Yusril Ihza Mahendra

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Yusril Ihza Mahendra
Chairman of the Crescent Star Party (PBB)
In office
1998 – 1 May 2005
Succeeded by Malam Sambat Kaban
State Secretary
In office
21 October 2004 – 8 May 2007
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Preceded by Bambang Kesowo
Succeeded by Hatta Rajasa
Minister of Justice and Human Rights
In office
9 August 2001 – 20 October 2004
President Megawati Sukarnoputri
Succeeded by Hamid Awaluddin
Personal details
Born (1956-02-05) 5 February 1956 (age 58)
Belitung, Indonesia
Religion Islam

Yusril Ihza Mahendra (born February 5, 1956 in Belitung, Bangka-Belitung Islands) is an Indonesian politician. Yusril was formerly the chairman of Crescent Star Party (PBB).

Early life[edit]

Yusril Ihza Mahendra was born on 5 February 1956 to Idris Haji Zainal and Norsiha [1] in Manggar, Bangka Belitung. He can trace his ancestry from Johor, Malaysia; where his paternal grandfather Haji Thaib being a member of the Johore royalty. His paternal family linage settled in Belitung from Johore in the 19th century. While his mother is a third generation Minangkabau descent from the West Sumatra in Belitung.

After completing his primary and secondary education, Yusril left for Jakarta in 1976 to attend the University of Indonesia (UI). To compensate for living costs, Yusril had to lodge at various mosques in the city. In addition to that, Yusril had to find part-time work to fund his studies. Yusril took on various jobs, becoming a tutor in teaching children in reading the koran, teaching martial arts, and selling fishes and coconuts.[2]

Throughout this period, Yusril became close with his lecturer, Professor Osman Raliby. In turn, Osman would introduce Yusril to his political hero, Mohammad Natsir.[2] Natsir was an Islamist politician, former Prime Minister of Indonesia, and Chairman of the Masyumi Party, a major Muslim Party that had rivalled Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in the 1950s.

Yusril also began to involve himself in organizational activities. In 1981, he became Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Youth Mosque Communication Body. A position which he held until 1982.

Academic career[edit]

In 1982, Yusril graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and followed it up the next year with a Bachelor's Degree in Governance.[2] Following this, Yusril became a lecturer at the Muhammadiyah University in Jakarta (UMJ), and at the Socialization Skills Academy in the Ministry of Justice. In the meantime, Yusril attended postgraduate studies.

Yusril then went to India to attend the University of the Punjab. In 1984, Yusril graduated with a Master's Degree in Humanities and Social Science. When he returned to Indonesia, Yusril became a lecturer for University of Indonesia (UI) and UMJ. At UI, Yusril was involved in the law faculty and taught postgraduate courses.

In 1993, Yusril graduated from the University of Science, Malaysia and became a Doctor of Philosophy.

Organizational Experiences and Early Governmental Career[edit]

Yusril's Islamist views meant that his scope was not just limited to the academic world. In 1996, Yusril became a member of the Central Committee of the Indonesian Islamic Da'wah Council (DDII). At the same time, he became Chairman of the Legal Department of the Jakarta Branch of the Union of Indonesian Intellectual Muslims (ICMI) while serving as Vice Chairman of the ICMI Council of Experts.

Also in 1996, Yusril was employed by President Suharto as a speechwriter. Yusril would go on to write 204 speeches [2] for Suharto.

When Suharto was re-elected to his final term as President in March 1998, Yusril was appointed Aide to the Assistant of the State Secretary. From this position, Yusril was closely involved in the final moments of Suharto's Presidency. When Suharto finally decided to resign, Yusril was involved in the drafting of the resignation speech, giving input so that the speech was legally accurate.[3] During the crucial moments, Yusril managed to have a disagreement with Suharto over the speech. Suharto wanted to declare that the cabinet was now disbanded while Yusril argued that the Cabinet would not be disbanded because it will continue under the leadership of the next President.[4] Suharto then personally made the necessary edits. When all was set, Yusril went to see Amien Rais to inform him that Suharto was resigning.[5] The next morning on 21 May 1998, Suharto announced his resignation.

