Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Clerics versus Politicians

'We trust clerics more than SBY'
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta (May 15, 2007)

Politicians have never been regarded as the most popular of people, and a recent leadership survey by the Islamic and Societal Research Center (PPIM) would seem to suggest that nothing has changed.
The survey, which ran from January through March this year, revealed that Indonesians trusted their religious leaders more than any other individual or institution, including the President.
"Our survey shows that 41 percent of respondents say that they trust the country's religious leaders, while an equal 22 percent of them lay their trust with the President and the Indonesian military," PPIM executive chairman Jajat Burhanuddin told a media conference, as quoted by detik.com news portal.
"Another 16 percent say they can trust the police institution, and an equal 11 percent trust the People's Consultative Assembly and the House of Representatives. And only 8 percent of the respondents said they trust the political parties," he added.
The survey questioned 200 respondents between 16 and 70 years of age. Some 42 percent of them lived in the cities, and the remaining 58 percent in villages.
Jajat said the survey showed that religious factors played a more significant role than politics.
Prominent Muslim scholar Azyumardi Azra said the survey also pinpointed the fact that the state institution was weaker than religious ones. "Our state institution is on a declining trend."
He said the National Police's inability to handle the mass riots in 1998 was a symptom of this.
"The police did not have the capacity to deal with the riots, while politicians could not do anything to put an end to them," Azyumardi, former rector of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, said.
He suggested that Pancasila, the national ideology, needed to be revived.
"We do not need to change the ideology, but give Pancasila a greater role in solving the problems of the nation," he said, in reference to another aspect of the survey which revealed that Pancasila remains the preferred national ideology.
Jajat said the survey showed that after the fall of president Soeharto people still preferred Pancasila to Islamic sharia, despite the fact that over 80 percent of the country's 220 million people are Muslims.
"Only 22.8 percent of the respondents want Islamic sharia as the state's ideology... The much greater remaining percentage chose Pancasila," Jajat said.
He said respondents had put religion as the most important factor in determining the identity of the nation, with some 41.3 percent of them supporting the idea. Another 24.6 percent chose nationhood as the national identity, while the rest chose occupation, ethnicity, social status and political party membership as their identity.
The survey also showed that 63.9 percent of the respondents agreed on equal distribution of power between Jakarta and the regional administrations nationwide, another 22.8 percent wanted Jakarta to take control of most of the country's government affairs, another 8.3 percent opted for a federation system, 0.8 percent chose to separate from Indonesia and 14.1 percent abstained

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