TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s plan to establish a presidential body on the Reinforcement of Pancasila Ideology must be considered carefully and must not be done in a rush.
Jokowi might be concerned about the recent rise of intolerant acts, extremism and radicalism but the reinforcement of Pancasila is not the direct answer to those problems.
The action of the Islamic Defender Front and other intolerance groups against people of different faiths and races thorough sweeping, attacks, and dismissal of religious activities— clearly violates the law. So, firm law enforcement is the answer to these problems.
As law enforcers, instead taking an action against their actions, the police seem to let them or even to succumb to the pressure of the mass.
In fact, the police even ‘celebrate’ these intolerant actions.
It happened, for example, when Chief of the Bekasi Resort Police and Chief of the Kulon Progo Resort Police issued a circular letter about the use of non-Moslem religious attires that refers to the edict issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council.
It is the attitude of these law enforcers that make intolerant acts continue to get rampant. It has to be stopped. So, before Jokowi is concerned about the application of Pancasila values, what must be taken into account first is the assurance that law enforcers have the same vision against intolerant acts.
The President must also ensure that the government’s ranks also reject intolerance, extremism and radicalism.
Reinforcement of Pancasila ideology is not a bad idea.
However, is the establishment of a special body needed? President Soeharto once established a body tasked to implement guidelines for installing and applying Pancasila (known as BP7) back in 1979 and it was dismissed in 1998.
The body, whose task was similar to the task of the Soviet Union Ideology Department, was tasked to propagate the doctrines of Pancasila, not from the one taken from the speeches of President Sukarno on the birth of Pancasila, but from the thoughts of Soeharto.
It was not really clear how successful that body was. One thing for sure, the body used much funds from the State Budget for various activities and its large organization, from the Central government to the regional governments.
Instead of establishing a new body like the BP7, it would be better for the government to make the most of the existing various institutions and programs.
There are many non-government institutions that promotes tolerance and interfaith dialogs such as Wahid Institute and Maarif Institute. The government can also promote tolerance and interfaith dialog or provide education about tolerance among people of different faiths by working with them.
The reinforcement of Pancasila ideology is a long-term program that is usually implemented through education and research.
The government may implement it without having to set up a special body— let alone at ministerial level.
What is important is to ensure that values that it contains, such as democracy and tolerance, are practiced in the daily lives in government institutions and ministries.