The Role of Community Figures during the Reformation Period in Political Change and State Administration in Indonesia

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1.1.  Background

Indonesia is currently still in the reformation era, which is essentially an era where everything has changed from politics to technology.  All these changes cannot be separated from the events that became the milestones of the early reform era.  Incidents carried out by students who demanded President Soeharto to step down from his position as president at that time.  Until finally President Soeharto stopped being president and was replaced by B.J.Habibie, which marked the end of the New Order era and changing into the reform era.  The transition from the New Order era to the Reformation era certainly led to political and constitutional changes, besides that the problems in the reform era were also increasingly complex because people were given full freedom to aspire their opinions in public without paying attention to the impact of these actions.

There are things that need to be known that there were several figures who played an important role during the transition from the New Order era to the reform era.  These figures include Abdurrahman Wahid, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana X, Megawati Soekarno Putri, Amien Rais.

1.2. What is the meaning of reform?

1. What is the meaning of reform?
2. What is the chronology of reform in Indonesia?
3. How was the life of the state during the reform era?
4. Who are the key figures in reform in Indonesia?

1.3.  Writing purpose

1. To know the meaning of reform
2. To find out the chronology of reform in Indonesia
3. To find out about the life of the state during the reform era
4. To find out the important figures in reform in Indonesia

1.4 Benefits of Writing

 1. Can add knowledge
 2. We can better understand the chronology of the events of the reform
 3. We can understand more about the life of the state administration and important figures in reform in Indonesia


2.1 Definition of Reform

Etymologically, reformation comes from the word "reformation" with the root word "reform" which means renewal or change.  Reform in general means changes to a system that has existed at one time.  Meanwhile, according to the meaning of the word in Indonesian, the meaning of reform is a drastic change for improvement (social, political, or religious) in a society or country.  In Indonesia itself, the word Reformasi generally refers to the student movement in 1998 which overthrew President Soeharto or the era after the New Order.

2.2 Chronology of Reformation Events

When viewed in general terms, Indonesia's reform was caused by the world economic crisis at the end of the 20th century, Indonesia was one of the countries affected by this crisis.  Starting on January 22, 1998, the rupiah surpassed 17,000 per US dollar and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) did not show any plans for assistance to Indonesia.  Then in early March twenty students from the University of Indonesia came to the DPR / MPR building to declare their rejection of the presidential accountability speech delivered at the MPR General Session and submit the national reform agenda.

This was responded to
President Soeharto, to be precise, On April 15, 1998, students should end the protests and return to campus because during this month students from various private and state universities held demonstrations demanding political reform.  Three days later, namely on April 18, 1998, the Minister of Defense and Security / ABRI Commander General Purn.  Wiranto and 14 ministers of the VII Development Cabinet held a dialogue with students at the Jakarta Fair but quite a number of student representatives from various universities rejected the dialogue.  So that it is also futile to hold a dialogue between representatives of the Government and students.

In the beginning of May 1998, the peak of student action began, due to the increasingly chaotic economic crisis on May 2 to May 21 1998, there were many demonstrations and clashes between students and the military or police, as a result of which no less than 11 students died and dozens of others were injured. 

The incident was truly heartbreaking for the Indonesian nation at that time.  As a climax, on May 21, 1998, the Chairman of the Muhammadiyah Central Board Amien Rais and the scholar Nurcholish Madjid (deceased) in the early morning stated, "Goodbye to the old government and welcome to the new government".  After that President Soeharto announced his resignation at 09.00 WIB and he thanked and apologized to all Indonesian people and left the courtyard of the Merdeka Palace accompanied by his aide.

2.3 State Administration during the Reformation Period

The reform era that began in 1999, brought about fundamental changes in our government and state administration system as seen in the almost complete changes to the 1945 Constitution. Changes to the constitution, actually happened so quickly without being initiated by a long plan. 

