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Jakarta Post

My neighbor, the vice president: Stories from Ma'ruf Amin's friends at home

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, July 4, 2019   /  10:22 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Friendly neighborhood: A congratulatory wreath is placed in front of the house of vice president-elect Ma’ruf Amin at Jl. Lorong 27, Koja, North Jakarta, on Wednesday. The chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) used to live in the area before moving to Menteng after he was picked as the running mate of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Muallim Makhraj beamed with pride upon hearing the official announcement that Ma’ruf Amin, the man he called his best friend and spiritual guru, would be the republic’s next vice president. Their friendship began in 1971 when Muallim married a woman who happened to live in a house opposite to Ma’ruf’s in Koja, North Jakarta. Locals know that Ma’ruf only has three friends in the neighborhood — Muallim, Ahmad Barawi and neighborhood unit (RT) head Malawi Makhraj. Along with his three friends, he used to go for a regular morning jog until he entered the presidential race pairing up with Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. His neighbors affectionately call the 76-year-old cleric Abah (father in the Jakarta dialect), instead of kyai (Muslim cleric). “Abah loves sports. We would always chat along the track. He has a good...