Wahyu Aji, Jakarta – It seems that not everybody has a negative assessment of Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi’s appeal to regional governments to foster closer ties with the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) as a partner in development.
Pancasila Youth (PP) central leadership board chairperson Japto Seolistyo Soerjosoemarno in fact supports Fauzi’s statement that the FPI is a national asset.
According to Soerjosoemarno, mass organisations can be used to cooperate in a variety of areas, and thus should be taken advantage of.
“All mass organisations (ormas) are government partners, supporting and helping the government is social activities or other activities. Thus the FPI should also (become a partner) especially in religious matters”, said Soerjosoemarno on Saturday October 26.
Soerjosoemarno explained that mass organisations in Indonesia a diverse. There are mass organisations that are active in sports as well as politics.
Nevertheless, continued Soerjosoemarno, the aims of all mass organisations are the same. “All ormas surely have an AD/ART [statutes/rules of association], and the preamble to the AD/ART can be seen, what kind of ideological direction the ormas has”, he said.
For example, continued Soerjosoemarno, the PP has been forging a partnership with the TNI (Indonesian military) and the national police to safeguard the integrity of NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia). The PP also often holds joint training with these two institutions. “We have long had close partnership ties [with them]”, he said.
It is because of this that Soerjosoemarno is convinced that the FPI is also a mass organisation whose aims are clear because it has an ideology and is registered as a legal entity. “We are also their partners, because they are active in accordance with Islamic teachings. So no one should be allowed to criticise them”, he asserted.
Both the Pancasila Youth (PP) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) have close ties with various factions of the military and police. The PP was established by the army in 1959 and under former president Suharto was used to carry out the regime’s dirty work. Since 1998 it has diversified into racketeering and extortion racket and more recently has been mobilised against labour strikes. The FPI was founded in 1998 to counter student demonstrations following Suharto’s overthrow and has since gone on to adopt a conservative religious ideological platform that is used as a camouflage to extort money from gambling and prostitution businesses.
[Ketua Pemuda Pancasila: Tak Ada yang Boleh Mengecam FPI. Tribunnews.com. Minggu, 27 Oktober 2013. Translated by James Balowski.]