1945, Islamists demanded that the country be declared a Muslim state. But nationalists, indigenous ethnic groups and the country’s small but influential Christian and Hindu minorities fought back. Indonesia became a secular nation that recognized six official religions and had a state motto of “unity in diversity.”

A renewed effort to create a Muslim state failed again in 1955, even as Islamic-based parties did well in national elections. Indonesia did not have national legislative elections again until 1971, about six years after military-orchestrated anti-Communist purges led to the rise of Suharto, who replaced the country’s founding father, Sukarno, as president. After a strong showing by Islamic-based parties, Mr. Suharto ordered the merger of the four leading ones; the move ultimately weakened them because of their rivalries and different priorities.

But even after the collapse of Mr. Suharto’s military-backed government in 1998, nationalist parties dominated at the polls. No Islamic-oriented politician has been a serious candidate since direct presidential elections began in 2004. A poll released last week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta found that the top five contenders in Indonesia’s next presidential election, to be held in July, each represented a secular nationalist party.

Still, until recent years, Islamic-based parties made impressive showings in legislative elections. During Indonesia’s first truly democratic elections in four decades, in 1999, the parties collectively won 36 percent of the popular vote. Bahtiar Effendy, dean of the department of social and political sciences at the State Islamic University in Jakarta, attributed the showing to a backlash against decades of secular, authoritarian rule.

Bachtiar Effendy

Bachtiar Effendy

“It was a new ballgame,” he said. “The ideological sentiment of Islam was revived again. The country was free from Suharto, and people could say what they wanted.”

Mr. Bahtiar said that same sentiment helped shape the 2004 national elections, which saw the swift rise of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party.

“They were seen as clean and not corrupt,” unlike the secular nationalist parties that had run the government during the previous five years, he said.

But as Indonesia approached its 2009 election season, voters were caught up in the re-election campaign of the popular President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. His secular nationalist Democratic Party had made tackling corruption a priority, denying the Islamic-based parties as strong a claim to the issue. At the same time, moves by Islamic-based parties to pass morality laws were overtaken by those of the secular nationalist parties, which backed an antipornography law in 2008 and whose provincial-level leaders passed a number of Shariah-inspired measures, particularly in conservative Muslim areas.

The collective showing of Islamic-based parties dropped to 28 percent in 2009, from 38 percent in 2004. And that slide in popularity appears to be continuing. Most of the country’s well-respected polls show the collective support for Islamic-based parties to be about 20 percent.

Analysts said that voters were generally more concerned with reducing poverty and improving education than with the religious symbolism of the Islamic-based parties.

Greg Fealy

Greg Fealy

“The Islamic parties have very little economic credibility,” said Gregory Fealy, an associate professor of Indonesian politics at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Hajjah Latifah, who was attending a local rally for the Democratic Party in Tangerang, just outside Jakarta, said she had already decided to vote for the party because of the programs it had established while in power, including programs regarding education, poverty and corruption.

Asked about the series of corruption scandals involving party members in the past three years, she said, “It’s not only the Democrats, but other parties including even Islamic parties, and this is well known to the public.”

Tobias Basuki

Tobias Basuki

Tobias Basuki, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a major scandal involving sex and corruption last year, which engulfed the Prosperous Justice Party, had also soured voters toward political Islam.

Beyond that, a poll released March 31 by the Indonesia Network Elections Survey found that less than 1 percent of voters supported a political party because it represented their particular religious beliefs.

“Sixty years ago, people thought that politics and religious behavior were inseparable in Indonesia. It was a part of the Islamic identity to vote for an Islamic political party,” Mr. Fealy said. “Today you can express your piety but vote for anyone you want.”

Yenny Wahid

Yenny Wahid

Yenny Wahid, former secretary general of the Islamic-based National Awakening Party, said issues other than religion had taken precedence among voters. “Only as a last resort will people vote on religious grounds,” she said. “They first will pick based on a party’s stance on corruption, campaign promises and recognition factor of candidates.”

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, the deputy chairman of the United Development Party, one of the Islamic-based parties that polls say could be voted out of Parliament for the first time since its creation in 1973, dismissed suggestions that his party was at risk of losing its seats. The party, which won 5 percent of the popular vote in 2009, is currently polling between 2 percent and 7 percent. (A party needs to win at least 3.5 percent of the vote to take any seats.)

Still, Mr. Lukman agreed that Islamic-based parties were struggling, though he said it was not because of their religious roots but because of the performance of their members.

Mr. Bahtiar said that Islamic-based parties remain relevant in Indonesia’s political system, noting that any or all of them could join a coalition to help one of the secular nationalist parties reach the threshold to nominate a presidential candidate.

“To whom they attach themselves remains to be seen,” Mr. Bahtiar said. “But they have the ability to do so, and they will.”

