The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) has again ruffled some feathers after announcing its strong stance against polygamy, saying the practice — which is allowed, if not encouraged, in Islam —was not fair to women and children.
PSI leader Grace Natalie, who recently angered several Islamic groups for publicly rejecting religious-based bylaws, delivered the party’s antipolygamy stance during a party in Surabaya, on Tuesday, according to kompas.com.
“If we make it to the House of Representatives, we will implement the ban on polygamy for public servants in the government as well as for state civil personnel,” she said.
The party, which claims to be the "millennial party", aims to revise the 1974 Marriage Law, which allows polygamy.
In her speech, Grace cited research by the Legal Aid Foundation of Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK), which concluded that polygamy resulted in injustice for women and children. Furthermore, Grace pledged to fight for the sexual violence bill for women’s welfare and safety.
Riset LBH APIK menunjukkan bahwa poligami pada umumnya berujung kepada ketidakadilan pada perempuan dan anak-anak yg terlantar. PSI menentang keras ketidakadilan ini. #PSIperempuan pic.twitter.com/ZXNdkR43zT— #PSInomor11 (@psi_id) December 12, 2018
The PSI is not the first group to call for an end to polygamy. The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has also urged the government to revise the law and end the practice.
The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), which has some polygamous leaders, has denounced the PSI’s campaign.
The Islamic party's central executive board (DPP) secretary Suhud Aliyudin told kompas.com that polygamy was part of Islamic law. He added that polygamy was not obligatory for Muslims, but it should not be banned.
“If [the PSI] raises the issue as campaign material, it’s a setback; it’s only useless noise,” he said.
Polygamy has long been controversial in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Last year, in a three-day national congress of female clerics, expert Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin stated that polygamy was not part of Islamic teachings.
Netizens are divided over the PSI’s proposal.
Many regretted that the PSI blamed polygamy for domestic violence, while others pointed out that political parties should not interfere with personal matters.
Poligami bukan bentuk kekerasan , yang bentuk kekerasan adalah ketidakadilan , punya suami satu kalau suka memukuli istri dan anaknya tidak ada bedanya itu dengan kekerasan , punya istri yg hobi selingkuh itu juga kekerasan— Kerajaan Albasia (@Garangan57) December 12, 2018
“Polygamy is not a form of violence. What is violent is injustice, having one husband who likes to hit his wife and children, or having a wife who is a cheater,” said Twitter user @Garangan57.
Mau orang monogami, poligami, atau nikah sama pohon pun, itu kebebasan pribadi. Suka-suka orang yg ngejalanin.— erlangga greschinov. (@Greschinov) December 14, 2018
Tak ada secuil jari pun hak pada partai untuk mencampurinya.
Kontra sama poligami boleh, tapi kalau udah dipolitisasi begini, ada minus satu padaku untuk PSI. https://t.co/kgSjyB9HIm
Language expert Erlangga Greschinov tweeted that polygamy or monogamy was a personal choice.
“A political party does not have the right to interfere. You can be against polygamy, but when it’s being politicized, one less vote from me for the PSI,” he said.
Some Twitter users have lauded the PSI’s move.
Salut sih. Ini sebuah statement yg luar biasa berani. 👊👊👊👊👊 https://t.co/WRgIhs2Uw9— MILLY & MAMET - 20 Des’18 (@ernestprakasa) December 12, 2018
Comedian-cum-filmmaker Ernest Prakarsa saluted the speech, calling it “an extraordinarily bold statement”.
Sebagai perempuan, gua dukung PSI... Sy akan pilih dan dukung PSI selama tetap dgn idealismenya— Beatrice Manurung (@Manroeunited) December 12, 2018
Twitter user Beatrice Manurung, who goes by the handle @Manroeunited, said, “As a woman, I support the PSI. I will vote for and support the PSI so long as it upholds its idealism.”
Another user @lookslina said, “Of course. I wholeheartedly agree with @psi_id. Polygamy is a form of violence against women and children. #stoppoligami [#stoppolygamy]”