Minister Clarifies Statement on 'the Rich' to Marry 'the Poor'

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy cleared up a controversial statement suggesting “the rich to marry the poor” in an attempt to reduce Indonesia’s poverty rate, defending that it was just an off the cuff statement from his hour-long speech. 

    “It was just an intermezzo, an intermission from my speech,” said Muhadjir to journalists gathered at the ministry’s headquarters in the West Medan Merdeka on Thursday, February 20.

    He further clarified that he was not serious to suggest such fatwa recommending people who are financially secure to marry those from low-income families. 

    However, he said that people are free to follow his suggestion if people find it a solution to stunting and the country’s poverty issues.

    “Well, be my guest if the Ulama Council wants to take it seriously. This means that [my solution] is pretty acceptable. But if it is a recommendation and not an obligation,” said the coordinating minister. 

    Previously, Muhadjir Effendy talked about recommending people who are rich to marry the less-fortunate in his opening speech at the national meeting on health issues at Jiexpo Kemayoran, Jakarta. 

    Indonesians often sometimes misinterpret religious teachings. What happens if the poor are looking for other poor people in marriage? It will give way to more poor households. This is a problem in Indonesia,” Muhadjir said. “The Minister of Religious Affairs should issue a fatwa for the poor to look for the rich [in marriage] and vice versa.”

    FIKRI ARIGI