Pluralism guaranteed by constitution: President Joko Widodo

"I may remind us all about the importance of our unity as a nation. Do not allow any party to disrupt our sense of togetherness or to divide us." the president said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo reaffirmed here Saturday that Indonesias constitution honors and guarantees the values of diversity and pluralism.

"Our constitutional system honors and guarantees diversity and pluralism and it is our task to preserve these," he said before thousands of people at a prayer event.

Indonesia is bestowed with diversity and pluralism in terms of ethnicity. The country is home to people of more than 700 ethnic groups, who speak 340 local languages, he reminded.

Similarly, Indonesia has a diverse range of arts and cultures, with just the local traditional dances reaching more than 4,000, if anyone cared to count, he added.

"It is so diverse, and we must be aware of this diversity," he counseled.

President Jokowi, as he is also called, pointed out that Indonesia, from its north westernmost island of Natuna to the northernmost island of Miangas to Wamena, Yahukimo and Puncak in eastern Papua, has customs, traditions, cultures and languages which are different from each other.

"This is a blessing that we must all be grateful for. It is our duty to preserve such plurality," he advised.

As the president and head of state, he appealed to all parties to ensure that the five principles in the state ideology, "Pancasila," (belief in one and only God, just and civilized humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy guided by the inner wisdom with unanimity arising out of deliberations among representatives and social justice for all of the people of Indonesia) remain intact.

He stressed that the Indonesian nation must be grateful for having great leaders like Ir Soekarno (the late first president) who founded the Pancasila ideology to lend strength to the country and use it as a means of uniting the nation.

Referring to the massive demonstration in the capital city on November 4, President Jokowi said such protests are guaranteed by the constitution as a means of expressing aspirations.

However, he noted, there are certain rules that people have to abide by, including preventing anarchy.

In view of that, "I may remind us all about the importance of our unity as a nation. Do not allow any party to disrupt our sense of togetherness or to divide us."

Around 10,000 people attended the event, called "the national friendly gathering of ulemas and people," organized by the National Awakening Party (PKB). The event was aimed to cool down the political atmosphere following the demonstration that led to rioting towards the fag end even though it had remained peaceful until the 6 pm deadline.

The event was attended by PKB general chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs and Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri who is affiliated to the PKB, religious leaders and clerics.(*)