The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo bestowed national hero titles on five public figures on Thursday, for services helping the country during the fight for independence, in a move that is considered to be a part of the National Heroes Day commemoration that falls on Nov. 10.
The five were the late Bernard Wilhem Lapian, a North Sulawesi public figure who founded two newspapers, Fadjar Kemadjoean and Semangat Hidoep, which voiced issues related to people's welfare and the fight against Dutch colonialism; the late police general Moehammad Jasin who proclaimed Polisi Istimewa ' or Tokubetsu Keisatsutai under Japanese occupation--as Polisi Indonesia or Indonesian Police, on Aug. 21, 1945, four days after the country's Independence declaration; the late Balinese figure I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung, who fought against the Dutch through the production of literature; the late Ki Bagus Hadikusumo from Yogyakarta, a figure from the country's second-largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah; and the late Mas Isman, also from Java, who actively campaigned for freedom, education and health and was also the founder of Kosgoro 1957, a mass organization affiliated with the Golkar Party. Mas Isman was the father of former sports minister Hayono Isman, who is also a Democratic Party politician.
With more that the simple act of honoring these heroes for their service to the country, the move is also expected, according to Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa, to disseminate the values of their leadership and sacrifice and 'to raise the awareness, within Indonesia's current and future generations, on the values of patriotism', he added.
Khofifah led a team called the Central Research and Assessment Team for Title (TP2GP), which decided to submit four names ' from a total of 13 names to have been proposed by public and local leaders ' to the Title, Order of Merit and Honors Council, after the team, having researched the candidates, found them to have met all the requirements set out by the law on national heroes. The Title, Order of Merit and Honors Council later decided to recognize the four, along with Ki Bagus, who has passed the assessment processes in the previous year, and submitted the final names to the President for approval. According to Khofifah, the verification process was done in 'a bottom-up manner'.
To date, the state has conferred the title on 168 independence fighters, including a number of women. This year, the government has decided to start giving the children, or the spouses of national heroes,
Rp 50 million (US$3,666.80) in allowances per year. Prior to this change, families were entitled to around Rp 22.5 million, explained Khofifah.
Attending the ceremony at the State Palace on Thursday, Rubyanti, Jasin's first daughter, expressed her happiness at the government's move. Recalling Jasin's services to the country, Rubyanti said 'we are a great nation; therefore we must not forget the struggles of the past. I hope the past can serve as a reference to the nation during this time, as in the present we are fighting in a different context, for our country's development'.
Last year, Jokowi bestowed national hero titles on four war veterans for their extraordinary contributions to the country, before and after the Proclamation of Independence on Aug. 17, 1945, including Mohamad Mangundiprojo from East Java, who fought during the revolution in Surabaya, in 1945 and Abdul Wahab Hasbullah, a Muslim leader from East Java who was also a founder of Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim organization.
Mangundiprojo was the grandfather of former coordinating maritime affairs minister Indroyono Soesilo, while Abdul was the grandfather of United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy.