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Jakarta Post

Muhammadiyah student group rejects Amien Rais' call to 'pick' candidate

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 21, 2018   /   12:58 pm
Muhammadiyah student group rejects Amien Rais' call to 'pick' candidate National Mandate Party (PAN) honorary council chairman Amien Rais speaks at an event in Jakarta in this undated photograph. (tribunnews.com/Dany Permana)

Amien Rais has urged Muhammadiyah, the country’s second largest Muslim organization, to decide which presidential candidate to support in the upcoming 2019 election.

Amien is the patron of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and an adviser to the Muhammadiyah central executive board. The party is part of the coalition backing the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno camp alongside Gerindra, the Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“If you did that [remained silent], I will pinch your ear. In the upcoming presidential election, you can’t just say ‘it's up to you’!” Amien said on Tuesday during the organization's 106thanniversary event at the Islamic Center Surabaya in the East Java capital.

Amien’s calls for Muhammadiyah to publicly declare its support for a presidential ticket, however, were quickly dismissed by the organization's student grouping.

The central executive board of the Muhammadiyah Students Association (IMM) called on its parent organization to remain “neutral” and unswayed by Amien’s calls to support a particular candidate.

“If we did support a certain candidate, how would we be different from a [campaign] success team or a political party?” IMM central executive board chairman Najih Prastiyo said in a written statement on Wednesday.

Najih said that Muhammadiyah should stay true to itself, remain independent and not issue an instruction for its members to pick a side during political events like the presidential election. 

“Muhammadiyah is home to all elements of the nation,” he said as quoted by tempo.co. “Whoever is elected the President, Muhammadiyah will remain as a critical partner of the government.”

Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir had recently reiterated that the organization would uphold its philosophy of ummatan wasathon (moderates) and would not pick sides in national politics. 

“Muhammadiyah will maintain its impartiality in politics,” Haedar said. (swd)