Why Is Pancasila Important For Indonesia ?

Posted by Admin on Tuesday, 2 March 2010 | Opini

Sayidiman Suryohadiprojo

Jakarta, 2 March 2010

If we look at the situation of Indonesia today, we must admit that it is far from what we wanted to achieve as an independent nation. Sukarno and Hatta declared the Independence of Indonesia in 1945 on behalf of all the people, to become free from the colonial yoke and to have a much better life. It was our strong intention to build a prosperous and just society for all the people of Indonesia. Bung Karno proposed that we should build a nation with a Weltanschauung or a Vision of Life, and that Pancasila should be that vision.

The Founding Fathers of the Republic of Indonesia agreed with Bung Karno. They not only decided to make Pancasila Indonesia’s Weltanschauung, they also established Pancasila as the Basic Principles of the Republic of Indonesia. Pancasila must become the guiding principle for building a prosperous and just society.

Bung Karno explained what values were integrated in Pancasila. He stated that he was not the creator of Pancasila. He was only the one who identified Pancasila as the original values guiding the life of the people of the Nusantara Archipelago. Although these people consist of many ethnic entities each with its own culture, they had the values of Pancasila as a common denominator. Just like members of a family, where nobody is equal and each has its differences. But nevertheless they are all united in the One-ness of the Family. The people of Indonesia are different, one from the other, but they are united in one nation. They are Different in their Unity and United in their Differences. (Perbedaan dalam Kesatuan, Kesatuan dalam Perbedaan). Pancasila is the cultural heritage of the people in Indonesia.

The values of Pancasila became the basic principles of the Nation and were made a binding factor when it was formulated as the Preamble of the Constitution of 1945.

Unfortunately, Bung Karno as the first president of Indonesia did not commit himself strongly enough to create a new society in Indonesia based on Pancasila. Nobody denied Bung Karno’s brilliance when he motivated the people in its political struggle against the colonial and imperialist powers. However, his commitment to develop prosperity for all the Indonesian people was far from enough, in spite of the guidance of the Constitution and his own statements in 1945. After 20 years of Bung Karno’s leadership, the Indonesian people were still living poor and backward.

When Bung Karno was replaced by general Soeharto as the second president of Indonesia, the initial years brought positive changes in creating a more prosperous life of the people. Since 1968 the nation started a program of National Development in which the economy was the leading factor. Gradually the prosperity of the people, including the rural areas, showed improvement and the number of people living below the poverty line decreased. Pak Harto also established a Centre for Pancasila where people studied about the essentials of the Pancasila values and later spread it to other people through lectures and seminars. However, also Pak Harto later made a serious mistake when the result of economic growth was not evenly distributed in society. If during Bung Karno’s leadership every body was poor, during Pak Harto’s regime a small part of society became very rich but a large majority of the people remained poor. Moreover, the improvement of economic life was not enough balanced by a similar improvement of political life which since Bung Karno did not provide enough place for people’s participation. There was a strong feeling among the majority of the people that only those around Pak Harto were getting an opportunity to actively participate in political life. The majority of the people were also quite dissatisfied with the state of Law in every day’s life. People said that the rule of law and justice was only implemented in favor of those who were strong politically and economically. All these practices during Pak Harto’s regime were clearly in contradiction with Pancasila values. Therefore, although during Pak Harto’s leadership prosperity in general was improving compared to the situation before, dissatisfaction among people was strong and mostly influenced by a lack of justice in life.

The economic crisis of 1997 and its heavy impact on Indonesia provided an opportunity to a group of Reformers to topple Pak Harto’s leadership. They received strong popular support, in particular of the educated elite. People wanted change for the better !

However, after 10 years of Reform, the result was not what many wanted. The leaders of the Reform Movement were not able to create a strong leadership to guide the Reform to the right direction. It was then “smartly” manipulated by outside and domestic forces in favor of a change to values different and even in contradiction with Pancasila. These were forces in favor of Liberalism and Individualism, values very different from Pancasila. They preached full and unlimited freedom of the Individual in every aspect of life. Morality as a basic value of Pancasila can and must be left behind if it obstructs full and unlimited freedom.

Political life was made an instrument for achieving individual ambitions and interest, without any consideration of the social entity. In the economy the market became the leading factor, without consideration for common people’s interests. And when outside influences pressured for globalization, national interests were easily sacrificed. Because for the leading Reformers nationalism is an outdated matter.

Now, Indonesia after almost 65 years of Independence is a nation with many weaknesses and even called by some people a failed nation. Although many Reformers in favor of liberalism may have a strong intention to get rid of Pancasila, they did not have the moral courage to do so. What they did was to amend the Constitution of 1945 to implement their agenda for liberalism. Their first step was to change articles of the Constitution with new ones in favor liberalism. Their next step will certainly target the Preamble to cause Pancasila disappear from the Constitution and be replaced by a new constitution enhancing Individualism and Liberalism as a guidance for the Nation.

But why is Pancasila so important for Indonesia ? It is important because it is culture, and not politics, that determines the success of society. This has been clearly proved by the history of many nations of the world and the situation of Indonesia today as a result of neglecting its cultural heritage.

Another valid argument in favor of Pancaisla is that among the many ethnic and religious groups in Indonesia, there is a strong feeling that only Pancasila can guarantee a fair place for every group, even if it is a small minority. Life will not be dominated by large majorities.

That is why a strong national leadership should now seriously embark on the implementation of Pancasila values. The first step to make is the realization of the nation’s motto Bhinneka Tunggal Eka or Unity in Diversity. It means the respect for the place and freedom of the Individual in harmony with the need of social unity. It also means the recognition of the importance of each ethnic and religious group within the national unity. Nationalism should flower in the garden of Internationalism, as stated by Bung Karno. Pancasila therefore means Harmony and not conflict in life.

According to Pancasila, strong efforts must be made to create higher prosperity for all the people. People living below the poverty line must not longer exist in Indonesia; replaced by a strong and broad Middle Class as the majority of the population. All people should have the opportunity to participate in political life, but politics must be oriented toward the creation of a prosperous society.

Economic life should develop national competitiveness to enable the nation participate effectively in the international economy, and be part of globalization without endangering national interests and common people’s life.

And in recognition of God Almighty all aspects of life must be guided by high moral and ethical standards.

These efforts need a strong and active national leadership, committed to the implementation of Pancasila as our cultural heritage and as the Basic Principles of the Republic. A leadership capable to provide example to all the people and the local leadership teams. It will motivate people to achieve the best in every aspect of life.

It must also clearly show the need for change from the present courses of action in political, economic and social life. With these changes Indonesia will gradually return to its original track and effectively move on the road for achieving its National Goals.

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Comment by Atty Olsen
2012-10-10 05:28:57

I like this writing and I agree that Pancasila is one and only guiding principles for Indonesia. The strict Law under the framework of human right,should be implemented and enacted in each and every cabinet departments as well. The Laws should be review from time to time to prevent those in authority from taking advantage or misuse his or her positions for personal gain and misappropriations of funds to enrich themselves and their families. The need for change is crucial if Indonesia wants her people to prosper. It is daunting tasks for law maker who work for the betterment of Indonesia as a nation, but we can do it. However, rules needs to be revised, and geared toward improving human rights, and providing opportunities for all citizen to gain knowledge to pursue employments, better health care, better treatment of factories workers; the list is long and tedious but we can start today.

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