Islam Under the New Order in Indonesia


Student at Major of Islamic History and Civilization

Faculty of Letters IAIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya

There are many opinions about The New Order in Indonesia. According to Nurkholis Madjid, in many respects The New Order has been better for Moslem than The Old Order. People thought that Soekarno and his Old Order had failed, had deviated from the ideals of Pancasila and the 1945 constitution. The Old Order had failed to create general prosperity, to educate the nation or to act for world peace. KAMI (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Indonesia) defined The New Order as a system and a way of thinking, believing and acting which is consistent with social development and the aspiration of our struggle, as well as civilized values.

a. Islamic Parties Prior to The New Order

On 3 November 1945, Vice President Mohammad Hatta issued a Government statement on the rights of political parties in Indonesia, stating that parties should be established before the general election for member of parliament in January 1946. After PNI established, On 7 Nopember 1945 a Moslem party, Masyumi, appeared on the national stage. Initially, Masyumi which was established by four organization (NU, Muhammadiyah, Perikatan Umat Islam, Persatuan Umat Islam) was the largest moslem’s party in Indonesia at the time. Other the small parties are Perti and PSII. In 1952, NU left Masyumi and became political party.

In 1960 the movenments of moslem politicians began to be restricted whether they had been involved PRRI/ Permesta rebellions or not. There were many prominent moslems jailed. These jailings had a big impact because on the one hand, people had become aware that the Soekarno Government during the guided democracy was tyrannical and therefore had to be overthrown. On the other hand, people had become afraid, they had to think carefully before opposing the Government. Perhaps this was why moslems were active in helping The New Order smash The Old Order.

b. A New Moslem Party : Masyumi Rejected and the Birth of Parmusi

From the beginning of The New Order, Masyumi Leaders had tried to rehabilitate the party, nut the government did not agree. General Soeharto responded with a letter which states “legal constitutional and psychological considerations have led the armed forces to decide that the armed forces cannot accept the rehabilitation of Masyumi. But the Government allowed them to established a new party called Parmusi (Partai Muslimin Indonesia) on condition that this new party had no connection to the leaders of Masyumi.

c. Nahdatul Ulama, 1965-1971

During the period of Guided Democracy, NU had benefited from Government Authority. NU leaders still held important position in Dwikora Cabinet formed after 30 September 1965. Following a number of scandals in 1970 in the Department of Religion, NU was attacked from various quarters, especially by students from the “Mahasiswa Indonesia” newspaper group in Bandung. NU figures were accused of being religious fanatics. NU was also subject to the rumour that it was a new Darul Islam. In the face of these attacks, NU’s ‘political front’ declined.

d. A Single Muslim Party: PPP

After Golkar’s victory in 1971 the government began to rationalize the Indonesian Party system. Politics in the villages and sub-districts would be banned. The objective was the ‘depolitisation’ of the people, so that the Government and people could concentrate on development. In the plan to restructure the parties, the nine party became three : Golkar, PPP (a merger of NU, Parmusi, PSII and Perti) and PDI (a merger of PNI, IPKI, Murba, Parkindo and Partai Katolik). The draft law on the party system was submitted to parliament in December 1974 and passed on 24 August 1975. In the 1977 election PPP received 29.2 %, it was better than the the result for all Islamic parties (NU, PSII, Perti, Parmusi) in the 1971 election. The muslim Party was in the second position, Golkar got 62.1% and PDI 8.6%. Then, in the 1982 election PPP win 94 seats, same as all muslim pasties in 1971 election, five less than at the 1977 election.

Fitri Kusuma Dewi

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