Central Indonesian National Committee
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The Central Indonesian National Committee (Indonesian: Komite Nasional Indonesia Pusat) or KNIP, was a body appointed to assist the president of the newly independent Indonesia. Originally purely advisory, it later gained assumed legislative functions. The Working Committee of the KNIP became part of the People's Representative Council when Indonesia became a unitary state in 1950.
The Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942. By 1943 the tide had turned against them, and in order to encourage support for the war effort, the Japanese appointed Indonesian advisors (sanyo) to the administration and appointed nationalist leader Sukarno leader of a new Central Advisory Board (Chuo Sani-kai) in Jakarta. In March 1945, the Japanese established the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence(Indonesian: Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia) or BPUPKI, chaired by Radjiman Wediodiningrat, with Sukarno, Hatta and Thamrin among its members. This body drew up a constitution for an independent Indonesia over several weeks of meetings. At a session of the Committee on 1 June 1945, Sukarno laid down the principles of Pancasila, which would become the Indonesian national ideology.
On 17 August, Sukarno proclaimed the Independence of Indonesia. On 18 August, the PPKI accepted the constitution drawn up by the BPUPKI as the provisional Constitution of Indonesia and decided that during a six-month transition period, the new republic would be governed according to the constitution by a president, assisted by a National Committee, who would establish the two chamber legislature mandated by the constitution. The upper chamber, the People's Consultative Assembly would then have six months to draw up a new constitution, leaving open the possibility that this would be an entirely new document free of the influence of the situation prevailing during the Second World War. The PPKI also named Sukarno as president and Hatta vice-president The following day it appointed 12 government ministers and decreed that Indonesia was to be divided into eight provinces. On 29 August, Sukarno dissolved the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence and established the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP). Sukarno and Hatta appointed 135 members, including the membership of the PPKI to this new body. It included people representing areas outside Java, Islam, women and young people.
The KNIP as legislature
Following a takeover by Sutan Sjahrir and Amir Sjarifuddin on 16 October 1945, the KNIP gained legislative powers, and the system of government moved from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. On 18 October, Vice-president Hatta issued Vice-President's Edict X transferring the powers the Constitution conferred on the People's Consultative Assembly and People's Representative Council from the president to the KNIP, making the government towards more parliamentary. The day-to-day tasks of the KNIP would be carried out by a Working Committee. On 30 October, a decree allowed the establishment of political parties. Then on 11 November, Sukarno accepted the fact that ministers would now be responsible to parliament, rather than to him. Three days later, Sutan Syahrir became Indonesia's first prime minister.
In July 1946, the KNIP was reorganized by government decree. It now had 200 members. Of these, 110 were elected, 60 represented organizations and 30 were nominated by the president. Meanwhile, hopes that national elections would be held in January 1946 as planned began to fade.
At the end of 1946, there was "manipulation" of the KNIP membership when it appeared likely the body would reject the Linggadjati Agreement between the Dutch and the Indonesian republicans. In order to secure avoid this rejection, Sukarno more than doubled the size of the KNIP to 514 members. The decision to expand the KNIP was taken in late 1946, but became effective only in March 1947. The number of left-wing members increased sharply as they wanted the Dutch military action to be ended as quickly as possible. These changes severely damaged that the KNIP's image as representing public opinion.
Because of the ongoing armed struggle against the Dutch, it was not possible for the entire KNIP to meet regularly. Therefore, the KNIP acted like the upper house, the People's Consultative Assembly in the constitution, meeting only infrequently to discuss fundamental and pressing national issues. The Working Committee continued to act as the day-to-day parliament.
After the 1946/1947 expansion, the membership of KNIP was divided as follows; Indonesian National Party 45, Masjumi 60, Socialist Party 35, Communist Party of Indonesia 35, Labour Party of Indonesia 35, Parkindo 8, Catholic Party 4, Workers 40, Peasants 40, Sumatra 50, Borneo 8, Sulawesi 10, Maluku 5, Lesser Sunda Islands 5, Chinese 7, Arabs 3 and Europeans 3.
Following the transfer of sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia (RIS), in December 1949, the state adopted a bicameral system. The KNIP met for the last time on 15 December 1949 to agree to the Republic of Indonesia joining the RIS. However, this state was short lived, and when Indonesia became a unitary state in August 1950, the Working Committee of the KNIP became part of the People's Representative Council.
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