VP candidate Ma’ruf Amin attends Indonesian Ulema Council meeting, claims he’s still chairman

President Joko Widodo (Left) and Vice President-elect Ma’ruf Amin. Photo: @jokowi / Instagram
President Joko Widodo (Left) and Vice President-elect Ma’ruf Amin. Photo: @jokowi / Instagram

Is President Joko Widodo’s running mate Ma’ruf Amin still the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)? That’s a question that has different answers depending on who you ask, apparently.

Ma’ruf himself this morning attended a routine executive meeting at MUI headquarters in Jakarta and told reporters that he’s still the chairman of the nation’s highest clerical body because the executive board hasn’t come up with a decision regarding whether or not he should resign for the 2019 presidential election.

“I’m still [MUI chairman]. [My resignation] has not yet been discussed,” Ma’ruf told reporters today, as quoted by Kumparan.

Ma’ruf’s claim is at odds with an announcement late last month by his temporary replacement that the Islamic scholar has been “non-activated” from the top position at MUI (which is basically another way of saying that he’s resigning, but only if things go well for him in next April’s election) in order to uphold the organization’s independence in the election.

No other MUI executive has further commented on Ma’ruf’s status as the organization’s leader.

Ma’ruf has not stepped down or been “non-activated” from his other influential position of Rais Aam (Supreme Leader) at Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Islamic organization.

Many politicians and civilian groups, particularly those affiliated with the opposition, have called for Ma’ruf to step down permanently from the top MUI job. Among those voices is People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker and opposition leader Zulkifli Hasan, who criticized Ma’ruf Amin for not fully committing to a permanent resignation from MUI, comparing him to Prabowo Subianto’s running mate Sandiaga Uno, who stepped down from his post as Jakarta vice governor immediately after he was announced as VP candidate.

Former MUI chairman and current chairman of the MUI Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin said Ma’ruf will resign permanently from the MUI should he be elected vice president.

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