This occurred because it was driven by demands for very strong changes at the beginning of the reforms, including demands for a more democratic state life and governance, better law enforcement, respect for human rights and various other demands for change.
To these various demands, the MPR members responded by initiating changes to something fundamental, namely the amendments to the 1945 Constitution. This is based on the idea that one of the sources of problems that have caused political problems in the administration of the state so far is due to the weakness of the 1945 Constitution.  other:

a.  The 1945 Constitution delegates enormous powers to the President.

b.  The absence of the principle of checks and balances in the 1945 Constitution, among others, leaves the supreme power in the hands of the MPR which fully exercises the people's sovereignty.

c.  The 1945 Constitution is too flexible to hand over state administration to the spirit of state administrators who have been abused a lot in its implementation.

d.  Minimum human rights regulations, as well

e.  Lack of regulation regarding elections and democratic mechanisms.
Therefore, the first amendment to the 1945 Constitution at the 1999 general session, occurred in a very short time, namely only about one week of debate at the Ad Hoc Committee level, resulting in important changes to 9 articles related to balancing the position of the President with the DPR.
However, if we look back at the beginning of President Habibie's administration, the idea of ​​amending the 1945 Constitution had started and a committee was even formed chaired by Prof. DR.  Bagir Manan to study the amendments to the 1945 Constitution and has carried out a series of discussions that are quite long and have produced various thoughts on the amendment to the constitution in a book. Therefore, when the debate at the MPR regarding the amendment to the constitutional law, most of the factions had prepared a draft change.  of the 1945 constitution.  Due to time constraints, the first change only occurred in a number of articles related to limiting the power of the President and strengthening the DPR, and other changes were reserved at the next annual session.
Due to the extent of the initial debate when initiating this change, to avoid disorientation in the changes to be made, all factions in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) at that time agreed on five principles, namely:
  1.  Does not change the preamble of the 1945 Constitution.
  2. Keep maintaining the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.
  3. Strengthening the presidential system of government.
  4. The explanation of the 1945 Constitution was eliminated and normative matters in the explanation were included in the articles.
  5. Changes are made by means of an addendum.
Amendments to the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945), which have been carried out 4 times.  The First Amendment in 1999, the Second Amendment in 2000, the Third Amendment in 2001 and the Fourth Amendment in 2002, had very broad political implications in the Indonesian constitutional system.  If we read carefully these changes, it will appear that the four changes were a series of changes that were carried out systematically in order to respond to the new challenges of a more democratic Indonesian political life in accordance with the development and changes of society.

Demands for changes in the political system and state administration in the form of amendments to the 1945 Constitution, is a very clear message conveyed by the reform movement that began in 1998.

These four amendments cover very broad and profound aspects both in terms of the number of articles amended and added as well as the substance of the changes that have occurred.  The 1945 Constitution before the amendment only consisted of 16 chapters, 37 articles and 47 paragraphs plus 4 articles of Transitional Rules and 2 paragraphs of Additional Rules.  After 4 changes, the 1945 Constitution became 20 chapters, 73 articles, 171 paragraphs plus 3 articles of Transitional Rules and 2 articles of Additional Rules.  The substance of change touches very basic things in the political system and state administration which have implications for changes in various laws and regulations and Indonesia's political life in the future.  It is within this framework that various new political laws are drafted, namely the Political Party Law, the Legislative Election Law and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election and the Law on the Status of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), the People's Representative Council (DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (DPD). 

2.4 Key Figures in Reform in Indonesia

Reform figures behind became figures who shocked the Indonesian political world.  They come with a variety of new perspectives that have more or less changed the course of Indonesian politics.

The reform period that has occurred in the past few years could be a period of change in Indonesia from all sides.  Political, social and economic.  Change is evenly distributed in all levels of society.  From the upper class to the lower class society.  There are people who see it as a positive change, and there are also some people who actually see it as a negative thing.
In fact, after that period, after the presence of these reformers, Indonesia experienced various further conflicts.  Various conflicts arose.  The long-hidden conflict, all uncovered and scrambled to find a solution.
The unstable economic, social and political conditions as a result of the reform period made it more difficult to resolve these problems.  As a result, small problems that should be paid attention to, become very neglected, and big problems cannot be resolved completely.

Reformasi figures emerged because they were upset about the state of the Indonesian economy that was not getting better, instead it was getting worse because it was hit by the storm of the monetary crisis that hit Southeast Asia.

