Jakarta – A groups of national figures officially declared the rebirth of the Masumi Party coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the party which was first established in 1945.
In a speech, Islamic Ideology Party Preparatory Endeavour Investigation Body Chairperson (BPU-PPII) A. Cholil Ridwan invited the Umat Party (Religious Congregation Party), which was recently established by Amien Rais, to join the Masyumi Party. The invitation was conveyed because he believes that a figure like Rais would make the Masyumi Party stronger.
"We ask bluntly and openly, come on Umat Party, which you established, to join fully with the Masyumi Party", said Ridwan during his speech at the Masymi Party declaration which was broadcast virtually on Saturday November 7.
Ridwan said that he believes that Rais, who is known as the "Father of Reformasi" [for the alleged role he played in the 1998 reform movement] is skilled in politics and before establishing the National Mandate Party (PAN), Rais had been politically active since he was still in the Islamic mass organisation Muhammadiyah.
Ridwan furthermore said that he was grateful to God when Rais decided to leave PAN saying that it is time for him to forget his past with PAN.
"So let's pray to Allah that Pak [Mr] Amin is aware that he is a young [Mohammad] Natsir [a 1950s prime minister and Islamic figure], forget the past, forget PAN, forget the parents of daughter- and son-in-laws, forget the daughter- and son-in-laws", he said.
Ridwan hopes that if Rais joins with the new Masyumi the Islamic community will follow the move. Moreover he is convinced that a Rais as a Muhammadiyah figure is still well known.
"I'm sure that if the Islamic community joins with Masyumi, it will be supported by Muhammadiyah, because the majority of Muhammadiyah members want an ideological Islamic party", he explained.
Not only that, Ridwan also claimed he would also invite the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Great Leader Muhammad Rizieq Shihab as well as other Islamic ormas (mass or social organisation) to join Masyumi. He is convinced that if these Islamic ormas join Masyumi it's power will not be able to be held back.
"Then [if] the PA 212 [212 Alumni Brotherhood] joins Masyumi and Habib Rizieq supports the Masyumi Party, God willing there will not be any political party force which could defeat the Masyumi Party in the future", he said.
"The new style communist party will faint in shock if it hears that the Masyumi Party has joined with the Umat Party, is supported by PA 212, the FPI", he said.
Rais, who attended the declaration, welcomed the invitation in a relaxed manner. According to Rais, the Umat Party which he pioneered could well join with the Masyumi Party.
Nevertheless, Rais said that for the moment he will continue to focus on building the Umat Party. If in the future the Umat Party fails to grow significantly, he would be ready to dissolve it and join with Masyumi.
"For my part, if for example Masyumi become bigger, then I'll dissolve the Umat Party for Masyumi. But if the Umat Party becomes bigger, please join us", said Rais. (dmi/agt)
The Masyumi Party was an urban based Islamic party dominated by merchants and small-scale capitalists and scored the second highest number of vote (21%) in the 1955 elections. The party was dissolved in 1960 by Indonesia's founding president Sukarno because of its support of the US backed military rebellions in Sumatra and Sulawesi in 1956. In the late 1970s, the Suharto regime forced Masyumi and Nahdlatul Ulama, a conservative, rural-based Islamic party under the control of large landowning families, to merge with other small Islamic parties into the United Development Party (PPP).
Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab, who has been in self-exile in Saudi Arabia since fleeing Indonesia in 2017, recently announced that he will return on November 10. Although police have dropped charges related to an infamous pornography case that first led him to flee the country, he has numerous legal cases pending against him including charges of blasphemy against Christianity and state symbols.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Partai Masyumi Ajak Rizieq Shihab dan Amien Rais Gabung".]