[  Kliping NU 1998  ]

Friday, 24 July 1998

Gus Dur: NU members to elect new party

Jakarta, Kompas Online

The "Kebangkitan Bangsa" party (Nation On The Rise)PKB), led by Matori Abdul Djalil (General Chairman Tanfidzi Council), Muhaimin Iskandar (Secretary General), Imam Churmen (Treasurer) and KH Ma'ruf Amin (Chairman Syura Council), has been officially set up on Thursday (23/7). The party, declared in Ciganjur, Jakarta, is said to be of a fighting and national spirit, it is open and democratic. General Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Abdurrahman Wahid, appealed to all NU members to go for the new party in the future elections.

Beside Rais Aam NU KH Ilyas Ruchiat, Abdurrahman Wahid, the elders and other influential NU figures, as well as about thousand nahdliyin, there were also retired ABRI (armed forces) officers like the former Minister of Defense and Security, General (Ret.) Edi Sudradjat, former Vice president General (Ret.) Try Sutrisno, former Army Chief Staff Lt. General (Ret.) Soerjadi, former Intelligence Chief Lt. General Arie Sudewo, former Army Intelligence Chief Major General (Ret.) Samsir Siregar. Also present were the Ambassador of Palestina Ribhi Awad. It was the largest declaration ever of about 40 established parties since the demise of the New Order.

At the declaration which was read by KH Muhid Muzadi, it was said that within the last three decades, the nation's aim to reach the ideals of independence have grown further apart from expectations. Economic development, socio-politics and culture have neglected the public as sovereign keepers. Negligence of these values and principles has sprouted unlimited, and an unstopable power practise resulting in the nation's suffering.

In order to materialize these principles and to prevent a repeat in the future, a mould of public life and national democracy would be needed. As to a democratic life, Jam'iyah followers of Nahdlatul Ulama are determined to bring about a fair nation of welfare, together with other national components, through joining a political party.


The news that retired generals were present at the declaration of PKB spread fast, especially after the Golkar National Assembly which was held in the middle of July recently. The retrired officers rejected, however, that their presence at PKB was connected to their failure at the Extraordinary golkar Assembly. Edi Sudradjat answered a reporter, who put this question before him, "I have been invited."

Seperately, all of them talked with Gus Dur (popular name of Abdurrahman Wahid) in his private room. Try Sutrisno, the first to arrive around 15.00, embraced Matori Abdul Djalil. After exchanging greetings with Mrs. Nuriyah, Gus Dur's wife, Try spoke with Gus Dur for about 10 minutes. The next party entering Gus Dur's room, were Edi, Arie, Samsir. They spoke for about five minutes. "His health is improving, Ma'am," Edi said to Mrs. Nuriyah after the meeting.

The retired officers then headed straight for the place of declaration, where the nahdlyin and all NU leaders as well as PKB leaders were waiting. Gus Dur arrived by car and was welcomed with the Badar invocation (verses from the Koran).

After the announcement of the party's leaders, Gus Dur held a speech in which he said that PKB's duties weigh very heavy. Apart from the hard work that lays ahead of the party in connection with the future elections, PKB also has to instill an open vision of the party's fighting and democratic spirit.

"Many of us, including NU members, have so far thought of the Chinese-Indonesians as aliens. This is wrong, there is no original race in Indonesia. A great-great-grandmother of mine, 500 years ago, was Chinese. That is the reason why I don't accept the idea of racial difference in Indonesia," he said.

Gus Dur also implied the fear that some circles are planning to set up a political party opposed to NU and would express degrading remarks about NU. "For this reason, I hope that NU members will participate in the future Elections and choose PKB. This is not a campaign, it isn't the time yet. This is to prove that the NU organization backs up and set up the PKB party," Gus Dur said while members voiced their agreement in merriment.

After the declaration, Try Sutrisno surrounded by a crowd of reporters, said that he appreciated the new party. He hoped that PKB will really become a tolerant party that is going to strengthen unity and that it will be able to channel public aspirations in a democratic way.

When he was questioned if he was going to join the PKB party, Try diplomatically replied, "The Indonesian nation is in support of those who fight to maintain unity."

The leadership of the PKB for the year 1998-1999 is in the hands of the Syura Council, consisting of KH Ma'ruf Amin (Chairman), KHM Cholil Bisri (Deputy Chairman), KHM Dawam Anwar (Secretary), and members Brigadier General (Ret.) KH Sullam Syamsun, KHM Hasyim Latief, Dr. KH Nahrawi A. Salam, KHM Mukeri Gawith, KH Yusuf Muhammad, KH Dimyati Rais, Hj. Sariani Thaha, TGH Turmudzi Badruddin.

The Tanfidzi Council consists of Matori Abdul Djalil (General Chairman), and Chairmen Dr. H. alwi Shihab, Umrah M. Tholchah Mansoer, Agus Suflihat, Amru Mu'tashim, KH Imam Buchari Chalil, Taufiqurrahman, Yafi Thahir, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Muhaimin Iskandar (Secretary General), and Deputy Secretaries General Amin Said Husni, Aris Siagian, Yahya Staquf Chalil, Imam Churmen (Treasurer), Ali Mubarrak (Deputy Treasurer) and Safrin Romas.

While those who made the declaration were KH Ilyas Ruhiat, KH Munasir Ali, KH Mustofa Bisri, KH Muhid Muzadi and KH Abdurrahman Wahid.

Chronological setup

The Secretary General of NU Arifin Junaidi told the audience about the chronological setup of PKB. Bearing in mind that at NU's 27th Congress in Situbondo, it was determined that organisationally NU should not be related to any political party and that it would not resort to political activities. On the other hand though, the organisation has found and experienced that it had been cast aside in the past and witheld from participation in state affairs and national development. And that despite the fact that the organisation has a membership of 40 million.

The NU leadership has therefore, in particular since it has been pressed to form its own political party, set up a Team of Five to fulfill the aspirations of NU members. The Team of Five is chaired by KH Ma'ruf Amin, its members are KH M. Dawam Anwar, KH Said Aqil Siradj, Rozy Munir and Achmad Bagdja. To eliminate red tape, the Team has not taken out a written decree of the NU leadership.

On June 20 1998 a Team of Assistance was formed to support the Team of Five in inventarization and collecting suggestions of NU members about the possibility of a new party. (*)

www.muslims.net/KMNU - Copyright © KMNU Cairo - Egypt