Vice President-elect Ma’ruf Amin will not permanently step down from his role as the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council — the country’s highest clerical body — even after he’s sworn in to become the country’s second-in-command on Sunday.
Yesterday, the highly respected cleric said that after his inauguration as VP, he will officially remain chairman of the MUI, but a “non-active” one for most of his five-year term. He said the arrangement was recently agreed upon in a meeting involving MUI leaders.
“That is the agreement, but considering my job as VP, I will be a non-active chairman for the time being. When there’s a [MUI] national conference, I will assume responsibility as chairman,” Ma’ruf told reporters at his residence in Jakarta yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.
Ma’ruf said MUI leaders have come to accept that his staying in power does not violate the clerical body’s internal policies.
“What’s not allowed is if a vice president becomes MUI chairman. In my case, I was chairman first before I became vice president. It’s different,” he said.
While Ma’ruf holds his “non-active” MUI chairman status, two MUI deputy chairmen are going to serve as joint acting chairmen and carrying out Ma’ruf’s duties. It’s expected that Ma’ruf will resume his duties once his term as Indonesia’s vice president ends in 2024.
Previously, while he was still a candidate for vice president, Ma’ruf caused quite a controversy by refusing to step down from his post as MUI chairman despite calls to do so from many politicians and civilian groups, who fear a possible conflict of interest if he held both posts.
Former MUI chairman and current chairman of the MUI Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin also once said that Ma’ruf will resign permanently from the MUI should he be elected vice president, but that does not appear to be the case now with the VP-elect’s latest statement.