Muhammad Rusmadi contributed reporting.

The New York Times
Mon, 7 April 2014

A seminar on Islamic political parties coalition in Jakarta.

A seminar on Islamic political parties coalition in Jakarta.

pol map Nasib Parpol Islam 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/world/asia/political-islam-indonesia.html?_r=0

‘Tempo’ criticizes Gerindra and Prabowo’s views on religions as stated in its political manifesto

gerindra prabowo-dan-lambanggerindra

Then, the views of Gerindra and Prabowo on religion also merits some scrutiny. The manifesto says, “The state is called upon to guarantee the purity of the instruction of those religions recognized by the state, by ensuring their teachings are not tainted or deviate.”

The big question is, what is meant by ‘penista’ (deviate) and deviation of religious instruction? Does the state have the right to determine when a religion has been ‘humiliated’? When discrimination continues to beset followers of Ahmadiyah and the Shia, those questions take on special importance. Does this mean that if Prabowo becomes president, he will choose to continue such discrimination?

Prabowo Subianto

Prabowo Subianto

Part of the answer to the question was reported in Twitter, a channel of Prabowo’s and Gerindra’s campaigning. One Twitter user asked: will followers of the Ahmadiyah, Shia, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses be embraced or sidelined? Admin@Gerindra, the party’s official account responded: “All Indonesian citizens must be protected. If they stand on the wrong path, we will create an institution to make them ‘jera’ [wary].”

Even though that response was later corrected by saying that the word jera was not meant in the negative sense, the phrase ‘to make them jera’ clearly opposes the Constitution. In Article 29, Chapter 2 of our basic law it says, “the State guarantees the freedom of every citizen to follow the religion of his or her choice and to worship according to their respective religion and faith.”

Whatever happens, the steps taken by Gerindra and Prabowo to disseminate their vision and mission deserve appreciation. Whether we agree or not with them, is another question. At least, from that manifesto we have an idea of what kind of president he is likely to be if he wins the elections in July. (*)

TEMPO
Thursday, 01 May, 2014

Prabowo during  Gerindra political campaign at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta.

Prabowo during Gerindra political campaign at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta.

http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2014/05/01/080574581/Defective-Vision

Mahathir hopes new president will strengthen Indonesia-Malaysia relations

mahatirANTARA
JAKARTA

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID – Indonesia's newly elected president this year should work towards improving the future relations between the two neighboring countries, former prime minister of Malaysia Mahathir Muhammad optimistically stated on Monday, 14/4/14.

“Indonesia and Malaysia have so far enjoyed sound relations, but trivial problems still often arise between the two countries. I hope that the newly elected president can help to maintain good relations and settle the existing problems,” he remarked during a visit here.

He did not get into the finer details of what he meant by “trivial problems,” but emphasized the importance of sound relations between Indonesia and Malaysia, not only for the two countries, but also for maintaining stability in the Southeast Asian region.

“Good relations between the two neighboring countries will not only benefit Indonesia and Malaysia, but will also be very important for Southeast Asia,” he claimed.

“I am amazed by the implementation of the general elections in Indonesia, which has gone without any bloodshed. It is not easy to hold a general election in a country with a population reaching more than 200 million,” he remarked.

Malaysia and Indonesia were almost involved in a military clash at the end of the rule of former president Soekarno, who considered the Kuala Lumpur government as a British puppet. The relations between the two countries were yet again strained in the early millennium due to a dispute over the ownership of Sipadan and Ligitan islands in the Strait of Makassar.

Republika OL
Mon, 14 April 2014

http://www.republika.co.id/berita/en/international/14/04/14/n40z5z-mahathir-hopes-new-president-will-strengthen-indonesiamalaysia-relations

Nahdliyins’ comeback galvanizes PKB’s voter turnout

pkb kampanye-pkbAndi Abdussalam
JAKARTA

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID — The National Awakening Party (PKB), which won 4.94 percent votes and ranked seventh in the 2009 legislative election, surprisingly rose to the fifth position and secured 9.5 percent of the votes in Wednesday’s election.

The increase in PKB’s vote turnover to about 92 percent raised questions about the strategies PKB had adopted, which earned it a position higher than that of the 2009 legislative election. It even overshadowed the ruling Democratic Party (PD) in the fourth place, based on different unofficial quick vote counts.

Mahfud MD, Jusuf Kalla and Rhoma Irama

Mahfud MD, Jusuf Kalla and Rhoma Irama

Some said that the PKB was able to gain more votes due to the popularity of artist Ahmad Dani and self-styled Dangdut singer King Rhoma Irama, as well as popular figures such as former Constitutional Court chairman Mahfud MD and former vice president Jusuf Kalla.

