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Abdurrahman Wahid
The fourth President of Indonesia

Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid (born 7 September 1940), colloquially known as Gus Dur, is an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. The long-time president of the Nahdlatul Ulama and the founder of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Wahid was the first elected president of Indonesia after the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998.

Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was born on the fourth day of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar in 1940 in Jombang, East Java to Abdul Wahid Hasyim and Siti Solichah. This led to a belief that he was born on 4 August; instead, using the Islamic calendar to mark his birth date meant that he was actually born on 4 Sha'aban, equivalent to 7 September 1940. He was named after Abd ar-Rahman I of the Umayyad Caliphate who brought Islam to Spain and was thus nicknamed "ad-Dakhil" ("the conqueror"). His name is stylized in the traditional Arabic naming system as "Abdurrahman, son of Wahid".

In 1963, Wahid received a scholarship from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He left for Egypt in November 1963. Unable to provide evidence to certify that he spoke Arabic, Wahid was told when arriving that he would have to take a remedial class in the language before enrolling at the University's Higher Institute for Islamic and Arabic studies.

Instead of attending classes, Wahid spent 1964 enjoying life in Egypt; watching European and American movies as well indulging in his hobby of watching football. Wahid was also involved with the Association of Indonesian Students and became a journalist for the association's magazine. After passing the remedial Arabic examination, he finally began studies at the Higher Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies in 1965, but was disappointed. He had already studied many of the texts offered at the Institute in Java and disapproved of the rote learning method used by the University.

In Egypt, Wahid found employment with the Indonesian Embassy. It was during his stint with the Embassy that G30S PKI happened. With Kostrad Commander, Major General Suharto taking control of the situation in Jakarta, a Communist crackdown was initiated. The Indonesian Embassy in Egypt was ordered to conduct an investigation on university students reporting on their political views. This order was passed to Wahid, who was charged with writing the reports.

Wahid's displeasure at the method of education and his work post-G30S distracted him from his studies. Wahid sought and received another scholarship at the University of Baghdad and moved to Iraq. There Wahid continued his involvement with the Association of Indonesian Students as well as with writing journalistic pieces to be read in Indonesia.

After completing his education at the University of Baghdad in 1970, Wahid went to the Netherlands to continue his education. Wahid wanted to attend Leiden University but was disappointed as there was little recognition for the studies that he had done at the University of Baghdad. From the Netherlands, Wahid went to Germany and France before going back to Indonesia in 1971.

Wahid's first Cabinet, dubbed the National Unity Cabinet, was a Coalition Cabinet which consisted of members of various political parties. PDI-P, PKB, Golkar, PPP, PAN, and Justice Party (PK). Non-partisans and the TNI (Formerly known as ABRI) were also represented in the Cabinet. Wahid then went on to make two administrative reforms. The first administrative reform was to abolish the Ministry of Information, the Suharto regime's main weapon in controlling the media while the second administrative reform was to disband the Ministry of Welfare which had become corrupt and extortionist under the Suharto regime.

2000 saw Wahid embroiled in two scandals which would damage his Presidency. In May, the State Logistics Agency (BULOG) reported that US$4 Million were missing from its cash reserve. The missing cash was then attributed to Wahid's own masseur who had claimed that Wahid sent him to Bulog to collect the cash. Although the money was returned, Wahid's opponents took the chance of accusing him of being involved in the scandal and of being aware of what his masseur was up to. At the same time, Wahid was also accused of keeping US$2 Million for himself. The money was a donation by the Sultan of Brunei to provide assistance in Aceh. However, Wahid failed to account for the money.

In September, Wahid declared martial law in Maluku as the condition there continued to deteriorate. By now, it was evident that Laskar Jihad were being assisted by TNI members and it was also apparent that they were financed by Fuad Bawazier, the last Minister of Finance to have served under Suharto. During the same month, the West Papuans raised their Morning Star flag. Wahid's response was to allow the West Papuans to do this provided that the Morning Star flag was placed lower than the Indonesian flag For this, he was severely criticized by Megawati and Akbar. On 24 December 2000, there was Terrorist Attack directed against churches in Jakarta and in eight cities across Indonesia.

By July, Wahid grew desperate and ordered Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security to declare a State of Emergency. Yudhoyono refused and Wahid removed him from his position. Finally on 20 July, Amien declared that the MPR Special Session will be brought forward to 23 July. TNI, having had a bad relationship with Wahid through his tenure as President, stationed 40,000 troops in Jakarta and placed tanks with their turrets pointing at the Presidential Palace in a show of force.

On 23 July, the MPR unanimously voted to impeach Wahid and to replace him with Megawati as President. Wahid continued to insist that he was the President and stayed for some days in the Presidential Palace, but eventually left the residence on 25 July for a trip overseas to the United States for health treatments.


Last revised on December 01, 2009
    
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