Moh. Natsir Elected as Masjumi’s Chairman

By: Naufal A.

Student of History Education Department UNSIL

Mohammad Natsir (1908-1993) was the most popular Moslems leader in Indonesia, even in Islamic world during twentieth century. He was born in Alahan Panjang, Minangkabau, on 17 July 1908. Natsir was born while The Dutch Colonial Government were influenced natives life by the Etische Politiek policy. However, Natsir kept grew under very strong Islamic tradition in Minangkabau. 

On the previous article, I wrote this man as moderate cadre of Persatuan Islam (Persis). Natsir had studied and did a lot discussion with Tuan Ahmad Hassan, one of the most popular Persis’s teacher, while he became the AMS (The Dutch School) student in Bandung. Tuan Ahmad Hassan was the Islamic teacher who had debated with the Moslems traditionalist leader like Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Persatuan Muslim Indonesia (PERMI), and Al-Ittihadiyatul Islam Indonesia (AII)

However, Natsir seems didn’t obtain a full influence from his teacher. His education background as AMS student, might influenced Natsir views while he looks various of Moslems thought. Natsir more interested to became opponent of the non-Moslem and nationalist-secular leaders who looks dislike Islam. Natsir had debated with Ir. Sukarno (1901-1970), a most popular figure of nationalist-secular who became The First President of Indonesia, on a mass media in the middle of 1930.

Natsir’s track record as one of the leader during The Revolution of Indonesia Independence and flexibility of his views among various type of Moslems thought, made him respected by almost of Moslems leaders in Indonesia. He was elected as chairman of Masjumi Party, a biggest Islamic political party in the early of Indonesia independence.

Natsir’s Career During Revolution of Indonesia Independence

Natsir started his first career during this period when he chose by Sutan Sjahrir as Minister of Information (Menteri Penerangan). Sutan Sjahrir was Prime Minister who got chance for this position until three times. Natsir chose as Minister of Information after Sutan Sjahrir changed Amir Sjarifuddin from that position into Minister of Defence in second cabinet.

Natsir career as Minister of Information begun while the situation of Indonesia under crisis. Natsir often spoke in radio station in the name of Indonesia government to burn Indonesia fighter spirit. He also became speech writer of President Sukarno. In many times, Sukarno didn’t accept speech script if Natsir didn’t read it before. Mohammad Hatta (1902-1980), The First Vice President of Indonesia, said that on this period, Natsir was lovable son of Sukarno.

Natsir led the Ministry of Information for a long times. He was Minister of Information of Sutan Sjahrir’s Cabinet II, III, and Hatta’s Cabinet. When The Dutch occupied Jogjakarta on the morning of 19 December 1948, Natsir and some leaders of Indonesia like Sukarno, Hatta, and Sjahrir, arrested and isolated together in Bangka. They were came back to Jogjakarta after Roem-Roeijen Agreement accepted by Indonesia and Dutch in the middle of 1949.

The Fourth Muktamar of Masjumi

Natsir decided to resign as Minister of Information when Indonesia agreed to establish the federation state together with Dutch. He more interested to be Masjumi’s activist and fight in DPR. Natsir was gain a new career in The Fourth Muktamar of Masjumi. This muktamar held in Jogjakarta on 15-19 December 1949.

Lukman Hakiem in his books Biografi Mohammad Natsir (2019) told, that Anwar Harjono said, before the fourth muktamar, some members of Masjumi wanted a new leader. They were think dr. Soekiman Wirjosandjojo, who elected as Masjumi’s Chairman in 1945, was too old. Therefore, they were think Masjumi more be better led by young leader in the future.

Yusril Ihza Mahendra on his books, Modernisme dan Fundamentalisme dalam Politik Islam (1999), told, that some members of party didn’t accept the leadership of Soekiman. They were think that Soekiman as Masjumi’s Chairman had some indiscipline behavior like arrested by The Dutch when he was Minister of Home Affairs (Menteri Dalam Negeri) of PDRI decided came back to Jogjakarta, give permition to Mohamad Roem for led the delegation of Indonesia while Roem-Roijen Agreement, and they considered Soekiman couldn’t unifiy the Moslems power. Under Soekiman leadership, some ex-leader of Partai Syarikat Islam Indonesia (PSII) leave from Masjumi and estabilished their party for twice in 1947.

The audiences of The Fourth Muktamar of Masjumi submitted some young Masjumi cadre as candidate for the new chairman. They submitted Natsir, Mr. Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, K.H. Wahid Hasyim, Mr. Mohamad Roem, and Soekiman. After voting finished, Natsir elected as Masjumi’s Chairman. Natsir won the election by obtained 132 voters and Soekiman only obtained 76 voters.

Anwar Harjono said, K.H. Wahid Hasyim was the first person who recommended Natsir to became Masjumi’s Chairman. K.H. Wahid Hasyim was son of Hadratussyaikh K.H. Hasyim Asy’ari, well known had a good relationship with Natsir while they worked together under Japanese Military Government.

Natsir as elected Masjumi’s Chairman made Soekiman as The President of Masjumi after he heard suggestions from Mr. Jusuf Wibisono, dr. Abu Hanifah, Mr. Sjamsoeddin, and Roeslan Wongsokoesoemo who well known as Soekiman followers.

Natsir became Masjumi’s Chairman since 1949. He worked as the highest leaders of Masjumi during 10 years. Natsir was a second chairman of Masjumi. His position changed by Prawoto Mangkusasmito in 1959 after Natsir joined with Pemerintahan Revolusioner Republik Indonesia (PRRI) in Sumatra.

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