Muhammadiyah urged to become national economic driver

Muhammadiyah urged to become national economic driver

Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla (JK). (ANTARA/Yudhi Mahatma)

We must conduct a campaign that doing business is also an obligation called for by the Prophet."
Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla has asked Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesias major Islamic organizations, to encourage its cadres to become national economic drivers.

"The Muhammadiyah is very strong with regard to its management, while its members are educated, it only needs business spirit for it (to become an economic driver)," he said when opening a meeting of Muhammadiyah businessmen here Saturday.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 200 Muhammadiyah secondary and primary cooperatives from across the country.

Kalla, who was also a businessman, said that with regard to business, motivation is the main capital.

"Many people who wish to do business have always asked what happens if we lose, while actually there will be more benefits to be enjoyed. If we would not like to become businessmen we would remain mere consumers. What is important is spirit. Everything will develop by itself," he said.

The government would encourage the emergence of new businesspeople by easing licensing procedures and providing credits with a low interest (KUR), Kalla said.

"This year we will provide KUR with nine percent interest. Next year the interest will be further lowered to only seven percent," he said.

On the occasion Vice President Jusuf Kalla thanked the Muhammadiyah as well as NU (another major Islamic organization) for their efforts in the social, education and health sectors so far.

Kalla likened the Muhammadiyah to a holding company that has a lot of assets across Indonesia, while NU is like a franchise with its businesses spread wide, but their assets are held by clerics.

"We must conduct a campaign that doing business is also an obligation called for by the Prophet. Prophet Mohammad did business first before he got married," he said.

Muhammadiyah chief Haedar Nashir on the occasion explained about the history of Islam in Indonesia. The history of Islam in Indonesia used to be dominated by businessmen, he said.

"We wish to take care of it. We wish Moslems in the country become a strategic community so that they can give instead of ask," he said.

The Muhammadiyah wished to build a new ethic and new business network so that Indonesian Muslims could become more self-reliant, he said.

"Indonesian Muslims must have strategic power by becoming an economic pillar. The network of Muslims businessmen must be able to become the nations main economic pillar and become a new economic power," he said.

(Reporting by Jaka Suryo/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/F001)