Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Former National Mandate Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais, a staunch critic of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration, declared his newly established party called Partai Ummat, or the Ummah Party, on Thursday following his departure amid an internal rift within PAN.
Amien announced the new party through a broadcast on his Youtube channel, Amien Rais Official.
"God willing, the Ummah Party will work and fight with the other elements of the nation against tyranny and injustice," he said in his speech.
Amien, a key figure in the 1998 reform movement against former president Soeharto and PAN founder, went on to say that a country, with all of its power, could be zalim (cruel) to its people in terms of political, economic, social, legal and human rights so that it would need a government that sided with the people.
"It all depends on the government, whether it is defending the people and the ummah [community] or the conglomerates?," he said.
In the broadcast event Amien quoted several Qur'an verses, such as al amru bil ma'ruf and an-nahyu 'anil munkar (upholding virtue and fighting evil) and al amru bil' adli and an-nahyu 'anidzulmi (enforcing justice and fighting injustice).
"The Ummah Party will work to uphold Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, and all universal democratic rules," he added.
Amien was in a tug-of-war with other PAN politicians over support for Jokowi's administration. In the 2019 presidential elections, the party supported Jokowi's contender Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto. Prabowo now serves as Jokowi's defense minister and his party also has joined the ruling coalition.
PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan has met Jokowi several times to discuss the possibility of PAN joining the coalition, much to Amien's dismay. However, the party is still outside the government coalition.
The internal rift within the party started after the election ended. Amien's son Hanafi Rais decided to resign from the party and gave up his position as a lawmaker and chairman of the PAN faction at the House. He argued that the party lacked improvement, lambasting the party for tending to support the government when it was supposed to be in opposition.