Former President Megawati Addresses Issues of Religion, Race

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  • Chairman of the PDI-P, Megawati Soekarnoputri. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto

    Chairman of the PDI-P, Megawati Soekarnoputri. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri talked about the problem of ethnicity, religion, race and inter-group relations (SARA) in the 62nd commemoration of the Asia-Africa Conference (AAC).

    "Countries in Asia and Africa are facing conflicts. Some are caused by land disputes, some are sparked by SARA issues that could lead to the disintegration of this nation," Megawati said in her speech during the AAC commemoration at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

    Race and religious conflicts are currently on the rise all over the world. SARA is a prevalent issue in Indonesian politics, particularly during Jakarta election.

    SARA issues have been exploited to win the heart of voters in the build up to the Jakarta runoff election between gubernatorial contenders Basuki Tjahaja Purnama - Djarot Saiful Hidayat and Anies Baswedan - Sandiaga Uno. One of the most infamous campaigns was the display of warning signs saying that funeral prayers would not be offered to Ahok-Djarot voters due to their insistence on voting for a non-Muslim candidate.

    Megawati said that she is deeply concerned about the rise of SARA issue. According to the former president, failure to address racial issues in Asian-African countries would render the history of peace and brotherhood established through the Ten Principles of Bandung (Dasasila Bandung) pointless.

    Megawati said that Asian-African countries must collaborate to address SARA issues.

    "We are responsible for [upholding] the Dasasila Bandung that was established in the 20th century. We have to avoid giving any contribution to the failure of world civilization in the 21st century," Megawati said. "We have to be firm, act as strong as possible, as best as possible, as respectable as possible."