Peak Islamic body warns that not voting goes against religious teaching

CNN Indonesia – May 18, 2023
Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) Deputy Chairperson Marsudi Suhud – Undated (Tribun)

Jakarta – Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) Deputy Chairperson Marsudi Suhud is reminding all citizens who have the right to vote and not to "golput" or abstain from voting in the 2024 presidential and legislative elections.

According to Suhud, voting for a leader is also part of Islamic religious teachings.

"So don't let there be anyone who golputs. Come on, come together to elect a president and vice president, elect the representatives of the DPR [House of Representatives], our parliamentary representatives, because this is the teaching of our religion", said Suhud at a MUI halalbihalal event (to pay one's respects to others for past sins and mistakes) at the Bidakara Tower in Jakarta on Thursday evening, May 18.

Suhud also highlighted the importance of maintaining harmony in welcoming the in the political year. For Suhud, each stage of the election must be greeted happily and safely, and not with tensions that can divide the nation.

For Suhud, unfair competition can generate the seeds of division. In order to prevent this, he believes the solution is gathering together and giving good news.

"[Let us] hope for an (election) that is friendly, harmonious, safe and full of happiness. It must be welcomed with great happiness", he said.

Speaking at the same location, MUI Chairperson Cholil Nafis said he hoped that the halalbihalal organised by MUI can unite a vision of national unity.

He is optimistic that the halalbihalal event can strengthen the unity and integrity of the people in midst of the heat of the constellation and political dynamics of elections.

Moreover, he highlighted the celebration of elections, which up until now has often divided the unity of the religious community. This halalbihalal therefore is an important activity.

"The political constellation continues to move and heat up, we see how the competition between candidates is, we want this competition to be in the framework of advancing the people and nation", said Nafis.

The high level of golput at each election has become a sentiment in itself. If for example the voter participation in the 2014 presidential election is as much as 69.58 percent of the total electoral role, the remainder or 30.42 percent of registered voters will have chosen to golput.

Voter participation in the 2019 presidential elections was as high as 81.97 percent with the remaining 19 percent choosing to golput. (rzr/rds)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "MUI Wanti-wanti Jangan Golput di Pemilu 2024: Bagian dari Ajaran Agama".]