Posted by: mel | June 14, 2009

Candidates pay lip service to pluralism

Jakarta Post | Adianto P. Simamora and Erwida Maulia   |  Sat, 13 June 2009  |  Headlines

Dreaming of a beautiful pluralist Indonesia, the three pairs of candidates contesting the upcoming presidential election, say they are committed to protecting all citizens and using their authority to ensure all communities – in terms of faith, ethnicity, race and gender — live without fear of intimidation and violence.

In a televised address, presidential hopeful, Megawati Soekarnoputri stressed that as the daughter of founding president Sukarno, the main figure behind the Pancasila state ideology and the Constitution, she would remain true to the ideals her father fought for.

Megawati cited the diversity of her own family, explaining that her mother Fatmawati was from Sumatra, her grandmother was Balinese, that her husband Taufik Kiemas was from Palembang and her son-in-law was Chinese-Indonesian. 

“It is impossible for me to question my grandson about his race.”

Despite her pledges, Megawati who was president from 2000 to October 2004, took no measures to counter terrorism, radicalism and secessionism during her tenure. 

In another televised dialogue Friday, incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who never politicized religion, race or ethnicity during his tenure, said religious conflicts had increased sharply over the last four years. 

“Our democracy and politics will encounter setbacks if we involve ethnic, religious and racial issues in political competitions,” he said.

The current SBY and Jusuf Kalla government has come under fire for the rampant use of violence in the name of faith and the enactment of the controversial anti-pornography law during their term. 
Civil society groups have accused the SBY government of turning a blind eye to the violence for political reasons.

Such criticism stems from incidents such as violence against Achmadiyah followers, including the closure of their mosques and the burning of their assets in 2006 and 2008, as well as the intimidation and closure of churches in West Java and other provinces. The Wahid Institute found 265 cases of violence against religions in 2008, a significant increase from 135 cases in 2007. 

A Democratic Party lawmaker and member of the Yudhoyono-Boediono campaign team, Max Sopacua, denied accusations of anti-pluralism attached to the pair, saying the party was based on the principles of pluralism and nationalism. 

Max also disagreed with critics that the 2008 anti-pornography law was a threat to pluralism, claiming that critics focused on early drafts of the law, not on the law that what was eventually endorsed by the House of Representatives and signed by Yudhoyono.

Meanwhile, presidential candidate Jusuf Kalla and his running mate Wiranto have already met with large religious organizations and minority groups in an effort to win political support in the race.

The pair has pledged to promote the diversity-in-unity principle and the values of pluralism to maintain a unified Indonesian state. 

“As a democratic figure, Kalla understands the value of pluralism. The pair will focus on how to enforce the law to maintain pluralism and diversity as Indonesian assets,” Poempida Hidayatulloh, a member of the JK-Win campaign team said.

Asked about the controversial joint ministerial decree on the establishment of places of worship, Poempida insisted the decree would not threaten religious freedom.

Dicky Christianto contributed to this story from Jakarta

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  1. […] Ditulis dalam Uncategorized Jakarta Post | Adianto P. Simamora and Erwida Maulia   |  Sat, 13 June 2009  |  Headlines Dreaming of a beautiful pluralist Indonesia, the three pairs of candidates contesting the upcoming presidential election, say they are committed to protecting all citizens and using their authority to ensure all communities – in terms of faith, ethnicity, race and gender — live without fear of intimidation and violence. In a televised address, presidential h … Read More […]


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