Moral collapse of honorable institution

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Suhendra Ratu Prawiranegara
Public Policy Observer, Ex-Minister’s Special Staff and Prabowo-Sandi Member of Expert Team.

IO – The arrest of Rohamurmuzy by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Surabaya on Friday, March 15, 2019, was quite shocking for the Indonesian political sphere. Rohamurmuzy is a very well-known figure as the Chairman of PPP Political Party, one of the bearer parties for the incumbent Presidential candidates Joko Widodo – Ma’ruf Amin. The Public did not expect at all that this incident happened to a young political figure like Rohamurmuzy, who was known in various occasions and events showing a close relationship with Joko Widodo. Referring to various sources, both mainstream media and social media, it is not uncommon to find news and events that indulge in their closeness, in various occasions and events both in formal and informal settings.

Actually, corruption cases involving the General Chairperson of PPP had occurred during the Suryadharma Ali period; at the time Suryadharma Ali was convicted and served a sentence in a corruption case around the use of Hajj funds. “Similar but not the same”; this is roughly the difference between Rohamurmuzy’s case and that of Suryadharma Ali. The similarity is because it is indicated to have committed an act against the law and a criminal act of corruption; also, both of them are from the same political party. The corruption case of Suryadharma Ali was about the misuse of Hajj funds managed by the Ministry of Religion, while Rohamurmuzy or commonly referred to as Romi was suspected of taking bribes in the process of determining positions in the Ministry of Religion. Not at the same time, when the legal case occurred, Suryadharma Ali was serving as Minister of Religion, while Romi was the party’s General Chairperson, which was considered to have a “special” closeness with President Jokowi. This can be proven in the process of determining KH. Makruf Amin as a companion to the Presidential Candidate Joko Widodo. Romi showed his expertise in politics, that eventually led to one of the factors for not nominating Prof. Mahfud MD as Vice-Presidential candidate for Joko Widodo at that time. This was confirmed by Prof. Mahfud MD at an event it one of the mainstream TV stations, about how Romi’s strategic role in the determination and election of KH. Makruf Amin as a companion to Joko Widodo in the 2019 Presidential Election contest.

Pancasila as a Gift of Moslems and the Religious Trilogy.
The Ministry of Religion has historically had a golden age when it was led by Lt. Gen. (Pur) H. Alamsyah Ratu Perwiranegara. The appointment of Alamsyah RPN as Minister of Religion was questioned and doubted by many. It was the first time in history a Minister of Religion had a military background. Since the Old Order era, the era of Bung Karno, the position of Minister of Religion was always entrusted to major figures of certain religious organizations namely Nahdlatul Ulama (NU, Masyumi or Muhammadiyah). This tradition was passed back by Pak Harto, in the era of New Order at the beginning of his reign, by re-appointing KH. Moh. Dahlan as the Minister of Religion from the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). Lt. Gen. Alamsyah became Minister of Religion of the Development Cabinet III, replacing Prof. Mukti Ali. Lt. Gen. Alamsyah was assigned by President Soeharto, due to conflicts among Muslims, especially regarding the single principle or ideology of the Pancasila. President Soeharto’s concern was the background to appoint Alamsyah Ratu Prawiranegara as Minister of Religion. Inter-religious harmony was felt like a barrier at that time. Minister of Religion Alamsyah comes with the concept of “Religious Trilogy”, a concept that regulates the inter-religious harmony for Indonesian people, inter-religious harmony between different religions, inter-religious harmony with the government. In the end Alamsyah Ratu Perwiranegara as Minister of Religion succeeded in convincing Muslims, Islamic boarding schools, religious organizations about Pancasila. Alamsyah took a persuasive but firm approach with the theme that: “Pancasila is the biggest gift of Indonesian Muslims to this nation.” The ideological moral theme immediately received a positive response among religious people, especially Moslems. Alamsyah’s success in making Pancasila accepted across the archipelago, up to now and during the Republic’s establishment, certainly must receive appreciation and respect. In the Alamsyah era it was also the spirit of the Ministry of Religion to occupy the top and honorable position, by forming and optimizing Regional Offices (Kanwil) throughout Indonesia. Alamsyah also formed the Directorate General of Guidance for Buddhist Communities, which in the past still joined the Directorate General of Hindu Community Guidance. During Alamsyah’s tenure as Minister of Religion, he issued a decision on school holidays during the fasting month of Ramadan. In the end Alamsyah argued with Minister of Education and Culture Daud Jusuf who wanted to revoke the school holiday rules during the fasting month of Ramadan.

All these things were done by Alamsyah Ratu Prawiranegara in order to familiarize the Concept of Religious Trilogy and Pancasila as the sole principle and ideology of the nation among religious people, especially Moslems.

The Moral Collapse of an Institution
The success of Alamsyah Ratu Prawiranegara and its predecessors made the Ministry of Religion a dignified government institution and felt its presence as a mediator and regulator between religious groups in Indonesia, but like the saying: “A small drop of ink could ruin a jar of milk.” What happened to corruption cases of Former Minister of Religion Suryadharma Ali and indications of involvement of Minister of Religion Lukman Hakim Syaifudin in the case of Rohamurmuzy, will certainly have implications for the image and spirit of the Ministry of Religion itself. Which has been built with difficulty by the predecessors, collapsed and tarnished in the case of corruption. As stated by one of the KPK commissioners, the Ministry of Religion should be an example, an avant garde in good governance and eradication of corruption, rather than giving a negative example to the public and the history of the nation.

The arrest of Rohamurmuzy, accompanied by the arrest of several Ministry of Religion officials, as well as indications of involvement of ministry leaders, cast a dark record on the history of the Ministry of Religion; hopefully there is a wisdom behind this that will make various parties truly consistent between behavior and speech and consistent with eradicating and preventing corruption, which is detrimental to all parties.