Supported by a wave of student movements throughout Indonesia that demanded Soeharto step down from the presidency, ultimately forcing the MPR to revoke the mandate of presidential duties.  Soeharto finally signed a letter of resignation from the presidency and submitted it to BJ Habibie, who was then vice president.  This incident immediately gave rise to many controversial reformers.
It is impossible in a big event like the Indonesian Reformation without being spearheaded by the nation's great figures.  These figures were very critical in responding to the New Order era or the era of President Soeharto, they were also able to mobilize thousands of students to protest and demonstrate against the Government even though they were overshadowed by the Indonesian security forces.  In the spirit of change for Indonesia, reformation is inevitable, and these are the important figures in Reformasi Indonesia;

1. Abdurrahman Wahid

Abdurrahman Wahid or also known as Gus Dur, is the leader of Nahdhatul Ulama, the largest Islamic mass organization in Indonesia.  Gus Dur has a strong charisma.  Apart from scholars, he is also a statesman who has insight into the importance of national pluralism.  Gus Dur was one of the reformers who had a huge impact on Indonesia.  Gus Dur also initiated the Ciganjur meeting which was attended by Megawati, Sir Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, and Amien Rais.  Furthermore, the reformers who were present in Ciganjur named themselves as the Central Axis group who were determined to roll out the reform agenda in Indonesia.  During the first election period at the beginning of the reform order, Gus Dur was nominated as a candidate for president of the Republic of Indonesia by reform figures from the PKB and was fully supported by the Central Axis group.  Finally, Gus Dur was appointed as President of the Republic of Indonesia to replace BJ Habibie, while Megawati was appointed as vice president to accompany Gus Dur.  However, in the middle of his reign, Gus Dur was removed from his mandate by the MPR.

2. Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X is a figure of the King of Yogyakarta who has an important role in uniting this nation in order to remain united, because since the monetary crisis Indonesia has faced the threat of integration.  Moreover, since East Timor is separated from the motherland, it has triggered the emergence of separatism in several places in Indonesia.  Many do not know that he is also part of the reform figures.  In the period leading up to the reformation era, the Sultan often took to the streets to calm the demonstrators so that they would not act anarchistically, especially in Yogyakarta so that it had a good impact on the people of Yogyakarta itself.

As one of the figures who were members of the reform figures, he played more of a role as controlling the masses.  Thanks to that, after reformation, Sri Sultan was appointed Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta together with Sri Paku Alam IX replacing the previous governor Sri Paku Alam VIII who had died.

3. Megawati Soekarno Putri

Megawati Soekarno Putri is a symbol of resistance to the New Order regime.  When the post of PDI chairman was unilaterally overthrown by Soeryadi who was supported by the New Order regime, Megawati also founded a new party called the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).  Since then, Megawati has been at a distance from the Soeharto regime.  In the reform era, the actors in the reformation figures had an important role.  He redesigned the values ​​of nationalism and democracy.  In the legislative elections, the party that Megawati founded won many votes, even beating Golkar.  
Megawati was appointed vice president to accompany Gus Dur and she was supported by many other reformers.  Two years later, Megawati became president to replace Gus Dur, who was removed from her mandate by the MPR, and appointed Hamzah Haz as vice president to accompany Megawati to continue her government.

4. Amien Rais

Amien Rais is one of the reformers who came from the campus world. Amien Rais also had a hand in overthrowing the Soeharto regime. He is a figure who pioneered the establishment of the Central Axis group which was declared in Ciganjur, Gus Dur's residence. In the early days before the collapse of the New Order regime, Amien Rais always took to the streets to join student demonstrators. Amien Rais's speeches were brilliant. He offered a change to a more modern Indonesian democracy. When many parties emerged, Amien Rais also declared his party, namely the National Mandate Party. In the reform era, PAN was one of the top parties so that he also served as chairman of the MPR.G

 3.1 Conclusion

Reform is a drastic change for improvement (social, political, or religious) in a society or country. In Indonesia itself, the word Reformasi generally refers to the student movement in 1998 which overthrew President Soeharto or the era after the New Order.

Indonesia's reform began with the world economic crisis at the end of the 20th century, Indonesia was one of the countries affected by this crisis. Starting on January 22, 1998, the rupiah surpassed 17,000 per US dollar and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) did not show any plans for assistance to Indonesia.

The reform era that began in 1999, brought about fundamental changes in our government and state administration system as seen in the almost comprehensive changes to the 1945 Constitution.

Among the figures who played a role in the emergence of the reform era in Indonesia were Abdurrahman Wahid, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana X, Megawati Soekarno Putri, Amien Rais.

3.2 Suggestions

In essence, the reform era was a change in the constitutional structure based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. However, in reality the reform era that began in the reign of B.J. Habibie until now, there are still many violations, especially in aspirating his opinion. And we hope that the government in Indonesia in the current and future reform era will be better.

This is the paper we wrote, hopefully it will be useful and increase the readers' knowledge. We apologize if there are spelling mistakes in writing words and sentences that are not clear, understandable, and straightforward. Hopefully this is our conclusion to our hearts and we thank you profusely.
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