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30 December 2009

Farewell to Mister President Abdurrahman Wahid

Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. The long-time president of the Nahdlatul Ulama and the founder of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Wahid was the first elected president of Indonesia after the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was born on the fourth day of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar in 1940 in Jombang, East Java to Abdul Wahid Hasyim and Siti Solichah. This led to a belief that he was born on 4 August; instead, using the Islamic calendar to mark his birth date meant that he was actually born on 4 Sha'aban, equivalent to 7 September 1940. He was named after Abd ar-Rahman I of the Umayyad Caliphate who brought Islam to Spain and was thus nicknamed "ad-Dakhil" ("the conqueror"). His name is stylized in the traditional Arabic naming system as "Abdurrahman, son of Wahid". He was the firstborn out of his five siblings, and Wahid was born into a very prestigious family in the East Java Muslim community. His paternal grandfather, Hasyim Asy'ari was the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) while his maternal grandfather, Bisri Syansuri was the first Muslim educator to introduce classes for women.Wahid's father, Wahid Hasyim, was involved in the Nationalist Movement and would go on to be Indonesia's first Minister of Religious Affairs. In 1944, Wahid moved from Jombang to Jakarta where his father was involved with the Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), an organization established by the Imperial Japanese Army which occupied Indonesia at the time. After the Indonesian Declaration of Independence on 17 August 1945, Wahid moved back to Jombang and remained there during the fight for independence from the Netherlands during the Indonesian National Revolution. At the end of the war in 1949, Wahid moved to Jakarta as his father had received appointment as Minister of Religious Affairs. Wahid went about his education in Jakarta, going to KRIS Primary School before moving to Matraman Perwari Primary School. Wahid was also encouraged to read non-Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers by his father to further broaden his horizons.[3] Wahid stayed in Jakarta with his family even after his father's removal as Minister of Religious Affairs in 1952. In April 1953, Wahid's father died after being involved in a car crash. In 1954, Wahid began Junior High School. That year, he failed to graduate to the next year and was forced to repeat. His mother then made the decision to send Wahid to Yogyakarta to continue his education. In 1957, after graduating from Junior High School, Wahid moved to Magelang to begin Muslim Education at Pesantren (Muslim School) Tegalrejo. He completed the pesantren's course in two years instead of the usual four. In 1959, Wahid moved back to Jombang to Pesantren Tambakberas. There, while continuing his own education, Wahid also received his first job as a teacher and later on as headmaster of a madrasah affiliated with the Pesantren. Wahid also found employment as a journalist for magazines such as Horizon and Majalah Budaya Jaya. In June 1999, Wahid's PKB entered the legislative elections. PKB won 12% of the votes with Megawati's PDI–P winning the legislative elections with 33% of the votes. With her party decisively winning the Legislative Elections, Megawati expected to win the Presidency against Habibie at the MPR General Session. However, PDI-P did not have complete majority and formed a loose alliance with PKB. In July however, Amien Rais would form the Central Axis, a coalition of Muslim parties.[23] The Central Axis then began to consider nominating Wahid as a third candidate in the Presidential race and PKB's commitment towards PDI-P began to waver. In October 1999, the MPR convened and Wahid threw his support behind Amien who was elected as the Chairman of MPR. On 7 October 1999, Amien and the Central Axis, who now had PKB on their side, officially nominated Wahid as a Presidential Candidate. On 19 October 1999, the MPR rejected Habibie's accountability speech and Habibie withdrew himself from the Presidential race. In the hours that followed, Akbar Tanjung, Chairman of Golkar and Head of the People's Representative Council (DPR) made it clear that Golkar would support Wahid in his bid for the Presidency. On 20 October 1999, the MPR convened and began electing for a new President. Wahid was then elected as Indonesia's 4th President with 373 votes to Megawati's 313 votes. Displeased that their candidate had not won the Presidency, Megawati's supporters began to riot and Wahid realized that for this to stop, Megawati had to be elected as Vice President. After convincing General Wiranto not to compete in the Vice Presidential elections and getting the PKB to support Megawati for this election, Wahid was successful in convincing the demoralized Megawati to compete. On the 21 October 1999, Megawati competed in the Vice Presidential election and defeated PPP's Hamzah Haz.

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