Fri, 23 Jun 2000

On Pancasila

Dr. Hj. Nina Herlina Lubis, M.S., historian at Padjadjaran University (Unpad) Research Institute and lecturer at the History Department of the School of Letters of Unpad, wrote in the Pikiran Rakyat daily on June 5, 2000 an article titled Straightening out the history of the birth of Pancasila.

The article notes three dates related to the birth of Pancasila, namely June 1, 1945, the day assumed to be the birth of the state's five-point principle, Pancasila; Oct. 1, which during the New Order era (late 1966 - mid 1998) was observed as the Pancasila Sanctity Day; and Aug. 18, 1945, the date that the Indonesian constitution, known as the 1945 Constitution, in which Pancasila is incorporated in its preamble, was adopted.

Historically speaking, therefore, Indonesians commemorated Pancasila on two dates, namely on June 1 during the Old Order period and October 1 during the New Order period.

In my opinion, it is not appropriate to say that Pancasila was established as the state's founding principle on Aug. 18, 1945. Let me offer an analogy. A Mr. So and So was born on May 20, 1939 but his birth certificate was not issued until July 1939. In this case, it is obviously wrong to say that Mr. So and So was born in July 1939, isn't it? Likewise, it is historically evident that Bung Karno, the name under which Indonesia's first president Sukarno was better known, gave a speech on the state's foundation at a meeting of the Council for Examination of Efforts to Prepare Indonesia's Independence (BPUPKI) on June 1, 1945. However, it was not until Aug. 18, 1945 that it was officially incorporated into the state's constitution. Commonly speaking, no sensible person will celebrate his or her birthday on the date of the issuance of his or her birth certificate.

Therefore, in the context of confirming the existence of Pancasila and protecting it against any wild or controversial notions to get rid of it, members of the today's People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Indonesia's highest law-making body, should in their upcoming general session between Aug. 5, 2000 - Aug. 18, 2000, stipulate June 1 as the day to be commemorated every year as the anniversary of the birth of Pancasila. Then they should also amend the 1945 Constitution by supplementing the word Pancasila in its preamble so that this part, which now reads " ... a composition of the state of the Republic of Indonesia with people's sovereignty based on the One and Only God..." and so forth, will be as follows "...a composition of the state of the Republic of Indonesia with people's sovereignty based on Pancasila: The One and Only God..." and so forth.

Another amendment should also be introduced in Article 29 of the constitution by supplementing a new sub-article, i.e. sub- article (3), which will read as follows: "The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), including its mass organizations, shall be banned all over the territory of the State of the Republic of Indonesia and non-academic activities pertaining to the dissemination or development of Communism/Marxism-Leninism shall likewise be prohibited."

It is my hope that all reform-minded members of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) will be a hundred percent proactive in expressing the voice of religious, antiatheism/communism/PKI people.