Pancasila, the Most Becoming State Ideology, from Sabang to Merauke

It is well known to the world that the biggest archipelagic country has Pancasila as the official and foundational ideology of the Indonesian state. Pancasila is not just a word that embodies as state’s law instrument but the five principles are very important to Indonesians as they represent the country’s national ideology and identity. The importance of Pancasila was not just admitted by Indonesians only, as stated by Associate Professor Greg Fealy of the Australian National University, the Pancasila has an almost sacred status both to Indonesians and neighboring countries, like Australian themselves because they respected each other vision and sovereignty.

Pancasila is made up of two Old Javanese words, “panca” meaning five, and “sila” meaning principles. Pancasila was first spoken about by Indonesian nationalist leader Soekarno in 1945, just before the country’s independence. Soekarno argued the country should be based on these five principles, which are: (1) Belief in the One and Only God, (2) A just and civilized humanity, (3) A unified Indonesia, (4) Democracy, under the wise guidance of representative of the People, (5) Social justice for all Indonesians. All these principles have been recited and taught to all Indonesians since they entered school age. When the five principles of Pancasila translated in people’s daily activity in Indonesia, it is clear that Pancasila has guide the Indonesian people to build a peaceful nation.

Although we all know that Indonesia is a multicultural country with different culture, language and religion possessed by the nation; there is no entity that is higher or better than the other. As stated clearly in the fifth principle, Indonesia has guaranteed an equal social justice for all Indonesian citizens, regardless their background and identity. Pancasila is also a reflection of Indonesian society’s optimism in building stronger nation together because we have common goals that glued the nation. Based on Pancasila, it is confirmed that the orientation of Indonesian ideology is never built upon fascism or communism; worshiping racial superiority, romanticizing certain religion or classified groups based on power. Indonesia and its Pancasila are present not to negate or demean other civilizations, but to be one of the pillars that contribute to the peacebuilding of world civilization.

As a country made up of 17,500 islands, and thirty-three provinces, meaning that the cultural landscape is also a diverse one, mixing indigenous customs. There are many foreigners working in Indonesia feel the same way too about Indonesian diversity. “I have travelled to most Southeast Asian countries but nowhere is the cultural diversity as rich as what I have seen in Indonesia,” a strong statement comes from German Cultural Centre “Goethe-Institute”, Director Franz Xaver Augustin. With more than 500 ethnic groups, each with their own language and dialect, Indonesia cannot be compared with any other country when it comes to cultural diversity. People might be from different regions, ethnic or geographic backgrounds, but Pancasila is a way to see themselves as having a common identity and set of values. In other words, Pancasila is the common statement of Indonesian unity and also diversity.

Therefore, Indonesian has always support the democracy and freedom of speech – as stated also in the fourth principle of Pancasila – yet, it is important to note that the corridor of democracy has to be in line with the other principle of Pancasila. Unlike a dictatorship, a democratic government exists to serve the people, but citizens in democracies like Indonesian citizens must also agree to abide by the rules and obligations by which they are governed by Indonesian government. Although the freedom of speech is a precondition for democracy, it is by no means an absolute freedom. During one of his speech in European Council, the President of Turkish Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan has spoken on behalf of many democracies the in the world, including Indonesia – that the right to the freedom of expression may be restricted on certain grounds such as the protection of the rights of others, national security and public safety. Taking the words back to Indonesian context, it is concluded that as a democratic country, the freedom of speech and expression is encouraged widely in Indonesia as long as it’s still in line with the Pancasila because these five principles is the ideology that glued the nation up until today.

In regards to the statement of Zühtü Arslan on the national security and public safety, the complicated situation happened in Indonesian with regards to the Separatist Movement in West Papua Province (KSP). From long time, the separatist group has been voicing their demanded for the independent territory. Their expression and speech cannot be included as a way on practicing their voice as a part of democracy, rather, they expression is disturbing the nation’s sovereignty. The separatist group wanted a new state outside Indonesia because of conflicting situation between Indonesian government and the West Papuan people. In fact, there are many democratic countries in the world that does not express their freedom of speech in a responsible way. Even further, if we examined the supporter countries that supports West Papuan’s independence namely Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Marshall Islands – all of the three are democratic countries. However, although they followed democracy as their way of governing the state, their political culture is different from that in most Western democracies, with strong elements of clientelism (emphasis on social relations to gain power), and political debate that focuses strongly on the distribution of resources among communities rather than ideology. Therefore, their supports for West Papuan independence is understandable knowing that it has heavy political motives rather than on pure ideological spirit.

Furthermore, if we analyze the internal situation in the region of West Papua, we can conclude that the request from KSP to be separated from Indonesia is unrealistic and selfish. KSP always emphasises their melanesian roots where West Papuan region is part of it and different with the rest of Indonesian. However, little did the KSP know; the diversity of ethnic and race is the core value of Pancasila. Therefore, there is no need for West Papuan region to be separated from Indonesia because of their different races. Yet, we need to focus more on the development of better Papua.

As written strongly by the education activist for Papuan Learning Community, Djuneidi Saripurnawan, Papuan community needs to be freed not from Indonesia but from poverty, illiteracy, corruption, global hegemony and fear. The vision to be its own state is not just harmful for the Indonesian unity but also harmful to the West Papuan community. The separatist movement is clearly a self-seeking political action to devastate the nation because West Papua is a part of Indonesia and Indonesia is not a country without West Papua as one of its provinces. Further, to develop West Papuan community in the global era like today, the separatist group has to realized that Indonesia has good potential in developing towards better nation which automatically will bring further development to Papuans community.

west papua indonesia – Important to acknowledge, through many initiatives, Indonesia has restoration in its government system and law enforcement. This progress will contribute to eliminate West Papuan society from illiteracy, corruption, global hegemony and fear. One of the clear sign for the region’s upgrading is the additional government budget for West Papua Province that significantly increase during 2015-2019 (Jokowi’s era), meaning, the region has secure important position in the nation’s blue paper for development. This condition will never happen if the separatist movement succeeds because starting a state is not an easy job learning from Timor Leste’s experience after get its independent from Indonesia in 2002.