IO – Minister of Religious Affairs and Chairman of the (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – “PKB”) Central Leadership Council (Dewan Pimpinan Pusat – “DPP”) Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, more commonly known as Gus Yaqut, strongly denies rumors of an incoming “unofficial” Extraordinary Congress (Musyawarah Luar Biasa – “MLB”). He reiterates that PKB under the current leadership of Abdul Muhaimin Iskandar (“Gus Ami”) is solid and the Party has no internal issues whatsoever. “We don’t know who said that. However, my presence here (at the DPP PKB Office), means that we are solid, that there’s nothing to worry about. It shows that PKB is fine,” Gus Yaqut said when met at the DPP PKB office at Jl. Raden Saleh No. 9, Central Jakarta, on Monday, 19 April 2021.
“Now, who is pushing for it? Cadres? Which cadres, then? We need to check first. Branch Leadership Council (Dewan Pimpinan Cabang – “DPC”), which one DPC? Is it really a DPC? It could be a made-up DPC, right? ” he said. “This information about MLB is unverifiable. I don’t know where it came from. In fact, I’ve asked Ahmad (Chairman of PKB Karawang DPC, Ahmad Zamakhsyari); I only know Jimmy, not Ahmad. Anyway, he clarified that he never said anything like that.”
Gus Yaqut went on to say that PKB under Gus Ami’s leadership is actually able to achieve good results, whether in terms of seats obtained in the Parliament or positions in the Government. Therefore, he is angered when some unknown persons attempt to damage PKB’s solidity. “They’re making things up! PKB is the most solid Party in this world. I chat with Gus Ami as a matter of course. This is what the public does not know. All of a sudden, there’s this impression that I am creating problems or having problems. No such thing; PKB’s cohesion is solid. Check it out for yourselves,” he said.
Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta National Islamic University (Universitas Islam Negeri – “UIN”) political observer, Zaki Mubarak, confirms PKB’s solidity. “PKB is much more solid under the leadership of Muhaimin Iskandar, much stronger than during the previous conflict-filled eras. He is able to manage PKB’s dynamics better,” he said.
Zaki went on to say that Muhaimin has successfully mitigated several potential conflicts and preventing them from having serious repercussions. “It’s true that not everybody is satisfied, but that’s a natural phenomenon that occurs in all Parties,” he said. “Furthermore, PKB has become a party worthy of consideration in terms of votes obtained since the 2014 Elections. PKB votes rose significantly from the time they endured many conflicts. This positive trend continues, as a recent Charta Politica survey shows that PKB is one of the top three Parties in Indonesia. However, PKB should not get carried away with this development, as politics is characterized by strong dynamics. Changes happen very easily.”
PKB’s positive trends are inseparable from Muhaimin Iskandar’s creative leadership strategies, especially in comparison with the General Chairmen of other Political Parties. “For example, he pulled in musicians Ahmad Dhani and Haji Rhoma Irama for the 2014 Elections. This caused an amazing electoral impact. He has also managed to maintain good relations with the Nahdlatul Ulama, with the kiai scholars and santri boarding students. Even better, he is intelligent enough to be able to appeal to the large demographic of Millennials,” Zaki said.
Zaki concludes that PKB has so far succeeded in positioning itself as a nationalist religious force, one that integrates the visions of religious and nationalist ideals as well as supporting religious moderation. “PKB positions itself in the center of the spectrum. If able to maintain this position consistently, PKB will score positive points that can differentiate it from the two other top Parties,” he declared. (des)