Fri, 27 Jun 2003

Muhammadiyah grooms presidency

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi: Chairman of Muhammadiyah Ahmad Syafii Maarif urged members of the country's second largest Muslim organization on Thursday to be active in grooming presidential candidates.

A few days after stating that Muhammadiyah was not a political organization, Syafii said the organization was responsible for preparing a future national leader who would lead the country out of the crisis.

"The nation is in a dire need of a national leader who has competence, vision and commitment to uphold the reform movement which has almost died," Syafii said after opening the organization's national meeting here.

Syafii's predecessor Amien Rais, who is also chairman of National Mandate Party (PAN), failed to attend the meeting due to ill health. Amien has announced his bid for the presidency. --JP