Reformasi[edit]

With Suharto's fall from power, opportunity opened up for Yusril to get himself into politics and air his views. As a politician, Yusril was very much influenced by Natsir and called for the Jakarta Charter to be included in the Constitution. In the 1945 Constitution, Article 29 Section 1 originally read "The State is based on the belief in God with the obligation to obey Sharia law for its adherers".[4] However, the Section was edited to "The State is based on the belief in God" [6] to make it sound more secular.

To achieve his political goal, Yusril formed PBB on 17 July 1998 and was elected as its first Chairman. In June 1999, PBB participated in the 1999 Legislative Elections and came 6th with 2.84% of the votes.[7]

In the lead up to the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) General Session, PBB joined forces with the other Muslim Parties to form the Central Axis. As the MPR assembled in 1999, the Central Axis had their support behind National Awakening Party's Abdurrahman Wahid with their opponents being Golkar's President Habibie and the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle's (PDI-P) Megawati Sukarnoputri. When Habibie's accountability speech was not accepted, he refused to run and the Presidential race came down to Wahid and Megawati. Yusril, perhaps worried that Wahid might also drop out of the race had himself nominated as a Presidential Candidate.[8] However, Yusril would drop out of the race with little time to spare before the election process and Wahid would emerge as the President.

Wahid and Megawati Presidencies[edit]

When Wahid named his National Unity Cabinet, Yusril was appointed to the position of Minister of Laws and Legislations. During the Wahid Presidency, Yusril had a major policy difference when Wahid threw up the idea of lifting the ban on Marxism-Leninism. Yusril responded by threatening to resign from his position.[9] A threat that was widely supported by PBB. Nevertheless, Wahid's idea never materialized and despite his differences, Yusril was retained as Minister. When political pressure began to put Wahid on the defensive in early 2001, Yusril suggested during a Cabinet Meeting that Wahid resign.[4] Wahid's response was to remove Yusril from the Cabinet.

Now out of the Cabinet, Yusril and PBB threw their weight behind all the other political parties planning to impeach Wahid through a MPR Special Session. This was achieved in July 2001 when the MPR unanimously impeached Wahid and elected Megawati to the Presidency. In Megawati's Cabinet, Yusril was appointed to the position of Minister of Justice and Human Rights. As Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril worked on the Anti-Terrorism Bill (Which would become the Anti-Terrorism Act) after the 2002 Bali bombings.[10] Yusril also sought to improve the quality of Judges in Indonesia.[11]

2004 Elections and the Yudhoyono Presidency[edit]

As 2004 approached, Yusril's name began to emerge as a Presidential Candidate. Yusril said that he was ready to run, provided that PBB finished in the Top 3 in the Legislative Elections.[4] PBB failed to do this, gaining only 2% of the votes in the Legislative Elections.[7] Yusril finally decided to support Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla in their bid for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. For his support, Yusril was rewarded with the position of State Secretary.

In 2005, Yusril was replaced as PBB Chairman by MS Kaban but became the Chairman of PBB's Advisory Council.

On 7 May 2007, Yusril was replaced as State Secretary by Hatta Rajasa.

Personal life[edit]

Yusril was married with Kessy Sukaesih, and they have four children's, which is Yuri Kemal Fadlullah, Kenia Khairunissa, Meilany Alissa and Ali Reza Mahendra. He divorced Sukaesih in November 2005.

Less than one year after that, he married with Rika Tolentino Kato in September 2006.[1]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bambang Kesowo
State Secretary of Indonesia
21 October 2004 - 8 May 2007
Succeeded by
Hatta Rajasa
Preceded by
Founder
Chairman of the Crescent Star Party
1998 - 1 May 2005
Succeeded by
Malam Sambat Kaban
Preceded by
Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Indonesia
23 August 2000 – 20 October 2004
Succeeded by
Hamid Awaluddin

Notes[edit]