NU calls on members to stop paying taxes
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The country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) waded into the debate on eradicating corruption in the country by proposing the death penalty for graft defendants and calling on its members to stop paying taxes.
One of NU’s senior clerics Saifuddin Amsir said that graft convicts should be subject to the death penalty, especially repeat offenders.
“Corruption is destroying our nation. It is difficult to eradicate without the death penalty. Corruption systematically kills the people,” Saifuddin said during a national meeting of the organization in Cirebon, West Java.
He added that NU made no recommendation on the style of execution, deferring the decision to the government whether it should resort to poisoning, beheading, lethal injection, sending the convict to the gallows or firing squad.
Earlier on Saturday, NU clerics called on members to join a civil disobedience campaign by not paying taxes as part of a movement to curb the misuse of taxpayers’ money.
Member of the NU central board Slamet Effendi Yusuf said that the massive irregularities in collection, management and use of money from tax were worrying.
“The NU suggests that citizens should stop paying their taxes,” he said.
NU chairman Said Aqil Siroj said on Sunday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had called him to hear an explanation of the tax boycott plan.
“The President said he could understand our position. The tax issues were discussed here in Cirebon as part of NU’s warning to the government to professionally manage taxpayers’ money,” Said said.
Said added that the NU demanded the government improve tax management.
“Otherwise, NU clerics may ask for tax boycott,” he said.
The leaders of the nation’s largest Muslim social organization began their national meeting on Saturday to discuss a number of crucial issues including terrorism and liberal democracy.
The meeting was opened by NU lawmaking body chairman Sahal Mahfudz and will be closed by President Yudhoyono on Monday.
Yudhoyono is expected to deliver a speech during the closing ceremony.
In the last two days, NU leaders have debated recommendations suggesting the government revert to indirect election of local leaders.
NU figure Malik Madaniy said the method applied during the New Order regime, where governors, regents and mayors were elected by members of local legislative councils, was much more efficient.
“The government must review the direct election system, not only for provinces, but also for regencies and municipalities. Direct election is the direct result of the reform movement but in reality it has led to money politics and horizontal conflicts,” Malik said.
The government has finished drafting the local elections bill stipulating that governors are to be elected by members of provincial councils. The bill, however, retains the current direct system for regents and mayors.