Mahathir-Anwar reconciliation creating waves in Indonesia
The Mahathir-Anwar reconciliation is creating waves in Indonesia, and is the subject of inquiry of the many political leaders and public intellectuals I met during the four-day visit to Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
This is the third overseas visit by DAP leaders to learn and update on the latest political developments with regard to Islam and democracy, particularly in Moslem-majority nations.
The countries first visited were Jordan and Egypt in April last year, followed by visits to Tunisia and Turkey last October.
Accompanying me in the current Indonesian trip are DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, DAP National Deputy Publicity Secretary and MP for Bukit Bendera Zairil Khir Johari and DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, Steven Sim.
During the four-day visit, DAP leaders visited the Indonesian Parliament, met and had wide-ranging discussion with Indonesian political, Islamist and intellectual leaders on the political and current developments and trends in Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the world, particularly with reference to Islam and politics, and the need combat Islamic extremism and the Islamic State (IS) threat.
During the discussion with Indonesian political leaders as well as leaders of Muslim organisations, including the Secretary-General of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and former presidential spokesman for President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf and the former Chairman of Muhammadiyah (1998 – 2005), Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif (receipient of 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding), there is consensus that a tolerant, moderate and inclusive Islam and not an Islamic State, IS idea of an Islamic Caliphate or exclusive, intolerant and extremist expressions of Islam is the future for peace, harmony and justice in the world.
Among the personalities we met include foremost journalist and author, Goenawan Mohamad, founder of Tempo and former Nieman fellow at Harvard University; Muslim reformist Ulil Abshar-Abdala; PDI-P parliamentarian Jalaluddin Rakhmat; Director for Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture, Irfan Abu Bakar; Secretary-General of newly-formed Partai Solidaritas Indoneia (PSI) Raja Juli Antoni; public intellectuals including Prof Dr. Purwo Santoso of Gadjah Mada University, Novriantoni Kahar and Lufti Assyaukanie.