While evaluating the electronic Indonesian ID cards (e-KTP), Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo suggested that Indonesians should have the option to leave the religion section in their KTP blank. The Council of Indonesian Clerics (MUI) disagreed.
“That would introduce all sorts of problems. It’s clear that Indonesia is not a secular country. [This is a country] where social relations among religions is valuable. Therefore there should still be a religion section [in the KTP],” said MUI’s Deputy Secretary of Law, Luthfie Hakim, on Thursday.
“[If the religion section is left blank] there will be confusion among citizens. Don’t just look at the negative aspects [of religion], look at the upside too,” he said.
One of the advantages of the religion section of the KTP, Luthfie said, is that in times of accidents, the victim can be processed more efficiently in terms of administration and religion.
“If, for example, there was a dead body we’d know right away from the KTP if he was a Muslim, so we can perform the mandatory prayer for the dead. We would fulfill our responsibility as Muslims,” Luthfie said.
“I don’t think this has ever been an issue before. If we [left the religion section blank], that would be discriminatory and troublesome. I think it’s best to leave it there because this is a religious country.”
Previously, Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo said leaving the religion section of the KTP blank is acceptable, for the time being. The idea is to accommodate the rights of every citizen, so those who do not follow one of the six officially recognized religions in Jakarta do not have to lie about their beliefs on an official document.
“According to the law, there are six official religions [in Indonesia]. If we want to add more, we’d have to change the law. So, for the time being, it’s ok to leave [the religion section of the KTP] blank,” Tjahjo said on Thursday.
“Don’t force people [from outside the six official religions] to fill in whatever religion is closest to their faith.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs will coordinate further with the Ministry of Religion and religious councils like the MUI to discuss the KTP problem.