Mahfud Highlights Risks of Identity Politics to Nation and State


Jakarta, – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, revealed that based on a survey, the majority of the population is concerned about the potential polarization or division in the form of identity politics leading up to the elections. Mahfud emphasized that identity politics is dangerous for the life of the nation and the state.

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“Based on CG Kompas, it was noted that 56 percent of our society is concerned about the possibility of division or polarization related to the elections, in the form of slander, lies, defamation, and even identity politics. I have always said that identity politics is dangerous for the life of the nation and the state, different from political identity,” said Mahfud during the Central Gakkumdu Discussion Forum ‘Realizing Clean Elections’ in East Java, which was broadcasted via the Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs’ YouTube channel on Tuesday (8/8/2023).

“So, identity politics is different from political identity, everyone has a political identity, has primordial ties, Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Madura, Javanese, Bugis, Batak ethnicities, those are identities. Malay, Chinese, Arab races, and so on. That’s identity,” he continued.

Mahfud stated that choosing leaders based on their political identity is acceptable. However, political identity should not be used as a tool to discriminate against certain groups.

“Is it not allowed to choose based on identity? It is allowed, but it should not become the main focus, especially when used as a tool to discriminate against others. I’m Javanese, brush aside the Batak people, brush aside the Bugis people. The same goes there in Bugis, Makassar, I’m Bugis, so all newcomers here let’s brush them aside, in politics it’s called identity politics, a political identity that uses political identity,” he said.

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Furthermore, Mahfud conveyed that elections are a platform to find leaders, not to seek enemies. Therefore, he warned against allowing prolonged division arising from the elections.

“Now, my fellow citizens, it should be remembered that elections are about seeking leaders together, not seeking enemies. Seeking leaders is important because we are a democratic nation and people’s abilities and aspirations differ, so we need a leader who can stitch together all these differences. Therefore, once the election is over, it’s over. We have chosen our leader, not someone who was previously not chosen like us and then considered an enemy and becomes continuous opposition that divides,” Mahfud explained.

“Control is allowed, criticism is allowed, but causing prolonged and continuous division from one election to the next is not allowed, because elections are about agreed-upon leaders and leaders are necessary. Because if a country has no leader, the country dissolves, it means we betray the founders of the country and betray the constitution’s mandate,” he concluded.

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