Category: Politics

President Joko Widodo surprised many when he selected Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his vice presidential running mate. Dr Budhy Munawar Rachman looks at Ma’ruf’s record at the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) and writes that if the pair are elected, things could become a lot worse for religious minorities.

The 2018 regional elections saw convincing wins for several young reform-minded local leaders. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dirk Tomsa speaks to one of these leaders, Dr Bima Arya Sugiarto, about the challenges of reform in an environment where corruption and patronage is widespread.

Religious identity politics is increasingly becoming the norm in Indonesian elections. Dr Sandra Hamid calls for more attention to be paid to the period between elections, and how growing exclusivism in the practice of Islam can have implications for future electoral contests.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has taken a bold step to prevent corruption convicts from participating in future elections. Bahruddin suggests that this approach could be augmented with a strategy to shame corrupt candidates and parties on the ballot paper.

Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun take a look at the results of the 2018 regional elections. Rather than reflecting national-level dynamics, they write, the behaviour of political parties and politicians at the local level is defined primarily by opportunism.

Last month, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) leaders criticised a senior Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) figure for visiting Israel, sparking a furious online campaign of retaliation from young NU-linked activists. Associate Professor Greg Fealy takes a closer look at the escalating tensions and what they might mean for next year’s elections.

On 27 June, Indonesia held elections for mayors and governors in 154 districts and 17 provinces. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae and a panel of leading political observers, Dr Charlotte Setijadi, Dr Philips Vermonte and Dr Eve Warburton, discuss the results and the broader implications for Indonesian politics.

To mark 20 years since the fall of Soeharto and the New Order regime, Indonesia at Melbourne is speaking to a range of prominent figures about their views on the reform process. Today we speak to Todung Mulya Lubis, human rights lawyer and recently appointed Indonesian Ambassador to Norway.

Recent years have seen significant divisions within Indonesia’s two largest Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr looks at the causes of these divisions and how they are affecting the organisations’ religious and political positions.

President Soeharto left office in 1998 amid public fury about the special treatment given to his six children. Dr Helen Pausacker writes that in the 20 years since, Soeharto’s children have seen their influence decline, but continue to live prosperous lives and have made several attempts to launch political careers of their own.

What have been the key achievements of the reform movement that toppled Soeharto, what are the key obstacles to further reform, and what lies ahead for Indonesia over the next 10 years? Senior human rights activist Usman Hamid reflects on 20 years of reform with Dr Dave McRae in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

This month marks 20 years since the riots and violence that erupted in cities including Jakarta, Medan and Solo, and mainly targeted Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese population. In light of the recent surge in anti-Chinese sentiment in Indonesia, Dr Jemma Purdey questions whether violence like that of May 1998 could happen again.