Sex scandal hits Indonesia Islamic parties

2013-12-15 15:14

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Jakarta - Clandestine hotel room sex, money laundering and huge bribes to import beef evokes a seedy, criminal underworld rather than conservative politicians in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

But they all feature in a racy scandal that has shattered the clean image of Indonesia's biggest Islamic party and could further damage already-unpopular Muslim parties at national polls next year.

"The scandal... has given Islamic parties as a whole a bad image," said Umar S Bakry, from pollster Lembaga Survei Nasional.

The controversy that has shocked the country peaked last week when an anti-corruption court sentenced the disgraced former president of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to 16 years in jail.

Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq was found guilty of bribery and money laundering after accepting kickbacks from firm Indoguna Utama in return for pressing the PKS-controlled agriculture ministry to increase the company's beef import quota.

Guilty verdict

Two executives from the company had earlier been jailed over the case, dubbed "Beefgate" by local media, which has given blanket coverage to a scandal of enormous proportions even by the standards of graft-ridden Indonesia.

Ishaaq, who resigned as president of ruling coalition member PKS when the scandal emerged, has said he will appeal the guilty verdict against him.

During their probe, anti-graft investigators uncovered juicy details that tarnished the clean, pious image the PKS has sought to cultivate.

They seized six cars from Ishaaq and prosecutors accused the 52-year-old of trying to hide his marriage to one of his three wives, whom he wed last year when she was still a teenager.

But an arguably bigger figure in the scandal is Luthfi's close aide Ahmad Fathanah, jailed for 14 years in November, who was a key middleman in efforts to get Indoguna's quota increased.

His arrest in January kicked the scandal off in dramatic fashion - anti-corruption agents caught the married man in a raid in a Jakarta hotel with a naked college student.

Fathanah had just collected bribe money and the student later admitted he paid her for sex.

He was found to have laundered his bribe money by giving gifts, including cars and diamonds, to 45 women, including an adult magazine model and several celebrities.

Elections

The PKS plays down the scandal and insists it is still on track for a strong result at legislative elections in April.

But independent polls in recent months show the party is receiving far below the almost 8% it garnered at elections in 2009, and there is much public anger toward it.

"PKS is such an absolute disgrace, anyone who votes for or supports this party must be either totally delusional or incapable of independent thought," said a recent comment on the website of the Jakarta Globe newspaper.

"Beefgate" has scotched the party's recent efforts to reinvent itself by moving away from a purist Islamic agenda and presenting itself as a clean organisation as others were battered by graft allegations - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party in particular.

And the controversy risks affecting all Indonesia's Islamic parties, which were already struggling, analysts warn.

The five main Islamic parties, including the PKS, won a combined total of more than 25% at the 2009 legislative elections. They range from moderate groups to more extreme ones that want to introduce Islamic Sharia laws.

While the parties expected their share of the vote to continue the same downward trend of recent years, the PKS scandal means the fall is likely to be steeper and swifter, said Bakry from the Lembaga Survei Nasional.

Support

He cited a recent LSN survey in which 42.8% of respondents said they expected the groups' popularity to fall and only 21.6% said they expected them to win more votes.

It is just another sad chapter in the history of political Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Islamic parties have seen their support erode gradually in recent years due to their own shortcomings and the greater appeal of the major, secular-nationalist parties, such the Democratic Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Experts point to poor organisation, infighting, previous corruption scandals, and a feeling among even conservative Muslims there is no longer an obligation to vote for a party describing itself as "Islamic".

"Years ago if you were a pious Muslim you voted for an Islamic party but now it's not the case," said Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at the Australian National University.

Most voters, he added, now opted for parties with a solid track record of running the country.

Read more on:    indonesia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.