Political Islam: Why the religious conservatism wave is rising in Malaysia but ebbing in Indonesia

Political Islam: Why the religious conservatism wave is rising in Malaysia but ebbing in Indonesia

In neighbouring Indonesia, problems over the rise of political Islam and spiritual conservative, especially in the guide- up to its latest poll last quarter, appear to have cooled.

According to spectators, neither the candidates running for president nor vice-presidential did anything to encourage personality politics. &nbsp,

Former governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan and former prime minister of Solo, Prabowo Subianto and former mayor of Jakarta, Gujar Pranowo, ran with former PKB Mahfud MD Muhaimin Iskandar, who are currently the leaders of the Islamic National Awakening Party ( PKB ) and are now the three pair.

Contrary to the other two candidates, the succeeding trio of Mr. Prabowo and Mr. Gibran have never been affiliated with Islamic parties.

There was concern that religious conservatism would ruin the election, especially given that identity politics predominated the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections and Jakarta’s 2017 presidential elections. &nbsp,

Mr Ujang Komarudin, a political Islam pro from Jakarta’s Al Azhar University, believes some social groups want to maintain Muslim ideologies but challenge to get in elections because Indonesian society is diverse.

” Honestly speaking, there are indeed people or groups who fight for an Islamist philosophy or political Islam.

” But if we look at the Muslim group, Islam itself around is diverse. It is not uniform,” said Mr Ujang. &nbsp,

And although about 87 per cent of Indonesia’s over 270 million persons are Muslims, many are not holy, Mr Ujang added. &nbsp,

Some Indonesians adhere to a reasonable Islamic practice, or, according to their identification cards, adhere to a different one, but do not actually practice it.

” This impacts the attitude of the citizens and their decision ( during elections ),” said Mr Ujang.

Analysts told CNA that Indonesia’s rising conservatism may be a result of the country’s basic philosophical theory of Pancasila as well as the conflicting ideologies of various Islamic political parties and their inability to win widespread support. &nbsp,


Mr. Ujang thinks that the Islamic political parties in Indonesia do not coexist and include divergent ideologies. This is unlike in Malaysia, with its dominant Islamist party, the Parti Islam Se- Malaysia ( PAS ). &nbsp,

” For case, PKB and the National Mandate Party ( PAN), do they work based on their ideas? I think certainly,” said Mr Ujang.

” They function based on hobbies, whether when forming a partnership or fighting. When they talk about Islam, they do n’t emphasize specific Islamic ideals but rather common or universal principles.

The Indonesian congress already contains nine social events. &nbsp,

Five of them are nationalist parties, and four of them have Islamic ideologies, namely PKB, PAN, the Prosperous Justice Party ( PKS) and the United Development Party ( PPP ).

Just PKB showed a substantial increase in votes in next month’s legislative elections, making it the third- largest party in the future 2024- 2029 parliament, whose members will be inaugurated in October. &nbsp,

Despite the benefits of the 2019 elections, it was the fifth-largest group in the legislature, trailing only Golkar, Gerindra, and Nasdem. &nbsp,

” Regarding the parliamentary election benefits, thank God. We at PKB are glad.

” Because we are led by Mr Muhaimin, who is Mr Anies’s vice- political candidate, we received a major bandwagon effect”, said Mr Zainul Munasichin, secretary of PKB’s election- winning unit.

The carrot effect is a political party figure’s ability to sway supporters of other candidates of the same party.

The coalition of PKB, PKS, and the nationalist party Nasdem supported Mr. Anies and Mr. Muhaimin in the most recent election. &nbsp,

Some analysts predicted that PKB and PKS would not be able to collaborate because they believed in a different branch of Islam before the coalition was formed. But PKB’s Mr Zainul told CNA that his party’s alliance with PKS was “purely tactical”.

Meanwhile, PAN- which backed Mr Prabowo and Mr Gibran- was founded by people who were members of Indonesia’s second- biggest Islamic organisation, Muhammadiyah.

Eddy Soeparno, PAN’s secretary general, claimed that due to the perception that the organization was right-wing and that its founder had participated in events attended by hardline Islamic groups, it performed slightly better in February’s election than it did five years ago. &nbsp,

The PPP, the only remaining Islamist party in parliament, is the oldest and has been around for 51 years.

It was one of the only three political parties to form the government of Suharto, along with the nationalist party PDI, now known as PDI- P. &nbsp, and nationalist party Golkar.

But in recent years, it has lost ground.

Mr Muhammad Romahurmuziy, chairman of PPP’s advisory council, attributed this to many factors.

One was due to the absence of a powerful political apparatus and leading figure.

According to Mr. Romahurmuziy,” We would need to go through a significant reorientation at the next party congress,” adding that it is scheduled for December of next year but could be delayed due to the most recent election results. &nbsp,

According to the official results released by the Indonesia’s General Elections Commission, PPP did not meet the minimum threshold of 4 per cent to enter the House of Representatives. The party will no longer be able to be represented in parliament, even though PPP will file a constitutional lawsuit against the results of the election at the Constitutional Court for the first time since its establishment in 1973.

Because Indonesia has a multi-party presidential system, Mr. Adi Prayitno, a political Islam expert from the Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah, speculated that parties operate on interests rather than ideologies. &nbsp,

There is a perception that everyone is merely chasing electoral votes, according to Mr. Adi. &nbsp,

” In Indonesia, everything is being measured by political interests and not ideology” .&nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,


According to Mr. Ujang from Al Azhar University, the majority of Indonesians do n’t buy Islamic conservatism as a selling point. &nbsp,

” The democracy in Indonesia is built on Pancasila,” said Mr. Ujang,” I do n’t think conservatism is a threat in Indonesia.”

Pancasila is Indonesia’s ideology, which consists of five principles: Belief in one and only God, justice and civilised humanity, unity of the country, democracy guided by the inner wisdom among representatives, and social justice for all Indonesians.

” And Pancasila is the home of all religions in Indonesia, creating harmony”, Mr Ujang said. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Mr Ahmad Khoirul Umam, a political lecturer from Islamic university Paramadina in Jakarta, concurred. &nbsp,

He claimed that this is what distinguishes Indonesian Islam from other religions in the area. &nbsp,

Mr Umam said Pancasila has become an identity of Indonesia, with its history dating back to the country’s first president, Sukarno. &nbsp,

Ahmad Suaedy, the dean of Islam Nusantara faculty at Nahdlatul Ulama Indonesia University, explained to CNA that Pancasila is the starting point for all political movements because it includes various ideologies. &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,

” So, in Indonesia, there are many religious elements which are used by the state. But they are not part of the political symbol because of Pancasila”, said Mr Ahmad. &nbsp,

The analysts believe that Pancasila has been a key factor in keeping the nation united in a nation with about 1,300 different ethnic groups. &nbsp,

” We are grateful Indonesia has Pancasila, which unites different religious communities. So there is no reason for Islam to be so dominant and dangerous,” said Mr. Ujang.