However, executive director of the Indo Barometer research institute Mohammad Qodari said the dominant factor that helped the PKB galvanize its voter turnout was the support of Nahdliyins (members of the Indonesian largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama/NU).

Nahdlatul Ulama, which was estimated to have members of about 35 to 40 million, was the Muslim organization instrumental to the birth of the PKB.

According to Qodari, the nearly 100 percent increase in the vote gained by the PKB in Wednesday’s legislative election was due to the support of the Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim organization (NU).

“The increase in the votes gained by the PKB was not caused by Rhoma Irama but by the support of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). The survey result on the electability of the ‘Dangdut’ singer was low,” Mohammand Qodari said here on Thursday.

Rhoma Irama

Rhoma Irama

Meanwhile, communications expert Hendri Satrio of the Paramadina University said the PKB successfully picked influential figures as its vote getter, such as Rhoma Irama, Mahfud MD and Ahmad Dani. This made the PKB appear different. PKB’s people’s convention also contributed to its image, he added.

“If the Islamic parties established a central team, the PKB will most likely lead it. Possibly, the PKB’s strategy won the heart of some supporters so that the PDIP’s expectation to reap significant votes through what it called the “Jokowi” effect was not completely successful,” he added referring to the presidential candidate of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP).

“Jokowi effect” referred to the expectation that the nomination as a presidential hopeful of popular Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, will earn PDIP many votes in the legislative elections.

“PKB had built an effective political communication strategy by involving key figures,” Hendri Satrio said here on Thursday.

However, Executive Director of the Indo Barometer Mohammad Qodari said the achievement of the PKB in attaining 9.5 percent of the votes in Wednesday’s legislative elections, from about 5 percent in the 2009 elections, indicated that “Nahdliyins” had returned to the PKB under the leadership of Muhaimin Iskandar.

The votes of NU members split during the “odd” period between those who supported Muhaimin and those who supported Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur.

The Indo Barometer executive director noted that the NU had played an important role in the development of the PKB, because it was the NU that gave birth to the PKB during the leadership of Abdurrahman Wahid.

“NU was the country’s largest Muslim organization because about 30 percent of the Indonesian Muslims were NU members,” Qodari said.

Qodari was of the view that the return of the Nahdliyins to channel their political aspirations to the PKB had caused the increase in PKB’s vote gains, which almost reached 100 percent. This was due to the efforts of its general chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, who was able to maximize his party’s existing potential.

According to Qodari, Muhaimin was prepared to accommodate figures such as Rhoma Irama and Ahmad Dani during its campaigns and provide a post for the chief of the Lion Air airline, Rusdi Kirana, who had financial support. It also benefited from the popularity of former member of the Constitutional Court Mahfud MD and former vice president Jusuf Kalla.

“PKB also benefited from the popularity of the Chairman of NU Executive Board (PBNU) Said Aqil Siradj, who appeared in PKB’s official campaign advertisements,” Qodari said.

Referring to the results of Kompas’ Exit Polls analysis on the result of political parties’ vote gains, he said the Nahdliyin support played a dominant role in contributing to the PKB’s vote gain increase.

Muhaimin Iskandar and Rudi Kirana

Muhaimin Iskandar and Rudi Kirana

Greg Fealy, a senior lecturer in Indonesian politics at the College of Asia and the Pacific in the Australian National University, said in an article, “The puzzle of Rusdi Kirana and Islamic Politics,” the most intriguing factor in the party’s turnaround was the involvement of Rusdi Kirana, a Chinese non-Muslim and the chief of Indonesia’s fastest-growing airline Lion Air.

Fealy, whose article was quoted in the INSIDE STORY published by the Swinburn Institute for social research of Australia, said Rusdi joined the party with great fanfare in January 2014 claiming that he was a friend of the late Gus Dur and an admirer of PKB’s brand of religious pluralism.

Rusdi was immediately appointed deputy chairman of the party and set about using his substantial wealth and connections for the party’s electoral advantage, Fealy wrote.

He said Rusdi appeared also to be using the PKB as a means to gain bragging rights over one of his rivals, the media magnate Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who joined ex-general Wiranto’s Hanura Party and quickly became its vice-presidential candidate.

Fealy pointed out that Rusdi had made no secret in PKB circles of his determination to see the PKB win more votes than Hanura, something the polls suggest will be easily achieved.

That’s why PKB success was phenomenal and extraordinary.

According to communications expert Hendri Satrio, PKB’s achievement in the 2014 legislative elections was extraordinary and caused the image of other Islamic parties to shine again.

Republika OL/Antara
Fri, 11 April 2014

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http://www.republika.co.id/berita/en/speak-out/14/04/10/n3tlt1-nahdliyins-comeback-galvanizes-pkbs-voter-turnout