Nation Suffering as National Ideology is Neglected: Citizens

The Jakarta Globe

Sixty-six years since the state ideology of Pancasila was enshrined in the national conscience, its messages of religious tolerance, pluralism and social justice are being ignored, officials and ordinary citizens say.


Hajriyanto Thohari, deputy chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), said true social justice, where the welfare of the people was prioritized over the interests of the elite, was still a long way off.

“Just look at the state budget,” he said on Tuesday. “Sixty percent of it goes toward civil servants’ pay and overheads. At the regional level it’s even worse, at around 80 percent.”

He said that with so little spent on public needs and an estimated 31 million people still living below the poverty line, there had been a clear failure to fully adopt Pancasila.

“Where’s the social justice?” he asked. “Corruption cases, abuse of power — it makes people even more pessimistic about Pancasila.”

Eva Kusuma Sundari, a legislator with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said the recent spate of religious violence was proof that the goal of tolerance had not yet been attained.

She said it was important to have a firm leader who could ensure that the values of Pancasila were not violated.

“That way, we can more effectively nurture these principles in society,” Eva said.

Prof. Sutaryo, the chief adviser at Gadjah Mada University’s (UGM) Pancasila Study Center, said the reforms implemented since the end of the New Order era were responsible for the loss of adherence to the values of the ideology.

He said that since the downfall of President Suharto, several regulations and bylaws had been issued that discouraged the adoption of Pancasila by the country’s youth, including a regulation that scrapped the teaching of the ideology at schools.

But Siti Marsha Wena, a seventh-grade student, was more hopeful about Pancasila’s prospects.

“The third point of Pancasila is on the unity of Indonesia and calls for mutual respect,” she said. “I don’t like to see my friends fighting over something because that doesn’t show any unity among us. So in order to foster unity, we need to respect one another.”

Eduardo Andhika Kurninawan, a recent high school graduate about to enroll at UGM, agreed that tolerance and mutual respect were important in returning to the spirit of the ideology.

“We need to keep in mind that this is democratic country where everyone is free to express their opinions,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong in expressing our opinions, as long as we don’t force our points of view on others.”

The five principles of the Pancasila were first proposed by President Sukarno on June 1, 1945.

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