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Leaders call for a return to Pancasila
Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Re-energizing: Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD (left) hosts a talk Tuesday on the revitalization of state ideology Pancasila, which was also attended by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (second left), Vice President Boediono (second right) and People’s Consultative Assembly Speaker Taufik Kiemas. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the heads of seven key state institutions agreed to “strengthen” the state ideology Pancasila amid fears of rising radicalism among the nation’s youth.
“All state institutions are committed to actively strengthening Pancasila as the nation’s ideology according to each institution’s role, position and authority,” Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD said in a joint statement following a meeting attended by the President, House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie, Regional Representatives Council Speaker Irman Gusman, Supreme Court chief justice Harifin Tumpa, Judicial Commission chief Eman Suparman, State Audit Agency chief Hadi Purnomo and People’s Consultative Assembly Speaker Taufik Kiemas.
The meeting comes on the heels of several alleged attempts to “degrade” the values of Pancasila by hard-line Islamic groups campaigning for the creation of an Islamic state.
“Pancasila has been sidelined from people’s way of life, so a collective awareness from all national elements is needed to revive the state ideology,” the joint statement read.
Recently, fears of radicalism have abounded with extremists preaching radical religious and political ideologies that threaten pluralism and tolerance in the country. Radicalism has also reportedly been “detected” among university students following police investigations in recent acts of terrorism.
During Soeharto’s New Order, Pancasila was imposed by coercion. It was taught in schools as part of the government’s effort to forcibly embed the values of Pancasila among students.
When the New Order fell in 1998, old ideologies repressed by Soeharto reemerged and Pancasila has since become less relevant. This has proven costly for the nation, which has been hit by a series of terror attacks and witnessed increasing incidents of violence against religious minorities.
Pepi Fernando, a former member of the outlawed radical movement Indonesian Islamic State (NII), allegedly orchestrated a plan to plant a bomb next to a gas pipeline near a Protestant church in Serpong, Banten. The bomb was disarmed by the National Police. The police later responded by launching a nationwide crackdown on the group, and in the process uncovered alleged attempts by the NII to kidnap, recruit and brainwash university students in several regions.
In another example, members of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect have been the recipients of increasing threats across the country. Tensions came to a peak when three Ahmadis were murdered by a mob that attacked them in Cikeusik, Banten. The attackers are believed to be members of Islamic hard-line groups, but the government continues to dawdle on the issue.
All institutions attending the closed-door meeting agreed on three other points after discussing proposals to strengthen the role of the government and institutions in empowering Pancasila.
“Pancasila should be our ideology and inspiration in building the nation in a harmonious way and to keep from placing self interests of certain groups above common goals,” Mahfud said.
He added that all institutions agreed to implement the four pillars of the nation: Pancasila, the Constitution, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and the state slogan Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) into the life of the nation.
“We need a national action plan for certain institutions to roll out and strengthen the values of Pancasila formally through education,” he said.