Gatot Prihanto, Jakarta – The plan by the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) to infiltrate radical Islamic groups in order to cripple terrorism is a step backwards. If BIN’s actions are followed by other government institutions it could turn Indonesia into an intelligence state.
This view was conveyed by Islamic political observer Bahtiar Effendy in response to the statement by BIN director Syamsir Siregar that BIN has no qualms about infiltrating radical Islamic groups in order to cripple terrorism.
According to Effendy, infiltration represents a conventional practices of inteligence institutions not only in Indonesia but everywhere. It is a practice that was commonly employed by the New Order regime of former President Suharto. In the past for example, intelligence personnel were known to have become members of certain political parties.
“Perhaps it was effective during the New Order period. But will it still be effective in the present social and political context? Maybe it will not resolve the problem but instead create problems. Either in the form of violence or whatever”, said Effendy when speaking with Detik.com on Tuesday November 29.
The chairperson of the post-graduate academic council of the Jakarta State Islamic University is concerned that infiltration by BIN will be imitated by others. At present there are already government institutions which imitate intelligence practices. Monitoring certain institutions, and reporting them to their superiors.
“If this becomes entrenched, I worry that our state will become an inteligence state. Before in the Dutch [colonial] period it was known as a police state, now it will become an intelligence state. Monitoring and seeking inteligence about each other”, said Effendy accusingly.
BIN’s plan to infiltrate radical Islamic groups was announced by Siregar during a working meeting of the House of Representatives’ Commission I with members of the ministry for political, security and legal affairs. According to Siregar, BIN will infiltrate these groups and create internal conflicts. (gtp)
[Translated by James Balowski.]